|The Slow Descent Into Madness
Author: AlKiMi PM
Kind of how it all started. Very depressing and bleak.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Tragedy - Chapters: 15 - Words: 32,202 - Reviews: 56 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 9 - Updated: 08-18-12 - Published: 06-06-12 - id: 8191052
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Well. This took me absolutely AGES to write, despite how short it is... I'm sorry for the late update, and I really need to go to bed now, since it's almost two a.m, but I wanted to post this before I go. I don't really like the way it's turned out... It's more depressing than I thought it would be. But, anyhow, reviews are awesome and I'll love you all forever if you read this. Um, things are probably going to get worse. There isn't much happiness in this, I'm afraid. If you don't like it, just say, and I'll stop.
Disclaimer: I own the story, and I'm kind of sad about that. I don't own anything else, apart from the receptionist, and she's a bit dull, actually.
The further the battered Ford inched along the winding country lane, the closer he was getting to impending doom, as far as fourteen year old Vince Noir was concerned. He tried, unsuccessfully, to occupy himself by watching the passing scenery flying by, but there really were only so many grazing cows, oak trees and smelly fields that a teenage boy could take before his mind began to wander. And mind wandering was dangerous territory, like stepping onto a minefield. Mind wandering led to thoughts about the future, and what was about to greet him as soon as the car would roll to a stop…
Which was right about now, he realized as the car headed through a tall set of wrought iron gates. The countryside had momentarily given way to make room for a four-story building constructed from dull grey stone, which cast ominous and depressing shadows onto the driveway and car park below. Vince wasn't stupid. He knew what was going on, despite the lies his parents had offered him over the last few days. He'd known this was coming for weeks. He'd even tried to stop it, at first, but he was fighting a losing battle.
"Um, darling, we're here," his mother said in a small voice. Vince felt awful for her – she was like a puppy waiting to be kicked. He tried to force a brave smile as they climbed out of the Ford, and while his father retrieved his bags (all four of them) from the boot, he wrapped her into a warm embrace to show that there were no hard feelings.
The gravel driveway didn't help the nerves that were settling in the pit of Vince's stomach, even as he kicked a pebble the whole way across the car park and watched it bounce of a piece of guttering at the other side. His father didn't bother to scold him for ruining his shoes (Vince had been trying to get rid of them for weeks – a boring old leather pair that his dad had picked out), he just stalked right over to the double doors that led to the facility and held them open so they could enter ahead of him.
The lobby was large and empty, apart from a drowsy looking receptionist who was slumped at the front desk, staring at a computer screen. Playing solitaire, apparently, because she blushed when she realized that the Noirs were approaching.
"Good morning. How can I help you?" The receptionist's tone sounded bored, as if she had recited the lines a million times – she probably had. Vince stared down at the grimy floor and scuffed his shoes on the linoleum while his dad leaned across the desk and began murmuring in an urgent whisper.
"Why don't you go and sit down over there, darling?" Vince's mum asked quickly, pointing to a row of comfortable chairs in the far corner. Vince shrugged, half rolling his eyes, and went to flop on the one closest to the doors, wishing more than anything that he was good enough at running to sneak out and disappear over the hills before they realized he was gone. Instead, he scrutinized the disgusting shade of brown that smothered the walls and contemplated becoming an interior designer. He could certainly brighten this place up, for a start, maybe go for a sky blue color for the walls, a darker color for the plush carpet… He was wondering if he could persuade whoever owned the place to add some paintings to the walls, just to give the place a bit of oomph, when his mother returned and took his hand in hers.
"Vince, honey, you're going to be… staying here. For a while. Until-"
"Yeah, mum, I know. I get it," Vince sighed, "It's okay."
His mother looked relieved, and allowed it to show on her face for the smallest moment, before she collected herself.
"I didn't… I didn't agree with this, you know. I tried to convince him otherwise, but… You know how he is. We both love you very much, darling. He's trying to help, in his own way."
"I know, mum," Vince muttered. His mum frowned slightly, her eyes darting back to his father, who was waiting with one elbow leaning on the desk.
