Going back to that version of Hell was more painful than I liked to admit. I was about twenty the last time I was there. I couldn’t believe it had been a decade. I pulled into the visitor’s parking space and needed to gather myself before entering. My heart fluttered as the memories flooded in. Cameron and I practically lived at Hillbrooke throughout middle school, but Courtney got “better” and he didn’t. He stayed there for years. At eighteen, they brought me back here, only I learned that he was transferred somewhere else.
The smells of the halls were the same as the smells of hospitals. The loud cries from the residents, the stillness of those who needed restraining. The place was cold and unfit to raise children. My childhood echoed in the halls.
A little girl ran past me, nearly stepping on my foot. A boy followed closely at her heels, they giggled as they ran. That was how Cameron and I would play.
In the time following Tony’s death, they brought us here. I didn’t quite understand why I had to come with Cameron, but I wouldn’t have had it any different. He and I were inseparable. Sure, he had his moments of discontentment with me, but that’s just how he was with everyone.
The memory that begun playing in my mind belonged to Courtney.
“Cameron, can you slow down?” I yelled.
“You are going to have to run faster than that!” He laughed.
He grabbed the leg of the table to whirl himself around its corner. His agility was pretty impressive, but I was better. I slid underneath it and he toppled over me. His foot caught my waist and it hurt like sin, a small price to pay to win.
“You’re cheater!” He barked at me.
“It’s not cheating, you are just a sore loser.”
“Whatever. I’m done playing.”
Cameron folded his arms and plopped on the nearby couch. Even though we weren’t home to play with our sisters, it remained our favorite game.
“Courtney, why are you laying on the floor?” Dr. Rivera asked.
“I was just playing. Do you want to play with us?”
“Who are you playing with?”
I looked over at Cameron sitting on the couch, he stuck his tongue out at me. I giggled.
“I came to get you for our session. Do you think you have enough energy for that?”
He kneeled to get closer to eye level with me. I rolled onto my back once more and with a sigh, I agreed to his request.
The memories of this place came with mixed emotions. I both loved it and hated it for a myriad of reasons. Deep in thought, I hadn’t realized the man I’d come to see appeared by my side.
“Mrs. Jones, I’m glad you made it. You missed our last few sessions.” Dr. Rivera said, pulling me back from the past.
“I’m here now. I have some things to discuss with you, Doc.”
“Come with me.”
We walked into his office and like the rest of this place, it was all too familiar. Courtney must have been here several times. Mr. Rivera closed the door behind me.
“May I ask, with whom I am speaking with?”
I chuckled. How did he know I wasn’t her? I hesitated before answering. The anticipation filling the room gave me a pleasurable feeling. I wanted to savor it a bit more.
“Ophelia, isn’t it? Why have you re-emerged?” ~
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