A/N: This story was written with randomuser674. Check out her stories! In case you didn't realize, this is Alice's POV. Thanks again to randomuser674!
The woman in the taxi was old. She wore heavy-rimmed glasses and she was endlessly smiling at me. Her hair was bee-hive style, the kind that my father always insisted I should have. It was the kind of style that made me want to vomit, and I was much happier with my simple black haircut.
When we reached Biloxi, the woman placed her hand on my knee and smiled reassuringly at me.
"Now, don't be sad, darling," she cooed, as if talking to a five-year-old child. "Your mommy and daddy will visit very often. Who knows? You may be out of here very soon." I smiled sweetly, fighting a grimace. Soon after, the taxi came to an abrupt stop outside of a tall concrete building. There were no flowers. There was no white picket fence. The only birds were pigeons, and the windows had iron bars on them.
I pressed my nose again the cold glass, enjoying the chill that it sent down my body. I didn't move at first, as the taxi driver got out of the driver's seat and tentatively opened my door. The woman in the glasses was smiling down at me, holding an over-sized purse. The air from outside flew into the small taxi, ruffling my long black hair. I pushed it out of my face, accepting the driver's gloved hand as he helped me out of the car. The man seemed tentative to touch me; he had probably heard of my insanity from the social workers. Or maybe even my own father. Yes, probably the latter. My father was never reserved while talking about my "little problem". That was what he called it in company, right before he spit out a cruel joke about fortune-tellers and the mentally challenged. I didn't mind, however. He could talk about me all that he wanted and I would keep my chin high. It was the times that he was extremely drunk that bothered me- when he would hit my sister over and over. The picture has haunted me for years now, her small face filled with agony as he threw her against the wall... her thrashing body as blood poured onto the concrete...
I shivered, refusing to let those memories bother me here. I had to prove myself. I had to prove to the doctors that I was normal, so that I could go home and take care of my siblings.
"Welcome to your new home, dear," the spectacled social worker exclaimed, gesturing to the prison-like building behind her as if pointing to a castle. This time I really did grimace. There was no point in pretending to be happy. My father had stolen that aspect of me the first night after my mother had taken her life.
Apprehensively, I followed the woman into the building. I could hear the wheels of the taxi spurring wildly as it made its escape. That cab driver did not know how lucky he was to be leaving this place. I may very well spend the rest of my life withering away here. I closed me eyes, trying to picture my future. But it was blank.
The room that we walked into was large and, for the most part, unfurnished. There was a marble floor and a large cathedral ceiling. Other than the social worker, who I suddenly remembered was named Ms. Vreeland, there was only one person in the room. She was sitting behind the desk, and she was young and pretty in a cliché way. Ms. Vreeland and I walked over to the woman, dragging my small trunk behind us.
"Hello," the woman said in a professional, crisp voice. "Can I be of service?" I could feel both of their eyes on me, so I fixated my own eyes on her nameplate. Vera Adams. A nice, simple name.
"Yes, my name is Anne Vreeland," Ms. Vreeland explained. "I sent a telegram earlier this week explaining the situation of a young girl named Mary." I jumped, not custom to being referred to as 'Mary'.
"They call me 'Alice'," I reminded the woman, and Ms. Vreeland smiled patronizingly.
"Of course they do, Alice," she muttered, biting her bottom lip. She didn't believe me. "Anyway," Ms. Vreeland continued, turning back to the woman at the desk. "I sent a telegram. This is Mary Alice Brandon, and she is being checked in to the pediatric ward today." I sighed, annoyed with the term 'pediatric'. I was seventeen, and I had spent my whole childhood anticipating the day that I turned eighteen and became a legal adult. But my father had gotten tired of me eleven months before my birthday, and I was still under his rule.
"Yes, of course," Vera Adams replied, casting me a pearly white smile that I only returned half-heartedly. "With the visions, how could I forget?" Her voice was good-hearted, but I could see the acid in her eyes. As if cued, an image of a person that I had never seen before appeared in my mind. He was handsome, with cropped blonde hair and eyes the color of fresh-cut roses. I barely noticed these little details, however, for I was completely swallowed by his inhuman beauty. Before I could scrutinize my laser vision any further, Ms. Vreeland's hand was on my shoulder.
"Did you hear the nice woman, Mary?" she asked. "You can go unpack your things now. She will show you the way."
I blinked in astonishment as Vera stood up from her desk and pursed her lips. My stomach heaved a little bit, but I composed myself and wound a trembling hand around the handle of my trunk.
"Can you handle it, Mary Alice?" Vera asked, scrutinizing my petite stature. I nodded, pulling my luggage a couple of inches to prove that I could.
"Just Alice," I reminded her, trying to conceal a sigh of exasperation. Vera opened her mouth but then shut it as if she had debating whether or not to say anything. She decided not to, which left Ms. Vreeland and I to say farewells after our short meeting.
"Well, it was lovely meeting you, Alice," she said, holding out her hand. I shook her hand, apprehensive about seeing my room. Will I have some roommate who starts fires, or eats people, or some actual crazy person? I'm not crazy. I can't control what I do. I see things and they happen. This means... I thought, thinking back to the inhumane beauty of that man. I shall soon be seeing him.
I followed Vera down the plain white corridor until she reached a door at the very end. 26A, it was labeled. I held my breath as she unlocked the door, and then pushed it open. It was not a very homey room. One cot, one iron-barred window, one small side-table, and one chair were all that sat within it. I let my trunk drop to the floor, emitting an ominous boom that echoed around the hollow room.
"I'll let you unpack," she said, leaving the room. I heard the door shut behind me. Click. The door locked. I sighed. I would have to be locked in here until I could prove I really was sane. I had to return home to my sisters. What would Father do to them?
I unpacked the few belongings that I'd brought with me; a hairbrush and the doll that Mother had made me before she'd passed. I put them on the small table before collapsing into my cot. How ironic, that I would probably end up going insane here.