Chapter One: "Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind"

Her world had once been full of color. Not that she cared to notice it, but it had been there she knew it had been. She was not crazy, no matter what the therapist claimed. There had been color, which she had seen with her very own eyes, the same two that were now shrouded in darkness. Her room had been a deep violet color, like the sky at dusk, her bed was covered in blood red blankets…blood…blood…oh God.

Now she remembered, and she wished that she hadn't.

A cry tore through her parched throat that sounded like paper ripping and butterfly wings.

She blinked trying to clear the darkness from her eyes; the darkness was a bad place, a horrible place. The darkness is where the demons hid, the demons that clawed at her subconscious and bit at her thoughts constantly. Only the light kept them mostly at bay. The light kept them from completely claiming her. But now that there was no light (Oh God, where was the light? She was sinkingdrowningsuffocating), the demons were free to roam and tear at all that was left vulnerable. She felt their claws digging into her mind, shots of pain slamming through her skull. She felt moisture sliding down her temple where one had tried to claw outside into the tiny room. Where he would torture her because she wouldn't be able to stop him.

She was blind.

Another scream resonated through the room and slammed her head back into the wall. More moisture (thick and copper smelling) was felt dripping onto her collarbone. She knew it was red; she didn't have to have sight to be positive about that.

The demons multiplied and swam through memories until they came to the ones that she had kept carefully locked away. Ones that would only stay locked away with the light, but darkness conquered all. Sharp talons and fangs tore at the box, the girl tossed her head attempting to throw them off get them away from Pandora's Box, but they continued to tear and bite at the lock. More moisture was felt as the lock gradually came loose, and then it happened- the box was opened.

The box exploded with a large splattering of blood. Heavy, thick, and smothering.

This is where the hellish cycle began.

For some reason, now that she couldn't see, she could remember the day so clearly. The sky was the bluest blue with only a few clouds obscuring the color. The buildings were a dull blinding grey and slouched against each other. The neighborhood was dull and boring, just as it had always been. There was nothing unusual about the day now that she was reliving it (overandoveragain), but that didn't stop it from taking a horrible turn.

In her mind, the shadows seemed to move and slide along the buildings, teasing the corners of her eyesight. Darkness danced inwards towards her, wicked claws reaching for her. Being herself, she decidedly ignored her paranoia and continued walking calmly towards her piece of shit school. Half a block later, it started.

The world seemed to still, the clouds floated in place; the wind held its breath. An eerie silence swept through the block. The darkness crept inwards even quicker, splashing at her ankles. Her breathing increased while her feet felt like bricks as she treaded through the stillborn ally. After what seemed like forever and a century, she broke free of the darkening ally and gasped as if she had just emerged from deep underwater. Her eyes adjusted to the brightness of the world: the grey buildings still leaning against one another, the overbearing sun shining gold down upon the people, and the blue sky as a bright backdrop.

But the world seemed to still again. She refused to give into her paranoia, as that was what she had classified it as (but she was so wrong), so she kept walking even as a few people stopped and looked around. The air was as fragile as glass balancing on the edge of the world just waiting to break, shatter, explode, burn.

And then it did.

There was a deep rumble like the Earth itself was ripping open, and then there was a gust of dusty wind that blinded many. She turned her head to shield her eyes and then felt the heat; heat so intense that it felt as though her clothes melted and fused to her skin. A gasp left her mouth as she turned and attempted to escape the heat, oh God, the heat, it burned, but came face to face with nothing.

Then the screams started: loud, ear piercing, hair raising, mind blowing screams. Then she saw them: demons cloaked in skin. And the next second…


Blood red.

Blood everywhere.

Blood everywhere, covering everything (her shoelaces, her knees, her elbows, her fingernails, her neck, her eyes, oh God, her eyes were coated in it! Like someone had taken red paint and brushed a coat of it right over her eyes, oh God, she couldn't see anything but the blood!)

Blood…so much blood.

She could smell it, how it permeated the air surrounding her, gagging her, making her want to claw her goddamned throat out. She wanted to stop breathing if only it would allow her to not smell it anymore. The smell was so thick (like mud), it weighed her down and closed her throat and plugged her nose and made her head feel light (like a balloon).

She could feel her body swaying as she fought for air, clean air fresh air (airineedair!), but couldn't seem to open her mouth and take a breath. When fireworks, red fireworks that looked ironically like blood splattered on the furthest corners of her mind, started popping behind her wide shut eyes, her mouth opened and she gaped like a fish out of water. The smell returned so quickly and so harshly that it knocked her off her feet (or it could have been the people running, screaming, escaping).

