Chapter 1; EthelDark, stone walls surround me every day.
I'm alone all the time, none of the other children are treated this way.
But because we are different, they make us pay.
"My name is Ethel Heliot, I am eleven years old; four feet five inches tall. I have brown hair and brown eyes, and I was admitted to the institute because of my mental illness, pathological lying."
A sudden camera flash blinds my eyes and I squeeze them shut quickly.
"Turn." The woman's voice booms out, I nearly flinch before turning my body to the right. This goes on two more times before the woman sets the camera down. "Strip down, child," she says. I don't move, I let my bones freeze in place and turn into a statue. I focus on a smudge on the ground and feel the embarrassment burning in my cheeks.
"I won't be asking you twice, change into this and meet me outside the room." The woman says as she throws down a plain beige hospital gown, a pair of socks and undergarments. I press my lips tightly together and nod before she can turn and walk out of the door.
I can still feel the burning sensation in my face I am exposed and defenseless and I want to curl into a little ball and hide. I reach out to pick up the gown she has left and as soon as my hand connects to the scratchy fabric it disappears, I look up into the mirror in front of me and all I can see is the wall behind myself. I'm scared, I'm invisible, I'm hidden and that is good. I get myself into the large gown and slip on the socks, I've decided to go without the undergarments in fear they may be dirty. I give myself one last glance in the mirror and I'm met with a pair of brown eyes, my eyes, I'm no longer invisible but for now, that's okay.
I reach for the door handle to exit when it suddenly flies open, I jerk my hand away and take a few steps backward to avoid falling. I end up slightly behind the door. The woman searches around the room like a bloodhound.
"If you are hiding child just know I am not fond of playing games." She barks, I can feel my ears burning and my skin quivers at the sound of her wretched voice. I tell myself to calm down over and over and over again but all that does is nearly drive me insane. The woman snatches me by my arm and that is the only way I know that talking to myself worked. "Don't play foolish games child, that is how you get punished." The woman spits, she is rushing me down a dimly lit hallway and I have to nearly jog to keep up with her pace. Her cold grip on my arm is searing and I feel like pulling away yet I fear the consequences of the action.
We arrive in front of a large wooden door at which the woman knocks on three times, the hollow sound makes my skin crawl and I swallow down all my courage and breathe out all my fear.
"Enter." A male voice replies from the other side of the door. She pulls the latch aside and pushes the door open to a room that looks much like a scientists lab. The man inside is wearing a lab coat which confirms my previous accusations. He pulls his glasses to the top of his head and stares deeply in my direction, I felt my skin crawl and I swallow hard.
"Astounding!" He is now intrigued and I know exactly why he is inching closer and closer towards me and I felt my heartbeat speed up inside my chest. It felt as it may burst through the constant of my ribs and fly off into the sky, my face is hot and my palms are sweating. I duck away from his hand as he reaches out to touch me, only grazing my hair lightly. The woman is now smirking and stands beside the man in front of me her hands are clutched together behind her back and she held her gaze tight on where I once stood. I tell myself that I am invisible, that she cannot see me. I tell myself this as many times as it takes to finally believe it.
"What else have you found out?" He asks, turning towards his accomplice.
"Nothing else sir, I brought the subject straight to you."
"Mark her for immediate testing I want to see if the treatment works on her." The man pulls his glasses back over his eyes and rushes over to a table filled with equipment, the woman had turned and was preparing something on a metal tray. Out of their gazes, I felt more relaxed, essentially because I was invisible, hidden and I didn't have to speak or move or take commands at this moment. It was sweet bliss in my eyes and it all ended too soon when I looked down and saw my pale hand, visible, to the entire world. To the eyes of this man and woman who were likely committing crimes in this institute.
“This won’t hurt little girl I promise, you’ll fall right to sleep.” The man announced. I was too caught up in my own thoughts to notice him approaching me with a large needle or to notice that the woman across the room had slipped on protective gloves and eyewear. In the single second, I had to react I decided to not fight, to not run away if this was the way I would die so be it. I felt the prick of the needle in my left forearm and everything went black.