I woke up at four in the morning, according to the old grandfather clock in the hallway. Despite the mattress feeling like cardboard, I didn’t sleep as bad as I was expecting. After using the restroom, I carefully went downstairs, wincing when the third step from the bottom creaked loudly. For a solid minute, I stood there, waiting to see if I had disturbed anyone, but there was no movement.
Thinking about it, this asylum is pretty old for only being built five years ago. Everything creaks and groans, there’s cracks in the walls and green mold growing from the tile and water spots on the ceiling. It’s almost as if they purposefully used the oldest, worse possible materials when they were building this place. Talk about being on a budget.
I spent the next couple hours sitting in the kitchen near the window, using the rising sun to read until the lights flicked back on. It wasn’t long before Gretchen joined me at the table, followed by Jane.
Jane asked both of us how we’re progressing with our goals, but it seemed like most of her attention was on me. It made me feel super uncomfortable, like a mouse under the watchful eye of a cat. I had only been here for a day, so I had nothing to report. Gretchen was excited to report on her progress, but Jane wasn’t really listening to her.
Deidre entered soon after and headed straight for the chess table. She started to talk, but she wasn’t talking to us. Gretchen explained that Deidre tends to have conversations with an imaginary man named Bob who she claims used to be her lover once upon a time. I question the validity of that statement.
“This place is a mess,” Jane had commented as she stood up from the table, her eyes sweeping the room before zeroing in on me once more. “Winterbrook, clean this mess immediately, will you?”
Although it had been phrased as a question, it was clearly an order. I don’t like this woman one bit, but I don’t want to get on her bad side, either. She holds all the power here, after all. So, I ended up washing all the dishes without a word.
Around seven o’clock, Jane left the asylum for work, leaving the place unattended. I’ve never run an asylum before, but I feel as if leaving six mental patients alone to their own devices for several hours is a bad idea. Does the government know? Surely they wouldn’t approve of such a thing.
Here at the asylum, the patients are meant to make their own food. I don’t understand the reason for this. All of the ingredients are provided for us, but they are far past their expiration date and some of them even have mold, which I’m pretty sure isn’t meant to be consumed by the sim body.
After looking over my choices, I decided that the instant oatmeal was my best option. Unfortunately, the microwave is a cheap thing that looks about a decade old, so while the top of the oatmeal was close to burning, the middle was cold.
I decided to practice playing chess because I wanted to be prepared on the off chance I was able to enter the chess tournament at the end of the year. I had been entering it every year since I was a child, but something tells me Jane would never allow it.
Deidre ended up joining me and, soon after, Steven stopped by. We were having a nice chat with one another until we started to swap stories. I decided to tell them about one Winterfest when I was six-years-old. The story involved getting stuck at the airport for two days during a blizzard and missing the chance to visit my mom’s parents in Roaring Heights. I thought it was funny because, at the time, I had chosen to entertain myself by sitting on the back of the security guard’s golfcart and read a book about art theft while my father tried to find me.
Neither of them seemed to care about the tale.
It left me feeling embarrassed and a bit sad. I had listened to their stories with enthusiasm and responded accordingly, but it felt as if they hadn’t listened to a word I said.
The two of them walked away, continuing the conversation with each other and leaving me behind to my own thoughts. Had I said something to offend them? Maybe the tale I chose was too long? No matter what my mind thought up, nothing seemed to fit properly. Perhaps they just don’t like me. They wouldn’t be the first. In fact, I’m convinced that my mother hates my guts. I didn’t turn out to be the perfect little over-achiever she was hoping I would be.
“Why so glum, chum?” Gretchen had asked after slipping into the chair across from me. I explained the situation, even going so far as to re-tell the story to see if I had said something offensive. During this time, Aubrey had joined us, sitting at the table and staring at us with a smile that sent chills down my spine.
“Nah, you didn’t say anything offensive.” She insisted. “You’ll quickly learn that the folks around here are pretty selfish. They love to have people hanging off their words, but refuse to give any attention to anyone else.”
I was starting to learn that and I don’t like it. It reminds me too much of my mother, who acts very much the same.
“Don’t worry, sweetcheeks. Just flash a little more skin and everyone will be hangin’ off your words,” Aubrey commented, licking his lips as his eyes trailed over my form and then Gretchen’s.
I snapped at him. “Can you ever just open your mouth without being a total creep?”
Gretchen agreed with me. “Just because you can say something, don’t mean you should!”
After that, I felt like I needed a bath to relax my fraying nerves. I stood in the hallway for ages, but Tim refused to leave the bath. I knocked a couple of times, just to make sure he hadn’t passed out or anything, but he just yelled at me to “Feck off!” and then proceeded to rant and rave about having no privacy.
At this point, I started to feel very sad. It felt as if everything was slowly crushing me as if I were an empty soda can.
I stepped out into the yard to get some fresh air and admire the nature around me. If you overlooked the decrepit asylum plopped down here, the neighborhood was quite beautiful and peaceful. It’s hard to believe that, up until five years ago, it was impossible to live here without dying.
Unfortunately, seeing the world through a chain-link fence doesn’t do much to lift one’s spirits. We have more free-reign than we should, honestly, but it still feels as if I’m a prisoner rather than a patient. I guess it’s a good thing they don’t experiment on their patients like you read about in books.
For dinner, I decided to make myself a garden salad. I opened the fridge door and grabbed a tomato, over-ripe and probably only minutes away from being foul. The light inside flickered a few times before going off, the soft hum dying out as the bottom of the fridge started to spark.
It broke. The refrigerator actually broke. I knew the appliances were pretty trash, but this? This seemed dangerous.
When Jane returned home, I went straight to her to let her know about the broken fridge, thinking she would call a repairman to fix it, but I was surprised by her response.
Her expression remained bored as she looked me dead in the eye and said, “And? Why are you telling me this? The point of your stay here is to figure out how to handle such things. In other words, it’s not my problem.”
I could only stare at her as she headed up the stairs. What kind of administrator is she?
I returned to the kitchen, finding Dante looking at the sparks curiously. The thought of fixing it myself honestly terrified me because I know the risk of electrocution is high, especially when you don’t know what you’re doing. I’ve read many books in my time in this world, and several of those books had been about handiness and repair, but I don’t feel confident in my skills. Even so… this is a hazard waiting to happen.
With a nervous sigh, I rifled through the drawers until I found a screwdriver. Dante looked at me like I was nuts, but didn’t stop me as I opened the door.
I… I did it. I fixed the refrigerator! And I didn’t get shocked in the process, either. This was such a boost to my self-confidence, something I definitely needed today.
“Hey, Miss Handy, you wanna fix the toilet, too?” Dante had chuckled, sending me a grin as he ate his sandwich.
I ended up fixing the toilet, too, which was much less stressful than fixing the fridge. Plumbing doesn’t offer the risk of death, after all.
Lights out arrived and the bedrooms were unlocked. So, I guess this is goodnight. Before I go, I want to add a couple pictures I was able to capture from my window. I’ve never caught a bee on camera before, so it was a nice find for me.
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