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Monsters Are Human

For a Rest.

Alexander Gaskarth gazed out the window of his parents’ automobile. At the age of five, the massive structure awed him to question. The red brick building sprawled up into the sky. Its roof was a dark washed out green. The windows were not clear like the ones of homes, but rather a cloudy sort of glass that outsiders could not see into. It would stand to reason that those inside could also not see out. “Mama? Is that a castle?,” the young boy asked softly, holding his treasured teddy bear close to his chest. His mother turned around from the passenger seat, smiling with only her red lips. She looked at the building as they drove by. Her eyes fell on the rusted, sharp barbed wire fence. “Yes, Alex. A princess lives there,” and that would have been the last explanation of Darlinghurst State Hospital she would have given. That was until little Alex turned sixteen.

“Do you know why you’ve been admitted here, Alexander?”

Alex looked down at his lap. His arms were tattered in cuts. The most dominant of them was covered with a bandage. His shifted uncomfortably in his white hospital gown.

“No. I…I don’t remember. I would like to go home,” he whispered brokenly. Hot tears trickled down his already chapped face.

“Alexander, you slit your wrists in a hot bath.”

“I don’t remember.”

The woman at the desk was a sister of the Catholic Church. Beneath her black habit, Alex noticed a wisp of strawberry blonde hair. He imagined it was very long, flowing in tresses down her back. His eyes flickered down to the large wooden crucifix sitting against her chest. It reminded him of the one hanging in his family’s living room. She couldn’t have been more than twenty five. To his knowledge, the nuns did not run this place. However, they did help out quite a bit. It comforted him. Perhaps God was on his side.

“You’ll be admitted here for a little bit of a rest. Your parents want it that way, Alexander. You’re still a boy. Lots of life left kicking in you, hm?” the Sister flipped through her stack of papers nervously. She cleared her throat. “Now, Alexander, come. I will show you to your room.”

Alex got up from the chair he was sitting in and shuffled along next the Sister. In his mind, he wondered if this it was eternal damnation smelled like. The air reeked heavily of urine and sweat. The strong odor only let up as they passed the small dining area, which smelled of spices and baking bread. Through one door, Alex peaked in and could see a mess of different patients. Some were curled up on the floor rocking back and forth like toddlers. Some sat in chairs and just stared ahead, like they were searching for something in the flecks of dust that danced in the air. One girl about his age sat on the floor, just tearing at her hair and screaming at the top of her lungs. An old man sat alone playing chess against himself. Alex could see vomit and urine on the floor in the corner. His stomach did a sick turn as the Sister stopped walking.

“Here we are, Alexander,” She opened the door and Alex looked inside. He stepped in and she snatched his suitcase from him. “You won’t be needing this.”

“May I just have my teddy bear and books, please?” He whimpered. He felt tears welling up again, numbness shooting down his arms with anxiousness. He needed those things. His bear and his stories were the only comfort he felt he could have in this place.

She made a face of reluctance, but placed the suitcase on the bed and opened it up. Alex pulled out the tattered old stuffed animal and a few novels. All the worlds of fantasy he would need to escape were in his palms.

“The Wizard of Oz? Your roommate will enjoy that one.”
“I don’t…i-intend to share my books.”
“Oh never worry, Jack has read that book half a dozen times.”
“Oh. Perhaps we could talk about it then,”
“Certainly. He should be back from his treatment soon. Just don’t be frightened.”

With that she was gone. The door locked from the outside with a click and a jingle of her keys. Alex sat on the bed and opened up his book. His teddy bear was tucked gently under his arm. Outloud he read to the bear, running a hand over his cuts.

“Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer's wife….”
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Here it is! This idea came from a prompt I saw on AllTimeFanfiction on tumblr! I hope you all enjoy this. Don't worry, Jack will be in the next chapter. xx