The world is a scary place, even when you know who you are, where you come from and most importantly, who your enemies are.
So imagine how I felt when I woke up inside of Mayford Mental Institution, strapped to a bed in a dark, empty room with no recollection of how I got there. Try to picture having no family or friends to help you try to remember and adjust to a totally new life.
If only my problems stopped there. If only I didn’t have someone trying to torment me at every turn. If only my life didn’t become more and more complicated the more I started to remember.
It started out okay enough - my friend-turned-psychiatrist Mark found me a job and a place to live. My neighbor Keegan took me in under her wing and helped me adjust. Wyatt, a dark, brooding and dangerously sexy new tenant moved in a week after me, taking on the task of reminding me what blinding lust feels like.
What goes up, must come down, and as soon as life starts to feel like something I can handle, the gravity of my messed up life yanks me right back down on my ass. Kind of crazy how quickly you can go from being completely apathetic about your unknown future, to fearing that your future might not even exist at all….
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Without opening my eyes, I already know I’m somewhere unfamiliar. Something wide that feels a lot like leather is currently wrapped tightly around my ankles and wrists. Why does every inch of my body ache? Even my hair hurts. My fingers twitch from the instinct every human is born with; the one that makes you want to rub your injuries in an attempt to soothe the pain. Only my hands remain strapped down, which makes that instinct turn into agony.
One eye blinks open at a time, my lashes crusted together and my corneas drier than the Sahara. If the room weren’t pitch black, I know my retinas would be running for their lives, because it takes zero time for my eyes adjust to the darkness. I’ve been in the dark a while, it seems.
Just how long have I been strapped down like this? It feels like someone took a razor blade to my tongue and then stuffed my mouth full of cotton. I can’t even pool enough saliva to swallow, so it’s no surprise that when I try to call out, the only sound I make is a hoarse whisper.
Anger, fear and confusion team up with each other and throw a tantrum. I knew it was futile when I started kicking and yanking at my restraints, but just laying here helpless seems just as foolish. Of course it doesn’t take long for me to wear myself out, and in a matter of minutes my body goes back to being limp.
Dammit. All I’ve accomplished is to make myself feel even more weak and dehydrated. I can think of a hundred deaths that would be less painful than this.
The light scent of cologne wafts through my nostrils, and out of the corner of my eye I make out the shape of a shadow within the depths of the darkness swallowing the room. Whoever it is could be here to save me or finish me off. Whichever one it is, I hope they do it quickly. I’m about two seconds from freaking the hell out.
Without saying a word or giving me some kind of heads up, the lights flicker on. Jesus, did someone just turn on the freaking sun? My poor corneas are fighting to not turn to ash, begging my tear ducts for help, but I’m too dehydrated to find any relief. Even with my eyes clenched shut, I can’t get away from the blinding spots, yet again being reminded that my hands are strapped down.
Why are they strapped down, again? Oh yeah, that’s right, I still have no freaking clue.
The saying ‘splitting headache’ takes on a whole new meaning thanks to the axe that’s wedged into the back of my skull. At least, I think there’s an axe back there. It’s the only way to explain why my head feels like it’s being cracked into two halves like a coconut. Slowly, so very, very slowly, I finally start peeling one eye open at a time. He’s blurry, but I can tell he’s a man, and he’s standing right next to me. The only detail of his face I can make out is his mouth, which is formed into a placid smile.
Is he trying to be calm and reassuring, or is the jerk enjoying seeing me suffer? Either way, he looks creepy as hell.
He stands stock still while my eyes continue adjusting, and remains unmoving while I take in every detail I can about him. If I make it out of here alive, he’s either getting a gift basket for saving me, or a personal sketch of his face when I book my ass to the police station and report him for cruel and unusual craziness.
He is actually pretty good looking, with blonde-ish hair that’s a little too long on top, like he’s missed his most recent trim. A smattering of facial hair puts a dusting of blonde scruff along his jaw and chin, giving his otherwise youthful face a much manlier feel. His dark grey eyes are strangely piercing, and though his smile is close-lipped, I don’t doubt that behind those lips are perfectly white teeth.
