98 the door closes. “Is she awake?” “I’m not sure, but that hospital gown is hideous.” Voices familiar and refreshing. Comfort. Raven and her missing arm, Shaytan balancing on his one leg. Niles leans against the wall with Shaytan’s severed limb resting on his shoulder like a broken umbrella. Raven says, “She’s so thin. Her arms and legs…” “Poor girl.” “Yes, poor girl.” “Oh, and they’re using restraints this time. Sad.” “Very.” “Restraints are serious business.” “<strong>The</strong>re’s blood on your hands,” Shaytan says, his voice dusted with worry, “and things might be a bit different this time around.” I ask Niles, “How bad was it?” Niles turns a slow head towards Raven. She bites her lower lip, pulling a smear of black lipstick. Deep breath, and Shaytan continues. “<strong>The</strong>re was blood, beautiful. Lots of it.” He reaches to wipe my tears, but I pull away. “More than broken plates and black eyes?” “Afraid so, love. People are dead.” “Raven?” She raises her head. Black mascara is dry and cracked against her cheeks. I ask, “What should I do?” Rain pelts against the room’s small, single window. Darkness and shadows beat with life—flowing down walls, sliding across the floor, and I am bound and gasping, clawing at the bed sheets.
“What do I say this time?” Dr. Sawyer’s in-lobby-pre-session check list: #1 – Please Rate from 0 to 10 (10 being the most intense) AUDITORY AND VISUAL HALLUCINA- TIONS. Raven is silent. Shaytan hops, splashing blood. Niles adjusts Shaytan’s leg to stay against his shoulder. My voice cracks. “Please help.” Raven, Shaytan and Niles move to separate corners of the room, step into the dark places and their forms disappear. “Please.” <strong>The</strong>re is only the rain, aggressive and unrelenting. Rating = 99