Let me tell you something that's the truth.
Of course, they don't want you to know the truth because they want you
to believe whatever they tell you, but I'm telling the truth. They
say I'm crazy, but I'm not. They tell me this like I'm supposed to
believe it. What do they know? Lies, all lies. It's not
my fault I had visions or that I have memory lapses. It's a gift
and they're jealous.
See, you're already thinking that I'm crazy
just like the rest of them and just because I told you they told me that
I was, but I'm not. It's a gift. Just ask Marty. He gave
it to me. Don't get judgmental on me yet. Just let me tell
you how it happened, then you'll believe me and know that I'm not really
crazy and that I don't belong here...
I really liked Michael. He was the perfect
gentleman. I met him at work and we just hit it off from there.
That night was supposed to be special: our first real date as a couple.
We went to Gionetti's, an exclusive restaurant just on the outskirts of
town. He was willing to spend all kinds of money on me. It
was a nice restaurant, all expansive and elegant. The walls were
off-white. I don't think I care much for off-white. The chairs
were made of cherry- wood, such a rich texture. And the tables…I
really love white tablecloth restaurants, although I wouldn't exactly call
this a white tablecloth restaurant because the tablecloths were a light
magnolia. And it was one of few restaurants that still welcomed live
music—a string quartet. What was that they were playing when we walked
in? Vivaldi, I think. I don't know, I never really listened
to classical much. I wasn't paying attention to them anyways.
I was too busy enjoying talking with Michael and eating.
I remember what I had — a T-bone steak, rare
and juicy. I was really enjoying it but then something happened.
I couldn't help it. The vision was too much. It wasn't just
one, it was a flash of everyone getting murdered that very minute.
I know Marty did it to me. He's so jealous. I can still hear
their screams, still feel the gunshots, burns, and knife wounds.
It was too much. I could see their faces. All so scared, so
alone. Nobody to help them. All alone. I wanted to help
them. I screamed and cried with them. I was going to save them.
Save them all. I had my steak knife in my hand. I was going
to stop the murderers. I jumped from the table and screamed, stabbing
the murderer in the heart. I stabbed him again and again, but the
murderer kept killing them. I could still feel them, see them.
I was still screaming, screaming for them. I was trying to kill the
murderer, but the murderer wouldn't die so I stabbed again and again and
again but several hands grabbed me. They were helping the murderer.
They were helping him and they were going to kill me just like they
killed all those other people, those poor, defenseless people. They
weren't going to get me that easily. I screamed and kicked, punched,
kept a tight grip of my steak knife. I stabbed another one and then
I stabbed him again. "You're not gonna kill me!" I kicked another
one, sliced another's throat as I wildly brandished the knife. "No!
No! Nononononononononooooooooooooooooooo! You won't get me,
you won't kill me like you killed them! You won't you won't you won't!"
They had me surrounded. They threw me on the floor, jumped on top
of me, and took my only form of protection. I kicked, I punched,
but there were too many. Too many. It wasn't fair. "I
won't let you kill me! I won't let you kill me!" I could see
the murderers still killing all these helpless people. I had to stop
them, but they were going to stop me first. "I have to help
them! I have to help the people!"
That's how I got here. They said I killed
Michael and two others and I had to be treated, but I think they're lying.
They must have made him run away or either they killed him and those other
people just so they could blame me and put me in that doomed, white padded
hell. Well, I thought that was hell, but it's nothing compared to
this place. Anyway, I know I didn't kill him because I loved Michael
and he loved me. Besides, I would never hurt anybody. I'm not
like that. They're all against me because I know they lie and they
want to keep me quiet. They turned everybody against me. Nobody
would visit me except for Marty because he was my only real friend.
I thought that Marty was my only real friend,
but weeks had passed by without me seeing him. He told me he'd never
leave me, but he did. Why had he left? Did they tell him not
to see me? Why would he listen to them? He knew they were against
me and him so why would he listen to them? Something wasn't right.
I know that place was all wrong because ever since I'd gotten there, my
memory lapses had been getting worse. At first it only happened for
a few hours, but soon it got like I was unconscious almost the whole day.
I had to fight to keep my mind my own. Now that I think about it,
Marty must have come to see me during my memory lapses. They must
have put me in a trance so I wouldn't be able to remember his visits and
I'd think nobody cared about me. That had to be it. One day
I overheard the doctors saying that I was getting easier to control. Right
then, I knew that they were brainwashing me. Whatever they were doing
to me, I was determined to fight it.
Then one night they sent her for me.
