Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has been following and reviewing ‘Silverback – Evolution is Coming.’ Your wonderful support makes writing this story a joy.
Molly’s twin sister’s death four years ago hasn’t been the only hardship her family has endured. It’s been one hard knock after another.
Now she has not one, but three little brothers to deal with, and it doesn’t help that two of the boys are disabled. Her mom wants to try again for another girl – a replacement for her dead twin, Madeline – the shining star everyone idolized. Molly’s mother has no time for her these days, and Molly has begun to resent her dead sister’s ‘perfect’ memory.
When her family vacations in Florida, animal lover Molly is thrilled to spend her time at the animal park. It’s a chance to cast off her life-sucks attitude for a while.
When she receives an S.O.S. message from a gorilla behind the glass at the park, nobody believes her. Molly has no idea why or what she can do to help the Silverback, but she’s determined to figure it out.
It quickly becomes apparent doing so will change her family forever. What she doesn’t realize yet is, it might just change the world.
Previous Chapters: Molly has rescued the baby gorilla, Jace, from the animal park. Capable of speech, Jace is in danger of being turned over for scientific experimentation. Against all odds, and with the help of her friend, Andre, Molly manages to get Jace home without incident, but when her father suffers a heart attack, her mother sees the baby gorilla, Jace moving around and talking. Molly is forced to choose between betraying her mother and allowing Jace to be discovered. Her mother is taken for a psychiatric evaluation, giving Molly a short window to breathe and figure out what to do with Jace. The police arrange for a family member to come care for the children. But when Andre arrives with the bad news that Molly has been identified on television as the person who has the missing baby gorilla, Andre, Jace and Molly flee her home, with the police, D.H.S. and other authorities in hot pursuit. Molly must figure out how to make Jace ‘disappear’ before it is too late. She finds an unexpected ally in Andre’s mother. When it becomes obvious that the authorities have identified Molly, and are only minutes away from finding her, they come up with a plan Andre’s mother takes Jace, giving Molly a chance to lead her pursuers on a false trail. Molly wakes up in a very strange place with no memory of the past few days and quickly realizes something is very wrong. She has not been arrested for stealing baby Jace, but placed in a government psychiatric facility for V.I.P.’s, hundreds of miles from her home.
Warning – This post contains offensive language in some of the dialogue. Please do not continue reading if this will offend or upset you.
SILVERBACK ~ Chapter 12 Asylum
The place where optimism most flourishes is the lunatic asylum.
Havelock Ellis – British Psychologist (1859-1939)
Molly woke with a dull headache. She moaned softly and looked around.
Moonlight spilled through the high window onto the dark floor like a puddle of spilled cream, and she peered out at the twinkling stars.
Obviously, I’m not anywhere near home, she thought. The last time she remembered seeing stars that bright was on the camping trip she’d taken to Montana with her parents when she and Madeline were eight years old. The heavens didn’t shine this brightly where they lived. The lights of the nearby city were too bright.
A rustling sound drew her attention to the person sitting by the door beside a small, portable desk. A different nurse had taken the place of the one she remembered earlier. This nurse had long dark brown hair swept up into a bun and was reading a newspaper. Molly hesitated. Should she let her know she was awake?
Too late. The woman looked up and set the paper down.
About time? It’s the middle of the night. Deciding it wasn’t worth arguing the point, she said, “Can I get up? I don’t feel sick. I don’t understand what I’m doing here.”
Molly swung her legs over the edge of the bed. “Uh, where are my clothes?”
The nurse reached under the desk and pulled out a paper bag. She walked to the bed and handed it to Molly before pulling a curtain between them.
Molly dressed quickly, surprised to see a narrow black band attached securely to her ankle. Odd, she thought. Aren’t most hospital I.D.’s put on your wrist? She donned her faded jeans and stared at her bare feet.
“Uh, have you seen my shoes?” she called out.
“No, but just a sec.” The woman’s hand appeared around the edge of the curtain, holding a pair of thin, grey socks in a sealed plastic bag.
“Thank you,” Molly said. She slipped on the socks and pulled back the curtain.
“Why am I here?” she asked, rephrasing her still unanswered question.
