Being accused of murder is something Lana May Cooper has to face at the mere age of sixteen. She denies having anything to do with the four murder cases she was being blamed for, simply because she knew she’d done nothing wrong.

But only when a psychiatrist deems her insane and she’s sent off to an asylum, is it that her life really gets turned upside down.


1. Interrogation





“Think what you want, and think what you will, but I am not a murderer.”

“Are you sure, Miss. Cooper?”

“One hundred percent.”

“Well then, who was it?”

“The creatures in the woods, I've already told you this.”

“Just needed clarification, ma’am. That’s all for now.” Rising from his seat, the officer shot me a sympathetic smile. I scowled back. The door to my cell was once again bolted shut, leaving me alone in the confined, icy room.


Bright lights flashed in my face as I was jostled about. The guards around me didn't do much help, not with the amount of reporters that showed up for my trial. I was ushered into the court room and told to take a seat. My head felt funny because of the photographers’ camera flashes and the screams of angry protesters from earlier. Leaving a wet trail, a tear rolled down my cheek as I thought about my situation. I hadn't done anything wrong yet everyone hated me, even my own family.


I was asked to take a seat in the chair that they questioned everyone in; I’m not sure what it is called. I sat down, staring out at the many faces, their angered expressions piercing my heart. “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…” The guy with the Bible blabbered on. Amazing job he had – note the sarcasm.

“But, I don’t believe in God. So, even if I swear upon him or this Bible or whatever, I could still lie. But, I will not lie. And if feeling up this book and saying ‘I do’ is the only way to prove that then fine.” I said, placing my hand upon the Bible and uttering the words ‘I do’.

“Please behave, Cooper.” The judge spat.


“Miss. Cooper, please introduce yourself and tell the court why you are here.” The lawyer-person-thing ordered me.

“Lana May Cooper. Sixteen years old. Born in Texas somewhere – I don’t know because I’m adopted. My parents left me when I was three. Don’t know who they are. I moved to L.A. with my adoptive parents at the age of five. That’s it, really. I’m here because these morons think I’m a murderer. But, I’m not. I’m definitely not.”

“Thank you, Miss. I’m now going to give you a few names. Say ‘yes’ if you know the person, and then tell me how you know them, and ‘no’ if you don’t. Okay?” I nodded. I’m a teenager, yes, but I’m not simple minded – jerk. “Kieran Walker.”

“Yes; he used to be in my chemistry class a couple years ago.”

“Lauren Davies.”

“Yes; she was my best friend in the children’s home.”

“Ryder Johnson.”

“No.” As soon as the word left my mouth, the interrogator froze.

 Er… Are you sure, Miss?” I nodded, feeling my mouth dry up. I didn't know why; it’s not like I was lying; I genuinely didn't know who the Jason guy was. “Okay then... Jason and Karen Gray?”

“I didn't know them personally, but they lived on the same street as me.” He nodded and stepped away slightly as he wrote something down.


After another interrogation about knowing the Ryder Johnson person – in which I completely denied knowing him, because I didn't – I was allowed to step down and retake my seat. From there I watched the rest of the trial, which ran smoothly until the door at the back of the room swung open. Every head turned to eye the tall man sauntering into the room. He took a seat behind the opposition, pushing his thick-rimmed glasses up. His beady eyes watched me. “I would like to give Mr. Harries the chance to evaluate Miss. Cooper, if I could, your honor ” The lawyer guy mumbled to the judge.

“Of course.” She replied only to him, and then went on to talk to the whole room. “Case will be rescheduled.”


“Miss. Cooper, how nice to finally meet you.” The beady eyed man smiled. I narrowed my own blue eyes at him, taking in his pristine suit and slicked back hair. He really did look like the typical cold-hearted shrink.

“I wish I could say the same, Doctor.” I spoke through a clenched jaw. The only things I hated more than anything else in the world were psychiatrists. They think they know everything, but they really don’t. They pretend to understand, gain your trust, then go behind your back and ship you off to an asylum. They lie for a living.

“Oh, please, call me Pete.”

“Doctor.” How dare he expect me to call him by his first name? We weren't friends, so I would not be friendly with him. He sighed and took a seat in front of me in his big leather chair.

“How are you today, Lana?” He asked, giving me a fake smile which made my stomach churn.

“How the fuck do you think I am? Huh? Don’t even dare call me Lana; you don’t deserve to.” Taken aback was one way of putting his current expression.

“Okay…” He mumbled, writing something down in his notepad. “Do you ever wonder what it would feel like to kill someone?”

“No.” Yes. He could tell I was lying.

