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mental

Linda Claiborne paused in the doorway. She looked around the padded, windowless room and wondered why they kept putting her in here. “Life will slowly show you the dark side of everything, every time you think you’ve made it.”

The thought came unbidden, unwanted. Were they afraid of her? Afraid of what they thought she knew? A slow smile lifted the corners of her mouth—or just afraid?

“Please, sit down , Ms. Claiborne.” Dr. Hester gestured toward the chair, her voice coarse and hard.

Linda stared disdainfully at the psychiatrist. She hated her. Hated the shellaced hairdo. The red, red lips as if she had just devoured another soul. She smiled softly again. Because she knew. Opening her mouth she spoke for the first time in three years. She spoke the words she’d always wanted to say.

“You think I’m crazy?” Linda hissed. Her gazed traveled around the room again, her eyes blazing with the contempt she felt. “Don’t trust your sense of security. Don’t trust your profession. Don’t trust anything. It’s there; it’s waiting; it’s ready.”

She watched as Dr. Hester scratched the area that long ago had housed a set of prominent balls. Funny how it was much harder to break the scratching habit than it had been to get rid of those useless appendages

“Sit down, Ms. Claiborne.”

Linda turned around so she wouldn’t have to look at the psychiatrist’s haughty face another moment. She studied the remnants of a stain on the padded floor, wondering what tortured soul had left it there and why that section of the padding hadn’t been replaced.

“Several years ago I was just like everyone else. Young, pretty, my whole life ahead of me. I had it all.”

~ ~ ~
Dr. Hester sat, carefully watching as she listened to Linda. She knew it. She knew eventually she’d break the bitch down. Get inside her head. And yet her words were the same as all those before her. Wondering what had happened to them. “It wasn’t long ago I was carefree and happy.”
~ ~ ~

Linda continued talking, ignoring the smirk on Dr. Hester’s face. Her eyes took on a dreamy far away look.

“You want to know what happened to me?” Linda turned back to the psychiatrist, her hands clenched tightly at her side. “It can happen to you too, you know. You think you’re so smug. So smart. But you don’t know what’s out there. You think it lurks in the dark. It doesn’t.” Linda paused, wiping the drool from her chin, “It’s coming. It’s coming for you.”

Dr. Hester laughed. “Please, Ms. Claiborne, surely after three years of silence you can say something more profound than this dribble.”

“Remember the dark. Notice it around you. Be aware of everything. Don’t brush off those little things that bother you; those are your warnings.”

Dr. Hester yawned, clicking long nails against the desk. “Three years. I’ve waited three years to get inside your head, and this is all there is. How boring.”

Linda turned her back to the psychiatrist and closed her eyes. Closed out the ugly vision.

“And the funny thing is, Doctor,” Linda spat the word doctor out like a four letter word, “you will never see it coming. I can promise you that. You will think she’s your friend. Oh, if I didn’t hate you so much, I would actually feel sorry for you.”

“You can go now, Ms. Claiborne. I’ll see you in group tomorrow. “

Linda smiled, her voice soft, gentle. “I’ll grant your wish, Dr. Hester.”
“And what wish would that be, Ms. Claiborne?” Dr. Hester scoffed, shuffling the paper work on her desk.

Linda didn’t answer, but opened the door, quickly leaving the room. Soon. It would be soon. Her lips curved into a smile. “I’ll let you inside my mind.”

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