Dark Waters (Celtic Legacy Book 1)By: Shannon Mayer
Celtic Legacy Book I
The Eric Martin Pavilion was a nuthouse. A nice nuthouse, but still, that fact didn’t change what it was.
“Do you think Grandpa will know us today?” Ashling asked. Her strawberry blond curls were held back in a bouncy ponytail, wide green eyes—just like Mom’s—had a look of perpetual surprise—also just like Mom’s.
“I hope so,” I said. We paused at an intersection to let two attendants pass, a patient between them. The patient hung forward, allowing the attendants to carry most of his weight, his feet dragging behind. We were in the minimum security section. That meant there were no really dangerous people—just those that had lost touch with reality. Like Grandpa.
“I, I, I, I don’t, want, want, want a bath. I’m melting, melting!” The patient started to scream as they disappeared around a far corner. He ended with a fair imitation of a witch’s cackle.
Ashling let out a giggle. I bit the inside of my cheek to stop from grinning. These people were here for the same reason Grandpa was: their inability to adjust to reality and deal with what was inside their heads. But sometimes, even knowing that, it was hard not to be amused by the things they said and did.
I coughed into my hand. “You shouldn’t laugh Ash, it isn’t nice.”
Her mirth was wiped away in an instant. “Shut up Quinn, you aren’t Mom, you can’t tell me what to do.”
My jaw clenched in a sudden reflex that I had to quell. She was right. I wasn’t her mother; yet I might as well have been for all the time Mom took for Ashling. Recently she’d taken to reminding me I had no say in what she did, or who she did it with. It irritated me and she knew it.
As we passed closed doors, voices flitted towards us—gasps, groans and even the occasional screech.
“I hate that Grandpa’s here. He doesn’t belong with these crazies,” Ashling said, her voice quivering as we passed a particularly bad screamer, one that threw himself at the door over and over again, banging and freaking out about the doctors; that they were using him as a test monkey.
I reached out for her hand and, for the first time in a long time, she took it, her petite fingers wrapping around mine. Not one to throw her fear in her face, I said nothing.
Finally we stood in front of Grandpa’s room, the door ajar. The nameplate read Blake Lorcan, though they’d misspelled it, using a k instead of a c in Lorcan. He was one of the patients that was allowed to wander the Pavilion; perfectly safe, just totally bonkers. None of the anti-psychotics, sedatives or whatever else the doctors had tried had worked. He was trapped inside his head, and the monsters that haunted him there had gotten him into trouble more than once in the real world.
Mom had tried putting him in an old folks home, but he was still too young for that—too healthy. So the Eric Martin Pavilion Mental Institute it was. I pushed the door open and peeked inside. Grandpa was sitting in his chair, staring out the window.
“Grandpa!” Ashling called out, dashing into the room. I don’t think she noticed, but I saw him jump when she spoke; shudder when she gave him a hug.
He tipped his head and stared at Ashling, his eyes fogged over. “Hello? Who be here?” The faintest of Irish accents was still on his tongue from his early years.
Ashling’s face fell, and she dropped to her knees in front of him. She had always had a tighter relationship with Grandpa; he’d been our surrogate father, the only male role model we’d ever had.
“Grandpa, it’s me, Ashling. I came to visit you,” she said, her hands reaching out to take his. He pulled his fingers away from her, slowly bringing them to his chest.
I sat down beside him on the edge of the bed. “That isn’t very nice Grandpa. Ashling and I came here to see you. We didn’t have to come you know.” Ashling flinched at my hard words. I shrugged; there was no point in pulling any punches. It wasn’t likely he’d remember anyway.
Ashling sat next to Grandpa, and took his hands in hers, speaking softly to him. I looked out the window, not really seeing the view, just thinking.
Our family was a weird one at best. Mom had all but ignored us, though, if there was one of us she preferred, I suppose it would have been me—though saying she favoured me was a stretch. All it meant was that she hadn’t completely ignored me. As a young child I’d seen how her behaviour towards us affected Ashling and tried to make up for it in my sister’s life. Grandpa, he’d favoured Ashling, coddling and spoiling her to the point where I wanted to pull my hair out, while he snubbed me, many days acting as if I didn’t even exist. It didn’t surprise me that I’d always felt as if we didn’t fit; as if there was some gaping piece in our genetics that kept our mother from loving us.