Asylum

Religion is forbidden and those who have it are considered insane and sent to the Asylum. The only thing you are allowed to believe is what your government tells you. Brinley Larson was only 8 when they took her away to the Asylum. It had been a cold day in the Western region of the Russian Empire and she had just been looking for something to eat, while her parents worked at their minimum wage jobs. It had been sitting in the bottom of the dumpster she'd been digging through, the cold metal container protecting it from the elements. It's worn leather cover was soft under her cold fingers and the gold letters shown like stars in the white winter. It only took one page for them to take her away to the Asylum. Just one page of her book and she was sent away for a mental illness she doesn't have. Ten years later Brinley still refuses to give into her treatment and holds onto her faith.

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5. Chapter 4

We arrive in Newbury only half an hour after my screaming fit. The passengers spill off the train like a torrent of rushing water and I struggle keep with Luke in the mass of people. We find a place to doge to side and discuss our plans as another torrent of people board the train.

"Can you get to Rivers street from here?" Luke asks as his eyes dodge around the train station not at all used to the real world.

"I can, but there is some where I need to go first," Itell him.

"Where?" he asks confusedly.

"Apartment C, floor 10, building 5 on Lavender street," I say almost to myself.

"Is that your old home?" he asks after a moment.

"Yes, I need to see them."

"I'll come with you," he insists.

I shake my head, "No, I need to go alone."

He looks like he wants to argue, but instead he nods understanding that this is something for me to do by myself. At the same time I want to go to Lavender street alone, I also don't want to fave whatever is on Rivers street alone.

"Meet me at the McCurdily Pub on Fraiser Lane and we'll go to Rivers street from there," I tell him.

"Or we could just meet on Rivers street," he suggests.

I bite my lip, at the same time I want to go to Lavender street alone, I also don't want to face whatever is on Rivers street alone, so I tell him this, "I don't want to go alone."

"Okay. But, why are we meeting at a pub?" he asks.

I sigh slightly exasperated, "You ask to many questions, but we're meeting at a pub because the people at the Asylum will have realized we're gone by now and Newbury will be one of the first places they look, so we're meeting at a disgusting, run down pub full of drunks because that's the last place in Newbury they'd look."

"Someone's cranky," Luke smirks.

"No, I'm not. Are you going to meet me at the pub or not?" I ask still exasperated.

"I'll meet you there, but if they are looking for us your house will be one of the first places they look," he reminds me.

My heart sinks, he's right, they will look there fist, but I still need to go. "I know," I tell him, "I'll be careful."

He puts his hand on my shoulder, "Stay safe."

"You too."

I give him directions to Fraiser Lane and we say quick good byes before I make my way to Lavender street. I'm amazed how much Newbury has changed in the last 10 years; the storefronts are decorated with all of the latest styles and technologies. One storefront has a large picture of what looks black box with a glowing screen and advertizes it as the latest smartphone. Another storefront has a picture of a model wearing a stylish outfit, the picture says, 'The latest trends for Fall 2013.'

It's hard to believe that it's already 2013, for me it still feels like 2003. In 2003 people would have given sympathetic looks to the starving 8 year old wandering the streets looking for food, but the world couldn't care less about the 18 year old looking for her family after 10 long years. The world has forgotten me and suddenly I feel as if it has no room for me, no room for a crazy Christian. There is no room for my kind in the world, the only way to coexist is to stay hidden, because the world will never accept us as we are. The world may have forgotten me, but I still have hope that my family has not.

Lavender street is just as I remember it, graffited walls, littered sidewalk, and mold infested buildings. Welcome home. I  stand at the bottom of building 5 and stair up at the disgusting edicfice with dozens of thoughts running through my head, What if they're not here? What if they moved? What if they don't want me anymore? What if they think I'm no more than a disgusting coacroack like everyone else seems to think? I guess there is only one way to find out.

The hike up to floor 10 is much easier than I remember it being and I'm standing in front of Apartment C in no time. My knock on the door feels hollow as if there is nothing behind this door for me. The door creaks open after a moment and a black haired woman in her late 20's peers her head. This woman is most certaintly not my mother.

When the woman spot me she scowls, "Sorry, we have nothing to give you."

She starts to close the door, but I stop her, "Wait, I'm looking for Curtis Larson."

I hear the sound of shattering from behind the door and a man comes up behind the woman. His eyes are the same color of gold as my own like sun light on a field of wheat, he looks like he's aged 20 years since I last saw him, but there is no mistaking this man because he is my father.

"Brinley," he whispers as if he can't quite believe what he's seeing.

"I'm home," I tell him and awkwardly heft my bag higher on my shoulders.

The woman looks annoyed, "You know this girl."

"Eva,this is my daughter Brinley," he tell the woman and then turns to me, "Brinley, this is my... wife Eva."

