Everybody is different. Some of us hear more than the others. This world is an awfully noisy place. Even the silence is deafening. As if such a thing existed for Ella. But if it did, she knows it would be striking. The world is large, but the people in it will find a way to make it smaller if you don't fit in. If you don't find a box to go in, they will find one for you. They will stuff you inside and chain it shut. Ella's world has gotten a lot smaller than it once was, but that hasn't stopped the din. It has only made it worse. These cold, desolate halls echo with screams and the locked doors bounce all of it back at her in waves. They can't escape, so they take up residency inside her mind. Scraping away her sanity. Is it possible that a place meant to house mental illness is actually producing it? She fears in her case, it is. She is not crazy, not the way they say she is. But every day she spends in this place, the more danger there is of losing herself. The constant screaming, the lunatic laughter, and the whispers.... They are driving her mad. Like a dripping tap you can't shut off, no matter how much you try. No matter how tightly she presses her hands against her ears, she hears them. If only the screams would block them out. The hissing chants come through her vents unobstructed. She has to put her desk chair on the bed and stop writing immediately. If she does not stop it right now, the nurse comes around for room checks, and she ends up with an extra dose of whatever poison they are forcing down her throat to keep her docile. Or the nurse takes down to the doctor's office where Ella would spend an hour being told that she has a condition that causes paracusia, and if she continues to act like this, she would die soon. A lecture is better than death. Yes a set of lies is still better than death. The doctor knows she is perfectly sane. He knows there is nothing wrong with her. She just can't handle a lot of noise. Her hearing is better than most people's, a lot better. It means she hears what others can't. But the good doctor won't admit that, just the way he won't admit she is not crazy. She has not even had a hearing test. That would be indulging her fantasies, and it doesn't fit into any of his notions. If she is a normal person with exceptional hearing that suffers from misophonia, it might destroy his perfectly divided and fabricated world. The door swings open quickly. It's the nurse who was expecting to find Ella up on the chair. The latter can see the disappointment in the former's eyes. That one lives for drama, whether it's gossip among the staff or in the lives of her patients. She loves it all. It makes her ten-hour shift nearly bearable and gives her something to whisper about at the nurses corner. “Journaling?” The nurse asks in a fake voice. As if anyone would believe she was that sugary sweet. “The doctor will be glad.” Ella smiles at her like a zombified dope and nod in agreement. If they only knew. If they could only read her words. Her thoughts were so powerful and strong, enough to shatter all the silence around. They would know she was onto them and their vicious plans. Onto their fake medicine and their lies. Onto the evil that happens in the dark. The stuff they don't want anyone to know. But she knows. She hears everything.
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