She blinked and clawed at her eyes as she ran; ran from the screaming, the ripping of skin, the bullet shots, the smell, the blood, the darkness.

She still couldn't fucking see!

Her vision was becoming light again, blurry shapes and buildings coming into focus, colors (color: red) coming back. It felt like a weight had been lifted as she spun around to take in everything (the light! The light was there, so bright and warm keeping the cool darkness at bay. She was never closing her eyes again.).

Swarms of people, all screaming and crying tears of blood, were running in every direction, trying to escape the hellhole the street had become. Her legs were sore, her muscles burned (she didn't exercise much, and now it was coming back to bite her in the ass) her heart raced, her lungs begged for oxygen that stank of death, her eyes stung, her skin hurt.

The street was a blur of colors as she tried to focus on getting the hell out of there (she could remember it now though). Those slouching grey buildings alight with dancing orange flames, the people smattered with blood, the sky full of grieving grey smoke. Everything had been a streaming blur and then she was spinning, the flames tickling the sky, the ground, the red everywhere…

The ground came up to meet her rather quickly and did nothing to soften her landing. She landed with a crunch and blinding white pain and more blood. Her world was still spinning (like some twisted merry-go-round) as the screaming, gunfire, ripping continued. Her world abruptly righted itself as she sat, slumped andclinging, next to a burning building. Her back was hot and made her feel like she was in an oven, the air around her scorching and burning. Ashes floated down from the building (or was it the sky crying tears of sadness?) and shimmered sizzling onto her skin.

Her body seemed detached from her mind (because her mind was screaming 'get up you stupid girl, run for it! Get up!' and her body was not responding. She was like a radio without an antenna.), and her back was burning and sort of…numbing. Ah, the numbing was a welcome relief to the sparking pain the rest of her body was experiencing. She watched with a detached sense of curiosity as the people continued to run and scream and cry.

Black spots were popping (like the bubbles she had watched little children blow) at the edges of her vision and then felt a cool burst of strong wind. That was certainly appreciated. She looked up (her whole body feeling light like she was floating in water) and saw several helicopters getting closer and closer to the street. The wind was a welcome gift as she turned, or tried to turn, her head towards it as it was rather hot where she was sitting (dying).

She watched many people wave towards them trying to get their attention to save them, but that didn't seem to be the case. The helicopters pulled farther up away from them, and then something funny happened: the bottom of their planes opened. She was hoping water would come out, she was really thirsty for some reason. But instead something small and black fell out, and for a second, she thought it looked kind of like a missile. Oh good, they were fighting the demons! She watched as the black missile plummeted towards the street where she saw no demons, just screaming people and crying kids…what the hell?

It seemed to happen in slow motion: the missile hit the ground, and the ground buckled up, flinging numerous people out of the way and into the sides of buildings; burning buildings. Suddenly, a blinding light erupted from the crater in the ground.

She watched as the light spread outwards. She watched as a mother (crying, sweating, screaming, praying) clutched her baby to her chest and tried to outrun the wall of burning white light. She could hear the mother screaming and the baby wailing, and then nothing as they were engulfed in the light. She watched as the light took out everyone and everything in its path. She watched as it came closer to her but she wasn't able to do anything; too stunned and terrified to move. She watched as more people were incinerated, plunged into oblivion as the blinding white light washed over them. She watched as it pushed toward her, like the ocean's tide, she watched with wide eyes even though her brain screamed at her to shut them ('shut them tight, seal them closed, this light isn't good!'), but she refused to listen. She watched with sick fascination as it came closer…closer…closer to her until it reached the tips of her toes.

And then she was swallowed whole with her eyes still wide open.

It felt like nothing she'd ever experienced before (something she never wanted to experience again).

It felt like she was on fire, like she was being burned from the inside out. Her skin boiled, and her mouth dried open with a quite scream, her tongue curling in towards the back of her throat where her scream resided. Her whole body throbbed like one giant heartbeat, while her heart slammed painfully against her ribcage trying to escape the heat that encased her body like a cocoon. It felt as though her skin was melting off her bones, her bones blackening and turning to ash, and she collapsed into herself. Her eyes (oh God, her eyes!) were crying tears of blood (she looked like everyone else now, tears of blood and piles of ash) and were being gouged out of their sockets by the white light. Her eyes were being stabbed, repeatedly, with a rainstorm of sharp objects (God, this was torture), her eyelashes were being ripped and burned in the whiteness like the insignificant pieces of nothing they were.

She cried, not water tears because it was too hot for water, but cried tears of blood as her eyes were ripped into tiny little pieces and thrown into the fire, where they floated away, carelessly free.

