I raked a baleful gaze across the padded walls of my cell, as if to burn them away so that I might escape. That'd be the only way out of here, at least for me. The staff certainly won't be releasing me anytime soon.

Where are my manners! I should introduce myself. I don't usually need to introduce myself to the voices in my head (they're in my head, after all; they know all about me), but you seem different. Maybe... nah. No way. Unless...

Sorry, my ADHD gets like that sometimes. Introduction.

My name is Brandt. James "Jimmy" Bartholomew Brandt. Bit of a mouthful, I know. I'd tell you to blame my parents, but I never knew them. At least, I don't think I did. But I do have these... dreams? They don't feel like dreams. More like... memories. I see a young girl, cowering in fear, saying "Please. Please don't hurt me." And then I see purple... flames? What's that about?

The only place I know I remember is the rectangular padded cell in which I now find myself. Food is delivered through a small hatch at one end of my cell, and books appear on the bookshelf above my small cot, located opposite the food-hatch. All I know of the outside world is what little information I have gleaned from the books that I've been given. And I have to work pretty hard to glean anything from the books. I know how to read, but you try concentrating on what the words mean when they're floating off the page and hovering around your head!

About the cell itself. If you've already guessed, good for you. I got committed. I have been since I turned around 7 and my life imploded. Most of the other patients at this place are allowed to interact with the staff, each other, and even visitors if they're sound enough. I don't get such "privileges." Not anymore.

The staff gave me a calendar, like they do every year. Keeping that thing updated is one of the only things that tethers me to the outside world. That, and the voice that chimes every day at what I've been told is around 2030 hours to say "Time to sleep."

Speaking of which, that just went off. As I lay my head down to sleep, the thought enters my mind, like it does every night: will I finally wake up from this nightmare?


My dreams are as troubled as they always are. I see the young girl cowering in fear, the purple flames, the feeling of anger in the pit of my stomach that always accompanies the flames. Then I wake up. Same old, Same old. Still vague, still confusing as hell.

Breakfast has been delivered, same as every other day. Some disgusting looking glop that actually manages to taste okay. I've actually coined a term for the slop, taking inspiration from history. I call it "Grulag." A bit of a mix of gruel and gulag. I think it's funny. One of the many things to help me keep my sanity in here.

Maybe I should've mentioned that earlier. I'm not ACTUALLY insane, unlike most of the other patients here, who are total basket cases. I hear some of them need help to use the facilities. Gross. But yeah, I'm completely mentally sound. That might give you cause to wonder why I'm here. I have no definite answer for that. I can't really explain it, what happens to people around me sometimes. The only thing I've managed to figure out is that what happens tends to be linked to my temper. When I lose my temper, bad things happen to the people around me.

When I first got here, the staff told me what happened to get me committed. Apparently, my parents got into a fight, and my dad started to rail on my mother. I lost control, apparently, and at the tender age of 7 and a half, I beat my dad so badly that I put him in a coma. Unfortunately, my mom didn't escape unscathed. She was driven insane by what she had witnessed, and was found dead by the time anyone found us. When the police arrived, they found my dad, beaten half to death, my mother, killed by a brain hemorrhage and multiple blunt force strikes to the head, and in the midst of the carnage, me, completely unharmed. They didn't know what to do with me, so I was put into foster care. I drifted from family to family, none able to handle me and my trauma, though some were better toward me than others.

The last straw came when I was assigned to a cruel widower, Richard, who applied for foster parenthood after the death of his wife and child in a car accident. Clearly, a stable and responsible parent. He left me to fend for myself, with no assistance whatsoever, only acknowledging my existence to demand money because I was "lucky he let me have that much." It was only a matter of time. I don't remember what happened, but they told me he disappeared, and with nothing else to go on, I got put back into the limbo of foster care. They eventually found him, somewhere in a nearby forest, babbling on about some nonsense about bull-men, snake-women and dog-dolphins.

They deemed me responsible (somehow), and I was committed. Honestly, I think sending me to juvie would've been a better solution. It certainly couldn't have made anything worse.

My first few months here weren't too bad. The nurse I had was nice, and she actually treated me like I was sane, which was better than the rest of the staff. I tried to be nice to her in return. Eventually, they had her taken off from caring for me in order to train more nurses. The next nurse I got assigned was a nasty, spiteful piece of work. Needless to say, we didn't exactly get along.

We had a bit of a row about 2 weeks into his care of me, and that's when everything else I had that was good was taken. I guess he must've known someone on the team that had been given my case, because he started acting exactly the way Richard had when they had found him. He curled up in a corner of the patients' living space, babbling on about bull-men and something about a horse-man. Ridiculous.

After that incident, the people in charge of the ward deemed me to be too much of a danger to the people around me, and had me isolated. Apparently, they thought I'd taken some of the drugs they use to keep patients docile and injected him with them, and they'd backfired, driving him insane. A likely story.

So now this is my life. Living in a box, no visitors, no outside contact. Just me, myself and I, alone in the darkness.

Nothing special really happened today, so I'll give you the Cliffnotes version. Got up, ate breakfast, did some exercises, read a bunch of books (Shakespeare was such a comedian), ate dinner, went to sleep.

As my head hit the completely flattened pillow, I once again wonder: maybe tonight will be the last of this nightmare.

My dreams are once more troubled, but there's something different this time. I dream of a huge mastiff and a boy stepping into a river the color of pitch. I see a massive snake, with what looks like a Greek spear sticking out of one eye. I see darkness, pierced by two pairs of eyes, one green rimmed with a little blue, and one gray, the color of wrought iron, steel, and so many things the colors of which I never knew eyes could have.

Finally, I see a girl with curly blond hair and those same gray eyes opening the door I went through when I entered this place.