The story you auditioned for. Frank is at a psychiatric hospital, where every day is exactly the same. Come and ride...on the borderline.
Chapter 1 – Tomorrow
Always think on the edge. Always. That way, it won't be as much of a shock when someone pushes you off the cliff. Thinking on the edge isn't just anxiety, or paranoia. It's simply being aware that you are human—not immortal, not a god, just human. Death is forever at your doorstep. Life is not a journey to heaven; life is preparation for death. Like a certified arrest, you have the right to remain silent. Everything you say can and will be used against you. The slightest mistake can send you teetering down a turbulent path to your death. Scary, isn't it?
It is upon figuring that out that I decided I say as little as possible. There was a time when I was a pleasant little social butterfly. Flirting with girls. Joking with the guys. Sassing off to teachers. I suppose I was the very definition of popular.
And then it happened. The epiphany. They say it was caused by my mother abandoning me at the ripe age of thirteen. Being sent to live with my uncle apparently sent me off the rails. However, I know better; I had simply grown up and learned the truth. Nobody loves me. Nobody loves you. Nobody loves anyone but themselves.
When I was first taken to a psychiatrist, he came to the conclusion that I simply needed some meds. Just your everyday, normal anti-depressants. Scribbled something down on his notepad, ripped out the prescription, and promised that I would feel all right soon.
It was only after my “suicide attempt” involving those very same pills that I got admitted into a hospital, for serious daily analysis. Honestly, I hadn't been trying to take my own life. I was just trying to escape, onto a better world. What's the harm in that?
Obviously, everything, since I now reside in the beautiful campus of Trenton Psychiatric Hospital. A building whose very walls were made of fun!
I wish I could say I loved this place.
What's the use of wishing, though? It never gets you anything, but despair. It was better to live in the moment.
And at the moment, I was taking a bite out of my slice of pizza while absentmindedly staring at the other patients eating their lunch. The cafeteria was arranged into several tables, where patients could sit with peers of their liking. Almost like in schools. The only difference were the nurses watching us from every corner, making sure nobody offed themselves somehow. A fine goal, yet, many a child had died in this very room. I always wished I'd be next, but that obviously wasn't a healthy thought, so I never told anyone.
Believe it or not, I did not sit alone like a proper loner. I was far too self-conscious to do that. No, I sat with four other patients, whom I never dared to call my friends, since I hardly talked to them. While I sat at their table, my mind was usually elsewhere. To be specific, two tables down from ours, where he sat. Frank. The evil bastard who stole my name. I hated him with such passion that I loved him. Rephrasing for the sane, I hated how he had everything I yearned for. Friends. Good looks. Visitors every holiday. He was the closest thing to normal this place would get and I longed to be him. My eyes often moved over, to the place right next to him. The most beautiful girl on the planet sat there, at his side. Her big, blue eyes twinkled up at him with such devotion that I wanted to scream. If she would look at me like that...
I set down the fork, my appetite destructed. Forcing my eyes away from that beautiful, white face, I attempted to focus on my own table. I was deeply disappointed in realizing that the people I sat with were not even half as interesting.
First sat Bert, a scruffy-looking boy with scraggly black hair. A classic case of a manic depressant. Up, down, his moods could be anywhere. Next to him sat his unanimous girlfriend, Cassadee. A very pretty girl, but equally unstable. Her and Bert fought more than anything else. Nevertheless, I was jealous of them. Their love, if you could call it that. Then again, I was jealous of everybody who didn't have to be me.
The third member of our misfit clan was Ray, a kid whom I just wanted to hug. He ended up here after a traumatic encounter with a kidnapper. He spoke in a cute lisp that belonged to a kindergärtner. His eyes were always shifty; he was on guard 24/7. Due to his lack of trust in people, I felt connected to him. Sometimes, I talked to him about my woes, because he was the only one who I sincerely wanted to befriend. Needless to say, he didn't trust my gestures of friendship.
Finally, there was Gerard. I had nothing to say about him, except that he was a weirdo. It wasn't just his white, white skin that was strange. He was obsessed with getting out of Trenton Psych. His hatred for this place was beyond me. Every week, without fail, he had a new escape plan that he sometimes shared with the rest of us. We all basically ignored them, which turned him into a resentful asshole for a while. A little later, he seemed to forget all about it. Never had he actually carried out any of his schemes. I think he just made them up to entertain himself.
Oh and of course, there was me. Frank Iero. The kid who, at one point, tried to strangle himself with spaghetti...it didn't work.
“You guys, guess what?” Gerard piped excitedly, banging on the table to get our attention, “I found...” he paused for a second and stared each of us down with his big, hazel eyes, “...an escape route.”
Cassadee gasped melodramatically, feigning shock, “Really? For the billionth time this week? This isn't possible.”
Gerard scowled at her, flicking his hair out of his face, “If you don't wanna hear, don't fucking listen.”
“No one wants to hear,” she said pointedly.
“Shut up, bitch!”
“Hey!” Bert snarled, “Don't talk to her like that, vampire freak!”
“Maybe if she wasn't such a bigot, I wouldn't!” Gerard snapped back.
I ignored the rest of their argument, not wanting to get involved. Although I was used to it, the fighting made me really anxious. It was like my heart was beating hard enough to burst through my chest. To pass time, I looked back at the other Frank's table, wistfully. My gaze was only broken when I felt a hand on my shoulder. With a jump, I turned around. One of the nurses, a shapely brunette, stood before me. I felt my heart lurch a little when my eyes landed on her big breasts. Implants, for sure, but still...
“Mr. Iero?” she said, and I looked up, blushing furiously, “Doctor Barker would like to see you in his office, once you're finished with lunch.”
I bit down on my lip. This was an unscheduled meeting. He wasn't even my regular therapist; he was like the head of the department. What did that mean? I turned back to my table mates, who were now watching me with curious expressions. My lunch was only half-finished, but I wasn't going to eat the rest anyway.
Silently, I pushed the chair back and rose to my feet. The nurse smiled and asked for me to follow her. I stared at her ass the whole way there, to keep me from freaking out too much. It was a good distraction. Upon reaching Dr. Barker's office, she opened the door for me and I nervously walked inside.
The doctor was a man in his early forties, with pleasant eyes that held no feeling. Most psychologists were that way, a permanent poker face, but not frighteningly so. He beckoned towards the chair in front of his desk and I obediently took a seat in it. There was nothing to distract me from the spontaneity of this meeting. My breathing grew heavy.
“Calm down, you're not in any trouble,” he spoke gently. I gripped the arms of my chair, in an attempt to take his advice. He gave me a tight-lipped smile, “Frank, I have some news.” I took deep breaths. “As he informed you, Doctor Collins, your therapist, has retired from his post.” What? I didn't remember that! “Your last session with him is this Tuesday and we simply would like you to meet your new doctor, so you two can get acquainted.”
I frowned. What? A new doctor? This couldn't go well. It took so long to get used to Doctor Collins, now I had to start all over? Why didn't I know about this beforehand? Or did I? I racked my brains, but could not find any memory that regarded him retiring. I felt my hands shaking.
Dr. Barker gave me a sympathetic look, “It's okay, Frank. It's common for patients to completely forget things that they don't wish to remember. Now...Doctor Nestor?” he called.
Out of a side door, a woman walked in, smile on her face. My mouth opened. Her hair. Her face. It couldn't be. My whole body was now quivering with uncontrollable intensity. Next thing I knew, I was on the floor screaming at the top on my lungs.
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