I feel sick. If this woman is his wife, then where is my mother? My father invites me inside and I'm even more taken aback when I see the little girl sitting on the carpet. She has the same jet black hair as the  woman and the same gold eyes as my father and me, this must be their daughter. It looks like both my mother and I have been replaced.

"Lorelai!" Eva shouts at the girl, "We have a guest, so get off you lazy ass and go make coffee or something!"

My father doesn't say anything about the way Eva treat the little girl who couldn't be more than 9 years old, if he won't say anything the I will, "Don't yell at her!"

Eva whips around and steps closer to me so that we are nose to nose, "Don't tell me what to do in my house, girl," she spits.

"That doesn't give you the right to treat her like that!" I defend the girl.

She gives me a cruel smile, "I will treat my daughter in whatever manner I want."

She doesn't wait for me to respond, she just turns back around and plops into an armchair like she's a queen. Lorelai shakily walks over to her mother with a mug of coffee in her hands. For the first time I notice the bruises that peek out from under her shirt sleeve. In this moment I don't just want to throttle that cruel woman's neck, but my father's as well for letting this happen. I look at my father accusation written all over my face, but he refuses to look at me. We take seats in worn out arm chairs to talk.

"What happened when I left?" I ask my father carefully.

He runs his hands over the little hair that he has left as he replies, "They came to our house and told us that you had been preaching in the streets and that you'd been taken to the Asylum. I wasn't sure what to think, but your mother never believed a single word they said, she knew you wouldn't do that."

"Wait, this little vermon has been to the Asylum," Eva spits, "How could you let her in our house?"

My father doesn't defend me, he just bows his head. Eva looks at me with sheer disgust, "You have ten minutes with your father and then you are to leave and never come back."

I don't know how to react to Eva's demands, so I turn back to my father, "What happened to my mom?"

He looks upset by my question but answers it anyways, "Not long after you were taken to the Asylum your mother got very ill. She had cancer from working in the metal forgery and it wasn't good. We didn't have enough money to get her proper treatment and she died a month later."

I want to cry so badly right now because the Asylum took away my oppurtunity to say good bye to my mother, I continue with my questions, "And you remarried right away?" I ask not even caring that Eva is in the room. It was pretty obvious that he had remarried not long after I was taken to the Asylum based on Lorelai's age.

He looks ashamed when he answers, "Yes."

We sit in silence as I digest this information. My mother and I were discarded and replaced so quickly, it's sickening. The world has forgotten me, my father has replaced me, is there anything left for me? I don't think there is, at least not here. This home is not my home, I will have to make my own.

My father finally breaks the silence, "Brinley, how did you get to the Asylum?"

I swallow hard not wanting to relive that day as I have every day for the past ten years, but he ddeserves to know, "We didn't have a lot of money as you know, not enough to fill our stomachs, so I had been looking through dumpsters for some food. It had been so cold and I was so hungry. As I was digging through one of the dumpsters I found a Bible. I knew I wasn't supposed to read it, but I let curiosity get the better of me and I read a page of it; a woman from a nearby shop saw me and called the police."

My dad looks horrified, "You're better now, right?"

"I-" I begin to say but am cut off by Eva shouting.

"You idiotic little bitch!" Eva screams and throws the mug on the ground interupting our conversation; the shattered glass and hot liquid pool around Lorelai's feet, "You are completely useless!"

She stands up and grabs Lorelai by the shirt. I hear her whimper and I've had enough. I stand up and pull that witch away from Lorelai. She screams a number of profanities as I throw her ass back into her chair.

"Don't you dare touch her," I spit in her face.

"You have gone to far," she screams, "You know what I'm going to do? I'm going to call the police and tell them to take you back to the Asylum."

I can feel my eyes grow wide with horror and my voice squeaks ass it comes out, "You wouldn't. I did nothing wrong!"

She laughs, "Who are they going to believe a girl with a history at th Asylum or me?"

I already know the answer to that question. I grab Lorelai by the hand and sprint for the fire escape. Inside I can hear Eva screaming into the phone, while my father sits passivley by. Lorelai doesn't know what is happening as I pull her down the fire escape. This is technically kid-napping, but I couldn't leave her with Eva.

"Where are you taking me?" Lorelai asks with fear in her eyes.

"Away from Eva," I reply still running.

"Really?" she asks hopefully.

"Yes."

I do my best to stay off of the main roads and take the back streets to Fraiser. I don't see any sign of police on our police, so I'm pretty sure it's safe to meet up with Luke. The pub reeks of stale beer and sweat and is packed full of drunks. I make my way through a crowd I can't look more out of place in; an 18 year old with a 9 year old little girl in a pub of 40 year olds. I can't find Luke, so I find a table for Lorelai and me to sit at.

