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Shadowed Memories

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  • Shadowed Memories

    Original fiction.

    PG-13, because of mature themes.

    Shadowed Memories

    There are things that go on outside of these walls, outside of this constriction. Constriction that binds like a boa constrictor…Of course, that’s why the predators are given their name. They wind up around their victims, slowly squeezing the life out of them. Their victims grasp to the life they knew before…Before they were confined to this. They try to take a deep breath but there is no room.

    There is no room inside of these walls, either. They brought me here, you know. Slithered like a snake into my life and took it from me- changed it completely. I am not happy with them. I rather liked my life before I was being strangled by these padded walls.

    Who am I, you may ask? I am no one. My name, however, is Cecilia Warner. That is not relevant. What is relevant is how I came to be here, though I am not very sure of that myself. For I am, apparently, insane.

    What is classified as “insane”? The definition of course is clear. Out of one’s mind, to put it simply. How you can get out of your own mind is a mystery to me. You cannot decide one day “Oh it is getting rather boring in here, I think I shall step outside for a bit…” No, that is not how it works. Unless I have been misinformed, and this could very well be so. Many have tried to correctly inform me about subjects, but about five seconds after they begin to open their large mouths to speak for what seems to be an endless time, I tune them out entirely. Nothing they say is of any importance to me. Just words. Just words hanging in the air, there for the taking. Poor words- They do not know that nobody wants them.

    Exactly like no one wants me. Those people in suits snatched me up and brought me here and no one’s come for me. My family, my friends…they have not shown themselves. There is not much to show of them, in their defense. They are not here anymore.

    They were never at the asylum, if that is what you were led to believe just now. He came to my house one night and he took them from me. From the world…he is more the boa constrictor in my life than these walls will ever be. He strangled the life out of my home…out of my town. I can no longer go back there because it is entirely too hard to breathe. I may die as my home has died. It uttered its last breath on October seventh, 1892. Seven months ago to this very date. That does not mean that what happened is not as clear as day to me.

    This phrase is also mind-boggling to me. “Clear as day”…one would have to assume that the day is clear to say this phrase. If this phrase is uttered and one cannot see the outside or what the weather is like, then they are making a complete and utter fool out of themselves. Why on earth would you say something like that if you didn’t know the conditions outside? You haven’t the right- the privilege.

    As I am sitting here, I have no windows. I haven’t the privilege to have them, not yet. I believe that the men and women in white coats are afraid that I shall escape from a window if I am given one. But I shan’t- I do not have the knowledge or the clever attribute that would help me devise a way to escape. I am but a simple girl. As simple as one could be in this situation, that is.

    I am sure that you are wondering exactly what happened. I’m not sure that I can tell you, knowing only bits and pieces myself. I will tell you what I can. It may not make sense to you- but then again, what you say does not make sense to me. I think that that balances out quite nicely. I will try to explain it to you as clearly as possible. According to some, anything is possible. We are about to find out if that is true at this time, while I tell the tale of what happened in my hometown.

    I cannot tell you which town…I’ve been told that this information is “confidential”…This, apparently, means that I am not permitted to tell anyone about it. Unfortunate, but that is what it is.

    They told me not to give away vital information. If I just tell you the story without using names of people, or towns, or pets…I think that will be alright. If not I will be in trouble…But there is nothing more they can do to me. I have nothing to lose, and I would be happy to escape the confines of this room. If they move me to a bigger prison, or “asylum”, as they call it, it only means that I will be free- if only for a moment. It will be a bittersweet moment, and I shall cherish it as I cherish my memories. Or what is left of them…

    As I was saying, on the seventh of October, 1892, my entire life was turned upside down, almost literally. If that explosion were any larger, it would have knocked my house over. It wasn’t though. It was just big enough to send it crumbling to the ground.

    That is for later, though. Right now, you must know about him. He is the one reason that I am here today telling you this. If it were not for him…everything would be normal. But he does exist and he did do those horrible things, so here I am. I cannot help but wonder what would have happened if he didn’t exist. Would my life be anything close to normal? Or would someone else similar to him come along, just as he did, and mess up my life, just as he did? That person may have messed it up even more though… Alternate universes are a complete mystery to me.

    This is our reality, however. Well, my reality that is. It might be slightly or horribly different than yours. You can decide. Going back to the story…It is not really a story, is it? It is factual…If it is true, is it still called a story? Sometimes I wish that it were only a story. I wish that it were one of the stories that parents tell their children to scare them- to warn them. This actually happened…So it’s a documentary. That is what I shall call it.

