The Locked Door

Submitted into Contest #130 in response to: Write a story titled ‘The Locked Door.’... view prompt

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Fiction Sad

This story contains themes or mentions of mental health issues.

The Locked Door.

"Hell's bells!" Margaret swore under her breath. She'd done it again. Her keys and handbag were lying on the kitchen table and she had just stepped into the corridor and pulled the door shut. That was the third time this week. Her dementia was definitly getting worse.

   " I'll have to go down to reception and ask one of the carers to open the door for me. I hope it's not Tom, that grumpy one. He'll give me a telling off for sure. He might even give me a pinch. My arm's still sore from the last time he did that."

   Margaret rubbed her arm and thought sadly how much she missed her husband. Harry had never pushed her about or shouted at her when she got confused and made silly mistakes. When he died there was no one to take care of her and she'd had to sell her lovely comfortable home and come to live in this place.

   "Perhaps it will be the nice carer. The fat one with a beard. He'll call me a Silly Billy and laugh. Oh, I do hope it's him. He always cheers me up. Or one of those young girls. I can't remember their names they change so often.

   Now....what did I come out here for?

 Oh yes, I was going to get the bus, but I can't go without Harry. He knows where we have to get off. I never could remember which was the stop but Harry will tell me. He has such a good memory.

  Harry! Harry! Where are you dear?

   He must be getting his coat. I'll just pop my head round the door and see if he's alright.

   That's funny....the door is locked.

Oh dear, what shall I do? Perhaps something has happened to him. If only I could get in.

   I need to spend a penny. I'm really desperate but I must hang on. Mummy will be so cross if I wet my knickers. One day I had an accident and she slapped my leg and said I was a dirty girl.

    Open the door! Please open the door!

   Mummy! Mummy! Let me in. I promise I won't be a naughty girl again. Please let me in.

    I could go next door to Mrs Jones. She is always kind and gives me milk and a biscuit but I can't seem to remember where her house is. Things look so strange. Not right at all. This doesn't look like my house but I know this is my door.

   I'll go in and put the kettle on. A nice cup of tea. That will calm me down. Harry always said 'There's nothing like a nice cup of tea and a chocolate digestive to dunk in it".

    Of course, he's dead now. I found him sitting in his armchair and his tea had gone cold beside him. Five years ago that was. Then I came to live here. So lonely and no one ever comes to see me.

  I'll go in and sit by the fire. Not that it gives any heat. I'm always cold and these clothes don't help. They're not even mine but I didn't want to make a fuss in case the carer got cross with me.

  That's strange, the door won't open. Someone must have locked it.

I'll just wait here for a bit. One of the carers is bound to come along soon.

I hope I don't have to wait too long. I'm dying for the toilet and I can't hold on much longer.

  Harry! Harry! Let me in quick! Stop messing around and open the door.

Oh dear, oh dear. I've wet myself and I'll get into so much trouble.

   Daddy, I couldn't help it. I'm only a little girl. Don't hit me Daddy. Let me in and I'll change my clothes and no one will ever know. Daddy! Where are you? Why am I all on my own?

  I can hear footsteps. Someone is coming and they'll see what I've done. They'll know I'm a dirty girl and they'll punish me. I'd better run and hide but I can't get the door open.

    Who are you?  I don't know you. You're a stranger and Mummy said I should never talk to strangers."

  The young carer sighed and looked at Margaret's dripping wet skirt and the puddle on the recently polished corridor floor. Someone would have to sort out this daft old biddy and clear up the mess she'd made. As usual there were no other carers around so it was going to be up to him yet again. He wished he could get a proper job with a decent salery, but work was hard to come by, even with a degree.

   He pulled Margaret roughly by the arm then realised the door to her room was locked. Lucky he had his pass key with him.

   "Come on Margaret. You know me. Tom. I got you up and dressed this morning." "And a right pain that was too", he added under his breath.

   " Tom? I don't know anyone called Tom. I'm just waiting here for Mummy to come and let me in. She made me stand outside because she's cross with me."

   Margaret felt lost and confused. Tears started to run down her cheeks. She couldn't remember why she was here or why this stranger was angry with her. Where was Harry?

    Tom pulled out his key and unlocked the door to Margaret's room then gave her a shove in the direction of the bathroom. It would take at least half an hour to get her changed and the floor mopped and he was due his lunch break in 20 minutes.

  He rummaged in the drawer and pulled out a skirt and a set of underwear. Some of the things had name tags on but there had been no one to mark names on Margaret's clothes when she was admitted so the clothes were a random assortment left behind by other residents who had died. Her smart outfits had been quickly claimed by staff who had elderly relatives and looked on it as a perk in an unrewarding job.

 Snapping on a pair of rubber gloves he walked into the bathroom without knocking and began stripping Margaret's wet clothing. Too confused to help, or even resist, she stood passively and let him change her clothes. He didn't bother to wash her. He was in a hurry, but he took the time to give her a sly pinch as he worked.

   As soon as Margaret was more or less dressed Tom left her standing in the bathroom and dashed off to the cupboard at the end of the corridor to get a mop. He left the door to her room standing ajar.

   Two minutes to mop up then he'd be off for his break.

  He stomped back and slammed the bucket down then started to wield the mop. Suddenly he felt a shove in the middle of his back. His feet slipped out from under him on the wet floor and he fell hard. His face hit the ground with a crack and his nose began to pour blood.

  Tom's bellows of pain brought one of the other carers running.

  " Whatever has happened?" she said in tones of horror. There was blood and water everywhere.

   " That evil old witch pushed me!"

    The young carer turned and looked at Margaret, taking in her disheveled appearance and her bewildered, tear stained face. Gently she put her arm round her and led her back into her room. She helped her into her chair and tucked a warm blanket around her.

  "I'll get you a nice cup of tea in a minute" she said softly. " Just tell me first, what did happen?"

  Margaret smiled at her.

  " The door was locked" she said.

January 24, 2022 17:14

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