She still looks terrified when she asks, "Am I going to be safe with you? I mean I really don't know you."

I try to put on the most comforting smile I can when I say, "I'll make sure nothing happens to you, we're sisters after all."

"I still don't know you" she points out.

"Did you want to get away from Eva?"

She stares at the table and mumbles, "Yes."

"Good, because I don't want her to hurt you anymore and I promise you that I won't let her near you, okay?"

 She nods, "Yeah, okay."

Suddenly someone bumps into our table almost knocking it over. A drunk man probably in his 20's stumbles next to us and tries to right the table, but only succeeds in knocking all the way over. The man is way to intoxicated to pick up the table, so I just do it for him.

"Oh, sorry ma'am I didn't," he stops speaking a squints at me like I've suddenly sprouted another head, his hand wraps around my wrist and I suddenly realize that my sleeve has fallen exposing the code on my wrist.

His fist comes so fast I don't realize what's happened until I feel the blood trickling from my nose. I can hear Lorelai scream as the man knees me in the stomach. I collapse to the ground on the brink of being sick and just barely holding it in. I had known that people hated anyone with faith, but I hadn't known it was this bad.

The man spits on me, "Filthy roaches like you need to be taken off the streets."

I can feel eyes in the bar watching me as I try to stand up, but a fist makes contact with my head and I black out.

I wake up in the alley behind the pub with Lorelai and Luke hovering over me. The sun has set and it's night time, how long was I out? I run my fingers though my hair and feel a large on my head where the man hit me. I gently probe my nose and realize that it's broken.

"She's up!" Lorelai shouts excitedly.

"Yeah, yeah, I'm up," I grumble and try to sit up. Movement is extremely painful because of my bruised stomach.

"Good, because we have to meet Mack on Rivers street tomorrow and we really need to get you fixed up," Luke says pointing out my condition.

I take a look at myself and realize that blood covers the front of my dress and I'm covered in dirt from the alley. Luke helps me to my feet and we go to the nearest restruant with a bathroom. As we walk Lorelai skips ahead of us and Luke and I talk.

"Who is that exactly?" he asks me as he watches Lorelai skip down the street.

"That's my sister, Lorelai," I tell him.

He looks surpised, "I didn't know you had a sister."

I shrug, "Neither did I until a few hours ago."

"And your parents just let you take her?"

"Well," I hesitate, "I didn't exactly ask permission and they weren't really my parents."

His eyes get big, "You mean you kidnapped her from random strangers?"

I roll my eyes, "I wouldn't call it kidnapping and it was my father and her mother, not random strangers."

"That's still kidnapping! And what do you mean her mother?"

"Look, I just found out that my mother is dead and my dad married a witch who abused Lorelai," I tell him.

"I'm sorry to hear about your mother and how Lorelai's mother treated her, but they are going to be looking for you know," he points.

"I guess we'll just have to stay hidden."

We stumble into a bathroom and Luke tells a waitress that I tripped and broke my noise and we'll order something as soon as I'm cleaned up. We go to the restrooms and I crash through the door and grab a fistful of paper towls to clean up the blood. I'm surprised to see Luke follow Lorelai and I in.

"You do realize this is a girls' bathroom, right?" I ask as I try to staunch the now thin trickle of blood coming out of my nose.

"Some one has to reset your nose and I don't think Lorelai is up for it," he says and walks further into the bathroom. Lorelai shakes her head viciously at this indicating that she does not want to reset my nose.

"Fine," I grumble and take a seat on one of the sinks gripping the edges tightly.

Luke presses his thumb and forefinger to either side of my nose and I scrunch my eyes close waiting for the pain.

"Don't scrunch you nose, it makes it hard for me to find the spot where it's broken," Luke chastises me.

I try to relax, but I know this is going to hurt like hell, so it's not easy. The pressure of Luke's thumb increases on my nose until it's suddenly twisted right and my nose is filled with a white hot pain.

"Holy shit! What the-" I manage to slap a hand over my mouth as I spew a number of other swear words, so that Lorelai doesn't hear.

When the long string of swear words finally ends Luke helps me down and asks, "Are you okay?"

"Yes, me swearing like a fiend was a clear indication that I'm just peachy!"  I say grumply.

"Well, in that case I'm sure you're up for a plate of pancakes," Luke says and slides into a booth in the dinner.

"I want pancakes!" Lorelai informs us bouncing up and down in her seat.

"Three plates of pancakes please," Luke tells the waitress.

The waitress comes back with three heaping plates of pancakes and we dig in. I used to think a bagel was the best thing I'd ever eaten, this is way better. The pancakes are gone too soon and I lean back into the booth with a full stomach. We pay for the food and leave the dinner.

"Where are we going?" Lorelai asks.

"I don't know," I tell her honestly.

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