here is chapter 1 of a story called beyond a shattered looking glass
Chapter 1: First Meetings
- 4th November 1864
Rutledge Private Clinic and Asylum was a large haunting building that was built in a sloped gulf stuck between two hills, in Lancashire, England. At least six stories high with many hidden catacomb wards beneath the ground floor, it was safe to say that Rutledge Institute was indeed a place of secrets and madness. The nights there were enough to send a sane person into one of the beds in a fit of madness. Not was there one minute in the institute where it was quiet, with insane patients in straightjackets being carted off into solitary confinement. Others were dragged away to some unknown fate, kicking and screaming, raving about the most peculiar of things. Death was not a rare sight in the institute, with patients or even the staff taking their own or other lives.
Opened in 1742, the institute has seen many trials and horrors. It was no wonder the superintendent didn't ever visit. Among the large number of psychiatrists there, was Doctor Hieronymous Q. Wilson, who had been working in the asylum for twenty three years and was used to the madness that was encased within the walls.
However, ten years ago, a new patient had arrived to the institute. It was an eight-year old girl, frozen in a state of comatose. According to her file, the girl's family had been killed in a house fire, the girl being the only apparent survivor. Dr. Wilson spent the first year with her helping to heal her wounds, and has spent the past seven trying to help her escape her comatose state, but no luck.
As Dr. Wilson walked along a corridor in the direction of the girl's room, he remembered how she had first arrived almost a decade ago. It was on November 11th, 1864. It was raining as it usually did around the time of that year. Dr. Wilson stood on the front step of the institute, hands in his coat pockets. An ambulance had driven up and a pair of orderlies were carefully carrying the girl on a stretcher. Dr. Wilson stepped out to greet them silently. As the orderlies passed him slowly towards the entrance, he examined the girl. She had a bandaged head and severe burn marks on her arms. Hauntingly, her emerald green eyes stared up at the cloudy sky as if in some sort of hypnotic trance. This sent a chill up Dr. Wilson's spine.
As the orderlies began climbing the steps to the institute's entrance, a skinny cat sprung out of nowhere and pounced onto the girl, leaping onto her chest. The two orderlies were so shocked they dropped the stretcher on the hard steps with a loud clatter, the girl's head bounding as the stretched bounced up to meet her. The orderlies and Dr. Wilson rushed to the fallen girl, the cat not budging from its spot on her chest. The two orderlies slowly picked up the stretched, hoping the cat would leap off – but it didn't. It just sat there, staring at the girl's empty green eyes with its own yellow moonlit eyes. A third orderly had rushed out of the building at the sound of the clatter and brandishing a tree branch he picked up from the ground, stabbed the air near the cat. The cat flinched, hissed and sprung off the girl, sprinting away into the shrubbery nearby. The orderlies hurried the girl inside. Dr. Wilson followed post haste, noticing the yellow gleaming eyes of the cat watching him in the bushes.
Dr. Wilson snapped out of his memories and strode down the final corridor to reach the room of the girl. He stopped in his tracks. His assistant, Nurse D, a woman in her 30's whose name was long that she was addressed just by the first letter, stood in the doorway. Her face seemed to be frozen in a joyous smile.
"What is wrong, Nurse D?" asked Dr. Wilson as he stepped forwards.
Nurse D turned with her huge smile and pointed into the open doorway. Puzzled, Dr. Wilson stepped forward and stared into the room, getting the shock of his life. The room, which was mostly dark with yellow wall and ceiling, was home to Alice, the girl who had been brought in over eight years ago. Alice had spent her entire time at the institute lying in a bed, staring up at the ceiling. But as if a miracle had happened, there sat Alice on the floor, drawing something on a piece of paper with a pencil and a yellow crayon.
Alice was a girl of eighteen, with long reddish brown hair that went just beyond her shoulders. She had emerald green eyes that seemed to glow ominously in the dark room. She wore a blue skirt covered with a white apron, a pair of big pockets visible. She wore black socks and identical black shoes. She wore a necklace on a cord around her neck, an oddly shaped "A" on the end.