    He came into my life only one month before he did all of the things that changed by life. One month…such little time, so much affected…

    Time is a marvelous wonder of the world. It moves quickly, but slowly as honey on a cold day at the same time. Yet it never actually speeds up or slows down. Time is a funny thing, a mystery to all of us. So much, but so little of it as well…

    He seemed like a good person. At first, that is. He came to our house, our home, one night, begging for shelter. He explained to us about how he had been living in a homeless shelter, but they had had to let him go because they had no more room. My family and I immediately felt sympathetic…a terrible mistake that haunts me to this very day.

    He was good. Used to be; past tense. It is incredible how much a person can change right before your very eyes. It is also tragic; almost like watching the Roman Empire fall. Except, this didn’t take years…it took one month. A mere four weeks. His insides fell apart until he wasn’t him anymore. That…that or his disguise was burnt to ashes and who he really was was starting to emerge. Either way, I did not like it. I did not like it at all. It was almost like he wasn’t a person. How could a person behave this way? Then again, you may be asking the very same question about my behaviour, so I do not really have the right to question the behaviour of someone else, do I?

    Regardless, his behaviour was once warm and opening as the sun. But it turned to a cold, closed form as quickly as it appeared warm. A chameleon had entered my home. He disguised his identity to protect himself…We did not have protection, though. No shields to deflect his attacks. And this one, he is very persistent. He does not stop until he gets what he wants. Then again, who does?

    Persistency is one of the things that keeps this world thriving. Everyone wants something, or someone. Usually, they will stop at no means to get it, or them. Unfortunately for me and my family, he was common; one of the usual cases. Except more lethal, as a gun inside of a person’s mouth, a finger on a trigger, ready to release it’s captive, tiny piece of metal and just let it all be done with. He was a walking time bomb, and he stepped into my house as the timer ticked down. Three…two…

    One day I will get out of here. It will be safe for me again…when he is gone. But I must stay in here, for now. …Until the ringing has stopped. That constant ringing, the constant demand coming from the men in coats…it is not right. They have not the right to demand from me. I am no slave girl. I am no one. I should not be here, yet I am. I am existent. You cannot demand anything from someone who shouldn’t exist in the first place.

    He went after them first. Unknowing I sat as home as he ripped them apart…literally. Not so much ripped as chopped…chopped them into tiny pieces. How can one person have such cruelty resting within them? And when that cruel beast is awakened, why can they not stop it? A little self-control is all that it takes.

    Some don’t have self-control though. That or they choose not to use it. We like to indulge ourselves in everything we possibly want, and people want a lot of things.

    This man wanted solace. He had had tragedy in his life as well and he wanted to hide behind us as his own world fell apart. When that wasn’t enough…and when we knew too much…he wanted something else. He wanted blood.

    Not from me, though. Not at first. I was “special” he said. Special enough to not hurt for at least a few days after my family had been hurt. He called me pet names, and it disturbed me. He would touch me, too…

    I can not think about it. No. No. That is enough story-telling for the day. I cannot bear to remember it, it’s too painful…please don’t make me. They’re already trying to make me. I don’t give in so easily, though. Not anymore.

    Speaking of, one of the lackeys of the big guns just walked in the room. A nurse, I think she’s called. Oh god. No, no, no. She has a needle. They should not sedate me. I suppose it’s better than being fully awake, though, because when I’m not fully awake, I’m not fully alive. The numbness takes over and I seep into a much wanted, painless sleep.

    The moments before this sleep are painful though; prickly. It shouldn’t seem so long, but it always does. Miles to go before I can sleep…

    What’s this? She is putting the needle away. That is strange…she never does that. She always gets right to it, making the sedation come quickly. What could she possibly be waiting for?

    She’s staring at me, like I should know what’s going on. I swear there is no bigger stupidity than humanity’s. This is one of the people who believes, truly believes, that I am mentally ill, and she expects me to know why she is staring at me. I do not know, so I simply stare back.

    I notice she’s not staring into my eyes, though…she’s staring…Oh. I look down, and realize. It’s finally happening.






    No other hours in my life have passed as slowly as they just did. Several hours, one right after the next, of nothing but pain. I did not even feel this much pain when he was hurting me. It is all over now, though- It is done.

    This place is no better than the padded walls of the asylum. All of it reeks of vomit, disgusting food, and death. I feel like vomiting myself, but I manage to restrain the feeling. A nurse walks in; Filthy buggers, really. Ready to poke holes in anyone who shows the slightest bit of illness.

