I could feel the gazes of the other sectionees upon me as I entered the canteen the next morning. An uneasy hush swept across them as I took my place at a vacated table and began to stab at my scrambled egg. Even though we were all screwed up, I was still different. Even though none of us were normal, stable, whatever, I was still in a different league to them, all because of my parents and my name and--
My grip on my plastic knife tightened as the rage and hatred towards my parents swelled in my chest. Because of them I wasn’t even accepted in a fucking psych ward. If they didn’t accept you, you were at an all time low.
“They’re like it with every newbie.” Someone said as they slid into the seat opposite me. My head snapped up to look at them. “You’re not special.” The girl grinned at me, her pearly teeth flashing at me. She looked familiar… “Hailey Zabini. We were in the same year at school.” And suddenly I remembered her.
Name: Hailey Zabini.
Siblings: A twin, Blaise Jr.
Parents: Blaise Zabini and Daphne Greengrass.
Additional Info: Father is a CEO of a muggle company, mother died in childbirth. History of mental illnesses on fathers side.
Reason for admittance: Attacked her 5th stepmother with a steak knife after accusing her of poisoning her father who’d been bedridden for roughly 1 month. Found guilty of assault with deadly weapon, was diagnosed with schizophrenia and promptly sectioned.
“Has it changed much?” She asked, snapping me out of my internal analysis.
“School, has it changed much.” She repeated, spooning the eggs into her mouth, and subsequently scrunching up her petite features in disgust.
I shrugged, “Not really. The only difference was that there was gossip, but everyone pretty much got on as normal. Blaise took it well, I guess. He ignored the rumors, only stepping in if they were insanely exaggerated.”
She laughed, “What were they saying?”
“That it wasn’t your stepmother you went after, it was your father and brother, and she had to fight you off and that’s why she got put into Mungo’s.” She snorted, pushing the tray away and resting her head on her hands, watching me. I paused and she nodded at me to continue. “There was another saying you attacked the portrait of your mother with an axe first, chopping the picture to bits and screaming about how this was all her fault, then went after the help and then finally your stepmother.”
“Ex-stepmother.” She corrected, apparently unfazed by the stories. “She ran off after they released her, saying how she hadn’t signed up for this when she married Pa. Stupid bitch signed up for money, and that’s the only reason she was their in the first place.” She scowled at the tabletop, fingers digging harshly into her arms. She closed her eyes for a moment, and slowly relaxed, the tension seeping out of her shoulders, before she looked at me again. “So, what brings you here?” She asked, grabbing a juice pouch and stabbing the straw into it.
I shrugged, “They don’t know what it is yet, just that it’s bad enough for me to be put in here. I’ve got my evaluation at half twelve.” I trailed off, focusing on the cold eggy mess in front of me.
“Hey.” I glanced up and she smiled at me. “It’ll be fine.” I managed a weak smile, and she worried her lip a little, leaning forward, resting on her elbows. “You need friends in here, Lily. If you don’t have someone to talk to apart from the shrink, it’ll make everything a million times worse. I tried not socializing with the other kids when I wound up here and within a week I was even crazier than I was when I was admitted. After a month they forced me to take part in group activities and it does help. Really.” She laughed a little at the most likely disbelieving look on my face. “In here’s genuinely different from out there, Lily. They’re not all against you; they’re here to help you. Remember that. It took a while for me to.” She smiled kindly before standing, taking her tray back to the hatch, and flashing me one last pearly grin before taking off to wherever.
I stared at the empty doorway for a long time, mulling her words over in my mind. They’re not all against you; they’re here to help you.
I’d wanted to snort, to laugh in her face, but she’d sounded so sincere. So believing. I didn’t want to ruin it for her. I wasn’t going to believe her, as nice as she was. She’d been here long enough for them to get inside her head, replace her crazy with a brand of their own. I wasn’t going to fall for that. None of their potions or medication
could take away what I knew deep inside. Nothing they could do could cut out the monster that grew under my skin, take away the voices that whispered in my ears, neutralize the colors and whirls that bloomed and blossomed behind my eyelids.
