Posted in My Fiction and Poetry

Broken Castle

(Okay, I know this is a little depressing, but when I have an idea I just have to get it out. Let me know what you think!)

The shattering of crystal obliterated the peaceful silence of the palace. Emma hefted another antique vase, a priceless heirloom that had once belonged to her great-grandmother, and examined it closely. The vase was quite heavy, proclaiming both the age and craftsmanship of the piece. Its weight and smoothness were comforting to hold in her hands. The porcelain had been painted with a lovely mountain scene, complete with shepherd and goats. One could almost smell the heather on the mountain’s slope. The vase was truly a masterpiece, and was probably at least two hundred years old. Emma ran her finger around the lip of the piece as she appreciated its beauty and history. She remembered when her mother had given her the vase as a little girl. Savoring the memory, Emma pulled her arm back and hurled the heirloom into the stone wall of her chamber and watched another memory disappear.

Emma ran through the palace, destroying everything that had once mattered to her. The writing desk her father had made for her thirteenth birthday. The books that she had read and acted out with her brother. The manuscript she had spent years perfecting. The guitar on which she had learned to play and written her first songs. The rocking chair her mother had used to put her to sleep. The dress she had worn to her first dance. The set of mixing bowls her grandmother had given her while teaching Emma to bake. The window seat where she had daydreamed every evening. The bed where she had first made love to her husband. The crib in which her daughter had slept.

After hours of destruction, Emma lowered herself into the center of what was now one large room. The walls had collapsed with her memories. She had destroyed everything she loved for no other reason than her inability to stop herself. She had awakened that morning to find that all of the doors out of the palace had been bricked over. And now all of the windows were too small to stick even a hand through. She was trapped in her own home. When she had called out her her husband and daughter, she received no answer. Her parents, her brother, and every other person in her life was gone.

Emma had frantically searched the castle for her family for hours. She had torn her fingernails away with her desperate clawing at the bricks that kept her inside. Blood dripped onto the walls from her self-inflicted wounds as she searched for an exit. Clumps of hair littered the hallway from when she had began pulling it out in anguish. Her clothes were in tatters and her bare feet were bruised and bleeding from the debris she had created. When she had stopped screaming for a moment to catch her breath, she had heard the distant sound of her daughter’s giggles and her husband’s deep chuckle. She quickly pulled herself onto a chair to look out one of the now-tiny windows.

On the hillside below, so close she could make out every feature of every face, her entire family and all of her dearest friends had gathered for some sort of celebration. She screamed through the small opening until her throat was hoarse, but no one ever heard her or seemed to miss her. Why had they left her here alone? What had she done that they would all ignore her like this? Had they gotten together and walled up every door and diminished every window? Was this some cruel joke or was she being punished for something? That was when something within her had broken and she had began destroying everything that made her who she was. Now she had no memories of anyone or anything. From her seated position on the floor, she laid back into the rubble of her madness, bruising and piercing every part of her, but she reveled in the pain because it was the only thing she knew how to feel any longer.

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Greg sat in a sunny cell of McRoth’s Mental Institution, holding the unresponsive hand of his wife. Within three weeks she had wasted away to almost nothing. What little remained of her lustrous raven hair was now lank and oily and thin. Not even the strongest makeup would be able to conceal the rings beneath her eyes and the lackluster appearance of her skin. Her eyes stared through him as though he wasn’t even there. Her wrists were strapped to the arms of her wheelchair with soft lambskin straps to prevent her from hurting herself again. Her fingernails were still missing, crescents of bloody scabs taking their places. Her long, once graceful neck still bore the gouges she had bestowed upon herself before her nails were gone.

Greg’s vision blurred as he contemplated his wife’s mental break. Through his tears, he could see her as she had been before, a laughing green-eyed genius of a woman with curly black hair, who loved him and their daughter more than life itself. She had always been happy, and everyone she met couldn’t help but love her. She had always been close to her family. Her books had been brilliant. She was the best mother his daughter could have hoped for. She had made the lives of everyone she met brighter and more jubilant. How could a woman like that just snap one morning? What had happened inside her mind?

When Emma had jumped out of bed screaming three weeks ago, he had thought she was having a nightmare. But the nightmare was only just beginning. After that one long scream, she had completely stopped verbalizing. Even when she hurt herself, she never made a sound. After he had called 911 and she was hospitalized, no amount of sedative could keep her from silently waking up and clawing herself or banging her head into the bar on the bed. The hospital had finally strapped her down and moved her to their psychiatric unit, where she stayed for five days before being transferred to McRoth’s.

Since that time, she had never seemed to recognize anyone or anything; not him, their daughter Lizzy, her guitar, or passages from her favorite books or ones she had written herself. She never responded to anything. Greg would have given anything to know what had happened inside her mind. He was terrified that he would never see the real Emma again. But Greg deeply believed in his wife. Even if her mind was in tatters, he knew that she was smart enough and brave enough to fix it. So, until then, Greg would keep coming in and holding Emma’s hand every day, waiting for the moment when she finally held his back.

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