Oxygen was nonexistent as her throat burned away; her brain swelled pushing against her skull, throbbing along with the rest of her body. She clawed at anything (nothing) in an attempt to get away from the light (because it was worse than any other painhellsufferingdying she could have ever thought of), but before she could fully let the light consume her (what use was it to fight back? Maybe if she stepped into the dark that was slowly blanketing her vision the pain, oh God the pain, would go away…just like her eyelashes…), she realized something: this was what hell was like.

A constant whirlwind of pain in every single little molecule of her body, a suffering so great even death wasn't release, a hell so ruthless even the devil would be terrified.

As the darkness began it's slow and much awaited for takeover, she felt the burning white fire rush from her toes up through her body like a tidal wave before expelling out where her eyes should have been. Her body became so hot she thought she melted completely, and then she swelled and popped with a mind shattering blast. She could feel her whole body disconnect (turn to dust) and float among the white light like the insignificant pieces of nothing they were.

Present: Inside the compound

The compound was usually quiet, save for the normal mutterings and ramblings of the patients. These sounds were nothing new seeing as she worked in a nuthouse.

She popped her gum nosily and flipped through the magazine carelessly, as she had already read it about a hundred times, and tapped her white shoes on the obscenely polished white floor. She tossed the magazine tiredly and glanced up at the ceiling. She tried to find the shapes her sister always claimed there were with this kind of roof but found none. She was surprised their parents hadn't submitted her sister here yet.

The quiet was shattered by a deranged shriek coming from down the hall. She rolled her eyes and popped another bubble in her gum in annoyance. Could they never be insane quietly? Loud thumping was heard along with another loud scream, and then a horde of people sprinted down the hall, one with a syringe in hand. She sighed, annoyed, and spun around in her chair, watching the walls and ceiling all blend together in one white blob. When the screaming didn't stop, she discontinued her spinning and stared down the hallway curiously. More thumps were heard along with shouting, but the thumps continued. Glancing down both ends of the hallway before she moved, she ducked down and dove for the file cabinet.

This patient was always causing a disturbance.

Quickly, she stuck the key into the lock and slid it open soundlessly. Efficiently running her fingers over the tops of countless files, she looked for the patient's room number. R5634 was near the back and was in a blue folder. Only a few of the hundreds of patients in this section of the building were in blue folders, and she had always been curious as to what that meant…

As silent as the wind, she whipped out the folder and left the cabinet ajar in case any of the employees came back this way. The name Rachel Raven Roth was printed neatly on the center of the folder. Underneath her name, it read her ID number and the date she was submitted.

Even more intrigued than before, she flipped the file open only to have it slammed shut in her face. She looked up, startled that she had been caught, to come face to face with Doctor Monetti. She stared at Doctor Monetti with feigned innocence, her blue eyes wide.

"Hello Dr. Toni." Her grin was bright as the sunlight streaming in through the reception area's window. She slowly tucked a piece of her blond hair behind her ear, completely innocent. Doctor Monetti grimaced and glared angrily at the girl.

"I have no idea why they hired you in the first place but I'm sure if they found out you were snooping through the patient's files, you would be fired immediately, so I better not see you doing this again. Understand?" Doctor Monetti's voice was clipped, and with her thick Aussie-Brit accent, it made her words seem razor sharp. Doctor Monetti's glare intensified and seemed to burn straight through her.

"Oh, I understand perfectly, Ma'am," Her voice was chipper and completely fake. After all, she liked working here, and she really liked her married sugar daddy, so why get into petty arguments with riff raff?

Doctor Monetti tensed and leaned forward threateningly. "Look, girlie, I know who you're sleeping with in order to keep this job, so don't think for a nanosecond that I don't know exactly how to get you fired. Do I make myself perfectly clear?" Doctor Monetti's eyes were like liquid fire staring her straight on. Geeze, this woman was extremely uptight, rude, and nosy!

"Crystal," the girl growled out, viciously chomping her gum again and spinning away. She crossed her arms and with a pout, mumbled out all the words that she wanted to scream at the woman, but couldn't for fear of losing her job. If it weren't for her man candy, she would tell that bitch exactly where she could stick her threats.

Doctor Toni Monetti leaned back with a grimace before snatching the file and keys away from the blond bimbo behind the desk. The girl turned around with a gasp of shock and was about to protest, but Doctor Monetti was already on her way back down the hall, the syringe sticking slightly out of her pocket.

All was quiet again.

She was forever trapped

Trapped inside a hell that kept on giving

A hell that she relieved e v e r y single damned day

A hell that no one could see except her demons

A hell no one believed her about

So she was here.

Card games were never her forte.