I knew that they’d kill me, eventually. The things that grew where nothing should. But I’d much rather it was them that did me in rather than people who pretended to care. At least you’re aware of the devils true intentions before he finally takes your soul.
I trudged back to my room, my soft-soled shoes barely squeaking against the pristine floor. There were people loitering outside of their bedroom doors, looking at nothing in particular and muttering. There was a young man, no older that 20 standing at the payphone on the corner, the plastic lifeline almost plastered to his head, his lips moving rapidly with no sound emerging. As I passed, I realized the phone was upside-down, and if any voice had been floating from the device it would’ve been swallowed immediately.
I noted the subtle change in décor, how the pretty pastel pictures became more vibrant, more youthful. The sound of awkward mumblings soon turned to chatter, which eventually became laughter. The lone loiterers soon became small groups huddled like penguins. The seemingly foreign crazy soon became relatable, and for once in a long, long time… I felt like someone might understand. But that idea was soon put to bed, as the minute my presence became known, the same hush from the canteen seemed to follow, and all groups turned to stare at me as I walked through them to get the my room. I could feel the stares burning holes in my back, and as I passed each of them I caught a snippet of their conversation.
“That’s Lily Potter, isn’t it?”
“Heard she’s as mad as we are.”
“Heard she tried to kill herself.”
“Heard her father never said goodbye.”
“Heard she’s a disappointment.”
“… a cheater.”
“… a slut.”
“… a snitch.”
“… a faker.”
“… a liar.”
“Heard she doesn’t belong anywhere.”
“Heard she’d be better off dead.”
I clamped my hands over my ears, my pace quickening. I dug my nails into the skin, hard, hoping the initial sting and the dull ache that followed would distract me, make it less real.
“Heard her brothers are scared of her now.”
“Heard her mother’s ashamed of her.”
“Heard her family’s gonna disown her.”
“Heard her fathers never gonna love her like them.”
“Heard she’ll never be what they want.”
“Heard that no-one’s ever loved her. Full stop.”
“Heard that no-one ever will.”
“Heard that her parents never even wanted three kids.”
“Heard that she was an accident."
“Shut up, shut up, shut up.” I muttered as I carried on down the corridor, feeling the tears stinging the back of my eyes. I felt a hand on my shoulder and I whirled, wide eyed, and came face to face with Hailey. Her brows were furrowed, eyes scanning my face. “They won’t go away.” I whimpered, feeling something damp trickle down my fingers. “They won’t leave me alone. They always go away after a while, but they’re bad today. Really bad. Really, really bad. Please make it stop.”
“Heard she’ll never escape us.”
“I will.” My voice came out hoarse as I backed away from Hailey’s hand and fearful face.
“Heard she’s never been able to face the truth.”
“Shut the fuck up.” I fell back, propelling myself into a wall and sliding down it, pressing harder, digging deeper, relishing in the raw sting.
“Heard she’ll be stuck with us forever.”
“Shut up!” I screamed, curling in on myself, tensing my muscles so tight they burned. I could feel the wetness streaking down my cheek now, but it didn’t come from my eyes. “Why won’t you leave me alone?! I did everything you asked, everything!” Hailey was gone now, and the corridor was empty, bathed in a bleak light. “You promised.” I whimpered, searching for someone, anyone who could make this stop. “You promised after I did what you asked, you’d leave me alone. But you’re still here.” I croaked, my throat as raw as the gauges my nails had. “I did everything.” I repeated once again, and the responding silence was broken by footsteps that echoed incredibly loud. A pair of black suit shoes met my opening eyes, and they rocked forward onto the balls of their feet as they crouched. A finger tucked under my chin, slowly bringing my face up to meet theirs. My father stared back at me, eyes impossibly green and alight with something I’d never seen before. A smile spread onto my face and I scrambled to sit up right, clawing at his sleeves. Daddy, daddy’s here to help me. To save me. It’s my turn. But that grin slipped away and an icy coldness seemed to drown my very soul at the words he uttered with a small smile on his face.
“Not everything darling. You’re not dead.”