Revised Version of Tick-Tock

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Somewhere in the outskirts of a tiny town called Bellmare, at the end of a winding dirt road, and through a veil of towering trees, sat a rather unassuming building. It was a simple brick building, but it was surrounded by a tall grey stone wall, at the forefront of which was a metal gate and a rusted sign that read 'Grand Valley Sanatorium.'

Today is a Tuesday like any other, in the middle of the transition season from spring to summer. The sky is overcast, and the humidity was oppressive. Inside the building, in the last room at the end of the east hallway, sat two people.

"... gonna die tomorrow," stated the small, gaunt-looking girl sitting on the chair across the desk, while staring absentmindedly at the blue colored wall.

"Who is?" Dr. Connors asked blankly, straightening the lapel of her white coat and fixing her name tag.

"You are."

"What makes you say that?" Dr. Connors asked, repressing a sigh and glancing at the clock.

Tick-tock. Forty-seven minutes.

"I saw it," she replied simply.

Dr. Sandra Connors began working at Grand Valley Sanatorium a year ago, 365 whole days. In that time, she has learned a lot about Samantha. Samantha, at the tender age of twelve, was committed by her parents because she suffered from violent hallucinations and delusions. Her parents, distraught at her sudden change in behavior, couldn't deal with her anymore and brought her here. Dr. Connors is toying with a diagnosis of schizophrenia at the moment, but she is ultimately reserving judgement until she has more information about Samantha's true mental state. Samantha also seems to be suffering from depression and dissociation, judging from her files and the fact that she never seems to be fully present during conversations. On at least two separate occasions since Samantha arrive at this facility, she has attempted to commit suicide.

"I'm sure that I'll be fine," Dr. Connors said, glancing back at the clock.

Tick-tock. Forty-five minutes.

"Maybe," Samantha replied finally directing her dark eyes towards the doctor.

Dr. Connors tried to turn the conversation in a different direction, "Why do you think you are here, Samantha?" Her eyes flitted to the recent coffee imprint on her new pants, wondering if her new dry cleaner would be able to remove the stain or if she would have to scrap the pants all together.

Samantha did not respond, choosing to instead return to staring at the wall.

"Do you believe that you belong here, Samantha?" Dr. Connors asked, trying again after a moment of silence.

Tick-tock. Forty minutes.

Dr. Connors was impatient for the day to finally be over so that she could finally return home, eat junk food on her couch, and cry over sad movies. Unfortunately, Dr. Connors still has one more patient to see today after Samantha. It has been a taxing kind of day today. This morning, she startled awake by a phone call from her mother gushing about her sister's new engagement, to a man with old money nonetheless, and "Oh, Sandra, why can't you be more like your sister, huh?" Her mother stayed on the phone for so long that Dr. Connors was late to work and missed a very important meeting. Frustrated from the phone call and irritated at being late, she didn't notice when someone walked directly in front of her on her way into the building causing her to spill her coffee all over herself.

"No," Samantha finally replied.

Halting her wandering mind, Dr. Connors asked, "And why is that?"

Tick-tock. Thirty-five minutes.

"Because," Samantha said, "I'm not insane."

Dr. Connors paused for a moment, "I never said you were insane, Samantha."

"No, but everyone else here is insane, so people must think I am too." Samantha didn't seem too upset with this revelation, more resigned than anything.

"You are here because you claim to see things that other people don't, and that is concerning. So we want to help you get a better grasp on reality so you can live a happier life." Dr. Connors was not sure if Samantha actually understood what she was trying to tell her because Samantha didn't respond. Holding in another sigh, and checking the clock again, Dr. Connors tried once again to engage Samantha in a conversation.

Tick-tock. Twenty-minutes.

The rest of the session was much of the same, Dr. Connors attempting to pull information from Samantha and Samantha never providing anything of real substance. By the time the session was over, Dr. Connors had not been able to pull anything more useful out Samantha.

One of the female orderlies came to collect Samantha from her session with a "Come on Sammy, it's arts and crafts time," her dyed blonde hair pulled into a ponytail and a plastic smile pasted on her face.

The next patient on her list today was a man named Kaleb. Kaleb is a middle-aged man who suffered from a psychotic break in his late 20's that induced bouts of exaggerated paranoia and delusions. Every session that Dr. Connors has had with him goes the same way, and today was no different.

Kaleb was standing at the window, nervously fidgeting his hands in front of his chest. "They're coming for me, you need to close the blinds, so they can't get us."

"We can close the blind if you want," Dr. Connors replies, "but why don't you come sit down for right now?"

"No, I can't be distracted, or they'll come for me," he said, still staring out the window.

"I'm not crazy," he kept repeating after Dr. Connors tried to explain that no one was coming for him and that he was safe here.

Dr. Connors rolled her neck and gave a internal scream in her head. This was going to be a long session.

Tick-tock. Five minutes.

Dr. Connors let out a sigh of relief, when her day was, finally, over and it was time to go home, slouching in her chair and putting her head back. She looked around at her office, the blue walls and impersonal decor seemed to be closing in on her, the humidity making the heavy and her breath shallow.

As she made her way to her car in the parking lot, Dr. Connors stopped suddenly, feeling eyes on her. She glanced around, and not seeing anyone, she was about to continue walking when a flash of pale skin caught her eye. It was Samantha, staring hard at her out of one of the windows in the Sanatorium. She watched as Samantha slowly raised her hand and gave her a little finger wave. Suddenly discomforted, Dr. Connors gave her a short wave back and quickly looked away and started walking.

Dr. Connors makes her way home, intent on doing absolutely nothing all night long. So, that's exactly what she did. As she walked through the door, of her small cottage, she immediately beelined for her bedroom to change into her pajamas. She then grabbed all the chips and ice cream in her house and set it all on the coffee table in front of the TV. This kind of a day called for some mind-numbing reality shows.

She is startled awake, for the second day in a row, by her mother's ringtone. Dr. Connors paused for a moment, disoriented. Apparently, she had fallen asleep on the couch last night and she was even more irritated than she was yesterday when she answered the phone and her mother's voice rang out, still gushing about her sister. Dr. Connors let her mother rave for a while before she noticed the time. She's not proud of it, but she hung up in the middle of one her mother's sentences, but she'll just have call and apologize to her mother later. This phone call, of course, has resulted in Dr. Connors running late yet again.

Dr. Connors quickly dresses and rushes herself out of the house, forgoing about coffee and breakfast all together, though this was probably for the best considering what happened yesterday. Though it is exactly this moment that she remembers the coffee stained pants from yesterday, and hurries back inside to grab them, so she can drop them off at the dry cleaners on her way to work.

She's speeding down the street in her beat-up Toyota, when her ringtone fills the silence of the car and her mother's picture appears on the phone screen. Dr. Connors reaches down to hit ignore and makes her way to the dry cleaners.

As she is pulling out of the dry cleaner's parking lot, her phone began to ring once more. Irked, she picks up her phone to hit ignore one more, but is startled by the sound of a horn and screeching tires. The last thought that ran through Dr. Connors mind, before the truck made impact with her car door, was that she shouldn't have hung up on her mother.

Tick-tock. Dead.

And everyone, except a small, gaunt-looking girl with dark eyes, wondered why Dr. Sandra Connors did not come to work that day. Samantha is laying on her bed, staring at the ceiling, and thinks about how many people would still be alive if they would just believe her.