“Doctor will be along shortly for rounds. He’ll explain everything.”
Fear foamed up in Molly’s gut, making it hard to breathe. The last time she’d seen the doctor, he’d knocked her out with some stupid drug that had given her weird nightmares, and she couldn’t remember getting here, or anything else. “II don’t need to see a doctor. I just want to go home.”
“Everyone here does.” The nurse pulled a cell phone from her pocket and held it to her ear. “Uh, huh, okay, got it, right away.”
Molly racked her brain while the nurse spoke on the phone. She sifted through memories, trying in vain to recall the circumstances that led her here. How was it she couldn’t remember?
The nurse snapped the phone shut. “Change of plans. Your mother is ready to see you.”
And there it was. Just that one word and Molly remembered everything. Driving home from the Animal Park in Florida. Pet screaming at her, her brothers fighting over Jace, and doing C.P.R. on her dad. Running to André’s house. Mrs. Lyon giving her the chance to save Jace. Oh, my God, Jace. Where are you? Are you safe?
She relived the memories as her mind flashed through them like an old cinema movie roll. Dogs barking as she ran toward the mall, leg muscles burning. Screaming in terror as strong arms grabbed her from behind, slamming her to the ground. Lifting her chin to breathe. The overpowering sickly-sweet odor from the thick damp cloth being clamped over her face. Then nothing.
Molly broke out in a cold sweat as the memories faded and the nurse’s face swam back into focus.
“Is she here to pick me up?” Molly asked, her voice quavering.
The nurse frowned. “Oh, no. She’s a patient here, just like you.”
Molly’s gut tightened. “And this is a hospital?”
“A psychiatric hospital?”
A tiny smile flickered across the nurse’s lips. “Yes.”
Of course, they hadn’t arrested her. Of course, they’d lied to her and given her crazy drugs to make her forget. They didn’t want her to remember Jace, or Ben, or anything relating to the fact the government was stealing the gorillas’ offspring and experimenting on these evolved creatures.
“Shit,” Molly muttered under her breath. “Holy shit.”
Several minutes later, they were walking through a wide corridor. Molly’s gut knotted as the odor of strong cleaning chemicals stung the inside of her nostrils. Where was everyone? Then she remembered it was still nighttime. No wonder. Everyone else must be sleeping. Steel doors with keypads and glowing orb lights lined each side of the hallway.
Molly pointed to one of the blue lights on the doors. “Does that mean the room is occupied?”
The nurse glanced over. “Oh, that’s for our badges. She flicked the laminated card hanging from a clip on the outside of her pocket. “This is a high-security facility. Our patients are V.I.P.s, and we go to great measures to keep them safe.”
V.I.P.s? Molly pondered the nurse’s use of the term.
They rounded a corner, and the nurse stopped, taking the time to punch in numbers before holding her I.D. card to the door. She placed a hand on Molly’s shoulder. “Push on the door and go ahead of me.”
Molly did as she was told, and the heavy door slammed shut behind her with a metallic clang. She spun around. “Hey!” She stood on tiptoe to peer through the thick glass pane just above her eye level. The nurse was gone.
Sucking in a deep breath, she assessed the spacious room. It appeared to be empty, except for a pile of white sheets or blankets in the center of the floor. The padded walls were discolored. Was that a handprint? Shuddering, she walked over to the pile of laundry.
“Great housekeeping,” she muttered, reaching out with her foot to nudge the fabric.
The blanket moved, revealing a woman’s prone form.
Molly stared for several seconds, then gasped and dropped to her knees beside them.
“Mom, it’s me, Molly.” She cupped both hands around her mother’s pale, expressionless face. There was no response. “What have they done to you?” Sitting down beside Pet, she hoisted her mother’s limp shoulders up into her lap and sat cradling her head.
“Think, Molly, think,” she berated herself. “There has to be a way out of here.”
Molly didn’t know how much time had passed when she felt her mother stirring, but her legs were numb and tingling from the lack of blood flow long before that. She didn’t dare move.
“It’s okay,” she soothed, stroking her mother’s dark hair, so much like her own, away from her clammy forehead. “It’s okay, Mama. I’m here.”
