Sasha cracked a grin at the painting glued on the wall by the fireplace.
It was a painting of her when she turned 9.
She loved every inch of it—from the oddly small details of her short dirty blonde hair to the soft red blush coloring her once pale cheeks.
She couldn’t recall any names of the painter. Was it really worth remembering? All she knew was—she had no intention in doing so.
“Can you please comb my hair, Madam?” She had spoken to a nurse while she was being led inside an infirmary.
“Sure, dear.” The nurse would say, taking out a white comb from her purse. Do nurses really need to carry purses at that time? Years have passed. Perhaps they don’t do it anymore.
While 8-year-old Sasha entered the infirmary, the doctors prepared a syringe for her.
“She’s having an infection. If it stays longer, we clearly know what happens next.” The doctor whispered to one of his nurses. From the side view, young Sasha thought he looked terrifying since he had his dark bushy eyebrows furrowed and face smug.
“Poor girl.” One of the nurses shot her a sad gaze.
Sasha frowned. What was going to happen to her?
The current Sasha rested the back of her head on the arm of her chair. How could she move forward from that? The reason was vague but at least the pain had finally numb. Nevertheless she couldn’t seem to understand everything from 15 years ago. Nothing ever mattered that time. Luckily, she found herself and that’s what she’s protecting onwards.
“What do we have here?”
The scene changed. Young Sasha plopped herself on a stool, facing a rather back-bent lady in her 60’s. Her glasses slid down the bridge of her nose, nearly falling off.
Sasha couldn’t even land her gaze on those grey beady eyes. They displayed such terror.
The lady cocked her head to one side. “Hello, Sasha. How are you?”
Sasha bobbed her head, reluctant. “V-Very great, Madam.”
The nurse behind her stifled a laugh. Whether she was secretly throwing giggles at the old lady or Sasha would remain a mystery forever.
“You see, my dear…” The old lady flipped a few pages on a black leathery-bound book. She stopped at a certain page. “Your grades, at some point, are going down. You used to have straight A’s in your Literature and Science subjects.”
A sweat bid down Sasha’s temples.
“What I’m trying to say here, dear, is that—I’m assigning a higher position to tutor you. Is that okay?”
Sasha’s stomach plummeted. She should've been warned about this. What a joke.
Sasha nodded. “I would love that, Madam.”
Good grace. A simple no would have made her life stay the same as it was living within the daunting walls of the old montessori.
Days before her tutor arrived, the nurses always dragged her to the infirmary. Needles after needles after needles. It was a never ending cycle that Sasha became used to the sharp pain piercing through her skin.
“It’s getting worse.” One of the nurses rolled Sasha’s sleeves to reveal abnormally red veins pumping out.
“Medicine won’t be here until sunrise.” Her partner clarified. “Let’s be positive that she won’t turn into one of them.”
Sasha sobbed in her bed. “Madam…”
A nurse rushed to her.
“When will this be over?” Sasha sniffed, letting the tears soak her cheeks and pillow.
The nurses threw each other worried glances.
They knew the answer, but none of them admitted it.
Young Sasha strolled across a corridor that escorted her to the playground. Warm sunlight flitted into her face, casting one of her eyes a sheer brown glow. Barely a nurse greeted her when she passed by them. All they could do was stare at her pitch black veins in both her arms.
She ambled to a nurse sitting on a swing.
“What’s the matter, dear?”
Sasha gave her an angelic smile. She was the only nurse in this montessori that treated her like her own daughter.
“My tutor will be here very soon and I’m scared…”
The nurse patted her head reassuringly.
“You’ll be alright, Sasha.”
The nurse pursed her lips.
“I just know,”
The current Sasha stared at the ceiling with deep thought. How could she know when…
“It’s easy, Sasha!” Her tutor exclaimed, fire within her gaze. “What happened to Cinderella?”
Sasha sulked into her head. “Died in the basement.”
“No, no, no!”
The door flew open behind Sasha.
The nurse that Sasha liked slipped into the room, wearing a panicked face.
