Reader. Writer. Romantic.

Asylum

Prompt: Setting: some establishment that serves your chosen drink. use the following scene as a starting point for your piece today (either directly or as a jumping point, it completely up to you):
She stared at her venti, extra hot, coconut mocha macchiato with two ristretto shots, caramel and mocha sauces and 12 pumps of vanilla syrup set down beside her and frowned.
“Hey, I didn’t order this!” she shouted at the waiter walking away.
“True, but I did.”
The chillingly familiar voice reached her ears before he sat down in front of her.
“Hello again.”
She froze.
It was impossible.  How could he be here?
She watched them take him away in the back of that police cruiser.
He brought his own cup to his lips, taking a sip and setting it down.
“Did you think you could get away from me that easily?”
She felt her throat tightening, the air refusing to reach her lungs.  This was a sensation she never thought she’d feel again.  But here she was.  Sitting in front of the only person who had made her feel that way.
“You-you-I saw.”
He smiled at her and chills ran down the length of her spine.
“You saw what you wanted to see, what you wanted to believe.”
“What-?”
“I was merely detained.  Never formally charged.”
“But-”
“Oh, darling.  You think they’d take your word over mine?”
“You-”
“Oh yes, but they’ll never believe you.  They didn’t the first time.  What makes you think they will this time?”
Her eyes darted away from him.  It was nearly imperceptible, but he noticed.
“There’s nowhere to run.  I own you now.  So why don’t you drink your coffee like a good girl and come quietly.”
“What did you do to it?”
“Nothing.  Drink it.”
“No.”
“I said, drink it.”
“NO!”
“Don’t be stubborn now.  You know what happened last time when you disobeyed.”
She shook her head, trying not to remember, but the human mind has a way of remembering things you try so hard to avoid.
“How did you find me?” she whispered.
He smiled again, “Easy.”
HOW?!” she demanded.
“You left me a trail.”
“No, I didn’t!”
“No?”
She shook her head violently.
He pulled out his phone and she flinched involuntarily.
“Don’t worry.  I’m not going to hurt you.”
He pulled up the call log and showed her.
“See, you called me.”
She stared at it in disbelief.  It was her number; she couldn’t deny that.  But he was the Devil.  There was no way she would have ever called him.  Maybe someone had borrowed her phone?  But how would they know his number?
“No, that’s not me.”
“Show me your phone.”
She was confident now.  She reassured herself that there was no way she had called him and confirmed that no one had borrowed her phone.  She pulled it out and pulled up the call log.  Her eyes widened in surprise.
Each call on her phone corresponded with one on his phone.
“This can’t be.  No, this must be some…some sick joke.”
“Oh darling, it’s really not.  You called me.  Told me you would be here.  Told me to go ahead and buy you a coffee when I got here so I wouldn’t startle you.”
“YOU’RE LYING!”
“I’m not.  You see, I didn’t pick up my phone at the time.  You left me a voicemail.”
He recalled the message and played it for her; it was her voice.
“That’s impossible,” she said faltering.
“That’s your voice.  See you told me to do all those things.  You asked to see me.”
“I…I don’t remember.”
“No?”
“I couldn’t have…I didn’t make that call…”
“But you did.  Who else could it have been?”
She stood suddenly, violently knocking the cup to the ground and making a run for it.  He sighed, standing calmly, smoothing out the creases in his suit.  Casually, he lifted a communication device and spoke into it, “Neutralize her, will you?”
She ran, looking behind her wildly.  He didn’t appear to be in pursuit, but she couldn’t slow down now.  It wouldn’t take long for him to catch up.  He was fast and sneaky like that.
Then it hit her like a brick wall.
She collapsed to the ground, looking around her stunned.  Slowly, the cafe and street began to disappear.  She could see beige padded walls and floors coming into view.
“No.  No!  NO! NOOOOOOOOOO!” she screamed.
And then just like that.  Silence.

She sat on the edge of the bed trying to catch her breath.
“How are you feeling?”
“Better…”
“Is she still in your head?”
“She’s crying in the corner over there…just rocking.”
“Don’t focus on her.”
“Is she going to be okay?”
“Yes.  She’s strong.  She will recover once she accepts her reality.”
“Are you sure?  She looks like she’s really hurt.”
“Don’t worry about her, okay?  We’ll take care of her.”
“Do you promise?”
“Yes.”
Two orderlies entered and he held his hand up, “Not now.”
“But sir…”
“No.”
“We were instructed to assist.”
“You want to assist?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Very well.  Help that young lady in the corner of the room out.  Make sure she gets the proper medical attention.”
The orderlies looked at one another in confusion.
“Um…sir…there’s nobody there.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“We said there’s nobody there.”
“You can’t see her?  There’s a little girl in the corner crying.”
“No, sir, there’s no one.”
He sighed, turning to the woman on the bed, “This will only take a moment.  Will you excuse me?  You should never rely on a fool to do your job for you.”
He walked to the girl in the corner, kneeling next to her, “Will you let me help you?”
She looked up at him with terrified eyes.
“I promise, I will take care of you and make sure no harm comes to you.”
The little girl looked over at the woman on the bed who nodded encouragingly.
He held out a hand to her and she grasped it.
“I will only be a moment.  I will return shortly,” he said to the woman in the bed.
“Thank you.”
He exited the room with the two orderlies into a hallway crowded with his peers.
“Dr. Moretti, you don’t truly believe there was a girl in the corner did you?” asked his colleagues.
“No.  But she did.  That world, that little girl was all real to her and to help her I had to see it too.”
“I see…that’s a very different approach.”
“Indeed, but it makes the patient much more receptive to treatment when you acknowledge their thoughts, their feelings as real.  They just want someone to be on their side, to tell them they aren’t crazy.  And they aren’t.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I promised her I would return.”
He re-entered the room and she looked at him hopefully.
“Does she have her own room?”
“Yes, with lots of toys.”
“You spoil her every time.  Thank you.”
“Now, how are you feeling?”
“A little more myself now.”
“Can I offer you a drink?”
“Oh, yes please.  What do you have today?”
“Well, let’s see.  Grape, pear or peach.”
“Hmm…well I had apple yesterday and I usually have orange tomorrow, so grape.”
“Okay, grape it is.”
“Are you going to have one too doctor?”
“Yes, I think I’ll have peach.”
“Come sit next to me and enjoy your drink.”
“Well thank you,” he said, sitting on the bed, handing her a plastic cup with juice.
“Cheers!”
She quickly downed hers and handed the cup back to the doctor.
“Thank you again, darling.  You take such good care of me…you’re more than I deserve.”
“Nonsense.  You have opened my eyes to another world, so thank you.”
She placed an arm around him and rested her head against his shoulder, closing her eyes.
“I’m sorry for all I’ve put you through.  Thank you for standing by me for all these years.”
“Of course, darling, but I have to go soon.”
She nodded, “I understand.  This has been nice.  Say hello to the children for me, won’t you?”
“I will.  I love you.”
“Forever and always.”

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