Cycle
ImagineGal

Chapters

1. A New Beginning
2. Insanity
3. That Was His Name
4. Escape
5. Not Just You
6. Page One
7. Forgotten Wonders
8. Smaaaaash!
9. Advice
10. Tricks
11. Former Friends
12. Revelations
13. Distortions
14. Mental Roller-Coaster
15. A Two-Day Journey
16. Lessons
17. Touch of Evil
18. The Ride of Your Life
19. Losing the Feather
20. Epilogue


He really does look crazy.

The woman stood in the doorway, looking at the man she had come to visit, her green eyes holding a sense of pain and sadness. A single tear rolled down her cheek, but she delicately wiped it away and took a deep breath. She walked through the door where two men were stationed in case anything happened, into the room where there was a security camera mounted on the wall.

What do you expect from an insane asylum? she asked herself, walking to the other end of the long table and sitting down. He didn't even look up.

"Hello, Ness." she said after a minute. He still didn't look up.

"Ness?"

The second time she said it, something twinged in the man's mind, like a light switch being turned on. Though a very dim light, it was enough to make him look up and ask, "Are you talking to me?"

The moment of silence that followed gave him time to study her somewhat. She was wearing a green sweater that accentuated the color of her eyes, by the way she was holding her arms he could tell that her hands were folded quite neatly in her lap. Her blonde, wavy hair fell to her shoulders in glorious cascades.

She was pretty, he thought before he was able to stop himself. The only thing that unnerved him was the look on her face. She was staring at him so hard and with such remorse... As if she was trying to see into his mind...

"Who are you?" he asked, "Why are you here?"

"I've come to get you out of here." she said simply.

A slight grin flashed across the man's face, "Well, I hate to break it to 'ya, toots, but there's no chance in hell of me ever getting out of here. Do you even read the newspapers?"

"I want to help you." was the reply.

He studied her again. The look on her face had changed from painful to almost desperate, and it seemed she was doing her best to cover it up.

If only he knew what she was looking for, why she wanted so bad to get him out of here. It probably had something to do with his past, but did he even want to remember those times? It was the first time he'd actually thought about the fact that the time he couldn't remember was so horrible, his mind had just sort of... pushed it away. The doctors had considered that possibility several times, but he had never taken them so seriously. Could sixteen years really be all that bad?

"Why?" he asked, knowing that the answer probably wouldn't make much sense anyway.

There was another pause, short this time, "Because you don't belong here."

He sighed and rolled his eyes. His prediction had been right on target.

"Are you telling me you think you do belong here?" she asked incredulously.

He didn't want to answer. By now he was convinced that if anyone in this room belonged in an insane asylum, it was this woman. Where had she been living for the last ten years? On Mars?

Her staring was becoming annoying. "What are you, some kind of hypnotist or something?"

"Pardon me?"

"I mean you're acting like you're in a damn staring contest. Don't you ever blink, for Christ's sake?"

"I blink perfectly fine," she said, sounding indignant.

He crossed his arms and stared right back at her. Eventually she sighed and looked at the floor.

He grinned, "I win. So tell me... Why are you here? Really. You another psychiatrist? You gonna try to find out about my 'troubled experiences' as a child or how someone might have brainwashed me? I got news for you, babes, that game's already been played. And nobody's been able to find the winner, cause it's whatever made me forget everything."

She seemed to be trying to search for the right words. Then she found them. She looked up.

"I know you've had some hard times..." she began, "I mean, it must be pretty hard not to go insane in a place like this-"

That was it. "God, lady, don't you get it? I am insane!" he stood right up out of his chair, "What do you think they've been tellin' me for the past ten years? The tests? The questionings? Those weird times when I blank out, and I say and do God knows what!" he was walking down the length of the table, towards her, "I'm gonna ask you again, one more time. Who are you and what do you want?!" he finished, kneeling down right next to her chair. The two men came into the room and watched him, ready in case he 'tried anything'.

She opened her mouth to answer, but stopped the moment she saw an empty look creep into his eyes. A hand reached up to brush her cheek gently.

"Paula..." he murmured.

She smiled a bit, unsure as to what was going on.

"He's having another attack!" one of the men exclaimed, and reached for the man's shoulder to stand up him so he could get him out of there.

But he had not yet reached the two of them when the man leaned forward and kissed the woman right on the mouth. She drew back a little, startled, but they stayed connected for almost two seconds before both guards grabbed him and began to haul him off.

"No!" the man shouted, trying to pry loose from the guards' grips. He made two fists and held them together as if he was holding a long pole of some sort. He began to swing his imaginary weapon around fiercely as they virtually dragged him out of the room.

Paula sat there, in a daze. She hardly heard a doctor come in and say “We're sorry, but you'll have to go now.” It was almost someone else who walked down the hallways of the insane asylum, someone else who got into her car.

He had said her name.

Paula leaned on the steering wheel and cried.