Flowers for a Ghost

Chapter Three

"She was just my imagination." Black Leopard recited to Socks, weeks after the incident. Nothing had happened since then; Nothing that would prove Lily Mizzenpop had visited the black cat and spoken to her.

Socks offered a small smile to her friend, "Glad you're over it." But I'm not. Leopard wanted to protest, but bit her tongue knowing it would result in something negative. When Lily was talking to her, Leopard felt a connection with the toon – one she didn't establish with anyone else. Maybe it was the fact they could rant about the institution from experience or because Leopard desperately needed someone new. Lily had brought life to the dark, gloomy place.

"Yeah." Leopard agreed, halfheartedly. I'm thankful that Socks wants to help me and keep me away from.. the dark side of the asylum but this isn't helping. It's only making me feel more lonely than I need to be.

The medication that was prescribed didn't do anything. Thoughts of confusion and lonesome tagged at her mind, keeping Leopard awake. It felt like she lost a friend ever since Lily Mizzenpop stopped talking. Which is absolutely preposterous. She was real, right? A jointed effort of nurses and doctors had been working to free her of doubts.

It was clear the black cat had fell into a pit of depression. Even Socks and Green Queen hadn't been able to appease Black Leopard recently. She became more distant and aloof to the world around her.

She sauntered over to her bed, sitting on the semi-soft surface. It was rickety and old, but all patients were forced to make do with what resources they were given. Like today, for example, all the more trusted, sane toons had been given a couple sheets of paper, some glue, crayons and a scissors. Nurses stood by, in case anyone misused the equipment. The supplies were scattered around Black Leopard's cell, collecting dust. There was no point in making a craft if there was no one in her life to give it to.

"Hey you." Black Leopard looked up immediately. That was her father's voice. It was smooth and welcoming, just as she had remembered it. But he wasn't in sight. My father is dead. He can't possibly be here.

She brushed it off, thinking it was only imagination or maybe the medication getting to her head. Black Leopard knew something was up, though, after hearing the voice call out to her a second time. "How's my baby girl?"

Black Leopard looked around frantically; Still nobody except for Socks and Green Queen. "Uh.. Dad?" She asked quietly, not wanting anyone to hear.

There was no response from her dad. Instead, she heard Socks talking to her. "What was that?" Leopard wondered, not quite catching what she had said.

Socks looked up from the puzzle she was solving. "I didn't say anything."

"Oh," Black Leopard bit the inside of her lip. This is weird. Am I hearing things again? What is the medication doing to me? "Okay, sorry then."

Socks chuckled, "No worries." And returned to her puzzle of a gag tree orchard.

Black Leopard's ears caught another voice, "Honey, where's your puzzle?" Mom? What are you doing here? You and dad.. You're dead!

"I.. I don't have one.." She murmured, looking around the cell for the source of the voice but there wasn't anything to be found.

Socks' head lifted from the puzzle once more, "Don't have one what?"

"You know.. a puzzle."

Socks nodded, apparently deeming the answer good enough and not prying for more. Leopard was thankful for that. She didn't want her friend to call the nurses again and get an appointment with any of the doctors. Seeing Dr. Karma every two days was bad enough.

Black Leopard let out a long sigh, wanting to clear her mind of what just happened. I'm dreaming these things up. There's nobody talking to me. And just like that, voices from all the toons she had met over the years resounded in her ears. Each one colliding with another, making anything they were saying comprehensible.

Her black paws immediately shot up to cover them, but it did no good. It was as if the voices were running circles around Leopard; She couldn't keep up no matter how hard she tried. "Stop.." She begged them, closing her eyes. The taunts of the voices became louder, overwhelming even. "Go away!"

"Who are you talk-" Socks tried to ask her, instantly worried for her friend who was shouting at nothing.

Leopard's eyes shot open, staring incredulously at Socks, "Shut up!" Her voice screamed, though it seemed to get lost in the mix of over voices running through her head.

Needless to say, the nurses appeared in record time, though didn't make a move to help her. She heard phrases like "just psycho" and "what this building is for". Leopard crashed to the floor in an attempt to escape blaring voices of toons.

They stopped almost instantly as the black cat hit her cell floor. Black Leopard held her throbbing head, not quite sure what to think. The voices left her feeling hollow; The disappearance of Lily only added to the sick feeling.

Everything seemed mixed and jumbled. She didn't know what was real. The voices were just in my head.. Black Leopard told herself, knowing there wasn't any other possibility. "They weren't really here." Came the thought, placed into a sentence said aloud.

