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.

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

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

I’m losing it. I really am.

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

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


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

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

I swallow.

All of the panic comes rushing in.

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


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.

I’m handcuffed to my bed.


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.


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


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

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.

Tap! Tap! Click!


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

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.

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

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

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

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.

It’s a look I don’t like.

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

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.”

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

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

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.

“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.

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

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

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

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.”


Click! Click! Click!

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

“Do not call me that!” I snap at her.

Hadiza.” Mom pleads with glassy eyes.

“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.

This just can’t be happening.

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

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

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

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.”

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

“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.

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

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

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

“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.”

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

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

“I’m not going anywhere with her!”

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

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

“Yes, thank you.”

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

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

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.

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.

“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.”

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

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

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

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

I’m living it.

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

“You need help,” Mom mutters.

“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.”

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

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?”

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

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

“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.”

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

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

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?” 

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