Where am I? Where was I? The white padded walls that surround me feel more like home to me than my life before. Life before? They ask me that, they do, and I say “What life?” There was no life, just these walls, these safe white walls.

This seems to be my world now, bland, an endless wall of white that seems to be forever moving back and forth with the rock of my ankles. Lovely white, much like one of my pills, they give us pills you know, is it pill time?

There was something that I used to have… Long ago, or was it? The walls whitewash my mind to keep me docile along of the pills to make… something… stop. Yes! Lovely pills! There’s a blue one, a red one and a white one!

They call me Luke. My name’s Lucius. They gave me pills, lovely pills, and said “Here you go Luke!” So I must be called Luke!

I was a businessman I think, I’m a surgeon, builder, no I don’t work! I can’t really remember what I did. I don’t know why they sent me here. Beats me why I live here. I don’t even know where here is! They beat me you know, they use those little tazor thingies. I just know it was for something bad. Don’t want to remember it! Don’t remember! I don’t remember!

I’ve lost so much.

I had a family once. Yes I have family! Three girls in fact! My blue daughter is called “Sapphire”, my red girl is “Ruby” and my white baby girl is called “Whitney”. A daughter called Tabatha. How long have I been here? How old must she be now? Bluey is my favourite, it dissolves in my mouth, easier to swallow.

The door’s opening and two men are entering. They’re wearing white as well, it’s almost impossible to discern them from the walls surrounding me. They’re here? Is it pill time? They look like a pair of heads and four hands bobbing across the room.

One of the heads is crouching in front of me; hands folding over each other, his mouth is moving, muttering to me.

Pills beautiful Pills! What more could I wish for!

“…not going to have any trouble today are we?”

Pills beautiful Pills! Dreamless sleep I could die for!

Trouble? I just nod and the other head bobs down to the same height as the other. Two hands reach out to me and wedge under my arm pits, heaving me to my feet. As I rise, the heads rise with me.

What’s this? No pills?

I’m moving towards a darker looking doorway. They’re taking me somewhere? As we approach it, the heads seem to gain bodies, white suits stunningly bright in contrast to the duller backdrop of what seems to be a corridor beyond.

If they’re not taking me to pills…

Suddenly, my surroundings become familiar; Then… the men escorting me are Doctors and this is the Mental Institution the courts assigned me to after… Oh no I’m going there don’t want to remember take me back… after it happened.

Take me back!

Dully, I realise that my feet have stopped moving and the two doctors stop with me. Take me back! Dr Marks is addressing me, his tone questioning. Give me pills, let me sleep. Don’t take me there! I can’t hear what he’s saying, there’s a ringing in my ears. Let me go back, let me sleep, dreamless sleeps.

The other doctor tightens his grip on me as one of my feet steps back. Please, not there, I don’t want to remember!

They’re marching me along the corridor now, Dr Marks is talking fast, I can’t make out what he’s saying. Tra-lala, don’t want to remember. Don’t take me to that room!

I’m in another room now, there’s a table bolted to the floor and two chairs, one on either side. One of the chairs have brackets on the arms; the other just a plain wooden chair.

Not here, they’ve brought me here, to the place where the memories come, yes they do, please don’t make me remember, take me back to my room give me pills gloriously sweet pills that take away the dreams and let me sleep I want to sleep oh please let me sleep don’tbringmeinhere!

As they sit me down, the ringing in my ears is deafening and my breath starts to catch. There is something about this room that I don’t like. Grimly, the Doctors are putting my arms into the brackets and closing it around them.

Trapped! Get me out of here!

“Just a precaution.” I think I hear him say, I can’t quite be sure, “Last time, Luke hurt her and we had to put you on suicide watch.”

He called me Luke! Yes I’m Luke! I didn’t hurt anyone though, you can’t hurt memories, they’re not real!

“Who’s… Luke?” My mouth feels like it’s full of cloth. “Hurt… Her?”

“Yes, Lucius. You asked us to do this, remember?”

No I don’t want to remember! I’m Luke, not Lucius, Luke!

“Remember what?”

The Doctors have their back to me now.

The men are leaving me in the room where the memories come! NO! Give me the pills, they take the memories away, yes they do!

The door reopens and the Doctors are ushering someone in, flashes of a car wreck suddenly run through my mind.

Oh no… The brakes had failed her, She’s here… I was supposed to check them before she left for work that morning but I’d been so busy. She’s not real… She’d left and they’d failed on her. She’s not real, she can’t be real, cruel trick, cruel trick, she’s dead. She’d ploughed into a wall, died on impact, entirely my fault. She can’t be real.

The Doctors coax her in, she’s small, barely to their chests and her dark brown hair sweeps down to her shoulders. Blue eyes that are glistening with unshed tears. Realisation dawns on me.

The ringing stops…

She looks just like her mother…


By Alan Dartnall