The Mind is a Treacherous Thing
Summary: The Berkview Institute for the Criminally Insane is hell on earth and Reid's new home.
Disclaimer: Don't own anything, and wouldn't want to either. There's not enough closet space here.
Author's Notes: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I just want to remind you all that I'm not English speaking. There will be mistakes.
"Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtaxed."
Oliver Wendell Holmes
Reid stood in the medicine line, his arms wrapped tightly around his own body, his shoulders drawn up to his ears, his back slightly hunched. This place was always so damn cold. The standard patient uniform was slippers, sweatpants, t-shirt and a robe. But Reid refused to walk around in a robe all day. It was too stereotypic.
He'd been late today, so he was last in line after Danny, whose OCD made him count his numerous pills seven times before taking them. But he didn't understand how he could be late for something when he was always right here, in this building, on this floor, in this ward, day in and day out.
"Here you go, Spencer." Nurse Grace handed him a medicine cup through the hatch in the Plexiglas hiding the pharmacy. The cup had four pills in it, one big blue, a round yellow one and two small white ones. He took the cup and the small Dixie cup of water and quickly downed the pills, then opening his mouth wide, moving his tongue around, to prove he really had taken the pills. He had a headache, but knew better than to ask for extra medication. That would only lead to inquiries and investigations that he didn't want to be a part of. He just wanted to be left alone.
The orderly guarding the line nodded him clear and he shuffled into the dayroom. He had to shuffle. These slippers came off if he tried to walk properly, and he was sick of them.
The dayroom was painted in mint green. It was probably supposed to be soothing, but Reid was sick of it. He was sick of it all. The calming music, that wasn't calming at all, from the speakers built into the wall. The television that was always on, but that no one watched as it only showed a local channel. All corridors in the hospital were painted in the same not-quite-white color, that made Reid long for bright yellow, or even pink. He hated the bars on the windows in the dayroom, on the windows in the bathroom, on the windows in the canteen, on the windows in his room, no his cell. There were bars on everything. Bars and locks. He hadn't been outside in weeks.
There was a large clock on the wall whose second hand loudly made the time move forward. Without it time would stand still.
The same people were in the dayroom as every day. Danny, whose OCD was too severe for him to function in the real world. He was prone to hurting himself and had to go through his own routines every morning. He counted a lot and had to touch every furniture in a room before he could sit down. He had also stabbed his landlord when pressured about rent.
Eric, who was always having animated conversations with the voices in his head, that always drowned out the sound from the TV, as he liked to pace in front of it. He'd set fire to his own apartment to cleanse it from evil, but only ended up killing three of his neighbors.
Achmed, whose clinical depression disorder made him almost catatonic at times and abusive at others. Today he sat staring out a window, not moving an eyelash. Yesterday he had bitten Reid to get the last roll at lunch. Reid unconsciously rubbed the healing scabs on his arm. He was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon.
Lincoln and Marcus, the bipolar twins, who were here because they refused to take their medication when left to themselves and who were prone to violence when they were in their manic state. Many victims could attest to that. They laughed harder than anyone else, and cried quieter.
Roger, who had killed his wife in a murder/suicide that he had survived. He had since survived eight suicide attempts, three of them since he had been sent here.
Anthony, the Catholic child molester, who cried and confessed his sins to anyone who would listen.
Lester, Homer and Carl, murderers and rapists whose lawyers had beaten the system and had them sent here instead of prison. They played poker everyday, with monopoly money. Not a good idea. The ones who lost always accused the winner of cheating. The morning wouldn't be complete without them fighting.
Jim, who couldn't shake his PTSD and was prone to hallucinations. He had killed his own daughter, thinking she was an Iraqi soldier and was now in a wheelchair after having been shot by the police.
And he, Spencer, a paranoid schizophrenic murderer. He had blood on his hands and they were all here, every day, to punish him for it.
Murderers and evil-doers, the insane and the truly crazy. They all coexisted in this habitat, drifting around each other in a misted, drugged-up haze.
The Berkview Institute for the Criminally Insane. Hell on earth. And Reid's new home.
Reid sometimes played chess with Jim, but not very often. He didn't like socializing with the others. Even if he was here with them, he wasn't with them. He didn't want to identify with them.
Reid grabbed a book out of the bookshelf, not looking at what it was. He had read every book, magazine and scrap of paper in here ten times over. He curled up in the armchair he had claimed as his and started leafing through the book. To the unenlightened it would seem as if he was just turning the pages, but he was in fact reading every word, yet again.
The days were slow in here, and always the same. Individual therapy in the morning, four times a week. Group therapy in the afternoon, every day, no exception. Lunch was at one, dinner at six, always with a choice of tasteless chocolate pudding or tasteless Jell-O for desert. Movie-nights were Tuesdays and Fridays. Lights out at ten, bed check at two, wake up call at seven and then the same day started all over again… and again and again. This place was a hellhole. It was scary how well he fit in.
For group therapy they brought up the chain link gang, as Reid liked to call them. Those who where too dangerous to be kept among the general population. The serial killers and true psychopaths. Those he had once chased but who were now considered his peers.
Ronald Peters had raped and killed 15 red-headed prostitutes in the span of 15 weeks. His eyes were frozen in a permanent leer.
RJ Lawson, a sadistic former doctor who had used his knowledge of the human body to torture his victims for weeks before the actual kill.
And John Unenge, a muscled man covered in tattoos that believed the world owed him everything and then some. Which is why he had felt no remorse as he had taken a school bus full of autistic children hostage and then blown them up, laughing.
