original fiction; 917 words, g
And where do you run when the whole world wants you gone?
"I'm innocent," Molly insists, a note of anger creeping into her voice. "Did you hear me? I've done nothing wrong - why am I here?"
Her voice echoes strangely around the stark walls of the interrogation room she has been placed in. She's quite certain that on the other side of the walls and reinforced glass, there are people watching her. They can hear her, and see that with every passing second, she is growing more and more nervous. Fingers drumming against the table she's seated at rapidly, pursing her lips, shifting around in her seat - she can feel their eyes on her, tracking and taking careful note of her every movement, like cameras trained on her.
What makes her the most uneasy, though, is that she honestly has no idea why she is here. Ever since getting there they have not told her a single thing about what is going on,
What do they want from her?
She wonders what it's like outside. Though she's lost track of time (she could honestly believe that she's been in here for either minutes, hours, days - hell, even years), she imagines it's probably nighttime outside. Last time she remembers being outside was in the winter, standing outside underneath a streetlight in the middle of a crowded street, faces flickering and darting past in the darkness. The air would be cold and clean, there'd be no sense of claustrophobia hanging around her like ghosts. She'd be free to roam through the night - without walls that seem to close in on her every time she blinks, without static buzz that seems to surround her.
Nothing but freedom.
For the first time since she's been placed in here, real fear rises up in her, and her breath hitches in her throat. Struck by a sudden flash of panic, she feels pinned down to her seat - pinned by gazes she can't see, but feel in earnest.
They let her have her notebook, though - their only concession. It's the least she can say for them. It feels good in her lap: familiar. A lifeline, comforting. She picks up a pen, and opens up the black book to the first clean page. She's about to put the pen to paper when the door bursts open, and the noise startles her. A woman strides in, her skirt flapping around her knees, a clipboard and pen in hand. She looks irritated. Molly quickly slams the book shut.
"We heard you," the woman, who has long brown hair and eyes that seem to understand everything said and unsaid, says. She glances over Molly - under her gaze, the fear that had been there previously seems to intensify. The woman seems to be a doctor (she notes the badge, the stethoscope around her neck, the analytical, disaffected gaze) and she is the specimen to be examined, she supposes.
She pulls out a chair, sits down across from Molly, and surveys her for a few long moments.
“I’m innocent,” Molly insists, though the sentiment sounds weak and ineffectual in the gaping silence.
The doctor smirks. “Yet you don’t even know what your crime is.”
“I don’t care. I’ve done nothing wrong.”
The deliberate half-smile on the woman’s face remains the same. “You don’t know anything about me,” she says, anger slowly building in her voice. “Why are you doing this to me?”
The woman sighs. “Fine, I’ll tell you the truth. Okay? Your crime is your difference. We don’t want people like you out there. You’re strange and you don’t belong. Look– we just don’t care! I’m sorry, but that’s the way it is.”
She gets up abruptly, and walks out, letting the door slam shut without a backwards glance. Her words hover in the newfound silence.
So, Molly thinks, I’m strange. I’m an oddity. I don’t belong.
The notebook is still in her lap. She wonders what would happen, if they were to really understand what it was like to be her – what it’d be like, to be rejected, followed, persecuted all for reasons beyond her control. For reasons that barely made sense!
They just don’t understand what it’s like to be persecuted – to be punished for a crime she did not commit, she realizes. But can they? she asks herself. Can she make them understand?
She opens up her notebook, picks up her pen, and begins to write.
Dr. Goodman looks down at her notes, then back up at her interns, all seated around her.
"We recently admitted Molly into the psychiatric ward here," she begins, all careful intonation and lipsticked seriousness, "after she began to display signs of psychosis. Nineteen-year-old female, Caucasian, worked as a writer before the episode - after testing we concluded it was early-onset schizophrenia. The normal drugs have not appeared to work—"
One of the interns, a timid-looking young thing, puts up her hand tentatively. "Can I ask. . . what do you mean by 'signs of psychosis', Doctor?"
The doctor sighs, runs her fingers through her hair. "These notes?" she indicates, picking up the wad of papers she had been flicking through just before. "Molly wrote them, during her initial interview before admission into the ward." The intern blinks in surprise. "She believes she's being held in a prison without reason. She appears to have concluded that society has persecuted her because they consider her a deviant from the norm - that nobody understands her. Paranoia - one of the classic symptoms."
The doctor smiles wryly. "Funny, the things society can be thought capable of."