Black Leopard let her head drop to the floor, a sense of calm washing over her. As of late, the toon had been terrorized by the fear she may be going crazy after all. What if it's just me who thinks I don't belong here? ..And then there's Lily, but she hasn't said a word to me for weeks.. maybe even a month. Black Leopard had a hard time accepting and understanding the fact Lily Mizzenpop would never be coming back. She was the one person who seemingly comprehended her feelings and problems. It would have been a wonderful friendship.

Her state of depression hit head on when realizing her head was laying on one of the notes Lily Mizzenpop had written her. "Where are you, Lily?" She asked aloud, in desperation. "Come back and talk to me." Black Leopard added a little quieter, not wanting to alert the nurses or any other patients.

Why did you have to go? She wondered, a sniffle escaping her. Great, now they'll really think I'm crazy if I'm crying over something "that doesn't exist". Black Leopard thought, bitterly. The nurses won't believe me no matter what I say. It would help if you came back and ..talked to me.. Just one more time, please Lily?

Her sobs grew less discrete. Black Leopard knew she lost a friend, one that didn't seem to want to speak to her ever again. Why won't you come back and talk to me? I thought you wanted to help me..

Black Leopard stopped sniffling as she caught sight of something shiny in the corner, a scissors. She knew what she wanted to do was definitely against the rulesbut Leopard couldn't help herself. I can replace pain with physical pain. It'll make me forget Lily.. at least for a little while.

"But.. I could die." She reminded herself aloud, and then it hit her. "I can die! I can die!" Leopard chanted, as a smile formed on her face.

The black cat moved quickly to where the scissors lay dormant. Inspecting them, she noted that the tip was curved – probably a safety mechanism to keep patients from stabbing themselves with it. There was absolutely no way to stab with these; Black Leopard was pretty sure her one chance would be to basically cut herself with the blade. That has to be sharp.. or they wouldn't work. Her paw took hold of the scissors, tilting it at different angles to see the gleam. The thing looked new.

"Now or never," she muttered to nobody but herself, the words serving as an encouragement to continue. She took a deep breath and slashed the blade across the other wrist. There was a dull pain amounting from the action, but Black Leopard didn't let that stop her.

She repeated the movement until a fine line of blood began to trickle down from the wound. The pain was stronger; Her body's way of begging her not to inflict more self-harm. After another harsh swipe of the blade, she yelped as it seemed to break her skin more than any of the other attempts. Blood gushed from her wrist, dripping onto the stone floor.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING!" Socks yelled in surprise. I guess my cry of pain gave me away.. She thought, a frown tugging at her lips. It took less than ten seconds for the rest of the patients in that wing to begin screaming in terror as they watched the scene.

Black Leopard sat with a bleeding wrist, a bloody scissors and a pool of red in front of her. It took even less time for the nurses to be alerted and rushing into her cell. One of them grabbed the scissors, throwing it far away from Leopard. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" The nurse screamed at Black Leopard, inspecting the deep gash on her wrist.

Black Leopard was slipping from consciousness and didn't bother to respond. She hated the nurses anyway; They weren't worth her time.

"Get her to the medical wing!"Another one of the nurses yelled, knowing they didn't have long before Black Leopard would be passing out from lack of blood. "Now! Let's go!" The nurse demanded again.

The black cat was lifted from the floor without a protest. I don't care anymore. Let me die. Black Leopard knew the blood loss would eventually kill her if she could slow the nurses down, but that proved to be difficult when barely conscious. "Let me go.." She tried, weakly, kicking her legs.

The nurses paid no attention; They seemed too focused on getting the patient to the medical area of the mental institution. If they didn't, and they let me die, they'd lose their jobs. It's not because they really care about me.

The only sensation she could feel was the blood dripping, a slight tingle and pain. The world was getting dizzier and the black cat began to feel light headed. What have I done? "Le...let.. me.. down." She murmured softly, no force behind the words spoken.

The nurses voices were fading in and out. There was more screaming now; Black Leopard could tell from the panicked expressions that something bad was happening. She didn't care anymore. I lost one of my best friends.. even if I had just met her. Missing Lily was like missing a part of her. It's like a puzzle piece..

And without that puzzle piece, Black Leopard didn't care about the rest of the world.

-x-x-x-x-x-

Author's note: Chapter three is up! It was supposed to be there yesterday but I got lazy. So I don't know. Thanks again to IrkenLily for your wonderful review.

(haha sorry I don't sound very lively. It's six in the morning and I haven't gotten any sleep.)