Reid always sat as far away from them as possible.
Today was not a therapy day for Reid. So he spent the morning in his armchair, listening to Eric argue with himself. Lunch was a bland vegetable soup that didn't leave anyone satisfied. Afterwards they gathered in the group therapy room, where chairs had been pulled into a circle. Ronald, RJ and John were brought in, cuffed hands and feet, both chains connected to a belt they wore around their waist, giving them a staggering walk. Two orderlies armed with nightsticks stood at the wall behind them, guarding the whole group.
Reid pulled his feet up on the small chair, as was his wont, wrapping his arms around his knees so not to fall off, and rested his chin on his upturned knees. He was still cold.
Today's therapy session was led by Doctor Cecilia Lux, who was also Reid's personal psychologist. Reid had made a habit of not speaking at group therapy, trying to stay mostly invisible, just listening to the others. But today was not his day.
Predictably, Anthony immediately seized the attention, wanting to talk about how his uncle's molestations scarred him for life and did not leave him any choice but to become a molester himself. These sessions always led to a general 'blame everybody but me' cry fest and Reid loathed them all for their lack of self-recognition.
But today Dr. Lux interrupted Anthony, almost before he could get started. "Thank you Anthony, but you and I spoke to lengths about that this morning. Today I would like to hear from someone else. Spencer? You have been awfully quiet during these sessions. Do you have something you would like to share with the group?"
"Please, Spencer. Group therapy is meant as a mean to help you see other perspectives. Let you comrades help you help your self."
Reid almost gagged at the sugar sweet Dr. Phil moment. They were all hardened criminals. Why would they want to help each other, or even themselves, for that matter? But Dr. Lux got support from the other patients.
"Yeah," Homer said. "You've been here like a month or something and we still don't know what you did."
Reid shrugged. "I killed a guy, that's all," he said as nonchalantly as he could, but inside he was screaming, 'Please don't look at me, please don't see me!'
"Why?" Lester wanted to know.
"Because he sat next to me on the bus."
"And please tell the group why that upset you," Dr. Lux insisted.
Reid shrugged again. "I was saving the seat for someone."
"No, Spencer, tell it all." Dr. Lux was relentless.
"I was saving the seat for my guidance counselor."
"Your guidance counselor?" Ronald asked with a sneer. "What are you, in high school?"
"No, Gideon just helps me with decisions. He tells me what's allowed and not…"
"It," Dr. Lux interrupted him.
"Remember, Spencer, we talked about this. Gideon is not real, so therefore it can not be a 'him'. Gideon's an 'it'."
"And you are the one who decides what exist and doesn't Doctor?" Reid took on a defensive stance. "Basic high school philosophy teaches you to ask yourself whether or not the chair you're sitting on exists when you're not in the room. How can you be so sure? Just because you can't see Gideon doesn't mean he's not real. He's real to me. He's always been there for me."
"And where is he now?" Ronald asked, making a show of looking around.
"He's not here," Reid said angrily. "They've medicated him into lala-land. He'll be back though, just you wait. He won't stay subdued for long. He's too smart for that."
"If he's so smart, then why did he tell you to kill that guy?" Homer asked.
"He didn't tell me to. He never tells me what to do, he only helps me make the right decision on my own. And I wanted to make him happy. I asked the guy to please move. I was very polite, but he didn't listen to me. What else was I supposed to do? I had to stab him. He should have moved when I asked him to. If he'd been me, Gideon would have told me to move and I would never have been killed. Gideon is good to me."
Dr. Lux sighed. This was not how their conversation had gone yesterday. Then Spencer had been forthcoming and admitted that 'Gideon' was only an auditory hallucination, brought on by his disease. But Spencer had proved to be a challenge, never giving an inch unless you repetitively poked and prodded at a subject.
"Please, Spencer. Remember what we talked about yesterday? We agreed that Gideon was just a hallucination, he's just a figment of your imagination," she said.
"No," Reid said spitefully. "You decided that he was a hallucination. I just said yes."
"That's usually what agreeing means, dumb-ass," Ronald said.
"Well, I changed my mind," Reid sneered at him.
"What a nutcase," RJ muttered under his breath.
"There's no need for name calling, gentlemen. Okay, Roger. Would you like to tell us about the nightmare you had last night?" Dr. Lux moved on, frustrated.
The world was dark and hushed, as night's blanket wrapped itself around Berkview, its patients and those unlucky few who worked the nightshift. An orderly came walking through the dimly-lit corridor outside the patients' rooms, his well-worn rubber soles not making a sound on the linoleum floor. It was midnight, two hours too early for the next bed check.
He stopped outside Reid's door and peeked in through the window in the door, shining a flashlight at the sleeping figure. He then looked both ways, listening carefully before putting his key in the lock. He turned it slowly, quietly and then slipped in without even opening the door fully. He closed it and locked it behind him.
Reid was only a dark shape that lay on his side facing the wall, his back to the orderly, with his arms crossed in front of him and with his chin buried in his chest. Even in sleep he looked hostile and distant. The orderly had to squint as his eyes adjusted to the darkness. The only light in the room was shining in from the window in the door. The orderly crossed the small room and sat down on the bed next to Reid with one leg curled on the bed and the other resting on the floor. His weight shifted the mattress, making Reid roll slightly towards him, Reid's lower back bumping into his knee. He carefully put a hand on Reid's shoulder, rubbing it tenderly.
"Hello, Spencer... Are you awake?"