Anna is now in the Secure Ward at a mental institution.
But why would she be put there after doing something so brave and necessary?
Virtually everything that happened that night was a blur…
"I don't think it's a good idea that you stay here very long, Anna," Dr. Silberling said slowly.
"You mean I can leave again?" Anna asked hopefully.
"Yes, but not to where you may be thinking," Dr. Silberling said forlornly.
"Where would I be going?" Anna asked suspiciously.
"The North Shore Institution," he told her with great guilt in his voice. "I can't help you anymore, Anna. No one here can."
Anna started to shake.
She could feel her face turn red and pulse get higher as it started roaring in her ears.
"Now, Anna. Relax," Dr. Silberling said cautiously.
Anna leaped out of her chair, ran out of the room and slammed the door shut.
She ran all the way to her room at the end of the hall, where her sister Alex waited.
"Hey. What's up?" asked Alex.
Anna ignored her and started looking through her room.
"Whoa, what's with you? What happened?" Alex tried again.
"They're not sending me there," Anna said under her breath. "They can't send me there, I didn't do anything to deserve to go there."
"Ok, Anna. Just tell me what happened in there," Alex demanded.
"Dr. Silberling said that no one here can help me anymore," Anna explained. "So they're sending me to the North Shore Institution."
"What?" Alex practically screamed. "Anna, you know who they send there, don't you?"
"No, but why should it matter?" Anna asked.
"The full name of that place is The North Shore Institution for the Criminally Insane, Anna. That's why it matters," Alex said.
"What?" Anna whipped her head around, feeling herself begin to spiral out of control again.
"Anna, calm down," Alex said soothingly.
"Why should I?" Anna screamed as she started to go on a rampage, ripping her room apart.
"Because they might not send you there if you don't act out or do anything stupid," Alex explained.
Anna started thinking. Wait. I couldfeel myself spiraling out of control. It happened twice in the last few minutes. I started tearing my room up just because I got upset. And I've been seeing more people lately… People I know aren't there.
"Maybe I belong there," Anna said, her voice filled with sadness.
"What would make you say that?" Alex asked.
"Think about it, Alex. I've been hearing things so loudly that I sink to the floor in pain and just scream until they go away. I've been seeing all of these terrible things that I know aren't there, but that doesn't really seem to help me, does it? Maybe I'm just falling apart," Anna said with a huge lump in her throat.
"Anna, stop," Alex said firmly.
Anna looked at Alex.
"Just stop it," Alex repeated. "Don't think like that. There's no reason for you to start overreacting to everything. You're probably fine, it's just this place. It'll take some time, Anna."
"Well I'm being moved to an institution for the criminally insane now, aren't I?" Anna asked darkly.
Alex stared at Anna, not knowing what to say.
"Criminally insane," Anna mumbled to herself. "I'm not insane."
"Ok, Anna, let's just thinkfor a minute," said Alex.
"What's there to think about? They're not sending me there!" Anna argued.
"I'm just trying to think of a way out of this," Alex said slowly, giving Anna time to cool off.
When Anna turned her head, she saw another hideous thing beside her. She decided to call them the voices, since those seemed to be what they really were.
It had gray-white skin. It had one eye that was barely in the socket and the other was completely missing. Chunks of flesh were rotting off of its' face, and the jaw was twisted to the right. Blood was pouring out of its' head, where there was an axe wound.
Anna shrieked when she saw it.
The voice reached out a hand and said in a raspy, gurgling voice "You know you can't go anywhere else… you belong there and you know it."
It scratched its' long fingernail with dirt and blood caked under it at Anna's throat.
Anna cried out in pain and screamed, "Get away from me!" as she started lashing out trying to hit it.
"Anna, whatare you doing?" Alex shouted as she tried to restrain her sister.
"Get it away!" Anna shouted again.
Alex stepped in front of Anna and waited until she had calmed down to sit her on the bed in the room.
"What was that?" asked Alex.
"You didn't see it?"
"No, I didn't."
Anna put her head in her hands and started shaking. She was doing everything she could not to cry.
"It's getting worse," Anna said sadly.
Alex put her hand on her sister's back to comfort her.
"I should go, shouldn't I?" Anna asked Alex.
"I think it's really for the best, Anna. They might be able to help you," Alex said.
Anna didn't know how to reply to that. She didn't know how they treated people like her at those places.
