He had watched the girl for some time now; through the dark toned glass. She loved walking a circle around her rug, like a zoo animal making their daily path.
Her dark hair had grown longer, the edges splintered and ragged. She had refused to have it cut, instead letting it tangle and droop lazily around her small face.
She sat on the bed and began mutely reading a children’s book that the nurse had given her. Her legs dangled just inches from the ground.
The room they had given her was rather large. They had thought that a child needed places to play. He still believed that she was no child.
The room instead forced a false innocence on her. A bed spread with pink squares and smiling flowers. Walls painted a cheery yellow. Colored boxes for toys neatly stacked in a corner. Framed photos of rainbows and horses dotting the walls.
He smirked. This room was too clean.
He sat down at a table, still facing the glass and began reviewing the nurse’s log for the day. What she had eaten, what she had said, any strange behavior that was noticed. All was standard, just like the day before and sure to be like the day next. One day she would slip, he knew it. They didn’t call in one of the top psychologists just to pamper the public’s opinion.
He lightly tapped on the cool glass top watching how she would read each page. Her small hand tracing the book’s lines, her eyes gazing deeply into its pages. Every few minutes the page would flip and anxiety would cross over her as if the split second was too long to wait for the next word.
She had been found wandering the local park alone. A woman on a late evening jog had crossed paths with her and was quickly disrupted by the exterior state of the girl. Her only clothing item was a thin white dress. The girl’s bones were visible under her dirty skin, making her figure angled and sad. She carried nothing with her and would not speak. The woman had embraced her and told her she would take her to a safe place. When she had let go, she pulled back to realize that her hands were drenched in a ruby liquid. The whole backside of the girl was covered in blood.
Everyone wants to know what happened. What happened to that poor little girl? That poor little girl that the news painted as a tragedy?
He huffed, thinking of what he had heard over the last week. All of the ridiculous past stories that the world has discovered from the woodworks.
She was doing it again, staring at the blank wall. The book had been carefully laid on her bed and she had slowly walked over. She stood tall patiently watching the surface. Her hands crossed behind her back, left over right.
He noticed the time, five in the evening exactly. Every day she did this little ritual, placating herself for an hour with the wall. He had talked to her about in their sessions, but she would never budge. She would avert her eyes to his window and bite on the interior of her lips. She would ignore him from that point on, refusing to speak again until the next day.
But today he was ready for it. During her lunch hour a few days before he had had a projector rigged on the ceiling. He had known the change would alarm her, even if she showed no outward signs. So he waited until she would forget, having the staff explain that it was just another camera.
He pulled out a remote and clicked the projector on. He had set up pictures from the night she was found to project right in front of her. It was daring to do this to a patient and likely against some overall moral code, but he needed to get to her. To rip her open and expose the ugliness that he believed she had buried inside.
He dimmed the lights in the room and watched as her eyes widened. He could see the weariness ripple across her face. This was already more than he had hoped for.
Then, without warning, she let out a piercing scream.