    I suddenly realize I am not accompanied by anyone from the asylum… and my shoulders feel as if bricks have been taken off of them. I feel less…What was the word again? Insane. Strange. I wonder what caused such an occurrence
    This nurse is smiling at me. To be honest with you, it is making me frightened. No one has smiled at me since…

    A doctor walks in. He is smiling at me too. This is rather creepy, I feel as if I have something standing out about me and I don’t notice it. Maybe I am still just as insane as I was before. But that can’t be- my head feels entirely too light.

    “Miss Warner...,” the nurse says, still smiling. What is she so cheery about? “I’m happy to report that you have a healthy little baby girl. There were only slight complications, because of the premature birth, but everything is fine now.”

    Her words slip through my ears like butter. Smooth, delightful, but also so quickly that I have trouble believing any of it. The next words that come out of her mouth, I barely hear. She asks me if I would like to see her. Of course I would, but I have no words. I can only gape open-mouthed at her, and nod. She continues smiling at me…I know why now. I should be smiling more than her, but I cannot help but remember how this child was conceived. The doctor brings her in then, and I forget about all of my worries. He walks over to me, smiling still, and places her in my open arms.

    I cradle the fragile creature in my hands. How could it possibly be mine? It is so beautiful, so delicate. She has skin of porcelain, short hair like new-grown vines, winding up and down the side of her small head. My beautiful, little girl. I stare at her closed eyelids and run my hand down the side of her face, still unable to believe that this was actual reality.

    I look up, noticing that both the doctor and the nurse have left the room. I hold my daughter- the word feels strange to me – close to me and think of everything that happened in the past eight months, what seemed like eternity. Why was I put in that constrictive building?

    Cruelty is what it was. Pure, unadulterated cruelty. Animals did not like being locked up, and people are altogether too much like animals. My captors were savage beasts.

    I look down at this thing…my “daughter”, once again. The product of a sadistic demon’s acts. True, it is partly mine, but she is the result of a brutal crime.

    Quickly glancing away, I shut my eyes as tight as a locked door. How am I supposed to live with the spawn of my past haunting me every day I wake? I couldn’t possibly. It would clutch me by the throat, refuse to let go, and slowly steal my life away. I couldn’t let that happen. Not again.

    I look back at this child- half boa constrictor, half…what else? What am I? A victim. An interesting combination, indeed. Ironic, even- the blending of a predator and its prey. You would think that predators always consume their prey; not in this case. He simply took everything that was important in my life away, instead of going right for the kill. I wish he would have just destroyed me when he had the chance.

    Across the room, the nurse was no longer smiling at me. Good.

    “Are you alright, honey?” the nurse asks me, almost looking concerned. Where she got the idea to call me any sort of pet name stumps me. I just stare at her, as if telling her that she should know the answer, because she should. Everyone should. After a few minutes pass, she realizes I’m not going to answer her.

    My eyes are going wild, looking in every which way, for no specific reason. The whole situation is overwhelming. The doctor moves toward me, but that only makes me panic more. He stops short, saying something in what he thinks is a reassuring tone. Hah. If he only knew.

    My panic has awakened the baby, who begins to cry. It is too loud. I take my hands out from under the child, and box my ears, close my eyes, and clench my teeth. Why can’t the noise just stop?!

    And then, it did.





    When I awake again, I’m in a bed…in a normal house. I slowly sit up. What is going on? I look around the room. No one is in it, beside myself. I must look so vulnerable right now…This couldn’t have all been a dream…Could it?

    My lingering question is soon answered, when I hear the cries of a baby. My baby. There is a knock on the door, and a woman’s voice, “Miss Warner?” I do not reply to her, but she walks in anyway. She smiles- I wish people would stop doing that.

    “Hello, my name is Julie. Pleased to meet you,” she says, holding a hand out. I do not take it. Pleased to meet someone who is out of their mind? If that isn’t odd, I don’t know what is. Nevertheless, she insists on continuing to speak, “I’m here to watch over you and your daughter until you are…well again,” she wants to say sane, not well. She’s going to be here for a long, long time. I nod, absent-mindedly, at her.

    We sit there for a few minutes, saying nothing. She clears her throat, looking at the clock on the wall. Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick, tock, time bomb…

    “I have to pick up a few things for your house soon. Are you going to be alright alone?” she asks. No, I’m not. I never am. But I nod again. She stands, waving, and leaves the room. I’m alone again. The window is open, and I hear wind blowing outside, rustling the leaves on the trees. The infant has stopped crying, and I take in even more of the sound around me. Wind chimes, birds chirping…the world outside is so beautiful.

