“This is where they brought me when I was sixteen.”
Her touch was like subtle, continuous static electricity, as she held my hand and led me deeper into the asylum.
It was empty now, twenty years later. After all the bad publicity, they’d closed their doors forever in October of ’99.
“What were your parents thinking?”
“I was “unmanageable,” my mother said. But what it really came down to was that she was scared. She didn’t understand it like I do now.”
We were trespassing, but Sienna needed this. She needed to show me what they’d done to her, where they’d put her. She needed the closure of going back to the beginning and telling me everything.
Our footsteps echoed on the tiles as we made our way down the long corridor, the rays cast by our two flashlights playing against the walls like sky beams searching the night sky.
She stopped at the entrance to a room, the door fully ajar, and her grip around my hand tightened, the thrum of energy growing to a level I could feel in the pit of my stomach. Anger and hurt was surfacing. I thought about saying ‘it’s okay,’ but thought better of it. It wasn’t okay. Nothing about this or then was okay. I didn’t even feel comfortable asking if she wanted to go in, so I just stayed quiet, waiting. That’s what I was here for anyway. Moral support.
“I was pregnant.” She said the words in a manner that you might say I was tired but the words punctuated the quiet like a sharp exclamation. My stomach lurched, feeling bruised by her shared emotion. As an empath, it’s impossible for me not to share the pain of others, and she had so much of it to share. It had been that way from the beginning; I was the place she went to expel her intensity, to soften the blow on the rest of the world.
“What happened to the baby?”
“I don’t know. I was confined and sedated…so out-of-it that I didn’t know which way was up. When I finally surfaced, I was no longer pregnant and the doctors told me I’d made the whole thing up. They said I’d created the baby as a possibility of escape. That it was a symbol…a metaphor…that it wasn’t real.”
She paused, and I could tell she was beginning to cry.
“And every time they said it, I wanted to scream SHE! because I knew she was a girl. I could feel it…all that strength growing within me.”
She took a step forward and began to pull me into the room. Inside, there was a bed, sheets sill mussed, but nothing else. The walls were padded and their were no windows. Just a dark hole where a young girl had slept off her power.
“This is how they beat it out of you.”
I could hear her throat tightening around her words as they squeezed through into whispered syllables.
“The first nights, I didn’t sleep, but eventually, the drugs took me. I sunk down so deep. It was like being at the bottom of a well, and all I could see was a dim circle of light at what felt like the surface. No matter what I did, I couldn’t reach it…and they couldn’t reach me. It was lonely, but I was safe there, deep inside of myself.”
She moved across the room, pulling me along by the hand she’d not let go of since we’d walked through the front doors. After placing her flashlight on the floor, letting it’s light splay across the ceiling, she sat down on the bed. I sat beside her, my hand still in hers.
“Months later, when they finally let me come out of it, I walked out of here an empty husk, ten steps behind my mother, and gave up human contact altogether. The vibrations scared people.”
“Did they ever diagnose you?”
“A few people thought I was possessed. My mother initially had a priest look at me. But, she said it felt ridiculous, and she didn’t want people thinking I was the devil or that she was silly enough to believe I was. That’s when she decided to bring me here. Dr. Envik said it was neurological. Likely related to epilepsy. He tried medications, but everything made it worse. The vibrations, the shocks…I couldn’t touch anyone without causing pain. So I stopped for awhile. But then I met Jack, and things changed. My parents hated him because he looked like the kind of boy who would ruin their reputation. But they did that just fine on their own.
“Jack got me. From the first touch, he looked at me with awe and acceptance. Wonder…rather than fear. For him, the vibrations took on a benevolent sensation. I didn’t hurt him; instead, I thrilled him.”
“Like me,” I interrupted.
“Yes…like you.” She squeezed my hand, and the buzzing hum in my palm expanded, warm and soft, up my wrist and into my forearm.
“The baby was his?”
“Did you ever see him again?”
I didn’t pry further. I just let her continue. There was time enough for those details later.
She sat in silence for some time.
“I need to reclaim myself in this room. To feel my full power and know that I’m not a freak…that I’m not dangerous. I need to know that I can touch you, in every way possible, and not…”
“It won’t kill me, Sienna.”
That’s what she was afraid of. Really, when it came right down to it. She was afraid her touch could be deadly. That’s what her parents had been afraid of, too.
“They called me a witch.”
“And they burned you at the stake here, Sienna. What they did was inhuman.”
Sienna turned toward me and placed her palm on my cheek. First contact shocked, cracking needle-like beneath my skin, but as she softened against me, the sensation dispersed, taking up the whole side of my face, down my neck, shoulder, and into my right breast, pressing outward toward my nipple, which became instantly erect.
I measured my breaths, knowing that to stay in control of what Sienna was feeding me, I’d need to stay calm. But, as she pulled her other hand free of mine and placed it on my other cheek, calm was a word I could not longer claim as part of my vocabulary.
I’d known why she’d brought me here. This had been the plan all along. But now that both of her hands were on me, and the current was flowing through my brain and my torso, waterfalling toward my groin, I was losing touch with my surroundings. My eyes shut to the dim light caused swirling patterns to move like lava on the back of my lids, and I felt light, as if floating.