“What’s the matter here, ladies?”
“It’s nothing to worry about, Madam.” The tutor adjusted her glasses. “Sasha just needs to understand that Cinderella’s prince came to save her from her wicked stepmother and sisters and that they had a happily ever after.”
“I’d prefer the Happily Never After honestly,”
The tutor dug her burning glare into Sasha’s bored ones.
“One more and I’m calling your parents!”
Sasha curled her lips into a small smirk.
“Try contacting them from their coffins and we’ll see,”
Days and days of tutoring the troublesome kid, the doors to where Sasha was being tutored flew open.
“I have enough!”
“Madam.” The old lady ran up to her in worry. “What seems to be the problem?”
“Miss Sasha is a hot-headed kid that is hard to handle!” The tutor half-yelled, face red from anger. “I’m leaving this god-forsaken place. Goodbye!”
She and the rest of the nurses that packed the hallway watched her back disappear into the exit.
The old lady sucked a breath.
Sasha came out of the room.
“I think she was scared of my veins.” She rolled her sleeves to reveal her arms. The veins bulged larger. They grew as if it was tearing her skin apart.
The nurses made a throng of horrified gasps across the hallway.
“To the infirmary, now!”
Sasha stared at them dumbfoundedly.
Two nurses carried her in one swift motion.
Shocked, she tried to wriggle out of their hold.
“Hey, put me down!”
She kept on twisting and pushing them but the nurses’ firm grip only gave her exhaustion not to take effort in escaping them.
She reappeared once again into the infirmary. The nurses put her in a bed, her specific spot, and tied her waist and legs with belts and chains.
“Let me go!” Sasha screamed, tears glistening her once innocent eyes. She didn't feel any pain. Those needles probably made her veins become worst.
15 years ago was so far from now. Everything has changed. And finally, the current Sasha has remembered all of it. Those pieces of childhood that poked a hole into her chest.
Young Sasha’s vision had darkened. Blood spilled on the walls of the infirmary. All of the gazes that looked down on her cried blood as well. Red. Red. Red. Everything was red. Why are all of them red? Red—the color of blood. Blood. Thirsty. Thirsty for blood.
Sasha’s teeth bared. She produced a hungry growl, sending chills down everyone’s spines.
“It’s too late!” One of them shouted, dashing out of the room.
“No, it’s not!” The nurse that was kind to Sasha, the one who let the little kid open up to her about her problems, stood by her bed. She watched Sasha’s gaze turn red. Perhaps the nurse was right.
It was too late.
Sasha broke one of the belts tied to her legs.
“Hurry, fasten the others!”
But none had the courage to tighten the belts and chains. Sasha was already shaking frantically in her bed, attempting to break free.
The friendly nurse stared at Sasha’s hardened face. Everyone else distanced their presence away from the bed.
She placed a hand on Sasha’s cheek. Awakened by the sudden touch, the shaking from Sasha’s body slowed down. The delicate gesture placated Sasha’s monstrous senses.
Sasha’s vision faded back to normal. The red colors calmly died down.
She gazed softly at the nurse. She was sweating. Tears dampened her pillow and the black veins vanished out of sight.
“Madam…” She muttered. “Y-You saved me.”
The nurse crested the sides of her lips upwards.
“I wish I could,”
Silence wrapped the infirmary as Sasha’s beam faltered into the ground… as the nurse pulled out a pistol from her coat.
The nurse held Sasha at gun-point. Her motherly face distorted into what seemed like a psychopath’s expression. She grinned a sly one, eyes shot wide enough to display insanity.
This wasn't the nurse that Sasha knew. She barely recognized her persona anymore.
“Say goodbye, dear Sasha.”
The nurse pulled the trigger.
24-year-old Sasha gasped in her seat. She jolted out of the chair, drawing to her feet.
I’m alive. She whispered under her breath. “I’m still alive.”
She threw a curious look at her old portrait by the fireplace. As much as she wanted to forget everything that happened years ago...
She knew she was responsible for everyone’s death within the infirmary.