    There is another knock on the door. My brows furrow. Didn’t…what’s her name? Julie? Didn’t she say she was going out? I wait for her to enter, as she did before. But she doesn’t. I look at the door, curiously, and walk toward it, cautiously. I do not say a word- I remain as quiet as a mouse so they don’t necessarily know that I am in here- I try to fade into the depths of the room, but I fail. Before my hand reaches the doorknob, it turns. It feels as though my heart has stopped. It’s just Julie…just Julie, just-

    My thoughts are interrupted immediately by the sudden opening of the door.

    It’s him.

    “Hello, sweetie,” he says with a confidence in his voice that chills me to the bone. No, not to the bone. To the very core of my being. I back away, slowly, my whole body trembling. I run into a table- a vase falls, shattering, and water seeps out of its once strong walls. This broken, water-filled vase is a visual display of my heart. It dropped when I saw him, and I wish I had the comfort of it bleeding out.

    My eyes are wide, and going wild again. He smiles, a glint of happiness from him as I fall deeper into panic. I’m clenching the sides of the wooden table I bumped into, and my knuckles are turning white as talcum powder. My tormentor advances toward me, the same malicious smile on his face.

    Tormentor. Oh no. All of the bits and pieces of my memories are becoming whole. Exactly what happened rushes through my head, becoming solid. I had been trapped in a room, much like this one. I was confined, and alone…except he was there. A damaged man out to damage others. My family wasn’t his first experiment. No, there had been others. Several others. But I had been the first person he did this to. I knew this because he told me. He told me I was special.

    He has not changed much, if at all. What is he doing here…? My throat is full of fear that I will not let escape. Even if it will help, I cannot bring myself to make a sound. I had been punished when I had before. He is within such a close proximity. Almost close enough to-

    “Cee, why don’t you sit over there? On the bed,” the predator says. He must think me a fool. Or…he knows I will obey. I should know that he would; I obeyed before. I look to the bed as I turn away from him. I almost let my foot slip forward, but I stop myself. I mutter something when I turn back to the beast, surprising even myself. He raises an eyebrow, shocked.

    “What was that?” he asks, his question lingering there, as if daring me to answer it. My lips part so I may speak, but the sound that comes out is not a word, nor a few. It sounds like static. He smiles again, and begins to prowl toward me. Just then, a noise saves me…a baby’s cry.

    He turns around, taking a moment to register what’s happened...and when he does, he laughs. Laughs, as if this is a funny matter. It isn’t, of course it isn’t. But he continues.

    “So, you finally had the little brat, eh?” he asks me, almost…amused. I do not respond. How does one respond to that? Hew knew, and he had not told me. He is becoming more sinister each second that he spends taking oxygen in, letting carbon dioxide out. In…out…in…out. Personally, I think more carbon dioxide is resting within him than oxygen. So full of poison, toxic chemicals…

    Breathing. Oh. I must have forgot to do that. My mouth opens, inhaling. What it won’t do is what I need it to do the most…

    He’s smiling again. What I wouldn’t give to slowly rip that sly grin off of the enemy’s face, but I am not brave enough, not yet. His mouth remains upwardly slanted, on both ends, as he turns. Why is he leaving already? I assumed he wanted to take more from me, not that there is much left. I am empty…a shell.

    Realization floods me like a river being forced to grow by an unwelcome storm. He is going toward her room. I have to stop him, but I don’t know if I can. I could not before. I shall try, for her.

    My shell of a body follows the wolf, and it feels as though I am not really there. Someone from the past, a forgotten ghost is taking over me. I cannot tell if this is good or bad…but what is good or bad, save a perspective?

    I, or whatever is controlling me, am in the room with the two things I thought I would never see- my sadistic, malicious tormentor, and the produce of his actions. He is leaning over where she lay, and my mouth opens. It makes a small, incoherent sound. He acknowledges me, but it still looking down at his spawn…my child.

    I finally realize who is taking over me…Cecilia Warner. The real Cecilia Warner. She is someone…finally. She notices a large book, and picks it up, tapping her rapist and family’s killer on the shoulder. He looks at her, shocked as she pulls her arm back to strike him with the object, letting one, long-awaited word to escape her lips…

    “No.”

    He is hit…defeated. She moves over to her baby, and smiles as light from a window seeps into the room, striking both her and her baby. Cecilia continues to smile, as the feeling of talking comes to her, once more…

    “Hello, my baby…my Hope.”

    "If I told you half the things I've heard about this Jabba the Hutt, you'd probably short circuit."
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