"So, um, this lady's going to take you upstairs, to your new room. You'll be okay, darling, I know you will. You'll be back home before you know it. I'll try- I'll try to-"
"I know that, too," Vince smiled, standing up. His mother hugged him close for a long moment before holding him at arm's length and flicking his long blonde hair out of his eyes, in the caring way that only mothers can perfect.
"Be safe, darling," she whispered before releasing him. There were tears in her eyes even after she dabbed at her face with a sodden tissue.
"Bye, dad," Vince mumbled when his father offered him a mere handshake. They'd never exactly been close, but Vince expected more, since this was all his father's fault and he was leaving for a few months, at least.
"Bye, son. You take care of yourself." It was like he was addressing a distant relative – the distaste he felt towards his son was apparent when the receptionist came to collect him. He didn't look back once when they left – simply slipped his arm around Vince's mother and led her solemnly back to the car.
"Your room's on the third floor. There are others there, too. I suppose you'll make friends eventually. There's a dining room up there, as well, and a place for you to sit and chat," the receptionist seemed a little friendlier as they entered an elevator and she jabbed the button for the third floor. Vince's stomach was doing somersaults as they ascended, his bags set out by his feet. As he struggled to yank them all out of the sliding doors in time, she warned him that all of his stuff would be checked and confiscated where appropriate. Vince tried his best to ignore her, concentrating instead on the sound his shoes made against the shiny floor, and on dragging his bags after him.
"Just down here…" the receptionist mumbled, not bothering to help with his things. The corridor they had entered was just as empty as the lobby had been, and just as bleak. From the windows up here, Vince could see the car park below, and noted that his parents were long gone. Oh, well. There was no use pining for them now, anyhow. They were the ones who had decided to leave him here alone.
"Here's the main area…" The receptionist didn't seem to be able to muster the energy to construct a whole sentence, so she just waved her arm pathetically around after she trailed off. The 'main area' wasn't exactly party central – there were a few sofas in the middle of the room, with the stuffing leaking out onto the floor and the fabric ripped and worn in places, and an ancient TV set on a table in the corner. A few desks dotted here and there, and that completed his first impression of the room. Vince tried not to crinkle his nose at the musty smell that cloaked the building, but he wasn't sure he completely managed to disguise his disgust when he was led to a poky bedroom just south of the living area.
"You can just leave your stuff in here… I'll leave you to get settled in. Feel free to head out when you're done, I'm sure the others are aching to meet you. We haven't had a new face around here for ages."
"I'll bet," Vince muttered darkly as he dragged the last bag into the room and sat back on the dusty bed. The lumpy mattress made him cringe, and the creaking noise that filled the room when he lay back was almost enough to send him over the edge, and nearly pushed the tears he had been trying to conceal into the open. Almost. Vince stopped himself just in time, screwing his eyes up so that he didn't cry. Crying would be a bad idea right now. It would make him almost as weak as his mother.
He knew he wasn't being fair to her, but he couldn't help it. She had abandoned him, let his father get his way once again, leaving Vince in this awful place for God-knows how long. He hated her. He hated them both.
Slowly, Vince began to unpack. He wasn't sure what good it would do, since his stuff could be taken away, anyway, but it felt good to have his posters and drawings around him. His clothes went in the pathetic wooden wardrobe that sat across from the bed, but only half would fit onto the hangers provided, so he folded the rest up and set them in the bottom. The room was windowless, so he couldn't even distract himself with the view below or let some air into the stale atmosphere. Urgh. Things really couldn't get much worse, he reasoned, as he hid his face in the pillow. The linen smelled funny, sort of like disinfectant but not quite. He detected bleach, and the old, dingy smell of the building. Nothing could erase that smell from his brain. Not even the slight knocking at the door.
Vince stood up, scrubbed desperately at his eyes, and went to answer it. Whoever was calling on him was impatient, because the sound came again just as his hand reached for the door handle. He wondered who wanted to speak to him so badly, and prepared to open the door to find out. Any visitor would be welcome, he decided, because things could only get better. They couldn't possibly get worse, could they?
After all, he was practically alone now. He'd left any sort of friends behind at home. Everyone thought he was crazy, anyway. The people that he'd be living with, their impressions couldn't count for much, surely?
He was in a mental asylum.