Chapter 14:

The Best Option

School For The Mediums

There’s blistering white surrounding me. White ceiling. White walls. White everything. I sit up and that’s when I feel the needle in my arm. Bookmark here

I’m not dead and I’m not in heaven. It’s a hospital. Again. Bookmark here

Ugh.” Using both hands, I rub my face. Bookmark here

I’m losing it. I really am. Bookmark here

My back is aching me, and it takes most of my strength to sit up. Bookmark here

“Um, hello?” My eyes land on the doors. “Nurse--?”Bookmark here

CLING!Bookmark here

I tried, leaning forward, but the handcuff on my wrist was saying otherwise. Bookmark here

I was calm when I first woke up. But now, my blood pressure is skyrocketing and my heart hammering. Bookmark here

I swallow. Bookmark here

All of the panic comes rushing in. Bookmark here

A handcuff? Why would I need to be handcuff to my hospital bed?Bookmark here

CLING! CLING!Bookmark here

I wiggle and pull my arm, trying to tear it out from the metal. But as much as I pull and aggressively tug, I think all I’m doing is wasting my energy. Bookmark here

I’m handcuffed to my bed. Bookmark here


I peer at the doors. “Um, hello! Can I get some help in here? I’m handcuffed to my bed!” I know I’m shouting, but what I am supposed to do handcuffed to my hospital bed? Nothing about that is normal. Bookmark here


I get to my knees and gain some leverage to pull with all of my weight.Bookmark here


“Hello?!” My eyes go from the doors to pulling. “Somebody please help me!” Bookmark here

My arms are feeling weak but all I want to rip it out of this stupid contraction. “Hey! Somebody help me!” My throat is sore and dry but I screech as loud as my voice can go. Bookmark here

Tap! Tap! Click!Bookmark here

“Hadiza!” Bookmark here

I whip my head back to the familiar source. “Mom, why am I---.” My voice withers out and my tongue dies. Bookmark here

Standing in the hospital doorframe is Mom and…Dr. Satori? I have to squint because she’s hardly recognizable. Instead of some weird clown suit, Dr. Satori is dressed in a classical styled red kimono. Her slick black hair is pulled up into an intricate design with various floral hair ornaments. Not to mention this time, she’s wearing glasses, and maybe also contacts? She had black eyes and now they’re a forest green.Bookmark here

I release my handcuffed arm. “What’s she doing here?” Bookmark here

Dr. Satori pushes her up glasses and gives me a wide smile. “I’m here to help you.” Bookmark here

“Help me?” My eyes are expanding to the size of globes. “What’s she talking about, Mom?” I quickly dart my eyes to her. Bookmark here

Mom sucks in the air and sends Dr. Satori a look. It’s a look I can only understand is some type of weird shared understanding.Bookmark here

It’s a look I don’t like. Bookmark here

“Mom?” I can feel my heart starting to thud and hammer against my ribs. Bookmark here

Mom takes a long, heavy, and deep breath. “Hadiza, yesterday you walked out into the street. Almost got hit by a car and have been out for the past 2 days.” Bookmark here

I can feel the blood thumping in my cheeks. “I…I don’t know what happened.” Bookmark here

Just as I say it, I see it happen again. Dr. Satori and Mom look at each other again. Bookmark here

My lips are starting to tremble as I flutter my eyes. “Can I just please know what’s going on here? I woke up handcuffed to a hospital bed.” Still keeping my eyes on them, I tug at my handcuffed arm. Bookmark here

“The doctors were worried about your safety.” Mom is speaking low and quietly. She can’t even hold my gaze for long without looking away between every breath. Bookmark here

“That…t-that still doesn’t explain what’s going,” I stutter. Bookmark here

Mom eyes cast downwards. “Hadiza, this is hard for me.” Her voice cracks and she has to stop to clear her throat. Bookmark here

“Hard for you to do what?” I feel my eyes starting to sting and burn. Bookmark here

She heaves with shaky breaths. “Hadiza.” She’s finally looking me in the eye again. “Dr. Satori has convinced me; you need professional help in a safe and professional setting.” Bookmark here

“…What?”Bookmark here

Click! Click! Click!Bookmark here

Smiling, Dr. Satori happily clicks the pen she’s been holding. “That’s correct, Dizzy Diza. I’m here to help you.” Bookmark here