Dr. Wilson stood in the doorway, mouth agape. He turned to Nurse D, wondering if he was imagining it. She looked back, shrugging slightly in answer to how the girl came to be in her current position.
"How long has she been like this?" asked Dr. Wilson quietly to Nurse D, hoping Alice wouldn't be able to hear.
"I came to check on her about ten minutes ago, and there she was on the floor," said Nurse D. "Drawing on a piece of paper I had left on the table."
"I see…" said Dr. Wilson. He breathed heavily and straightened his coat. "I guess I should try to make contact."
Dr. Wilson slowly glided into the room, his footsteps quiet on the wooden floor. His shadow passed over Alice's form like a raincloud. Alice stopped her drawing, her pencil poised in her hand. The girl slowly lifted her head, her green eyes meeting Dr. Wilson's brown eyes. Dr. Wilson was a little nervous. He was used to most of his children patients but this one was an enigma. She had been in a comatose state for years but now she was up and about as if she was fine.
Dr. Wilson cleared his throat politely and crouched down on his knees to come down to Alice's level. Her green eyes seemed to be locked onto his, never leaving contact for a second. They were full of suspicion and unnatural anger, almost making the poor girl look like she had a sudden desperate need to blow the doctor's head off then and there, and then do away with Nurse D as well. Dr. Wilson smiled softly at the girl, their eyes still locked.
"Hello, Alice, it is nice to finally see you moving…and to meet you in person at last," said Dr. Wilson. "I am Dr. Wilson. You are in Rutledge Asylum."
Alice just stared at him, but seemed to acknowledge he was there to help her when a smile formed on her face. But it was a very peculiar, almost sinister smile. Alice suddenly leapt up like a cat, catching Dr. Wilson by surprise, who stumbled to get up. He took a couple of steps backwards towards the door where Nurse D watched with a perplexed look on her face. Alice and Dr. Wilson examined eachother, their eyes never leaving contact with the other pair. Alice suddenly lifted her drawing, the contents turned away from Dr. Wilson. She slowly handed the drawing to him, her odd smile not leaving her face.
Dr. Wilson took the piece of paper and turned it over to look at the drawing Alice had sketched. He was rather astonished at what he saw. I was some sort of twisted cat, perching on a tree branch. The cat was incredibly thin, almost skeletal, and had a huge grin implanted on its feline face. The grin was rather creepy and looked as if someone had used a clamp to stretch the grin over the cat's face. Dr. Wilson stared at the drawing, then back at Alice. He blinked in rapid succession and then smiled, nodding in thanks. The doctor turned and quickly hurried out of the room, leaving Alice to Nurse D. Alice's green eyes blinked into space, not realising Dr. Wilson had left.
Later, Dr. Wilson entered his study, a large comfy room located on the back of the institute, the window looking out over the large garden where a lot of the children patients played. He sat down behind his desk and placed the drawing on the table. He looked about his room, checking the clock placed on a mantle and then picked up the drawing of the grinning cat. He examined its face, particularly its eyes and larger-than-life smile. It looked evil in some ways. Dr. Wilson pondered for a moment.
"Perhaps maybe it is some sort of form of Alice's troubles?" spoke Dr. Wilson to himself.
Placing the drawing down again, he took a key from his trouser pocket and unlocked a draw inside his desk. Opening it, he placed the drawing carefully onto a clipboard and slotted it inside the draw. He closed it and opened a second draw, pulling out an old book of some kind. It was an old casebook, creased from neglect. It had a brown leather cover with a red spine. It was Alice's casebook, the date of admittance: 4th November, 1864. The last entry Dr. Wilson had written in its pages was back on April Fool's Day, 1865. Now it was time to continue where he left off. He took a pen and wrote onto a new page.
After years of slumber, she chooses to speak to us with a picture, a drawing of some sort of cat. Really, it's nothing like any cat I've ever seen. I admit to a certain amount of excitement over Alice's awakening. I have to be careful, though. At this point, it's difficult to tell what this development – what I'm pleased to call her "progress" – signifies.
- 9th September, 1873
Little did Dr. Wilson know, but the drawing of the grinning cat would be the foreshadowing of the series of bizarre imaginings to come for him, and Alice…