At first I didn't know who it was because all I could hear was a quiet,
faint sob. It was so close that it sounded like she was sitting right
next to me. But nobody was in the room. Hello? I shouted
through my mind. Could she hear me too? The crying settled
down, but I could tell she was surprised and frightened. She screamed
for me to go away. But I wouldn't leave. I knew that I had
known her before. Her mind connected with mine instantly, as though
they belonged together. Where was she? Who was she?
Go away! You're not real! Go
away! You're not real, you're not real, you're not real!
Her voice was close. It sounded like she was whispering in my ear.
I am real. I can help you.
Who are you?
The sobs grew louder. I am Essence…I
am Essence…I am Essence.
Essence. That name sounded familiar,
but I couldn't figure out why. Maybe we can help each other.
I AM ESSENCE! I AM ESSENCE!
I AM ESSENCE!
Essence, let me help you.
NO! YOU CAN'T HELP ME!
I DON'T NEED YOUR HELP! I AM ESSENCE! I AM ESSENCE! JUST
ESSENCE! I AM ESSENCE! She choked on her words as
her sobs increased.
I can help you.
She was silent for a minute. I could
feel the tears streaming down her face. Were those my tears?
Her presence grew stronger. As she shook, I shook. I felt confusion,
determination, frustration, and sorrow. You…you killed Michael!
Did she know Michael? I was confused.
How did you know…
MURDERER! MURDERER! YOU KILLED MICHAEL!
I didn't kill Michael!
Don't you believe those lies! I had a vision and I was…
THEY'RE NOT VISIONS! WE DON'T GET
VISIONS, THEY'RE ALL IN OUR MIND—NO THEY'RE ALL IN MY MIND! MY MIND
MY MIND MY MIND!
You don't know they're not real!
They're lying! The visions are real!
DR. JACKSON TOLD ME THEY'RE NOT REAL, YOU'RE
NOT REAL! MARTY'S NOT REAL! MY MIND! MY MIND!
MINE! IT'S TIME FOR YOU TO LEAVE! She was shrieking
now, almost hysterical.
She was the reason Marty was gone. They
sent her for him and now they were sending her for me. I tried to
hold back my anger, but I was failing.
What did you do to Marty?
I PUT HIM AWAY! MARTY IS NOTHING!
AND NOW IT'S TIME FOR ME TO PUT YOU AWAY! I AM ESSENCE! I AM
ESSENCE! I AM ESSENCE! YOU ARE NOTHING!
She was the strongest weapon they'd used on
me. They must have gotten desperate to get rid of me. I had
told them they wouldn't be able to get rid of me. Maybe that
had been a mistake? I was slowly slipping out of control of my body,
my consciousness, everything. I felt lighter, as though I were fading.
I unleashed my anger. She wasn't going to do this to me. I
wasn't going to let them or her silence me.
YOU STOP THAT! YOU STOP THAT NOW!
I shouted. YOU CAN'T GET RID OF ME! YOU WON'T! I'M
HERE, I DESERVE TO BE HERE!
Now I was screaming and she was calm.
I'm taking back my life. You have to go now.
Her voice grew louder, closer.
I was fading somewhere. where it was I didn't know, but it was scaring
me. Where was I going? Not knowing what else to do, I jumped
to my feet, but I felt disoriented and my mind was woozy. My body
slammed back to the floor. I no longer had control over anything.
I looked around again. I wasn't in the room anymore, I was somewhere
else but I couldn't tell because I was so confused. Something was
happening. I was fading. My vision grew cloudy. I knew
I had gone through this before. I was leaving. Where was I
going? Was I going…there? No! Not again! They were winning!
They were winning and they were going to silence me forever! I couldn't
let that happen, I wasn't going to!
NOOOOOO! I screamed. NO!
I'M NOT GOING BACK! YOU CAN'T TAKE ME BACK! I WON'T GO!
I WON'T GO! YOU CAN'T MAKE ME, THEY CAN'T MAKE ME!
I'm taking back my life. I'm taking
back my mind. It's time for you to go.
I was completely disconnected. I could
feel my mind withering away, combining with something. I was weak.
So weak…Drifting away somewhere…
And now I'm here in this pitch black, endless
prison. I can't see, but all I know is that I'm falling. Falling
endlessly, perhaps forever. All I can do is think of how I got here.
They won; she won. I have no body, no voice. I'm doomed to
float helplessly into nothing, slowly melding into this vast space until
I no longer exist…
I am Essence…
I am Essence…
I am Essence…
Acknowledgments: I'd like to thank Terry and everyone in my group:
Sarah, Melissa, and Lin. I don't think I would have had the idea
to completely transform this story into what it is now without your comments.
Also, thanks to Nicole and Brooke for reading and discussing this after
the major changes were made. Thanks to others in the class who have
offered suggestions to this story.