ForNevermore Part 44

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Click here for a list of all ForNevermore parts.

SEASON 1 :: EPISODE 6 :: CHAPTER 13

Two weeks later…

Noella opened her eyes in King’s Point Psychiatric, just like she had every morning for the past two weeks, wondering if this would be the day when she’d finally get a visitor again.

She waited for Dr. Lipton to bring her the paper cup with the pills, trying not to appear too eager. The more even she kept her emotions in check, the less questions the doctor had. A nurse, Ms. Franklin, had been bringing Noella’s meds, but for the past three days, Dr. Lipton had taken over the morning job for reasons Noella didn’t know and didn’t care to ask about.

Noella kept her questions to herself, figuring the less waves she made and less questions she asked, the sooner she’d be home.

Dr. Lipton handed her the pills, four in all — a pink one, two whites, and one large red capsule – always the hardest to swallow.

“All gone?” he said, his way of asking her to open her mouth and show him that there were none hidden under her tongue, like she’d done the first few days. Having to show the doctor that she swallowed the pills sent waves of anger through her.

I’m not a child!

Swallowing the anger was about as hard as swallowing the pills.

“Good girl,” he said.

Condescending jerk.

She wished she had Dr. Foster back, but she hadn’t seen him since her arrival, and no one would say why, or where he went. She wondered if all psychiatric hospitals were so secretive, or if it was just this crazy place.

She hated returning to King’s Point. But after Randy kidnapped her, things got bad again. She had another psychotic break, or so they said, though she didn’t remember much. Her memories of the past month were cloudy, and was pretty sure the pills had something to do with it, though she couldn’t figure out why the hospital would want to make her forget what happened, rather than helping her work her way through it.

Maybe you’re just paranoid.

Maybe.

Unfortunately, the memory of Randy taking her was clear as day, and probably would be forever. She also remembered Josie and Sam being brought into the dungeon, but everything else after that was a blur. According to the doctors, Noella had managed to get to a phone to call Dr. Foster and tell him where they were being held. He showed up with another hospital worker, unsure if she were having another break or if she were telling the truth. Once they saw that she was telling the truth, they called the local police who came to rescue them.

That was their story, anyway, though it was all a blur to her.

When the sheriff’s investigators came around to question her, the doctors ordered them gone.

“Good news,” Dr. Lipton said, “You have a couple of visitors today. Are you up to seeing them?”

“Yeah!” Noella said, forgetting to shroud her excitement. Josie had been her only visitor, five days after being admitted to the hospital. But that visit had not gone well. Noella had broken down, begging to go home with her, and when one of the nurses came to see what was wrong, Noella freaked out and slapped her on the side of the face.

She wasn’t sure why she flipped out like that, and barely even remembered it. She did remember being tired and cranky with a bottomless sadness. Seeing Josie reminded her of how alone she was, locked up like some sort of crazy, dangerous person.

She hadn’t had an episode in two years. Hadn’t she proved herself? Who could blame her if she snapped after being kidnapped by a serial killer?

Dr. Lipton scribbled something on his clipboard, and Noella felt a flush of anger at the way the doctor barely acknowledged her and almost never met her eyes. It was hard to get to know someone when they wouldn’t look you in the eye, and impossible to trust them. He seemed more interested in writing his notes on his pad than interacting with her, at least beyond making sure she took her pills like a “good girl.”

Dr. Lipton’s note-taking reminded Noella of when Dr. Foster had showed her those stupid inkblot cards. And while she didn’t think she had liked Dr. Foster all that much, he was a million times friendlier than this guy — and Dr. Foster had saved her life. Noella’s other doctor was much nicer, a woman named Dr. Williams. She was an older black woman, who reminded Noella of one of her favorite middle school teachers, Ms. Austin. But most days Noella was stuck with the cold Dr. Lipton.

She was looking forward to seeing Josie and wondered who her other visitor would be. Maybe it would be Sam.

Josie said he’d been in the hospital a couple of days and was now doing surprisingly well. But as much as she wanted to see him, to know he was okay again, she didn’t want Sam to see her like this. And she really didn’t want him to bring Becca. That would be like the worst thing ever.

Maybe it was Mako. That would be nice. But seeing Mako might make her even sadder. She had no idea when she’d be getting out, and seeing Mako would make the days seem further away.

“I’ll go tell them you’re ready,” Dr. Lipton said, and he left her room. Moments later, the mystery was solved.