Sienna’s lips pressed open against mine, her tongue softly snaking across my lips, seeking entrance, and I nearly came right then. It took every bit of effort I had to focus on that kiss, to keep my hips from undulating against the vibrations. From there, I lost track of her movements; all I could do was feel the firework bursts inside my chest, the tendrils of sparks landing at the seat of my sex, igniting.
I think she took my cock between her lips. I think she slipped her fingers inside my cunt. I think I may just have stopped breathing, her electricity pulsing my heart within my chest, keeping me alive as I died in her arms.
Somewhere in the moment, I blinked. The light on the ceiling caused her shadow to spread across the wall, and I saw her above me. Made aware of my nakedness by the chill of the room, I realized I was now sandwiched between her and the bed beneath, her skin pressed against me from lips to toes, the current running circularly through us, binding us together. I felt splayed open, unable to move, gelatinous.
She pulled her lips from mine slowly and rolled to my side, her leg still bent and wrapped around me, her head on my chest. I ran my hand through her hair, resting it at the base of her neck.
“We can do this,” she said. “We can make this work, right?”
“We can,” I replied.
“I didn’t hurt you?”
“I’m not sure if it hurt or not. Maybe it didn’t…or maybe it hurt so deeply it felt good,” I laughed under my breath, “I don’t know how to explain it.”
“But it was okay?”
“It was more than okay, Sienna,” I breathed in deeply and exhaled the words she was craving, “It was necessary.”
Sienna spoke her words into my chest, and I felt the heat of her breath against my breast, “Somehow I thought this would be so much more awkward.”
We gathered our clothes, re-dressed, collected our flashlights, and walked back out into the dark corridor.
“What was that?” Sienna whispered as she jerked her head to the left. “Something moved down there…”
There was fear in her voice as she grabbed hold of my arm, the intensity of her vibrations rising in response to her heightened emotion.
“It’s probably an animal,” I replied, hoping my assumption was true.
She let go of me, turned right, and began to walk quickly down the corridor.
“Let’s get out of here…I can’t be here anymore…there’s something wrong.”
“I don’t know…it just feels…ominous.”
She sped up her pace, and I followed in stride, but I, like Sienna, had the distinct feeling that we were somehow not alone…and that we were being followed. Our quick walk increased to a jog, and then we heard it…a high, pulsing scream that sounded too much like “mama.”
Sienna stopped in her tracks, without warning, and I ran into her, nearly knocking her down.
“What the fuck was that?” I whispered, whipping the light of my flashlight back and forth down the hallway from which we’d just exited.
“I don’t know, but I don’t think it’s an animal. It sounded human. I…I think it said mama.”
“Yeah, that’s what I heard, too.”
Suddenly, the ground beneath us began to shake. I reached for Sienna, and both of us reached for the wall.
“We’ve got to get out of here, I think it’s an earthquake.”
“What the holy living fuck?! You’ve got to be kidding me…” I looked at her, incredulous, and then we both began to run toward the front doors, which were now in sight.
The ground continued to shake, and as I looked over my shoulder, I noticed a crack in the floor, widening right down the middle, the linoleum breaking up into pieces at the edges of the newly emerging fissure. Chunks of the ceiling were beginning to rain down, leaving clouds of dust and hanging wires in their wake.
We ran. We ran a quickly as we could, heaving ourselves into the door levers, bursting out onto the overgrown front lawn of the abandoned hospital. Sienna looked back at the doors, slowly closing, quieting the howls and crashing noises coming from within. When the doors clicked closed, we saw her. A woman…maybe twenty, wild-eyed and long-haired, her hands splayed against the glass, her mouth open in mid-scream.
Sienna grabbed my arm and pulled me after her. We ran to the car, just a few hundred feet away, got in, and squealed out of the parking lot. Neither of us spoke for at least 10 miles. We just worked at breathing and slowing our heartbeats.
She was the first to break the silence, “Do you think it followed us”?”
“I don’t know. I hope not. What the fuck do you think it was?”
“I have a feeling…a bad feeling…that she was after me.”
“Yes. Did you hear what she was saying? I think she thought I was her mother.”
“That’s crazy, Sienna.”
“Is it? My baby would be a grown woman by now.”
“But why would she still be there?”
“I don’t know. But, I also don’t know why I have the powers that I do, or why my parents treated me the way they did. Not everything has an easy reason.”
Sienna pulled the car over.
“I need to go back.”
“Sienna, no…we shouldn’t.”
“If it’s my daughter, I can’t just leave her there.”
Sienna was headstrong. Once she’d decided to do something, there was no stopping her. Her eyes sparkled, and her veins lit up like turquoise pool water beneath her skin.
She turned the car around and headed back the direction we’d just come. The closer we got, the more the ground rumbled beneath us.
She parked in the same spot and got out of the car, confidently. I stayed right where I was. Slowly, head held high, chest forward, heart first, she walked back toward the double doors.
The woman was still behind the glass, but as Sienna walked toward her, the scream died on her lips. Sienna pulled the door open, and the young woman fell to her knees in front of her. Even from my distant vantage point, I could tell she was sobbing, her body heaving, her hair limp and hanging to the floor. Sienna knelt beside her, taking her into her arms. The shaking of the earth stopped and rain began to fall.
I rolled down my window and put my palm out to catch a few drops. I could smell the lilacs on the cool, wet breeze. I turned on the radio and marveled at the sounds of the music…
Sparks fly from her fingertips
Echoed voices in the night
She’s a restless spirit on an endless flight
See how high she flies…