After a terrifying fight that almost got her friends killed, Becky Bloom finds herself unable to speak or function. She’s admitted to Warm Waters Psychiatric Hospital where she meets with her doctor, Goodhuman. 1,864 words.
Contains depictions of mental illness and trauma. Takes place in a mental hospital.
Becky had barely gotten out of bed this week.
She felt sick. Sick. So sick.
Sick from her head, all the way down to her stomach.
Sick with that horrible memory of what had happened in the graveyard.
She couldn’t stop trembling.
Every inch of her was shaking.
She wanted to go home.
But they wouldn’t let her go home.
Even if she somehow got the strength in her legs to lift herself up and carry herself to the door of the hospital, they wouldn’t let her leave. Not in the state she was in.
She couldn’t speak.
She could barely move.
She could barely think.
The only thing that was in her head was that horrible, terrorising memory of Romero’s neck in her hands— His flailing legs— His gasps for air— The smell of her friend’s burning fur and flesh—
Becky swallowed the heave that tried to force its way out of her stomach, and curled up tight.
She wanted to go home.
She didn’t want to be here.
She didn’t belong here.
Not in a mental hospital.
She wasn’t crazy… was she?
She wanted to go home—
There was a curt knock on the door and Becky bit her lip as one of the nurses entered her room.
‘Miss Bloom? Dr Goodhuman is ready to see you,’ said the nurse. ‘Would you come with me?’
Becky didn’t move.
Becky couldn’t move.
It was like she was paralysed.
Held in place by a thousand tons of weight crushing down on her.
Becky flinched as the nurse’s hand lay gently on her shoulder, and she managed to curl back up and put her thumb in her mouth to chew on the nail.
The nurse retracted her hand as soon as Becky flinched. Then she stood in place for a moment before giving a quiet sigh.
‘Wait here,’ she told Becky before vanishing out of the room; the door giving a quiet click shut behind her.
Now Becky was alone again. In this strange, stale place.
She wished Mimi was here, to curl up with her and lick her cheek.
Mimi was a good girl.
Becky hoped it was doing okay…. It hadn’t coped well, last time she was away in hospital. And it had been so stressed before she’d come here.
Those four awful days, after….
She’d barely been able to function, since the fight.
She couldn’t talk, she could barely find her way around the house without help— Even eating had seemed like an impossible task.
All she seemed able to do was lay in bed and stare ahead; barely hearing anything that was said to her. It was like something deep inside her had… broken.
It was no wonder her father had sent her away.
Another knock on the door, and Becky’s gaze lifted to watch as a… Becky wasn’t entirely sure what he was, entered the room.
He was red, though that wasn’t unusual— The Brimstone family (AKA half the town) were red. But this man had long ears, and poofy red hair, and… a third eye?
‘Rebecca Bloom?’ he asked gently.
Becky couldn’t bring herself to respond. All she could do was stare at him as he quickly dismissed the nurse and shut the door behind him.
‘Good morning, Rebecca,’ he greeted. ‘I’m Mr Goodhuman. I’m your doctor…. Are you comfortable with me calling you Rebecca?’
Becky barely had the energy to nod her head. But she managed it.
‘Good, good. May I sit down?’ he asked, motioning to the chair opposite Becky’s bed.
Another nod, and he moved the chair around so he could sit in front of Becky.
He leant forward, his presence breathing into the room. Not in a domineering way, though; it felt attentive. Like he was ready to listen. And write whatever he heard down in that notebook he was folding open….
‘How are you feeling?’ he asked.
It was a stupid question, Becky thought, when she was clearly not well.
Goodhuman seemed to understand Becky’s thought as she cut her eyes at him, and gave her a solemn nod. ‘I see…. That’s understandable.’
Becky bit harder on her nail, and quickly looked to the floor.
‘I understand that your father had you admitted with us yesterday?’ Goodhuman noted, tracing a finger down his notes. ‘And I saw in your file that you did some group therapy in Shadow Oaks hospital some years ago…. Ah, yes. Here. Anger management. Did you find that helpful?’
Becky let out a soft, disgruntled snort.
It was the most useless garbage she’d ever been forced to sit through.
It had been terrible in every way.
The hospital had been terrible. The doctors had been terrible. The “coping techniques” had been terrible….
The only thing that hadn’t been terrible were the other patients. And even then, she’d still managed to get in a fight with one of them.
‘I see…’ Goodhuman acknowledged, looking back down at his notes and adding to them. Then, he placed his notebook on his knee and folded his hands over it casually. ‘You can talk to me, Rebecca. This is a safe place. Anything you tell me will remain between you and me.’
She didn’t believe him.
Becky felt her ears press back, and continued to gnaw on her thumb.
It was clear Goodhuman had noticed her nerves, as he leant back and made himself seem much smaller and less present.
‘I was talking to your father and Isa’vanna, and they told me that you went to a party,’ Goodhuman said, gently. ‘Isa’vanna said she woke up and found you covered in blood….’
Becky felt her heart twisting, and bit her thumb harder; moving past the nail until she was chewing on the knuckle.
