The Gallagher Academy is a mental institution. Bex talks to ghosts, Liz sings to the moon, Macey cuts herself. Cammie doesn't know why she's there, they won't tell her… She's not like the others, she's normal. The Gallagher Academy is ruining the girls even more than their own minds, can Cammie take control and lead everyone to safety? When Cammie meets Zach she realises her definition of normal might not suffice, and nothing is as it seems.
It's a new story. Ah. I'm scared to post this… so your thoughts would be good! Let me know if you like it, let me know if you hate it, let me know if I should carry on or if I should end it.
I should also say that I got loads of ideas for this from the book 'Sisters in Sanity'… but most of all Gallagher Girls of course!… and of course I don't own the characters Ally Carter does.
"I thought last night was rather funny, when you told me that story about…"
I drowned Bex's voice out and fixed my gaze on the stone wall.
"Cammie, why don't you come and meet Claire?" I heard Bex giggle at me excitedly.
"I don't want to meet Claire at the moment" I sighed into my pillow.
"Come on, she'll be insulted if you don't" Bex urged.
"Really Bex, I'm not in the mood!" I moaned, but instantly felt guilty as I heard a sob escape Bex's mouth.
"Okay Bex I'm coming" I groaned and lifted myself off of the bed
Bex was sat on the floor; her lean legs sprawled out in front of her, her face lit up as I walked over. I smiled kindly at Bex and sat down beside her gently, I knew she didn't like to be touched and so I kept my distance.
I looked up at the blank wall that Bex was looking at.
"Can you hear her?!' Bex squeaked in excitement.
"Yes" I lied easily, I was more than use to pretending to see the ghosts that Bex talked to.
"When will Liz get back?" I asked finally, after having a conversation with the wall for over five minutes. Bex finally drew her eyes away too.
"Liz is singing" Bex replied casually.
"Oh" I replied. I should have known, it was 6pm after all, the usual time that Lizzy decided the moon was listening to her sing. It was so normal now that I didn't even question it.
"And Macey?" I asked.
"Bathroom" Bex shrugged and began to talk to the ghosts again. Or as I called it, the wall.
Suddenly I leapt up. "The bathroom?!" I stuttered.
Bex ignored me, but I was instantly across the room, yelling as I ran.
"Bex, you know she's not allowed in there by herself! She…" But I might as well have been talking to myself for all the attention Bex was paying to me.
I threw open the bathroom door which of course wasn't permitted to have a lock. We hadn't earned that yet and with Macey as our roommate I doubted we ever would.
"Macey… put that down…" I urged gently. Macey stood over the sink, a shard of glass she'd broken from the mirror was in her hand. "Macey, please, if they find out we won't get dinner and…"
"You really care about eating that crap they give us" Macey replied numbly, like she was in some kind of trance.
"No, but Liz does, you know she hasn't been able to eat for a week after trying to escape"
Macey dropped the glass and I cringed at the ear splitting crack of shards of glass against the sink. I grasped Macey gently by her scarred wrists and lead her back into the room. That was the thing about this place, if someone did something wrong then they'd punish us all and Macey couldn't bear for Liz to go without food again. She was our sister. We took care of our sisters.
Suddenly Macey had embraced me into a hug. "I'm so sorry Cammie, I'm so, so…"
"Shhh, Macey, It's fine, no harm done, The teachers didn't see, they don't have to know, I'll clean up the glass before they come to check on us"
Macey clung to me firmer.
"It's okay Macey, they have nothing to punish us for today" I told her firmly. I knew I was right. Bex hadn't hit a wall, Liz hadn't tried to escape to find the moon, Macey thankfully hadn't cut herself, nothing could go wrong… I'd thought.
I could see how ashamed Macey was of herself as she fell onto her bed and curled up into a ball but I sighed and sat down on my own bed, knowing Macey would need some alone time.
I leapt up as the door suddenly flew open, but instantly relaxed as Liz's small, frail frame was illuminated in the doorway… but then her expression instantly told me something was wrong.
"Inspection, 5 minutes, Mr Smith!"
Her words her enough to panic all of us, Macey was wiping her tear stained face and had rushed into the bathroom to clear up the glass. She scooped it all up carefully into her hands and threw it out of the window.
"They're going to notice a missing mirror Macey" I rolled my eyes.
"I'll be right back!" Macey panted. "There's a spare room next door, I'll go get the mirror from there!"
"Okay, but hurry!" I pleaded with her.
Even Bex was up from the floor, her ghost friends instantly forgotten in the panic to clear up all her stuff from the floor, not that there was much of it.
Me and Liz glanced at each other rather smugly. We were always the ones who kept our part of the room clean. Underneath the singing to the moon Liz was almost as sane as I was… which was completely sane. But we helped Bex pick up her stuff and cram it into draws because we knew if our room failed the inspection we wouldn't get dinner. Again.
"Someone help me with this!" Macey called from the corridor and we instantly all rushed to help her attach our new mirror to the bathroom wall.
"There, all done" I breathed a sigh of relief as the door then suddenly opened.
"Well, hello girls"
We all tensed.
