Status: Completed on October 4th, 2013

Breaking Their Hold

Chapter Four: Star Light, Star Bright

“Nurse Phillips?” Melissa addressed the nurse later that night, hoping that the woman wouldn’t be suspicious of why Melissa was asking her a question.

“Yes?” The Nurse asked her, cocking her eyebrow.

“I would like very much to have my window opened a little bit, ma’am.” Melissa told the nurse. “It gets very warm in my Cell at night, and I find it difficult to sleep when I should be.”

The nurse narrowed her eyes, trying to find the lie she felt was hidden within Melissa’s eyes. But she saw nothing; Melissa had become fairly talented at lying over the last several years of her confinement in Haverly Hospital.

“Very well, Ms. Baker,” She said. “I shall open it for you.”

Melissa nodded in thanks, and watched as the Nurse walked over to the window. She pulled a small device out of her pocket; what it was, Melissa had no idea. She used it to open the window, and opened it several inches.

“Thank you, Nurse Phillips,” Melissa said as the nurse nodded curtly and walked out of the room. Melissa walked over to the window, and looked out at the expanse of ground beneath the window. It wasn’t far enough down that she could jump and kill herself, but it wasn’t so low that it would be easy to jump down and escape. It was the ‘perfect’ height of a window; too low to allow anyone to commit suicide, and too high to allow anyone to escape.

Melissa looked at the clock above the simple, barren wooden desk, and saw that there was only another half hour before ‘lights out.’ She sighed, deciding to take a shower and do her bathroom rituals before getting ready to sleep. She had a feeling that Nurse Phillips would be coming into the room tonight to make sure she was still there; she had seen the doubt in the nurse’s eyes when she’d asked her to open the window. She believed that Melissa had an ulterior motive…And she did.

Jimmy was coming to get her tonight. They wouldn’t be able to escape for another few nights, but they were meeting up with the guys. He had also found another, outside woman—an Independent—who was going to pose as Melissa so that she wouldn’t get caught sneaking out of her room. Jimmy said the woman looked a lot like Melissa, and that in the dark Cell, Nurse Phillips wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

She walked into the bathroom, pulling the door shut behind her as she stripped the institutional white clothes off and stepped into the white tile shower, the lukewarm water hitting her frail, borderline-anorexic body. She wiped any grime that may be on her skin off, and scrubbed her scalp thoroughly, enjoying the feeling of her fingers massaging the skin as she cleaned her hair. She rinsed the dark hair out, and then turned the water off, wrapping her hair in one white towel, embroidered with the hospital’s initials, HH, and drying her body off with the other one. When she had finished that, she pulled the same white camisole top that she’d worn the night before and the same white shorts as well, pulling the white slippers over her feet before she walked over to the sink. As she brushed her teeth for the first time in a week, she studied her face in the mirror, and found herself surprised at what she looked like.

She looked like hell. There were dark circles under her eyes from the many sleepless nights she endured, and her skin was sickly pallid. As she pulled the towel off of her head and rubbed her hands over two sides of them, drying her hair more efficiently, she stood up and looked at herself in the mirror again, wondering if her appearance would change if she could see her hair framing her face. It didn’t help. Her hair, which had once been beautiful, wavy, and thick, hung limply around her face, making her appear as if she were merely a the ghost of a dying person.

Melissa was scared to admit to herself that she was dying; if she had to spend any more than another week in Haverly, she would surely die. If not by natural causes, surely there could be some other way. She would talk to Jimmy; she wouldn’t want to hurt him, and she knew that if she died, he’d be devastated. But surely neither he, nor her brother and their friends, would want her to suffer any longer? Surely they realized that she was not as strong as they were; that she wouldn’t be able to pull through?

She shook the thought from her head, and walked back out into the Cell. As she had suspected, Nurse Phillips was sitting in the uncomfortable black arm chair, looking towards the bathroom.

“It’s two minutes past lights out, Ms. Baker. I suggest you get into your bed now, and go to bed.” The nurse said sternly, anger in her voice, as she stood up and walked towards the Cell door. Melissa heard the lonely, metallic sound of the metal door closing, and the sound of the lock being adjusted on the other side so that Melissa would not be able to leave the Cell. Or so they all thought.

She saw that it was indeed 10:02 PM; two minutes past lights out. Jimmy and the others wouldn’t be arriving for another two hours; they wanted to be absolutely sure that no one would suspect them. She sighed, tears of frustration forming in her eyes, as she walked over to the desk, pulling a small flashlight out of the desk drawer. She pulled a small journal, which she kept hidden from the doctors in a loose tile on the floor, out of its hiding place, and opened it, before she began to write.

Star light, star bright;
Why won’t you let me die tonight?
Like a bird trapped in its cage,
From life, I’m beginning to disengage.
My heart is hollow in my chest
And I can’t help but feel depressed.
Please, just answer this one request
And just lay me to rest.

The tears began to form in her eyes when she read over the poem as she finished it; it had come out more honest than she’d intended. She hadn’t realized how truly depressed she had become since being institutionalized in Haverly Hospital.

She put the journal back in the small crevice underneath the floor tile, and walked over to the bed, knowing that Nurse Phillips would be coming to check on her within a few minutes. She had just pulled the blankets over her shoulder and hit her head to the pillow as the door opened.

A few minutes later, she heard the door close and lock again, and she stayed in the bed, fearful of moving. She didn’t know how long it was until midnight, but she hoped it was soon.


A few hours later, Melissa found her eyes fluttering open at the sounds of hushed whispers coming from the window. She immediately realized what was going on, and she pushed the blankets off of her, walking over to the window. Standing below the window were Jimmy, Pierre, and Matt, along with a woman who was not familiar to Melissa.

“Stay hidden,” She whispered. “Phillips hasn’t come to check on me in a couple of hours.”

“She’s right,” Pierre said. “According to the watch schedule I stole, Phillips will be making rounds on this wing in twenty minutes.”

“Go back to the bed,” Jimmy whispered to her. “We’ll wait here for you. Grab anything you need, by the way. We’re breaking out tonight.”

“What? I thought we—“

“Things have changed,” Pierre whispered, his voice dark. “Schlagger is personally coming here himself in two days’ time to take anyone labeled as a ‘PI’ back to the capitol. We don’t know what will happen to those he takes, but it’s been rumored that they are faced with two possibilities: death, or being sold.”

“What’s a PI?” Melissa asked, fear hitching in her voice A part of her didn’t want to know what it meant, but she knew she needed to know. By the way Pierre had said it, she was one of them.

“A PI is a patient labeled as a ‘problem inmate,’” Pierre told her. “And from the list I stole from the office earlier this afternoon, you’re their number one PI. They’re planning on getting rid of you as soon as Schlagger comes.”

Melissa couldn’t help it; tears began to form in her eyes. She was terrified; Schlagger was her own worst fear. And especially so since hearing this new information. There was no doubt in her mind that she would be killed.

“Get to the bed,” The woman hissed at her. “Before that woman comes and sees you standing there.”

“We’ll introduce you in a bit,” Jimmy promised her. “But please, listen to us. Go back to bed until Phillips sees that you’re in bed.”

Melissa nodded, not wanting to hurt Jimmy, and walked back to her bed, thoughts of the Government, Schlagger, and Haverly Hospital haunting her thoughts. She was scared; more scared than she’d ever been in her entire life.