‘Did something happen at the party?’ he asked. down. ‘I understand that you can be inclined to heavy drinking, and that there was some alcohol provided at this party….’
She wouldn’t know. She didn’t go….
Slowly, Becky moved her entire thumb into her mouth; rubbing it against her teeth as she instinctively began to suck on it.
Goodhuman watched her for a long moment before writing something Goodhuman said, carefully. ‘I’ve… also heard that you have a reputation of sorts among your classmates for being rather promiscuous. Especially at parties like that one.’
Becky curled her shoulders forward, trying to keep her gaze from meeting Goodhuman’s own.
She didn’t even know what that word meant!
‘You’re not in any trouble. I promise,’ Goodhuman reassured. ‘I just need to know; were you drinking?’
No, she hadn’t been.
She was completely sober when she….
She strangled Romero.
Becky felt herself begin to tremble as the doctor watched on; concern clear in his eyes as she pulled her legs up and curled tight into herself.
‘Rebecca,’ Goodhuman’s voice grew very serious, then, as he leant forward again. ‘It’s clear that someone has hurt you, and I need to know what they did, do that I can help you…. Was it sexual?’
Sexual? Is…. Did they think she’d been… assaulted…?
Slowly, Becky removed her thumb from her teeth and looked to the doctor.
No, she mouthed; finding no sound came out when she spoke. She wasn’t sure if Goodhuman understood, so she followed it with a weak shake of her head.
‘Well… that, at least, is a relief,’ Goodhuman said, his eyes focused on Becky curiously. He watched her for a moment before asking; ‘Can you speak?’
No, Becky mouthed.
‘Hm…’ Goodhuman wrote something down. ‘Have you ever had trouble speaking like this before?’
Yes and no.
She’d always had trouble speaking, but… not like this….
‘Mm,’ Goodhuman hummed as he watched Becky think. ‘Have you had trouble speaking before, in a way different to this?’
Slowly, Becky nodded.
‘Okay. And have you ever been mute before?’
‘I see,’ Goodhuman wrote it down. ‘Have you ever—‘
Goodhuman was cut off by Becky’s phone dinging loudly.
That was Jareth’s tone!
Becky’s heart leapt and she felt herself sit up. She looked to her phone, resting on her bedside table, then back to Goodhuman with wide eyes.
‘You can answer it,’ he told her, gently motioning to her phone with a hand. ‘I don’t mind.’
Becky let out a breath and, with a trembling hand, fumbled to check what Jareth had sent her.
It was hard to type the pin code with how much her hands were shaking.
Or 01/15/07. The day she was given Mimi. Arguably the most important day of her entire life.
She eventually unlocked her phone and was able to check the message she’d received.
It was a photo of Mimi, shaped like a bright pink pillow as she sat on the Slader’s dark tan couch, with the caption;
She thinks she’s slick.
A giggle bubbled out of Becky, which piqued Goodhuman’s interest.
‘Something good?’ he asked, a small smile turning his own lips.
Becky licked her lips, tapping her fingers on the back of her phone before turning it for Goodhuman to see. ‘M…. M…’ she couldn’t quite get the word out. ‘Mi… mi….’
‘Mimi?’ Goodhuman echoed, slowly, as he examined the photo. ‘Hm… ooh, yes. I see; a mimic, correct?’
‘Is it yours?’
‘It’s very cute,’ he told her. ‘Would you show me another photo?’
‘Mm— Hm!’ the hum came out strained and broken as she pulled her phone back and opened her photos app.
She navigated to the album of Mimi photos, and then held out her phone for Goodhuman to take.
‘M… Mimi,’ Becky managed, her voice cracking as the doctor carefully took her phone. She swiped back and forth a few times as she gave it to him, hoping to communicate that it was okay for him to look through the pictures. ‘Mimi.’
‘Ah, I see,’ Goodhuman gave a nod as he understood, and began looking through the album. ‘Mimi is very cute. It must be important to you.’
Becky opened her mouth to try and say yes. Mimi is the most important thing in my entire life!
But all that came out was a squeak.
A tiny, broken squeak, which made Goodhuman look back up to her with concern.
‘Are you alright?’ he asked.
Becky didn’t know how to answer that.
She wasn’t, she didn’t think, but….
‘Are you feeling any better?’
A little, she shrugged.
‘Hm…. Why don’t you tell me more about Mimi?’ Goodhuman asked, turning his chair around so he was sitting almost beside Becky, rather than in front of her. ‘Would you show me some of your favourite photos of her?’
Becky looked up to him, and knew she looked confused.
‘Ah, I think I know what you’re thinking,’ Goodhuman gave a soft smile. ‘And no, this is okay. We don’t have to talk about whatever it is that happened. At least not today. The most important thing right now is that you feel safe,’ he told her. ‘Does talking about Mimi make you feel safer?’
Yes, Becky nodded.
‘Do you want to talk about Mimi with me?’
Becky nodded again; she always wanted to talk about Mimi.
‘Then lets talk about Mimi.’
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