Her eyes rolled back in her head. It was a bad combination, too much too fast. She courted the fine line often, but they’d never seen her like this. They put her in the bath and turned on the cold water. She convulsed, her eyes rolling back in her head. The first thing she saw was their smiles and their camera phones. Traitors! She came around. They told themselves it was just the ecstasy. She told herself she’d be fine. Have another drink darling, I can wait.
He steadied himself on the sink and looked long and deep in the mirror. His brown eyes had darkened to near black. He told himself it was ok. His reputation preceded him and for good reason. They would all be watching, waiting for him to slip so they could hold it over him. Traitors! It was time to man up and carry on. Throw some water on your face young man, I can wait.
Six souls were visited that night. As individuals and yet as one they all left. They knew not where to but they all got there. They removed their clothing and knelt rightly before a higher power. Not of heaven, of hoof and horn. Name? I go by many.
I am he. You know me; you hear my voice every day. I am your selfishness, your greed. He does not care enough to visit his children. I’m not like that; it’s so much easier to get in my good graces. Since Eve and the apple it has been but a matter of time. You were born to flaw, built for sin and meant for burning.
With its fluorescent lights, cold metal benches and off-white walls, St. Jude's may as well be a prison. Dotted around the room are various sets of parents, wives and husbands visiting their loved ones. Most of their loved ones are in straight jackets or visibly too drugged up to move or react properly, or to tell their loved ones they've effectively committed them to a slow and agonising death. Abel, a young man in his mid-20s sits in his straightjacket, staring indifferently at his dad, a miserable looking, middle-aged fat man.
"I told you not to call me that."
His dad pretended to be shocked by the attitude.
"If you don’t want to see me why am I here?"
"How am I supposed to know?"
Dad turned his performance up even further, to flabbergasted.
"You didn’t have to come."
Abel simply laughed and raised his hands in the straightjacket to demonstrate his level of choice in the matter.
"What do you want?"
Abel stiffened, not smiling anymore. His dad could sense the change.
"I don’t have a brother."
"Yes you do. Or you did anyway."
He began to get upset, almost childish.
"I told you before it wasn’t me."
Dad leaned forward, talking quietly now.
"That’s not funny."
Abel lunged across the table at his dad, whether he expected to break the straightjacket or not hadn't occurred to him. The orderlies dragged him away in tears, his dad delivered the final part of his performance lowering his head and dabbing his eyes with a hanky. The figure of sympathy.
Another dark and miserable night, complete with rolling thunder. A diminutive, balding man is crying and another is holding him. They are of course, both patients of the hospital.
"This party is a disaster! Nobody has noticed my shoes! They haven’t even touched the potato salad."
"There, there darling."
He stops suddenly and looks up, towards the door.
A guard walks by and cracks his nightstick against the door.
"Shut up the two of you!"
Danger was approaching, but the dickhead guard who thought he was a cop was not it.
A dark, silhouetted figure approached the front desk.
Brenda, the heavyset middle-aged receptionist wasn't impressed.
"Toilets are for residents and visitors only, sir."
"I’m here to see my brother."
She looked up at him and started laughing.
"Jesus, you want some Sudocrem for that face?
He grinned at her.
"That’s not very nice."
Abel sat comfortably with his back to the door, waiting. When the door opened, Abel turned his chair around slowly. He's relaxed but sure to have his hands free in case.
"Hello brother. You look like hell."
"Suppose I could say the same about you. What’s that in your hand?"
"The bottom jaw of that moody cow from the front desk. So, you're mad then?
"If I was you, I'd probably hold off on judgment, you did disconnect a woman from the bottom half of her face five minutes ago. "
"Fair enough. Shall we go?"
On their way out they stop in another room to help out another lost soul.
Terry was strapped in and covered up for his own safety, the only indication that a human was in there was the crying. Abel sat down beside him, placed a folded piece of paper beside him and a hand on his shoulder.
"Hey Terry, it's me pal. Listen, I'm getting out, you can too if you want. I found the....I found him. Here's the address."
He unlocked Terry's jacket and left.
Abel's brother waited a moment before asking.
"What was that about?"
"Terry was abused as a kid.I found the guy for him. "
"Shall we help him? Sounds like that man deserves to be in dreadful pain."
"Nah, let's let him figure it out."
He threw Brenda's jaw back to her on their way out.