CHAPTER ONE

May 9th, 2003 was the day that triggered my five months of being locked away from the world. I was sitting in the waiting room of this prison with my hands tied together and locked around my knees, shaking and wobbling back and fourth, anticipating the moment that my number got called. Five hours just waiting, staring at nothing but creme colored walls and plasticy, un-welcoming, fake leather chairs. The tile was creme colored too, with splashes of hunter green accents that matched the chairs, and brown accents that matched the dirt on the crumbling walls. The must in the air was unbareable, it made your lungs hemmorhage with every gulp. The woman at the desk called off numbers like the only thing she ever learned to do was count.

It was 3:47, and an ambulance and paramedics rushed out with a woman, only for me to find out moments later that she was dead. She died from an overdose of her meds that she hid under the leg of her bed, I heard one say. She was taken away on a stretcher inside a navy blue body bag. A breeze rushed by me as they rushed out, and the only thing I could smell was death. I heard a mans walkie-talkie buzz and a woman on the other end say "She's been dead for almost 7 hours now. We're assuming it was an overdose, but only the autopsy will tell." The man looked around the room, made eye contact with me, raised his left, bushy eyebrow, and continued his conversation with the woman.

"So what room is it Martha?" he asked her plainly.

"394."

"Okay, I'll be there in a minute."

The stench leaked out, and everyone in the waiting area could smell dead flesh. It was like it was pouring out from under the doors of all of those locked away. Almost like it was trying to speak to me, saying "If you come here, don't be expecting to leave."

The floor hadn't been swept in days. And you could see the dust and dirt rising into the air. Every one of the hallways were too narrow and long to see to the end of. Out of every 10 florescent lights, one was flickering and making noises like a bug zapper. The walls were old and crumbling, and every window and door had metal bars protecting them from the insanity that lay behind them.

"521!" the woman called.

And that was my cue. My mother stood up and tried grabbing my hand and ripping me out of the chair, but I denied. I kicked and screamed until I finally collapsed onto the floor, begging for mommy to forgive me and to take me back home where I was safe.

A strange old man with a navy suit and yellow tie came out of a door and began talking to me like he already knew why I was there.

"What's your name, young lady?"

I wondered what kind of nerve he had. Did he honestly ask every person who came here this? Because half of them sure as hell wouldn't have let him off as easily as I did.

"None of your business," I said, "Who the hell are you to just walk up and start talking to me?"

"You know, change isn't always a bad thing. No one ever said it would be wrong to try and make some new friends!"

"I don't want new friends, leave me alone."

"I think you might learn alot in your time here. But I believe it's time me and your mother show you your way to your new home."

He turned to the lady at the window, "What room?"

She looked at me, and the to him and said, "394, but only until she earns her keep. then we'll move her downstairs with the others."