He Paints the Color Red

The room was small and dark; I could easily press my hands on either side of the room even though they were short and stubby. I would sit in this room for days on end, lose track of time, the days and nights would blend together in the pitch-blackness of the room, invading my senses and clouding everything I could ever be able to feel.

I had given up screaming so long ago, but sometimes the hysteria takes over and I find myself with a parched throat and broken voice blinking in the darkness with hands shaking in terror. I had no water to soothe the burn that traveled up my throat, and no food to quiet my stomach, which was sinking inward towards my curled spine.

Some days He would let me out, to feed me or…do other things. His visits were sporadic and filled with agony, and the merciless tearing of my soul with every biting lash that made me flinch, scream, and bleed. The room was filled with the smells of blood and burned flesh, the sounds of metal tools hitting shelves and heavy breathing, then more screaming to bounce off the dark walls.

Then I would be back in my room once again, to tend to my broken flesh and bruised limbs, to rake my wet fingers over the wall and let the coolness comfort my skin as I heard the thundering steps retreating up the creaky stairwell.

"Hey dad, what do you keep down here?" Voices, sounds, I had heard them before.

"Nothing son, you can't go down in the basement, remember? Don't ever go down in the basement." They were fractured to my ears, reminiscent and frightening, I knew the sounds were associated with the pain, voices; words.

Sometimes I would hear their conversations at the doorstep above the stairs, when he would leave me out in the open. My room was only part of the basement after all. The rest of the basement was dimly lit; enough to see the stains that darkened the cold cement.

He had favorites, his use of the belt was infrequent but he was a sadistic man who liked to leave marks behind that would paint my skin all kinds of various colors. Blue, purple, green, yellow, red.

So much red.

He paints the color red.

One would probably ask why I of all people would want to work at a hospital, and I honestly didn't know myself, but there was something…interesting about seeing the different diseases and stories the patients brought in.

I started out in my teens, awesomely helping out around hospitals doing whatever I could, when I graduated high school I immediately got myself some training and applied to work at the hospital officially. Starting as a nurse.

That didn't go so well. I scared the kids with my odd features, and my patience with the adults didn't last long. Eventually I moved over to the psyche ward, where all I really had to do was give the patients their pills for the day and remind them of their therapy appointments. Sometimes I had to restrain some patients or remove them from each other forcibly, but surprisingly that didn't happen often.

It was nice; I found myself liking it even more than I did in the normal hospital and actually anticipating work.

The hospital I worked at was quiet and serene, and then I got transferred.

"Hey nubie how ya doin'?" I flinched slightly at the tone of the man's voice as he hopped energetically in front of me. His features were…honestly he looked like a Ken doll, blonde hair, blue eyes, buff, tall, and one small stray cowlick. He would have been a great guy if he didn't, you know talk.

"I'm a' show you around today I guess, so that you get all the crap we need to know around this place, so make sure you actually listen when I talk!" The man raised an eyebrow at me and tried to look as if he were strict before launching back into speech. "It shouldn't be too hard cause' I'm like the best teacher ever." He grinned widely at me, and something told me I should smile back and say 'Sure! I best you are an awesome teacher!' but that made me want to gag.

I nodded like my chin were attached to a string pulling up and down figuring saying nothing would probably be the best option out of everything I would like to say.

"Well! I am Alfred F. Jones, nurse extraordinaire, I help with checking the patients, making sure they have everything they need, and all that. We just really try to like, help out as much as we can to make them comfortable and not trigger any freak-outs cause' that wouldn't be very cool right?" He laughed loudly, attracting the attention of some of the other nurses and patients in that area. Most of the others though just ignored it like it was normal.

I restrained a groan.

"Most of our patients are on this floor, separate from everyone else because there are some pretty messed up people around here!" He laughed again at the statement, which made me slightly uncomfortable. Who would laugh about something like that? "But seriously, there are some people you have to watch your words around."

The man's eyes got slightly cold, which was kind of saying something because his sky blue eyes were almost constantly filled with happiness.

"You were sent here so you must be a pretty good nurse, the people at your old hospital must have thought you could handle this place, but don't get too comfortable."

A small grin was still on his face though his next words were bitter.

"I have seen people leave within a day or so because they couldn't handle the stress that comes with working here; you have to be constantly on your guard and ready to restrain anyone at a moments notice. You can't get attached, it would only hurt you and them because almost everyone here has been or is a threat to themselves and others."

I stood in shock, as his warning sunk in. It was dangerous here, not serene, not easy, not peaceful, totally different from the environment I was used to, thoughts started straying towards the possibilities of what could happen, everything that could go wrong in a situation like this, but I shook them away irritably. I am too awesome to quit this place, people needed me.

"You need to be able to see some pretty messed up stuff and not be affected by it, and you need to grasp that some patients can not be helped." Alfred's eyes drifted into thought.

Can not be helped? Isn't that why they were at the hospital in the first place?

"Well let's continue!" He walked down the hallway with the bounce back in his step, directing my attention to different patients and permanent residents.

"In that room is Lovino, he has EAD, like I would seriously stay away from him man anything will set him off. He has a twin brother that visits him all the time, it's kind of sad that they have to be separated like this. Apparently Lovino was a danger to everyone else." Oh, I had read about Explosive Anger Disorder before, but I have never actually witnessed it, maybe it would be better to step lightly around 'Lovino.'

"He has a brother? That's un-awesome, I don't know if I would be able to stand it if mine bruder had something like that."

The blonde looked a little distracted as he stared at the door to Lovino's room. "Ya, I don't know if I would be able to either." He blinked a few times and turned to me quickly.

"But Feli is really an awesome guy, never lets his brother's condition get him down! And he brings pasta every weekend and that keeps everyone pretty happy." Alfred blinked something away from his mind visibly before shifting moods again and shoving a smile onto his face. "Anyway, let's go!"

We passed a few resident patient's rooms, some faded in my mind where others were hard to ignore, like a man named Antonio with bipolar disorder, and a woman named Elizabeta with obsessive compulsive disorder who I met. Elizabeta had proceeded to pull me aside and tell me about the way she was entered into the hospital, (which I found was actually hilarious) which seemed to make her happy.

Alfred told me she liked to hit people with things, and the occasional frying pan when she could get her hands on one.

I decided that I liked her.

At the end of the day I had met a few patients, not witnessed any accidents, and restrained myself from giving Alfred a concussion.

Somehow I just knew tomorrow was going to be a lot worse.