“Have you ever had dreams in which you've killed people?”

“No.” Yes. Again, he could tell I was lying.

“Are you one hundred percent sure you did not kill those people, Lana?”

“Yes.” And, I was telling the truth, too. He kept asking me questions, mostly to do with anger and murder, which was expected since I was being accused of murder.




It was a humid day in L.A., the sun shining down on me as I walked home from the library. A smile crept onto my face for the first time in what seemed like forever; I wasn't a very happy person nowadays. I mean, who would be happy if their father had just walked out on them? Especially their adoptive father. The one who worked so hard to have them and just gave up all of a sudden, for no reason. But, I was happy. Who wouldn't be if they’d just realized it was their birthday the next day. I opened the front door, closing it behind me quickly as Bruno, my clumsy Boxer dog, came bounding up to me. Bruno following, I walked into the lounge to be met with my mother talking to two cops.


“Miss. Cooper, I am arresting you on suspicion of murder. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do may or may not be held against you in court.” Shocked would've been an understatement as the cops pulled me into their car and drove me away from my crying mother.



Yet another repetition of the same flashback played in my mind. That was the second time today. And now, here I was. Sat in a cell the size of a single bed. Cold and confused. Scared. Hungry. And just waiting to wake up from this Hellish nightmare…


* * *


I hummed along to the tune inside my head – the same melody that had been playing in my head for what seemed like years. But, it could have only been five minutes; there was no way of telling the time in my empty cell. My body jolted up at the sound of a key being pushed through a lock. My cell door swung open and there stood Lucy, one of the wardens on Death Row. Yeah, I was on Death Row, waiting for my day. I guessed it had come. With a quickened heartbeat and a tear rolling down my cheek, I sat up in my rock hard bed. “Cooper.” My breath somehow got stuck in my lungs and wouldn't come out. “Congratulations.” Confusion washed over me, making me even more nervous. Was she being sarcastic? “You’re getting out of here.” And that’s when I broke down. Sobs erupted at one hundred miles an hour and tears fell just as fast. My hunched over body shook in surprise and relief.

“Really?” I asked, controlling myself slightly.

“Yep, lucky girl.” Lucy smiled a sickening smile. One filled with sympathy, of which I couldn't understand. I was lucky, right?


“Hey, where are we going? You just missed the turn to my house...” I spoke up. I was in a slick black car with a man who I presumed was there to keep me from running away or something, and a driver. The driver was taking me somewhere I didn't know. It was definitely not home, anyway. Nobody answered me, so I slumped back in my seat, sighing.


I stepped out of the car and was greeted with an airplane. It was small, for only about 50 people I guessed. I was quickly ushered onto the airplane and into my seat. And then, we took off, only to land on a minuscule island home to just a village surrounded by mountains and forests.


Tall, black gates faced me. Behind the gates was a long, winding path, surrounded by fields. The fields went quite far, but were closed off by a wall with electric wires at the top. A stone building stood at the end of the path, looming over the fields and casting a stretched out shadow. People of all ages were distributed over the pristine fields, most wearing rags, but the odd woman in a Nun’s outfit. Was it another prison? No; it couldn't be – the ‘prisoners’ wandered freely and since when had Nuns run a prison? I shivered as the cold air hit me. We were at the top of one of the mountains – me, the random guy and the driver – surrounded by forests. If you looked down the mountain all you would see was tree, after tree, after tree.


I walked along the path with as much confidence as I could muster, ignoring the confused stares pointed directly at me. The driver had waited in the car outside of the gates, and the bodyguard person was walking by my side. I just wanted to run. To run as fast as I could back down the path, down the mountain and jump in the sea. It wouldn't matter if I drowned; there wasn't much point in living now, anyway. I mean, what’s the point in living if everyone thinks you’re a murderer? If everyone hates and blames you for killing their friends and family… What’s the point?


We made it to the building just before I couldn't take it anymore. My confident façade was just about to break down and reveal the real me: the insecure teenage girl. We strolled up the steps to the intimidating building, my heart pounding, just waiting to be handcuffed and chucked into another lonely cell.


When we entered the building, we were met with yet another Nun peering over a polished, white desk at us. Her eyes widened when she saw me, and she pushed a button behind the desk. I was expecting a trap door to open up underneath me and swallow me, feeding me to some sort of sharp-toothed creature. Or, at least, that’s what I wanted to happen. Footsteps could be heard getting closer and closer to us. The suspense was killing me, slowly eating me up from the inside.


“Hello, I am Sister Claire and welcome to the Hawthorne Institute for the Mentally Insane.”


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