Ashley, my oldest and dearest friend, drove me to the Gardens of Wellbeing. It was an old Victorian home which was redesigned as a mental hospital. Originally, it was built prior to the Civil War and used during said war as a field hospital. Now, it continued to serve as a hospital and prison for those who struggled with their personal demons.
An old cantankerous woman stood at the end of the sidewalk next to an empty wheelchair. Her black pupils gave her an air of evil, her grey hair was tied into a tight bun.
“Jayce? How nice of you to visit us again. How are things?”
I shuddered. Her name was Alice Walton. She had treated me off and on for years. My delusions had landed me in trouble time and time again. Every time I was judged, I was sent here. Alice smiled coldly at me, I looked at the ground.
“Um, you two know each other,” Ashley asked. Alice nodded.
“Oh yes, I am well-acquainted with Jayce’s antics. What brought him here today?”
“Something weird is going on.” Alice laid out what happened in simple terms, Alice nodded and kept muttering ‘mmhmm’ like she was interested in what happened.
I knew better.
Alice pushed me into the building, gave me my garments, and assigned me a room. The medication would come later. Jagged bits of thoughts plagued my mind, poking and prodding, silently screaming for freedom.
In my mind I could hear the chains rattling that held my demons’ prisoner. The drugs would temporarily silence them, but they would still fight to be free.
Somedays, I wanted to turn them loose and watch the chaos they would unleash, but I always remembered what I was told: Once they’re loosed, good luck getting them chained again.
Prisoner 117390, more commonly known as me, was led to the pier where the spacecraft would take me to the Isle of Redemption. A squad of heavily armed, black clad guards surrounded me as we walked to the loading point.
A silver-haired woman in long flowing robes stood before the point of no return, her arms raised overhead, and her eyes closed.
“Call upon your god, you wretched wastrel. Beg for mercy and absolution.”
She continued to chant these words until I was mere feet away from her.
“Where goest thou, sinner? Doest thou go searching for redemption? Have you resolved the sins of your past?”
I shrugged. My sins were numerous, absolution was not on my list of things to do before I died. Escape, that was on my list. The groanings of this priestess was getting on my last nerve.
“Get away from me,” I said coldly. The priestess smiled.