So Anna just stood up and started packing, unaware of how soon she would be leaving.
Dr. Silberling came by and saw Anna packing.
He said, "Anna, I'm so sorry I couldn't have done more for you. Would you like some help packing?"
Dr. Silberling watched as Anna looked at the empty bed and said, "No thanks, Alex is going to help me."
Dr. Silberling got a sad look on his face as he stared at Anna. Then he just gave a tired smile and left the doorway.
Anna looked on her bed where Alex was sitting.
"I wonder why he looked at me like that," Anna said.
"Well, he's probably really sorry you have to go to a place like that, Anna," Alex said. "Why did you act all polite? He's sending you to a criminally insane institution."
"Yeah well like you said, if I don't act out or do anything stupid they might not send me," Anna replied.
"Anna, I don't think that's going to help you," Alex said.
"Because you've been here long enough for them to see if you were ever going to improve at this place."
Anna thought about this. It was true. She had been there for 6 months. Surely if there was something wrong with her then it would have been fixed by now or at least gotten better, not worse.
"Ok. Now help me pack," Anna said.
Alex hopped up from the bed and helped Anna put all of her stuff in her bag.
"Well, that's everything," said Alex as she stared at the bare room.
"I'd better go find Dr. Silberling," said Anna.
Anna left Alex in the room and walked down the hallway. She made a left and bumped right into Dr. Silberling. He was on his way back from the cafeteria with a cup of coffee in his hands.
"Oh," he said in surprise. "Hi, Anna. What can I do for you?"
"When am I leaving?" Anna asked with tears in her eyes.
"First thing tomorrow. It's a good thing you packed now," Dr. Silberling said. "I'm so sorry I told you on such short notice but I wanted to keep you as happy as you could be here until it was time for you to leave."
Anna just nodded and walked back down the hallway, wiping her eyes.
She stormed into her room and slammed the door shut.
"When?" Alex asked.
"Tomorrow; first thing," Anna replied. "He wanted to keep me in the dark as long as he could so I wouldn't be upset."
"Anna…" Alex started.
"I don't want to go there!" Anna interrupted. She slumped onto her bed. "You won't be able to visit me, and I'll be surrounded by insane people that want to hurt me!"
"Anna, you don't know that," Alex said.
"Yes I do," Anna said. "You don't know what I've been through and now I have to be moved to a place even worse than this."
"Just stay with me, Anna," Alex tried. "Maybe it's not all that bad. If they give you treatments that work then you'll be fine."
"And if they don't?"
"Then they'll keep trying until they do," Alex said.
Anna was actually touched her sister cared so much. And she was doing a pretty good job at convincing her that she would be ok. Maybe she would be.
The next day, Anna got a rude awakening.
She shot up in bed when her metal door was kicked open.
There were men dressed in black and men with hospital uniforms on.
"What's going on?" Anna asked hurriedly.
"Come with us," one of the men in a hospital uniform said as he took her arm slowly.
"No!" Anna said as she jerked away. "I'm not ready!"
A man in black pulled out a shot, probably a sedative. "I'll ask you again," he said. "Come with us."
Just taking necessary measures,Anna thought. These men deal with insane people all the time. I'll show them I'm not crazy.
"Ok," Anna said as she got out of her bed.
She noticed they had taken her bag with everything in it.
The same man in the hospital uniform that had tried before reached out his hand and Anna took it.
They led her out to their car, which looked a lot like an ambulance.
When they opened the doors and Anna looked inside, she saw the voices waiting for her.
Whispers crammed her head and made it throb.
This time she could actually understand some of what they were saying.
Anna, you don't know what this will do to you.
More nonsense whispering.
You don't know what they do to people like you, do you Anna?
The men threw her in the truck when she started to protest at the voices.
She screamed as they started the truck and drove.
One of the voices grabbed her face in its' hands and said "Oh, Anna. You know all too well. They'll take you, put you in a straight jacket, and lock you in a padded room. And the only time they'll take you out is to put you in a room full of mirrors, showing you all of us. And they'll torture you. And they'll shock you… and shock you… until all you do is laugh, Anna."
"Shut up," Anna spat at it.
The voice scratched Anna's face with its' fingernails and blood streamed out of the wound.
Anna yelped in pain and put a hand on the cut to stop the bleeding.
"There are consequences for everything you do, Anna. Do you understand?"