Pet moaned and brought a hand up to her face, fingers searching. Her body stiffened, and a second later, she launched herself out of Molly’s lap, landing on all fours like a terrified animal.
“No, no, no,” she hissed through clenched teeth. “Get away from me. You’re a ghost.”
“Mom, it’s me,” Molly said, reaching out her arms. “I won’t hurt you. Please. I’m so sorry.”
Her mother’s eyes narrowed and then widened as recognition replaced the wild terror. “Molly? Is it really you?”
Molly nodded, wiping her eyes. Pet didn’t look angry. That was a plus, for sure, although Molly wouldn’t have blamed her.
Pet scurried forward, threw her arms around Molly, and began to sob.
“I’m so sorry, Molly. I didn’t mean what I said. I’m so, so sorry.”
“It’s okay. I’m sorry, too.” Molly shook her head. “Mom, I-“
Her mother cut her off. “Oh, Molly, you must have thought I’d lost my mind.” She gave a humorless laugh and sat up to face her daughter. “I know it’s been so hard for you, too, losing your sister.”
“We don’t have to talk about it right now,” Molly urged. She needed to keep her head together if she was going to get them out of here, and talking about Madeline didn’t go well under the best of circumstances.
Pet cleared her throat, which sent her into a fit of coughing.
Molly stood slowly, willing her numb legs to move, as pins-and-needles rushed down both legs. “Why isn’t there a chair to sit on?” she asked, glancing around the room once more.
Pet shook her head. “I guess I was acting pretty crazy when they brought me here, throwing furniture and attacking everyone.” She shuddered. “I even had to wear one of those stupid jacket things for a while. You know the ones they used to use on patients in the old days?”
Molly stared at her mother, her eyes widening in horror. “A straitjacket?”
“Yes, one of those,” Pet sniffed. “Until they did the first treatment. After that, they took it off.”
“Treatment? Mom, what did they do to you?” Molly felt panic building again, and she forced herself to keep her voice as calm as possible.
Pet waved a hand. “Oh, you know, that shock treatment stuff. My great grandmother had to have it done for hysteria.”
Molly opened her mouth to speak, but her mother continued.
“I know what you’re thinking, darling. It seems extreme, but so is thinking your daughter has a talking monkey.” Pet held a hand to her forehead. “I cannot believe I thought that toy you brought home from Califonia could talk.”
Molly stiffened. “Mom, we went to Florida. Not California.” Her mind raced back to the conversation with the doctor the previous night. Obviously, these bastards at this facility were trying to erase their memories, or at least replace them.
Pet gave her a puzzled look and then shrugged. “Oh, well, whatever. It doesn’t really matter. I just hope you can forgive me for going off the deep end and saying that.”
Molly’s cheeks burned, and she bit her lip. She nodded. It wouldn’t do any good to try and correct her mother. Not right now. “We need to get out of here,” she said, glancing back at the door.
“Oh, darling, I can’t. I’m scheduled for at least three more treatments.” Pet gave Molly a wan smile. “The doctor said it will help me forget Madeline, too.”
An ice-pick of terror stabbed Molly in the chest. “Mom, you don’t want to forget Madeline.”
“Oh, but I do, darling. The doctor says it’s for the best, what with the way I am and all.” Pet took a deep breath and exhaled through her open mouth. “I have a child. You. I don’t need to be grieving for a dead one who is never coming back.”
“And the boys, Mom. You have the boys,” Molly said, searching her mother’s face for some sign of recognition of this fact.
“A boy?” Pet smiled. “You’re sweet, honey, but I don’t think the doctors want me to get pregnant again. Not at my age, no matter how much your father and I wanted a boy.”
“Fuck,” Molly said, beneath her breath, just as the beeping of the door keypad filled the air.
“Oh, look,” Pet said, pointing to the white-coated man now entering the room. “It’s my favorite doctor. He’s so nice.”
Molly turned to stare at the white-haired man with his back to them, as he pushed the door shut once more. At least it wasn’t the same doctor who’d given her the injection, sending her off into la-la land the night before.
The doctor spoke at he turned around. “Well, now, how are we feeling?”
Molly felt the blood drain from her head as black spots formed before her eyes. When she spoke, her voice sounded like an echo from miles away.