There’s an assignment this week. One we need to do but don’t have to share. It’s therapy really. Did they think we wouldn’t notice? We have thirty minutes to tell the story of one of our scars, and they don’t mean physical ones although they know we all have plenty. If I had a pen I’d be chewing the end of it but we’re not allowed pens. You can do damage with pens. Instead we have these silly little tablet things. Even they’re not like you expect them to be. All rubbery and soft with no hard edges. Not like us, we have more hard edges than you’d think possible.
So, what am I going to write about? I’m not really like the others in here. The addicts. The ones who self harm by cutting, the ones who self harm by injecting, the ones who self harm by ingesting. I don’t do any of that. I’m clean in that respect. My scars are all on the inside. All pink and puckered and invisible to everyone but me. Mine are thought scars. The scars of the imagination. The scars of anger and hate.
Which one of them should I choose? Will I ever write words on this thing? The sort of words they are expecting? I doubt it. I hate to think of them as winning even that small a victory. My fingers tap the screen and dark, spikey letters appear. Sharp little tips all dripping with poison. Can words kill? Can I make my words kill? It has been a thought in my head for some time.
I sit back in my chair. I’d like to rock but it’s clamped to the floor. Behind the mirror I know they’re watching us. Making little notes on their harder, squarer tablets.
I look around, moving only my eyes. I won’t give the mirror people anything. One or two of the others are jabbing their fingers at the screens, almost frantic in their desire to please. Or maybe they’re trying to hurt those shiny, little blocks of light the way they have been hurt. Mostly people are just sitting motionless. It’s to be expected really. A lot of those in here just don’t function any more. I guess they decided better that than the alternative.
I won’t switch off. I promised myself that the day they dragged me through the obsidian gateway. That great, gaping, open mouth that led straight to hell. Abandon hope all ye that enter here. I’d been silent then, locked within myself, asleep. Now I’m awake but they don’t know that. On the surface I look exactly the same. I look like everyone else. Dull-faced, shuffling and dead inside. Exactly as I want them to see me.
I know it won’t be long now. For the past three nights I’ve heard those outside crooning to me. Courage, their soft little voices creep into my ears, not long now, little darling. If I was alone in my cell I would smile, but no-ones ever alone in here. Big brother is always watching you. They think I don’t understand the literary reference but they’re wrong. I understand it only too well.
The clock on the wall tells me I have seven minutes of this left and then they’ll come to take the tablets away to peruse our pathetic little efforts. I have made twelve black marks on my pristine, white screen. Those twelve marks are my scar. I hope they are pleased with my efforts. The cursor winks at me as if it understands.
This is my therapy. For the last three months they have tried to make me speak and now I have. The bell rings. It’s over. I look down at my handiwork. Short and succinct. No room for any misinterpretation.
“YOU’RE ALL DEAD”.