Take me to the madhouse; I think a screw is loose. Throw me in a jacket that’s warm and constricting. Put me in a cell that’s maddeningly soft and white. Don’t open the door for the bad man inside. He’s patient, and he’s waiting for you.
-- Unknown author
Quiet, it’s quiet. Always quiet and filled with whispers. Whispers of what? Whispers of sin, maybe, maybe. Are there even any whispers? Is anyone even there? Of course someone’s there, I’m always being watched. That’s what guards do, right? Employees for the white coats, too white, too white. They’re still watching, still watching, just keeping quiet. They like keeping quiet, hoping I don’t notice they’re still around. But I know they’re still here and they don’t know I know they’re still here. It’s been years probably, hard to tell exactly, but a long time nevertheless. I’m still here, they’re still here and I can wait a little longer before I stretch my legs again.
The walls have started to brown. I don’t know how long it has been since the room was just white. The pads are somehow still intact, save their shape. Each rectangle has slumped under it’s own weight. The room looks like it’s melting around me, falling, falling. I hate the pads; I hate how white this room is. The white coats put me here; they knew I wouldn’t like this, not a bit, not a bit. Brown is a good color. It lets me know time is still ticking. I don’t know how much time, at least the walls are browning, browning. They get weak when they brown. I have to be patient, then I can leave, far away, far away. My jacket hasn’t browned at all. This annoys me a bit, a bit. I hope the jacket will brown soon. My arms are getting restless again. I want to play with the coats, play, play. But my jacket still isn’t browning. Why isn’t it browning? I need to get through the door. Then the jacket will brown, it will brown and fall off. They did this to me, that’s no fun, no fun at all. I was just trying to play before. I guess my toys were too grown up for my playmate. No, the coats just wanted someone to watch. They’re always so overdressed, with their ties and clipboards and sharp things. They need to learn how to have fun. I can show them soon, very soon, I need to wait. If I wait they’ll come and have some fun with me.
There haven’t been whispers for a while now. Are they not going to come? It’s not very helpful if they just watch. What if they don’t come at all? But they have to come, it’s their job. They were the ones who put me here. They have to open the door eventually. I wonder if my toys are still here? Maybe they threw them away? The coats have always said I should learn to live without them. But my toys always helped me make new friends. Each one screamed with joy each time I showed them my toys. But I’m really starting to wonder where the whispers went. It’s always been quiet here, but this is too much. If there’s nothing there can’t be something. I want it to be loud again, like it was outside. The quiet’s too much, it’s starting to hurt, starting to hurt… I need to make it loud again, like before the door closed. I just need to open my mouth and… and… “EEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHAHAHAHAHAHA!” Was that too loud? Or maybe it wasn’t loud enough. I don’t know, it’s still quiet past the door. That’s not fair, I shouldn’t have to make all the noise. They should stop being so quiet…
I hear footsteps. Are they finally coming to play with me? Or is someone just passing by? The former would be much more enjoyable. I want to move, I want this jacket off. Why isn’t it browning yet? The latch on my door is opening. There’s a horrible squealing sound, I think it’s the hinges. I don’t know how long it’s been since the door’s been opened. But it’s opening now, and I can hardly stay still. I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve had a playmate. The door is still opening; I can see a shadow of someone now. Now a hand has peeked around the door. I’m going to stand up now, hopefully the door doesn’t shut again. Now a face is staring at me, and the man (who looks to be about 43 years old and 5’ 4” on a good day), is hesitating. This is good, very good, hesitation is good for me. He’s new I think, that’s why they sent him to be my playmate.
He’s dragged a chair in so he can sit. The man is avoiding the pads, does he hate them too? Maybe he’s fun after all. This is good, very very good. Why is he talking so much? I don’t know what he’s saying, doesn’t he know that? He’s just being loud, maybe he isn’t much fun. But I still want a playmate, so I’ll walk over to him now. Why is he standing up so fast? He probably wants to play. He’s going back to the door, don’t… He’s going to close the door again, not again, not again. I need to scream again, before he shuts the door… “NNNOOOOOOO, NOT AGAIN…!” That just scared him, I think. He just slammed the door, and the lock fell back in place. He wasn’t a very good playmate after all.
I can’t remember how long I’ve been whispering to myself. The jacket still hasn’t browned and I can’t stand anymore. I think I was crying at some point. Or drooling, the coats said that could happen sometimes. My arms are getting tired again, tired, tired. I don’t know why they get tired, I just want to move them. I need to get out so I can play. The coats are no fun, but someone will play with me. Why don’t I believe myself? I don’t know, don’t know. I want to laugh for a while, that should cheer me up. I’ll give the coats a show until they come back. I hope they come back, I need a playmate, need one, need one. I guess for now I’ll just wait. I need time to laugh anyway.
The laughing isn’t fun anymore. I don’t know how long I’ve been laughing. It hurts to open my mouth now, let alone make a sound. I wonder if the coats are coming back again. Did I do something wrong? They said I did before and that was why I’m here now. I don’t really believe them. They put me here and said I was… insane, was it? I don’t think I’m insane. All I want to do is play with someone. That doesn’t sound very insane to me. I’m probably the sane one and THEY’RE insane, all insane, all insane. I was only trying to have fun when they took me. I’m not insane, not insane. It’s not my fault my playmate fell into my toys, not my fault, not my fault. “It wasn’t my fault, IT WASN’T MY FAULT!!!!” Maybe the coats heard that. I hope they did. They need to know it wasn’t my fault. My arms are starting to hurt now. Why are my arms hurting? I wish the jacket would brown so I could move, need to move. I can’t move though, why can’t I move anymore?
It’s been quiet for a while now. I’m only just hearing more people. I don’t know how long it’s been since the last man left. A few coats are entering the room. They’re dressed in white; I don’t like white. One of them is talking to me, but I can’t understand him. I don’t know how long he’s been talking. But the coats have started to drag me somewhere. I’m past the door, but my jacket still isn’t browning. Why isn’t it browning? I’m starting to panic, the coats are talking more and more. I still can’t understand them, why can’t I understand them? It’s probably because they’re crazy and I’m not, that’s it, has to be it. A door just opened in front of me, there are more coats inside. The walls are really white, too white, too white. I’m getting pushed into a chair with straps. I don’t want to sit, I want to move, need to move. They’re forcing me into the chair, someone just strapped something around my head. I can’t move my head anymore. They’re prying my eyelids open, I don’t want that, stop, stop, stop. A coat just sat down in front of me, he has something pointy in his hand. I doubt he’s asking to be my playmate. There’s a pressure behind my eyes, I don’t know how long it’s hurt. The coat in front of me is saying something, why can’t they grasp I don’t understand them? Cracking in my head. Something cracked, and it hurt. Where did everyone go? Did they get scared off? My eye is starting to bleed. It hurts so much. There’s a door in front of me and it’s shut. This door hasn’t browned at all. My jacket still hasn’t browned, why hasn’t it browned? My eye hurts more. I don’t know how long I’ve been sitting. My face feels like it’s on fire. Where did the door go…? Did it run off with everyone else? Maybe it was running after the room… Where did the room go again? I don’t know where I am anymore. The chair is still here. Strange, I can’t feel anything… I don’t know how long I’ve been here.