"Now then, just a room search, nothing to be worry about, if you have nothing to hide" He grinned at us mockingly.
We all smiled back politely, and I felt Liz's hand grip mine tightly.
He searched our beds, under our mattresses, in our underwear draw, not a place in our room was private when Mr Smith did a room inspection.
"Might as well do a physical check while I'm here" He smirked. I felt Macey tense beside me and then I knew. She'd been cutting again. I breathed in deeply and my stomach rumbled indignantly as I knew we'd be getting no food tonight.
"Cameron, you first" He beckoned me over to him and I stood in front of him while he stripped me of my clothes all except my underwear. It used to bother me, sometimes it still did, and I knew it wasn't right, but what was the point in putting up a fight? They would still examine you if you put up a fight but add a punishment too.
"Very well, doesn't look like there's any problems" Mr Smith told me as if I didn't already know, his gaze locking for a moment longer on my wrists which he was used to seeing scared and mattered from other girls, but mine remained perfectly smooth like they always had.
He searched Liz and Bex too. He got a bit pushy with Bex when he saw a scratch on her knee but she claimed she had got it from playing hide and seek with Clarie. Mr Smith smirked at her in a mocking way, he never had any patience with Bex's imaginary ghosts.
He finally came to Macey. "Well well, you've been busy" he mocked her as he stared at her stomach.
"You're meant to be letting a member of staff know when you're in the bathroom, you know that don't you? You know it's meant to help you stop cutting"
"Of course I do" Macey replied sulkily. "But it's fucking degrading having you all peering at me while I take a shower"
Mr Smith raised his eyebrows and the rest of us all inwardly groaned. Macey knew Mr Smith had no patience for swearing.
"What level were you on Ms McHenry?"
We all looked at each other in horror, Macey was on level 5, and she had been so close to getting promoted to level 6 which was the level required to leave this place. Everything we did affected our level. If we were good we got moved up a step closer to escaping this place, if we were bad we got moved down and got our privileges such as hot water and pillows revoked.
Macey seemed to catch on too because she suddenly let out a gasp. "No! You can't drop me a level! I've been doing so well, I only did this because it's the third week my mom hasn't called me, you can't do this!" Macey lightly ran her hand over the three fresh cuts on her stomach.
"I think you'll find I can, and I have" Mr Smith replied coldly. "You know level 4 means you will now have no hot water, and no food tonight for the swearing"
"Fine, just don't punish the other's too, it was my entire fault, please don't punish them too!"
"Sorry McHenry, but you know the rules. Ms Morgan, you were level 3 if I'm not mistaken?"
I nodded numbly. I'd only been there two weeks and so naturally I wasn't on a very high level. The thing was, I kept getting knocked back levels when my roommates did something wrong because of their stupid 'you do something wrong, your whole team suffers' rule. I'd never once done anything wrong myself. And of course, I had no idea why I was here. I knew I wasn't mental, I wasn't mad, I wasn't crazy. I was sane.
"You will be knocked to level two Ms Morgan, no bed covers"
I nodded solemnly and Liz and Bex who were both on the same level as me accepted the same punishment too. Macey shot us a tearful apologetic nod but none of us could look at her, we were all feeling the effects of having no food for over a week now.
"All of you except Macey may now go to dinner"
We stared at him in shock. Usually if one of us was punished we would all be starved for a day, but it seemed he was in a generous mood today, so we quickly ran from the room.
I turned back at the last minute and saw Macey look at me sadly. I shot her a wink to let her know I'd sneak her some food and she gave me a thankful smile.
We practically ran to the food hall, all of us dying to get some food inside us.
"What luck, Mr Solomon's on duty!" Cried Liz excitedly. I immediately cheered up. Mr Solomon on food duty meant double what we would usually get and also it would mean we wouldn't be told to sit in silence. Mr Solomon was the nicest person in this dump.
"Ah girls!" He greeted us cheerfully as we ran into the hall. "I haven't seen you in over a week, you bad girls, I guess you must be starving!" He exclaimed sympathetically. We all nodded keenly as he scooped spoonful's of porridge into bowls.
We ate hungrily, even managing a third helping of food.
"Where's everyone else?" Bex asked, her mouth full of porridge.
"Ah" Mr Solomon hung his head sadly. "Tina was found trying to sneak out and has been held in the basement until further notice, and Eva tried walking through the wall again and so had to be taken to the medical room. I'm going to sneak some food to them later though, the poor girls, speaking of which I'll give you some food to take back to Macey"
We all smiled at him but then our attention turned to Grant who had stood up on the table and had placed a full bowl of porridge over his head. It dribbled down his face. Mr Solomon tutted at him and sent him to get cleaned up before anyone caught his act of madness which would surely earn him a level degrade from any of the other staff.
Suddenly my eyes caught sight of someone else, someone I'd never seen before.
"Who's that?" I whispered to Bex. But she was having a conversation with her spoon which she'd named Katie.
I turned to the saner Liz instead and asked the same question.
"I don't know, I haven't seen him before. What do you think he's in here for?"
I shrugged. It was a little game me and Liz liked to play, we loved wondering what people's pasts were, what they had been chucked in here for.
