AN: MY ALCATRAZ FANFIC IS FINALLY DONE! YES! There is a sad lack of fanfic in this fandom, so I'm adding to it. FIRST THING YOU NEED TO KNOW: I did some research into Alcatraz, and I have stretched some things in order to make some things work. But come on, it's fiction. Suspend your imagination just a bit. It's not a HUGE leap. SECOND: I don't really follow the time order of the episodes. Things happen when I want them to happen. But just go with it; it shouldn't matter that much at all. Okay, that's it. Go! Read!
It's a Sign of the Times
Chapter 1: I Can Never Go Home Anymore
"Listen. Does this sound familiar?
You wake up every morning, go to school every day,
spend your nights on the corner just passing the time away.
Your life is so lonely like a child without a toy.
Then a miracle-a boy."
The Shangri-Las ~I Can Never Go Home Anymore
It was raining cats and dogs and all other types of household pets as Doctor Lucille Sengupta waited under her umbrella for the SFPD boat that would ferry her back to Alcatraz. While she waited, children of varying ages slowly sloshed up to the dock, decked out in raincoats, hats, and galoshes to brave the elements. She had taken the morning off to do some errands in San Francisco, and decided to join the children on the boat that would ferry them back to the island after school.
The boat pulled up to the dock, and she and the children trailed up the gangplank and under the small shelter of the boat's overhand.
"All aboard?" an officer asked.
"Bonnie's still not here yet," one of the rubber-bedecked children pointed out.
"She'd better get here soon," he muttered.
"There she is!" a small finger pointed toward the figure running through the sheets of rain without any kind of umbrella or raincoat. "She's all wet," the small girl observed matter-of-factly.
"That she is," Lucy said. She knew the little girl by sight, but her name escaped her. That was the way she felt about many of the families that lived on Alcatraz –she would see them in passing and could recognize faces, but she didn't know many names and couldn't converse about much except the weather and other mundane things with the wives of the guards. It was a little lonely sometimes, she reflected.
But now there was Emerson. She smiled a little at that thought.
The girl that ran onto the boat was absolutely drenched, holding her books and shoes in her hand. "Sorry!" she said. "I'm here, I'm here!" Once under cover, she put her books and shoes down and wrung out her hair and attempted to do the same for her skirt, but it didn't really work.
"Forget your umbrella?" Lucy asked politely.
"I didn't know it was going to be this bad," the girl said, casting a frustrated glance at the gray skies still pouring as the boat pulled away from the dock.
"Well, you can always change," Lucy said, attempting to be positive.
"Yes, except I left my house key inside my locked house this morning," she said. "I figured I'd stay outside and do homework until my dad came home…but that's obviously not an option now."
"I'm sorry," Lucy said sympathetically.
"It's just not my day," the girl said, frowning at her bare feet.
"Can your dad let you in?"
She glanced over at Lucy, and there was some definite hesitation in her tone as she said, "I… don't really want to bother him with that when he's working. It was such a dumb thing… I'll… figure something out." She set her shoulders.
Lucy nodded in understanding. She was self reliant, and probably a little bit proud. "I'm Doctor Lucille Sengupta," she said, smiling.
"Bonnie McAllister," the girl said. "Pleased to meet you. Are you a medical doctor?"
"No, I'm a doctor of psychiatry," Lucy said. "Why?"
"I've thought about being a nurse or doctor sometimes." Her tone held a little hint of wistfulness.
"It was a lot of work, but I love what I do," Lucy told her honestly.
Bonnie clenched her jaw to keep her teeth from chattering, but the goose bumps on her legs and arms were giving way to shivers. The winter had been mild, and the beginning of February had actually felt like spring –until it rained. It had been a horrible day –she had forgotten her keys and half of her books in her locked home, was now soaked after having skipped her last period and visited her mother in the hospital, and her father did not come off duty until seven o'clock. And to top it all off, she had heard some of the girls at school whispering about her –that she lived with, quote unquote, criminals.
She really wanted to tell them, Oh please, like being a felon is a disease you might be able to catch by close association with me. She hadn't even ever been in the prison proper –only where visitors waited once or twice to wait for her father. She was so tired of this. She thought this year would be different –a new city, a new school… but kids are the same everywhere, she found.
She wished they weren't.
"Can you go wait at someone else's house?" The Doctor was talking to her again.
Bonnie looked up. "I…" oh, here it comes, she thought to herself, bracing inwardly. "I feel like… the parents, and some of the kids too… they kind of feel pity for me because my mother's in the hospital, and I don't want to impose on them because it feels like charity. And I don't want any more reason for their pity," she said firmly. Because honestly, if one more well meaning mother came up to her and told her how she was terribly sorry and that they could depend on her for help, or for meals, or anything they needed, she would scream. Mother wasn't dying, for heaven's sake; she just had to recover slowly and quietly. Bonnie was perfectly capable.
People forgot house keys all the time.
"Well, I can understand that," the Indian woman said quietly. Her look conveyed that she understood, and Bonnie wondered if she was analyzing her silently. Her eyes were not overly pitying and condescending, though. She continued, "You need to get warm. Why don't you come with me to the infirmary and I'll find you some clothes to wear as your clothes dry on the radiator. Would that be alright?"
Bonnie blinked at her, surprised. It was a great solution, except…"You mean –in the prison?"
"Yes," she said, nodding. "Is that a problem?"
"No," Bonnie said. "I've just never really been in it before. But that would be wonderful. Thank you, Dr. Sengupta."
"Please, call me Lucy," she said. "I suppose you're wondering about the prisoners."
"A little," Bonnie admitted. "But I don't mind all that much that I share an island with them, like some people do."
"The ones I work with are not what you'd expect," Lucy said. "In a lot of cases, my patients have had exceeding trauma earlier in life that contribute to their criminal tendencies. I work on eliminating that trauma so that the criminal tendencies will lessen or fade away completely."
"Does it work?" Bonnie asked, interested.
"It has helped," Lucy admitted. "The jury is still out on long-term benefits at the moment."
"That's…really neat," Bonnie said, rubbing her arms. "My dad doesn't think much of the prisoners. Not that we've ever really talked much about it," she added thoughtfully.
"Most guards are like that. That's how they do their jobs. They are right, in a way," Lucy said. "They are criminals –some have done simply terrible things. But they don't have to stay criminals."
"That's a really good point," Bonnie said quietly as the boat pulled up to Alcatraz Island.
"Wow, you must have been really tired to fall asleep on the tour," someone said as her eyes fluttered open. She flinched and started at the boy in front of her. He scratched his face that was already starting to scar from acne. "The tour's in the next room now. Just so you know." He retreated under the force of her incredulous stare.
Bonnie stared at the infirmary walls that were cracked and peeling with age. The bed she was laying on smelled old –and the boy's clothes –no one dressed like that.
As she got up and walked to the doorway, a horrible feeling of dread welled up in her chest.
"Forty-nine years ago, when this prison closed, the infirmary was where patients would be sewn up after getting into fights by the prison doctor…"
Bonnie hoped against hope, as the colors and flashes and the screaming difference beset her, that she was dreaming and that she'd wake up soon. But somehow she knew that this was horribly, horribly real.