Anna slowly nodded her head.
The voice took the seat next to her, and the rest of the ride was in utter silence.
Finally, the men came around to the back of the truck and opened the doors.
"Thank you! Please take me out! Take me out!" Anna shouted. She had now completely lost all control.
"Calmly," said a man in a hospital uniform. "walk to me."
Anna did as she was told.
"Good. Now come into my arms."
Anna stepped out of the truck and the man took her arms behind her back and started walking into the building with her.
He held her so tightly it hurt.
"Ow!" Anna cried out in pain and panicked.
Suddenly all of the men were around her and holding her any way they could to restrain her.
"Get off me!" Anna shrieked.
She started convulsing uncontrollably, trying to get them away from her.
The voices in Anna's head were screaming and her head began to pound.
"Stop screaming at me!" Anna yelled to the air.
The men were now carrying her up the steps to the North Shore Institution for the Criminally Insane.
On the outside, it appeared as a prison.
However on the inside, it was much more horrifying.
At first, all you saw was a single hallway. The hallway was made out of old bricks and cement. It was lit by a single oil lantern, whose flame was flickering violently, threatening to go out.
The men dragged Anna down the hallway.
At the end of the hallway, you had to turn left, the right side just bricks consumed by darkness.
There were cells all along the hallway that the previous one led to.
To be accurate, there were 50 cells in the one hallway. At the very end, though, the final 50th cell was solitary confinement. It was empty at the moment, but solitary never stayed empty for long.
Next to solitary, there was a door. Quietly, the men took Anna down the hallway, and Anna got a good look at each patient.
The first one she saw was a girl. About 17 or 18 with frizzy red hair that had gone gray in some places.
The feeling this place gave off made Anna sure they didn't just throw you somewhere and keep you there.
"They do things to people like you, Anna," the voices said.
As soon as the girl saw Anna, she ran up to the bars of her cell and opened her eyes widely, then opened her mouth as a look of hunger came across her face and her tongue came out of her mouth.
Frightened, Anna turned away, only to be faced by all the other patients reaching through the bars of their cells.
As they were moving, she saw so many things that scared her.
Some people didn't even notice Anna was there.
A few people were lying down on their beds, which were covered in blood.
They were also bleeding and breathing dangerously hard.
Even one person in cell #37 had glassy eyes and wasn't breathing.
It terrified Anna to think what could have done that to him.
They finally got past cell #50.
All the men let one hand go, and led Anna to the door at the end of the hall.
"Mr. Nelson! We've got Anna Rydell here! The girl for cell 48," said a man Anna had never heard speak before.
The next thing Anna heard was fumbling with what sounded like a dozen locks on the other side of the door.
A man came out. He had a tired look on his face and casual clothing.
"Hello, Anna. Welcome to the North Shore Institution," said Mr. Nelson.
All Anna did was glare at him.
"Ok, let's go to your cell, darling. I'll take it from here, boys."
Mr. Nelson put out his arm and reached towards Anna to grab her.
Anna slapped Mr. Nelson's hand away with strong force.
Mr. Nelson calmly said, "Don't do that, Anna. There will be consequences next time."
Immediately Anna thought back to the voice that had deeply scratched her face in the van. How it told her that there were consequences for everything she does.
At once Anna stopped trying to resist.
"Good girl. Now don't go anywhere," Mr. Nelson said after he grabbed Anna's arm. He slowly let go of it.
Anna did nothing.
Mr. Nelson found his keys, and went to the one that was numbered 48.
He put it in the lock for the cell and opened the door.
"Come on in," said Mr. Nelson with a strange smile on his face.
Anna stepped inside the cell, and looked around.
Blood on the walls, and an old bed with God knows what stained all over it.
Mr. Nelson looked at her again with that same smile and closed the cell door.
Anna went up to the bars as Mr. Nelson locked the door and walked away.
She watched as he walked away and went through the door at the end of the hallway.
Listened as the locks clicked shut on the other side of the door.
And then just listened to the sounds of her new home.
There was screaming everywhere.
Agonizingly terrible shrieks from every corner.
This place was unique; it wasn't a place where they helped people.
This was where all the patients got tortured until they couldn't take it anymore.
It's like a game, Anna thought. How far can we go before you break? Will you even break at all? How much can you possibly stand before you're driven to the very farthest brink of insanity? I want to play. Anna smirked.
And I'll win.