Josie came in with Tori right behind.

Tori!

Noella burst into tears — happy tears — seeing the girl looking so cute in her red coat, blue jeans, and even a red bow in her hair.

“No-Snow!” Tori said, running to Noella’s bedside, hugging her hard.

Tori had been found the same morning that Noella, Josie, and Sam were saved. The girl had been wandering in the woods, lost, scared, and without any memory of what happened. In many ways, her experience had echoed Noella’s.

Tori remembered Randy taking her in her sleep, and telling her that he wanted to show her something, and that Noella needed her help. After that, she didn’t remember anything except waking in the middle of the night in the woods.

“Oh my God, I’m so glad to see you!” Noella said, hugging the girl and never wanting to let her go.

She smelled like strawberry perfume, and reminded Noella of hanging out at her house, watching Phineas & Ferb, playing video games, and hide-n-seek. Tears streamed down Noella’s cheeks, and she didn’t care.

“She couldn’t wait to see you,” Josie said. “Jen wanted to see you, too, but they only allow two visitors, so she said next time she’ll come up with Tori. Jen sent some cookies, though.”

Josie hugged Noella, then handed her a plastic bowl with cookies. Tori had taped a drawing she made of her and Noella together, smiling beneath a rainbow, to the top of the cookie bowl.

“Thank you!” Noella said.

“I helped make them!” Tori said, beaming.

Noella opened the lid, saw oatmeal, chocolate chip, and even snickerdoodles.

“Oh wow, I’m so gonna pig out today!” she said.

“So, how’s it going?” Josie asked.

“OK. I miss you. Both of you. How are Mako and Sam?”

“Good. Mako said hi. She wants to come up and see you soon, but she’s not sure because of her parents, and all that.”

“Oh, yeah. They’re probably not even gonna let her talk to me after this!”

Josie frowned, “I can’t wait until she goes to college and gets away from them. It’ll be so good for her to break free and finally spread her wings.”

“Speaking of breaking free,” Noella said, “any word from the docs on when I might be getting out?”

“Not yet, they’re not saying too much.”

Noella swallowed, trying not to let her disappointment turn her happy tears into sad ones.

“Don’t worry, honey, you’ll be out soon. Just keep your head up, and do what they say.”

“Yeah, please get out soon,” Tori said. “I can’t stand my new babysitter!”

“You have a new babysitter?” Noella asked, surprised, though she supposed she shouldn’t have been. Life went on, whether she was there or not.

“Yeah, this girl Wendy who lives down the street. She’s only in ninth grade, and she’s soooo stupid.”

“She have super long brown hair and braces?” Noella asked, vaguely remembering the girl from the bus stop, but not enough to have formed an opinion.

“Yeah, and let’s just say, I should be babysitting her! So you have to get better soon.”

Noella laughed. “Okay, I’ll try.”

Noella turned to Josie, “How are you doing?”

In all the drama, and Noella’s thinking about herself and being locked up in King’s Point, she hadn’t given much thought to how hard everything had been on her aunt. To find out your boyfriend, a man you were practically married to, was the town’s most notorious serial killer, and that he tried to kill you and your niece, had to be one of those things that was nearly impossible to recover from.

By all regards, Josie should be in the room next to Noella.

But Josie was strong. She stepped up when her brother died and took Noella in. And now she’d do what she had to do to move on.

Josie’s gaze was slightly distant, as if she were going down the same broken roads of memory as Noella.

“I’ll be okay. You just worry about you. I’ll get by. I picked up some extra shifts at work, and I have some money saved.”

That last sentence made no sense to Noella. She knew for a fact that money had been super tight, but she didn’t ask. Something in Josie’s eyes told her not to, especially in front of Tori.

Okay, that’s weird.

“I’ll be home soon,” Noella said. “And we’ll get through this together.”

They hugged again.

Visiting hour raced by, mostly filled with small talk that made Noella feel human again, but left her feeling lonelier than ever once Josie and Tori left.

As much as she hated Aurora Falls and its petty people, and never felt as if she truly belonged, there was nowhere she would rather be right now.

To go home, where she belonged.

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK!

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About David Wright

Dave is the co-founder of Collective Inkwell, in which he and Sean Platt re-invented serial fiction. Hailing from the quaint town of [REDACTED], Dave's renown for putting children in jeopardy (in his fiction, anyway) has made him world famous.

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