He’s not said a word this whole time, and I’m still studying his face when he speaks, scaring the crap out of me. “How are you feeling, Brailey?” He tenderly brushes a lock of my hair out of my face and pushes it behind my ear. The gesture in itself is affectionate, his expression unreadable. If he knows me or has some sort of connection to me, I don’t remember him. And why the hell isn’t he getting me out of here? Don’t fix my hair, un-restrain me, asshat.
“Where am I?” I whisper, my voice barely audible. He lifts a cup to my face, tilting a straw towards my mouth. Could be the crazy Kool-Aid, but I’m too thirsty to give a damn. I’m pretty sure it’s water, but I suck it down so fast I wouldn’t have been able to taste it anyway.
“You don’t know where you are?” He asks incredulously, yanking his hand away from my face quickly.
“No, I don’t know where I am. That’s why I asked.” He scowls at my sarcastic retort. “I’m gonna take a shot in the dark though and guess I’m not staying at the Hilton.” I wiggle my fingers for good measure, his eyes darting to my hands briefly before returning to my face.
“I’m sorry, you just surprised me. I wasn’t expecting you to not know where you are. What is the last thing you remember?”
His calm demeanor is really starting to piss me off. I don’t want to answer his questions; I want him to answer mine.
“I don’t know, it’s kind of hard to think when I’m strapped to a bed in a place I don’t recognize. Maybe if you’d let me up and quit evading my questions then I might be more cooperative.”
I’m snarling, I can feel it, but he doesn’t appear put off by it. My feistiness only seems to please him, because his smile widens, revealing those beautiful teeth I knew he was hiding.
“Of course, I’m sorry. I saw you were awake and I got carried away. I’m just glad you’re okay. Let me go get the guards to release you, and then we’ll talk.”
My body starts to relax, until I realize he said guards. Why the hell are there guards? Am I in prison? I don’t care if there are sharks or lions or man-eating dragons outside of this building; I’m escaping this make-shift Alcatraz one way or another.
He returns with a man as big as a mountain, who turns an odd shaped key into the buckles of my restraints, undoing each one with quick, rough jerks of his hands, causing a sharp pain to shoot through every part of my body. Asshole. If I thought it wasn’t intentional before, I’d be proven wrong by that smirk he walks away with as I rub my wrists.
Sitting up is a bitch, and dizziness hits me in waves that have my whole body rocking. My wrists and ankles are covered in wide, angry looking bruises. I don’t remember it, but I had to have fought against those restraints before today; it’s the only reason I would have so much bruising. Not to mention several of them are already starting to yellow, meaning they had to have happened days ago.
My fingers and toes flex, and it feels amazing and excruciating at the same time; like stretching out a sore muscle by further abusing it. All I want is to be out of this cold, sterile looking room and somewhere I recognize. A cheeseburger and fifty gallons of water also sound pretty awesome right now.
Strong arms wrap around my middle, catching me when my legs give out from underneath me. I look up into those piercing green eyes and I’m met with a warm smile. “I’m Mark. We have a lot to talk about.”
What's up world - I'm Jenn Hype.
Author, mother, wife, singer/songwriter, aspiring comedian - I wear many hats. Some of them fit, some of them look ridiculous, and all of them are fun. Life's too short to take anything too seriously, so I don't.
Sarcasm is my go-to, especially when it's most inappropriate. Need someone to make an uncomfortable situation even more awkward? I'm the girl for the job.
I'm ridiculously A.D.D. and I own it. I have a serious addiction to ecards and the majority of my Pinterest account is dedicated to them. The key to my heart is glitter and caffeine - my needs are basic.
I'm a bookaholic and I crush hard on my book boyfriends and their authors. Some might call me obsessive, but I disagree. That word really doesn't do justice to how crazy I get when it comes to something I'm passionate about. I'm not afraid to go fangirl on you, so don't test me.
Anything else you want to know, feel free to ask. I'm an open book, and I love to hear from readers.