“Do not call me that!” I snap at her. Bookmark here

Hadiza.” Mom pleads with glassy eyes. Bookmark here

“Mom, this lady is a quack, a-a fraud! She was dressed up as a clown on our first session! That’s not normal!” I exclaim my mouth feels like moving but the rest of my body feels weighted down. Bookmark here

This just can’t be happening. Bookmark here

“Hadiza, what are you talking about?” Mom asks brows furrowed in confusion. Bookmark here

“She was dressed as a clown, that’s what I’m saying!” Bookmark here

Mom looks to Dr. Satori---who for some reason is still softly smiling. Bookmark here

Dr. Satori spins her pen between her fingers. “That is correct. I should have informed Hadiza-san that I was actually coming back from a children’s sick bay hospital. They adore clowns.”Bookmark here

“You didn’t say anything about that!” I argue. Bookmark here

“Well, to be fair, Hadiza-san, you didn’t ask. You just stared at me and ignored it,” she says with a condescending matter of factly tone. Bookmark here

I scrunch up my lips and look over to mom. “I’ll take any Doctor’s help but hers.” Bookmark here

“Hadiza, Dr. Satori is a professional. I’ve heard of her client’s success stories and she can really help you.”Bookmark here

“No.” I shake my head, feeling the stinging in my eyes growing with every passing second. Bookmark here

“I’ve talked to Dr. Satori and she’s agreed to allow you free admission into a boarding school and mental wellness center for teens.” Bookmark here

“A mental hospital?” I scoff. “You want to dump me at a mental hospital?” Bookmark here

“To be more exact, it’s the Sakamoto Institute for troubled teens with hmm, let’s say, conditions like yours,” Dr. Satori corrects. Bookmark here

“I’m not going anywhere with her!” Bookmark here

“I’m so sorry, Dr. Satori.” Mom sighs. Bookmark here

“No worries.” She spins her pen again. “Perhaps I should give you two some time alone to talk about this?”Bookmark here

“Yes, thank you.” Bookmark here

“Of course.” Dr. Satori turns and closes the hospital door behind her. Bookmark here

The moment she leaves, I find relief. “Mom. I can’t go with that lady. I can’t.” Bookmark here

Mom sighs and stands still as if she were frozen in her spot. She feels so far away as she stands by the door, bags under her eyes and exhaustion all over her face. Bookmark here

In normal circumstances she would be right next to me, reassuring me with a hug or pat on the back. Those were the simple gestures she did, and maybe I took them for granted before. Weird, how now that’s all I would appreciate instead of handcuffs. Bookmark here

“Hadiza.” Her frown is like stone. “We can’t keep doing this. We’re going in circles knowing that whatever is going on is getting worse.”Bookmark here

I steady my breath. I know she’s right. But it feels like I’m being stabbed when she says it. Bookmark here

“You’re getting really bad, Hadiza, and we can’t ignore it.” Bookmark here

“I’m not ignoring it.” I cast my eyes down. Bookmark here

Mommy! Mommy! Where are my mommy and daddy! It’s so cold in here.Bookmark here

I’m living it. Bookmark here

A natural frown carves into my face. “But a mental hospital?” I bite my bottom lip. Bookmark here

“You need help,” Mom mutters. Bookmark here

“Help…?” I harshly scoff. “That’s a way of putting it. Maybe I don’t need help. Maybe it’s cause I’m not supposed to be here.” I lower my eyes. “It would have been better if I just died. I should’ve died in that fire and I should’ve died when my heart stopped. I’m not a miracle, I’m a mistake.” Bookmark here

Mom slowly approaches me. “Don’t you dare say that.” Bookmark here

I lean back into the hospital bed. Funny, how I’ve already gotten used to laying in a hard uncomfortable bed like this. “But it’s true, isn’t it?”Bookmark here

“It’s not true.” She reaches for my free hand.Bookmark here

Quietly with trembling lips, I turn my head away from head, and fight back the tears. Bookmark here

“You’re my daughter, and you were never a mistake to me.” She swallows. “Whatever is going on, we’re going to figure this out. You’re going to get better. Just let the doctors and the professionals help you.” Bookmark here

I’m trying so hard not cry, but a single tear rolls down my cheek anyways. Bookmark here

She tightly holds my hand. “Trust me, Hadiza. This is the best option.” Bookmark here

I press my lips together, more cool tears stream down my face. There are rocks in my chest but I manage to take a deep sharp breath. “…What even is the Sakamoto Institute?” Bookmark here

Miao Miao
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