I don't like it here. It's dark. It smells. I think I hear a rat. They conduct tests on us here. I can hear the screams. I can hear them thrashing around, feel the restraints digging into their wrists and ankles, almost as though it's me tied to that table, and not them. Lord knows it has been. My hair is greasy. I try to run my fingers through it but give up after the third knot. My fingers are covered in the thin, slippery film. I don't like it. What had happened to me? There was so much red. Someone was whispering that it was okay. Someone else was laughing hysterically. I didn't recognize the laugh, but I got the nagging feeling to focus in on it. I don't want to. I never want to. I want to remember more. But that laugh fills my ears and I probe the sound, searching for what I'm supposed to find, knowing full well the memory will disappear before I manage to find it. This time, I'm snapped out of it by a scream in the cell next to me. They must be taking her to the Furnace. I think she caught a disease. Oh well. She shouldn't have let him touch her. I wonder if my next neighbor will be smarter. I'm tired of losing friends. The only one I hadn't lost was Nick. He was very quiet. He never yelled when they took him to the Lab. He never yelled when they tested on him. He never cried when he got back to his cold cell. I think that annoyed them. They like hearing our screams and sobs. I like Nick. He is smart. He hasn't left me like the others. Sometimes I can see him through the bars. He doesn't smile, and neither do I. But his eyes seem to light up a bit, knowing I'm still there. Maybe it's just me imagining things. I like to imagine things. Sometimes I imagine leaving this place. A lot of my friends are there. The ones that went on a trip to the Furnace. And Nick. Nick is there too. He takes my hand sometimes. Other times he just smiles. I like his smile in my imagination. I think his real one would be just as good. I think I will try to see Nick today. It has been a while. I push myself off my cot. It has an indent of my body on it. I forget when i got here. It must have been long ago. I wonder how old I am now. When was my last birthday? How old was I then? When is my birthday? I forget. I walk over to my door. It's very thick. I think there's some rust and mold on it. The bars are brown. I wonder if I can break them now. I test it out. Still stuck in place. Damn. I peer through them toward the room on the other side of the hall. It's dark. I don't find the dark outline of him at first. He's slumped against the wall. I think he's asleep. I knock on the door. Not very loud, though. If I make too much noise, they'll take me to the Furnace. I don't want to go there. Nick would be alone if I went there. I don't want Nick to be alone. I know he wouldn't leave me alone either. I knock again, not daring to make it louder. Slowly, almost like he forgot how to control them, his eyes open. They glow a bright green, despite the lack of light here. I like Nick's eyes. They bring color to this place. Color is good. Green is one of the only colors I remember. I can remember names of others, like red, orange, purple, but I forget what they look like, though Nick's eyes make it so I never forget green. The syringes and the liquid inside them make sure I never forget blue. I don't like blue. Nick tells me that's the color of the sky. I always ask him how he remembers. He tells me that's what he thinks about and dreams of. The sky, the clouds, the grass. Something called flowers. Another thing called a television. I don't know what a television is. Some of the words he says I recognize, although I don't know what they mean. Others are foreign. When I ask him what he means, he says it's "just out of my reach". I don't know what that means, but I nod and act like I do. Nick and I don't talk much anymore. I heard they stopped letting us out to eat because someone tried to "revolt". I don't know what that means. Nick gets up and slowly makes his way to the door. His is rusted too. He doesn't try to move the bars. I think I'm the only one that does. Force of habit. I see the glimmer of happiness in his eyes as he looks through the bars. His mouth twitches. I wonder if he's going to smile. I hope he does. I want to know what it's like when someone you care about smiles at you. I care about Nick. I think. I wonder if he wants me to smile at him. I try, but I forget how to. I don't think my mouth moves. I hope it does. Nick doesn't act like anything happened. I think I failed. I hear the heavy footsteps before I see the guards. I expect them to stop at the cell next to mine, dropping off my new friend, but they don't. Instead, they stop at Nick's door. Their backs are to me. I can't see their faces so I focus on Nick's. His eyes widen in horror as they open his cell. Those beautiful green eyes. His mouth forms a small "o" on his face as they pull him out. Then, I start yelling. "Nick! Nick! Nick no! Nick! Please don't take him! Nick!" Over and over and over. He struggles against the guards, his mouth moving but nothing coming out. I reach toward him and he reaches toward me and we almost touch but he's yanked away and all I hear are my wails as I yell his name and I suddenly know who had been laughing in my memory.
If insanity had a face, it would have to be Emma's. The reason she was here was simple. She had stabbed her best friend and then attempted suicide. It was quite obvious when she got here that she was insane. She would lay on her bed, eating nothing, refusing to bathe, staring at the ceiling in the dark. Sometimes she would go to her door and stare through the glass at the mirror opposite her room. She seemed to like mirrors. She always fought back when we had to give her a shot. She would jerk around and flail and we would have to hold down her arms and legs. She would say that people were "being taken to the Furnace" when they were allowed out. It would scare some of the other patients but they would relax when we explained her case. It didn't surprise me when they decided to put her out of her misery. Her parents had signed off on it. I remember when she would sit in front of the mirror at the cafeteria and talk to it. One day she had decided to start a "revolt". She screamed at other patients to escape. She was forced to have meals in her room after that. What surprised me the most though, was when they had taken her from her room that fateful day. She had sobbed uncontrollably and screamed "Nick!" over and over. The name of her best friend that she had stabbed. As odd as Emma was, I'll never forget her short, boy-ish styled black hair and her piercing green eyes