But I didn't feel like playing that today. I glanced over at the table again, but quickly averted my eyes when I saw him look at me. I wondered why he was sat alone.
"He looks… normal… he reminds me of you when you first got here" I glanced quickly up at Liz, ready to deny it, but then I realised… it was true. I had sat on my own the first night too. I had wondered if I was going to be amongst a load of mad people. I had wondered why I was here. But surely there couldn't be someone else like me here too? Surely it was impossible that there was someone who didn't belong here… who really was sane.
"Well, I need to go and sing to the moon again" Liz got up from her seat.
"Don't be too long Ms Sutton, ten minutes tops, I can't cover for you if you come back late again"
"Sure thing Mr S!" Liz shouted out behind her as she ran into the mansion grounds.
"I'll take the food back to Macey" Bex told me as she too got up to leave.
I was alone with Mr Solomon. And the mysterious boy at the other table. I thought it would be fairly safe to talk.
"Mr Solomon… I was wondering…"
"Not this again Cameron" Mr Solomon snapped at me. I stared at him in shock, I'd never heard him raised his voice before; I thought he'd been the only one I could talk to. I fought with the lump in my throat that threated to escape as a sob.
But then Mr Solomon sighed. "Sorry Cammie, I didn't mean to snap at you, but you know I can't tell you anything"
I smiled at the way Mr Solomon said my name. None of the other staff called me Cammie… but then none of the other staff were quite like Mr Solomon.
"I know you can't tell me why I'm here… but I was wondering if you could tell me how? I mean why the last thing I remember was some kind of massive fire… and then waking up here?"
"I can't tell you Cammie" Mr Solomon looked down at the floor.
"And what about my mom, why has just left me here, you know I'm not like the others, you know I'm not mad!"
"That's what they all say…" Mr Solomon trailed off weakly, but I knew that he knew the truth about me. I could feel myself getting angry.
"Well if I reach level 6 do I get to leave like everyone else? Or am I different in that aspect too?"
"I know you're not mad Cammie… but you're situation is not normal. It's complicated. And I suggest you just forget about…"
"That's a no isn't it" I felt tears prick at my eyes. "Even if I slave away to get to level 6 you won't let me go home… wherever home is…"
"I didn't say that" Mr Solomon wouldn't meet my eyes. "Your circumstances are… difficult"
"Is it that my parents don't want me back? Is that it?" My voice was rising to a dangerous level and Mr Solomon could sense it.
"I think you need to calm down Cammie" Mr Solomon soothed. I caught sight of the new boy who had leaned forward in his seat, obviously listening to our conversation. I could have sworn he smirked. It just made me madder.
"Why will no one believe me?!" I yelled. "I'm not like the rest of them!"
"Do you need some help Mr Solomon?" I froze as I heard Mr Smith's voice from the doorway.
"No thank you Mr Smith" Mr Solomon smiled. "I have Ms Morgan here under control"
"Well don't forget we have therapy in fifteen minutes"
"Of course not" Mr Solomon nodded.
Mr Smith went away muttering about Mr Solomon being 'too soft' with us 'hooligans'.
I looked down at the floor, fighting back the tears.
"I'll be at therapy with all of you today" Mr Solomon said rather shakily. "It won't be too bad"
I nodded but didn't look up. I knew Mr Smith would have it in for me after he'd seen me behaving like that.
"Why don't you take our new boy Zach Goode with you, he doesn't know where everything is yet"
The last thing I wanted was to take the new boy under my wing. But I agreed because I appreciated Mr Solomon covering for me and saying he would punish me himself. When I knew he wouldn't.
I surprised myself then. I hugged him. I felt Mr Solomon hug me back for a second or two but then he pulled back. "You know what Mr Smith would say if he saw that"
"Yeah" I smiled a teary smile. "He would flip out"
"Go on then" Mr Solomon gave me a gentle nudge and beckoned Zach over.
"Zach, this is Cammie, she will show you where to go now"
Zach smirked at me. I gave a weak smile back, too scared about therapy to really look at him properly.
At first we walked together in silence, which to be honest I was fine with, but then he cleared his throat.
"So, Gallagher Girl" He spoke as if he were trying it for size.
"I prefer Cammie" I replied coldly.
"No I like Gallagher Girl, it suits you"
"Whatever" I rolled my eyes, really not in the mood to argue.
I half expected him to do something mental. Like suddenly tell me he was off to sing to the moon like Liz, or talk to ghosts like Bex, maybe even self-harm like Macey. But he seemed normal, like me.
"What are you in here for?" I asked curiously.
Zach suddenly looked to the floor. "Probably not the normal reasons… I'm not mental if that's what you're wondering, and I've not got a problem. I'm guessing you're the same, not in here for the usual reasons?"
"Well I guess in a way we are mental"
I looked up at him sharply. "What do you mean"
"Well we're not in here for a holiday" Zach smirked. "And the fact we're in here must make us at least a little bit abnormal"
I had to agree with that. But my mind refused to focus on anything except the fact we were on the way to therapy. My personal hell.
Review please; it honestly makes me so happy to read your reviews! Thanks!