Control is key. Every decision we make, every action, it's all about control. So if someone comes along and tries to take that power away from you, well, it's bound to drive you a little crazy. But what if the simple mental illness is the thing that causes you to lose control in the first place- what then? Without your mind what do you have left? Only the madness.
Welcome to The Asylum. Please check it at reception; leave your sense and your sanity at the door.
For Silver it was the numbers that did it; it was the numbers that shaped and warped her fragile mind. She thought that she could make it all better, all she had to do was count to four twice and everything would be okay again. It wasn't that easy though.
There was the counting when she woke in the morning. There was the counting when she got dressed, ate a meal, talked with friends. In the end the numbers weren't enough, and with them came rituals and routines- all there for protection. Got to count and plan, count and plan, otherwise something bad might happen. But when something bad really did happen Silver barely noticed, and she found herself in a cold, hard cell counting the tiles on the walls. By then the control was lost and it was too late, and no amount of numbers would save her.
Silver suffered from what would later be known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but for now it more clinical than that. A big old rubber stamp on the back of the hand- 'Insane', and that was all. There was no cognitive therapy or psychoanalysis, you were simple 'mental'. No more discussion was needed; just lock up the crazies and let them slowly die.
And so Silver became accustomed to her life- she had little choice in the matter. In the asylum she was not her own person, just a number in white clothing; unique just like all the others. She didn't talk to them, she wouldn't know what to say. Instead Silver spent her days with her tarot cards, looking to the universe for signs of change. Unfortunately, the changes soon to come were not what she expected.
There was a man in charge of The Asylum, a man with a quiet manner and a playful smile always about the lips. Dr Drake Hartmann had built the institute himself and had been there from the beginning, always concerned with the care and upkeep of his patients. At least, to the untrained eye...
Silver had been at the institute for nearly a week when it happened. She was busy going about her daily routine when he came to her, got close and whispered in her ear. Just a straightforward proposition- something about an itch to scratch and a helping hand- and by giving Dr Hartmann what he wanted then maybe Silver could get what she needed.
Being insane wasn't easy, and in time Silver had come to deal with her issues by substituting them with a little addiction. Of course, now she was locked away she could no longer get her wares, and as day followed night followed day followed night the itch of withdrawal began to creep, and gnaw, and bite. This was where Dr Hartmann came in- if the inmates could get intimate, then maybe he would prescribe them a little something. Tit for tat, if you will.
It was a well-known fact around The Asylum that inmates were expected to keep their mouths shut and their legs open. Dr Hartmann was King and no one dared disobey him, because, even if they rebelled; even if they wanted to complain, who would believe them? They were mental patients, he was a respected Doctor. The hierarchy ruled all, and all the little pawns would just have to suck it (up), and obey.
Silver took longer to cave than the others. She was stronger than anyone had anticipated, but as each day crawled past the discomfort deepened. In time it was all consuming, and Silver knew that she couldn't go on any longer. She needed her hit of the big H to see her through the madness, and that meant giving it up to the Doctor.
Dr Hartmann couldn't even feign surprise when she came to him, because they all did in the end. Still, this one meant more for some reason- the fact that Silver had resisted for so long made him want her intensely, until she became his own addiction. After that first night it only got worse, and Silver and Drake found themselves in a cycle of dependency- each feeding off of what the other could offer.
Days turned to weeks turned to months and still the cycle remained, and each time Silver sold herself she felt a little bit of her humanity slip away. The depravity of it all- it played on her mind, and she knew she could not go on like this.
One night, when the moon loomed large and imposing in the midnight sky, Silver planned her escape. The security in The Asylum was lax at best- Dr Hartmann relying more on fear than anything else to keep the inmates in check- so Silver was able to slip away with relative ease. Now all she had to worry about was being caught escaping, because surely the punishment served for such would be worse than she could imagine.
Silver reached the perimeter of the insititute's grounds and crawled over the hedge, mindful of her surroundings are always vigilantly watching. In time though she felt able to relax as there were no alarms, no shouts with people running after her. She was free, at last.
She never heard the shadow come up behind her, only felt cold fingers gripping her arm like a vice and a quick scratch running parallel to a vein on her neck. She turned, moaned; the scratch deepened, made a hole; the blood rose up to fill the gap. Consciousness gave out and pain set in.
Silver was gone; the news rang through the halls like a siren. For most residents the siren sang of hope, of a possibility of escape, but for Dr Hartmann the news was toxic. If she was out there she could tell people what he had done, and that simply would not do. He wanted to find her, to punish her, but more than that he just wanted her back. He had grown to depend on her presence, and his cruel world was less fun without a victim. But Dr Hartmann needn't have worried, because Silver was closer than he realised...
It was nighttime, and Dr Hartmann was in his office just finishing up for the day. His 'case studies' had been conducted in their usual fashion, and there was nothing left to do but go home, rest, and think about Silver, but as he turned towards the door she was already waiting for him.
He looked better than he had ever seen her- stronger and more assured somehow, a world away from the frail and fractured soul that had come to his door all those weeks ago, as she spoke her voice stayed firm and didn't falter. There was anger- Dr Hartmann expected that- but what he didn't expect was the emotion and questions.
All Silver wanted to know was why- what had she done to deserve Dr Hartmann's cruel treatment of her? The Doctor offered no answers, and he couldn't help but break into his customary sly grin. That was his first mistake.
A vicious growl reverberated from deep in Silver's thoat, and she gnashed her teeth as she regarded her enemy and lover. The situation vexed Silver greatly- she had started off hating Dr Hartmann, but in time she had grown to depend on his twisted affections. Now all she wanted was for him to explain himself, but instead he did the worst thing possible. He turned his back on her.
That was his second mistake.
Death hurt like hell, but returning from it was far worse. As Drake awoke as a vampire he felt... wrong. His blood did not flow, his breath was stale and pointless, and all of him ached. Truly that was what being a vampire was all about- being punished for your past sins. Sure you can live forever, but can you live with yourself?
As Drake looked at Silver, her sweetly sick smile lighting up her face, a sudden sense of shame passed over him. The things he had done... death had really laid it all out for him- his immoral actions and their reflected consequences. Perhaps for the first time Drake felt guilty, and he realised he had an awful lot to atone for.
What he couldn't understand though was why Silver had turned him- why hadn't she just let him die? It was what he deserved, after all. But then, as Silver stared at him, he saw in her eyes what he had suspected for a while. Silver needed him and, perhaps more shockingly, he needed her too.
Addiction takes many forms.
That night, Drake and Silver left The Asylum. As vampires they knew they could be together for more than a lifetime, and Drake knew that he would spend that time reconciling with his demons and the things he had done. He had made a lot of mistakes in his life, but he had so much time in his death to make up for it. He just hoped Silver would be willing to let him.