Emmaline’s Story – On the Inside
From psych guy’s office I wandered to the porch and, took a seat. I turned to the girls, talking boisterously, and I touched Danica’s finger, saying, “Tonight. Right?”
She nodded and I strolled out to the fence. No longer feeling apprehension and terror, I wondered if things really can change. God knows I’ve had ample evidence to the contrary.
Immediately, I dismissed the thought as I contemplated the change in Maya. She seemed so clean, so clear-headed, as though her twisted mind had been unknotted. She even walked differently, with assurance of self and shoulders squared.
Then I realized what I was thinking. No shit! I’m envious? I envy her? Holy cow pies!
I felt startled and shaken to the depths of me, when I saw Danica cresting the hill searching. This time I got up to close the gap. Meeting her half way down, I asked her about my prior conclusion, suggesting, “Sis, I know I said we should only talk at night, but, if it’s okay with you, I’d like us to talk whenever the coast is clear.
“Yes! Yay,” she smiled.
I locked our fingers and we headed back. Upon reaching the porch we all sat talking about the crappy food, and lousy mattresses atop makeshift, metal bedframes, and I made it a point to pay special attention to Helen.
We had staggered our meetings and I was sure there were times when she must have felt left out. She didn’t get to share a room with us and she had to eat the crappiest, sugarless foods while watching us receive the semi-normal foods, but I had a surprise up my sleeve. I touched her finger and asked, “Bathroom at two a.m. break?”
Having listened in, Danica and Marie broke into huge smiles. Marie asked, “Is it time? You have,” and quickly lowered her voice, “the tools?”
I nodded, saying, “I think so. I’ll show them to Helen tonight. You’ll know if they will work. Right?”
“Yea! You bet ya,” she exclaimed.
We were filled with glee and hiding it in silence when I turned to find goon standing against the door, holding it slightly ajar. It was too obvious she was spying. At this point, silence was the kiss of death, so I hid my arm in front of me and pointed back at goon, making an ugly frown.
Marie took the cue, “Helen, your hair is so silky. How do you keep it like that?”
Helen glanced quickly at goon and replied, “Well I don’t have the usual tools here, but I tend to stick with shampoo that has,” she stopped short not knowing the scientific words for the products and finished, “softening agents in them and I use a detangler. Oh and never brush wet hair,” she cautioned.
With my back to the door I grinned at them, knowing they had just saved us some unneeded grief.
“I’ll look up the softening agents for you,” Helen continued, “as soon as possible.”
I saw Marie and Helen relax and looked back to see that goon had gone on her way. I dragged the back of my hand over my forehead, saying, “Whew! That was close!”
All the girls mumbled that goon was onto us. I didn’t want to scare them, but it was an inescapable fact.
“Yes, I know,” I warned, “We have to be more cautious from now on.”
“Are you sure this is wise,” Helen asked.
I smiled snickering, “Of course not, but what other fun do we have here, unless you really enjoy broken crayons and ancient crossword puzzles?”
All three grimaced and grumbled about how little was made available to do.
“That reminds me, I haven’t written any lousy prose for big B lately,” I said, lost in thought.
Everyone leaned in to touch my finger and Helen laughed,”Let’s all remember to bow and give thanks to the television gods for access to a TV!”
“I guess you guys are as bored as I am,” I said.
“Well yea, that,” Marie hinted, “and you haven’t breathed a word about psych guy.”
I turned to my opposite side knowing Danica hadn’t even told the girls and gave her a thankful wink.
“Okay. I’ll say what I’m able to tonight but use extra caution. Okay?”
They nodded affirmatively and we filed inside for dinner.
I stared at the slab of turkey breast on my plate, recently frozen and thawed to eat, with think globs of gravy on top of sliced bread. Trying not to wretch, I considered Helen. I was certain the meal must look like heaven to her, so I dug in vigorously, cut off a huge helping and shoveled it into my mouth.
Before I could bite down, I tasted a dreadful and unmistakable tang. My effort became an immediate small disaster. Fisting a napkin, I spit out the mouthful and turned my meal over to expose large, moldy spots on the bread and I turned at least five shades of green.
“What is it,” Marie asked, chewing hungrily.
“I’m allergic to mold,” I whispered, cupping my hand around my mouth to hide my dismay from Helen.
Marie leaned over to inspect my overturned meal, sputtering, “Oh! Ewww!”
Without hesitation, she flipped her own to check and with that, all attempts to hide disgust were lost.
“Mine’s fine,” she said, slicing it to give me half.
I thanked her kindly and asked her to take it back explaining that I’d lost my appetite.
“Okay, but I’ll sneak the cookies back to our room for you. If you’re hungry, you can munch then,” she whispered.
“Thanks,” I offered, as goon made her way behind me.
Hmmm, she’s getting sneaky. She’s definitely onto us or, at least, me.
“You hardly touched your meal,” she said cunningly.
I tried to think of something she couldn’t argue with but drew a blank. Instead, I bit my tongue.
Goon heaved a sigh and rounded the table finishing dinner rounds. Helen shot a worried look at me and whispered, “She knows something’s up.”
“Agreed,” I conspired, “Like I said, extra caution from now on.”
I reached beneath the table in a way that was only perceptible to us. Three fingers touched mine and I looked around before saying, “Meeting tonight after two a.m. rounds. Helen, meet me in the bathroom a few minutes after you hear me open my door. Okay?”
“Sure thing,” she answered, tossing me a relieved smile.
Sometimes I wonder if the girls trust me a little too much, I worried.
“If goon and B come back early, it’s off tonight,” I added for safe measure.
“Got it,” Helen whispered, under her breath.
Afterwards, I reached next to me and coiled my finger through Danica’s to let her know we would talk privately after our meeting. She sent me a knowing glance and got up to empty her tray.
When goon called lights out for the night I tiptoed to Danica to explain that I would be slightly late for our talk.
“How come,” she asked with a worried frown.
I’d finally remembered a website I loved and fudged, “I just have something to do.”
“Want some help,” she queried.
“Nah, I’ll tell you about it later. Get some rest.”
At two a.m. rounds, I waited until the coast was clear and went straight to the computer to look up netdisaster.com.
I downloaded an application which would attack a computer in a variety of ways and wondered which one to choose. Cows pooping on the screen?
I tried it but it didn’t send the right message. Nuke the monitor!
I downloaded Desktop NetDisaster and installed the software to make missiles nuke the computer screen, giving the appearance that all records had been infected or hacked as bombs exploded on the monitor, complete with sound effects.
I set up the effect on all the office computers smiling wickedly at my handiwork, and then scooted back to the room, extracted my list, and crossed off ‘helplessness.’
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