43. Miranda vs Therapy: Round 3

“You seem distracted, Miranda,” Dr. Smith announces from the other side of his legal pad. 

Clarke jostles closer to the front of her mind. He wants to punish Dr. Smith. He wants to leave. Miranda shakes her head.

“I’m just tired,” she says.“I didn’t get much sleep.”

Dr. Smith nods and stifles a yawn. “Yes, the night staff told me what happened. Very unfortunate. And Jeremy had been doing so well up until this point.”

“Had he?” Miranda asks, trying to sound bored. “This was unexpected, then?”

“Yes and no. But relapse is quite common. Such a tragic illness.”

Where to Begin

42. Logic Over Lies

Lye doesn’t look up from his coffee when Shou enters the cafeteria for breakfast, but Miranda does. She stares at the purple bruise around his neck, the red rim of his eyes. 

Shou drops into the chair across from her. 

“So that was your roommate last night. I thought it might be.”

Shou’s mouth widens.“Delusional-schizophrenic roommate-t-t-t.” His voice is hoarse.

Miranda’s eyes narrow. “Sure,” she clips out.

Shou doesn’t meet her accusing stare.

Lye stands and walks toward the door. 

“They changed his meds yesterday,” Miranda explains. “He’ll probably sleep today. Will you get a new roommate?”

Shou winces.

Where to Begin

41. The Voice that Carries

Miranda wakes with the first shout, dons her glasses, and wonders what Clarke did this time.  

An orderly throws the door open and looks between Miranda, standing in the center of the room, and her barely-conscious roommate. 

“Was that from in here?” 

Miranda shakes her head.

A man’s voice howls from down the hall: “It was him! A giant snake! Don’t keep me in here with him! He said this would happen! He did it! No! It was real!” 

Then another voice: “I need backup!” 

The orderly leaves, relocking the door. Miranda remains awake long after the voices fade, thinking.

Where to Begin

40. Nightmares

Shou wakes up choking and knows that he must have fallen asleep. His hands are already up and tugging at the thick tendrils of scale and muscle that are tightening around his throat. He rolls off the bed. 

“Whazzat?” His roommate murmurs.

Shou fights to tear the giant snake off. Darkness bites at the edges of his vision. 

A light flicks on and his roommate screams. The coils loosen and still he fights and chokes. The door is thrown open and footsteps and voices enter.

Shou coughs raggedly, drinking in grateful breaths of air. It’s over. The snake is gone.

Where to Begin

39. Readjusting

It’s a golden, August day in the courtyard. 

Lye’s reads the same page of his book over and over.

Shou, eyes fixed on Miranda’s flat expression, rambles. He winces and clicks, but he doesn’t give up. He tries jokes. Then riddles. 

Nothing works. 

Shou and Lye cannot reach whatever mental corner Miranda has retreated to.

Lye re-reads the first line. Understands nothing. Tries again.

Shou describes New York’s subway system in stuttering detail. 

“But if multiple trains run on the same line, what happens if one is behind schedule?”

Miranda’s scratchy voice is the best thing Lye has ever heard.

Where to Begin

38. Release

“How are you feeling?” Dr. Smith asks. He looks tired and his eyes flick toward the shadows with every other word. 

“Fine,” she replies. Her voice is hoarse. “Can I go back to my room now?” The doctor and the orderly are still blocking the doorway. She is still trapped.

“At least one of your personalities wants to leave. A very exciting development.”

“There is only one other.”

Dr. Smith wags a finger. “Dissociative identity disorder requires at least three separate personalities. Doctors know best, Miranda. Trust me.” 

She doesn’t answer. They lead her upstairs, back toward light and sound.

Where to Begin