Chapter 1

I sat in the cold white room, nothing around me but a table and the chair I sat in. I held the white pencil in my shaking hand watching the sweat dribble down its point. I shook it before it hit the white paper that I could barely see because of the deathly white table it lay on. Something popped into my mind. 'You can't draw because you can see the paper.' The voice in my head told me. I looked up into the mirror across the room, the two way mirror, where those people watched me. Sure they thought I was going nuts and if they didn't see me do something soon they would think I was scared. I was scared, but I didn't want them to know that.

I didn't know what to draw. I turned the pencil sideways and moved it along the paper's edge. A sigh of relief escaped my mouth when I saw the beauty of the gray color the pencil gave off, my favorite color. It made me want to draw on everything to make it off-white. I lifted the paper that was now outlined in pencil and looked at the box mark I had left on the table. I licked my finger and rubbed at the lines. Then I looked up at the mirror with a mocking face, while I stood and wiped the spit and pencil marks off with my clean white polo shirt. White was definitely my least favorite color at the moment. I licked the finger that was gray from rubbing the marks on the table and wiped it on my white pants. After the paper was outlined and I could see where it stopped and started I began to grind the side of the pencil across the paper losing my train of thought. I licked my finger and ran it across to smudge the choppy lines until the paper remained totally light gray.

I lifted the pencil to my face to take a look. Rubbing it sideways had made it too sharp for the edgy drawing I wanted to do now. I stabbed the table with all of my force behind the pencil. I could just see the people in my head being startled by my "unreasonable act of rage". It was no rage I just wanted the pencil to move across the paper to emit my favorite thing that I loved to draw, shadows. I looked up at my self in the mirror, I noticed no shadows were on my face, the ones I wanted to draw and I almost panicked with nothing to draw on my light gray paper. 'They did it on purpose.' The voice in my head told me. I growled inwardly and closed my eyes, I had done face shadows enough times and I could do it from memory. The first thing that popped into my head was my mothers face, I had drawn her so many times, she hung them on the walls and I always had to look at them. I could do that. I opened my eyes again focusing on the gray of the paper. It didn't take me long to register my mothers shadows without lines onto the paper. I had just drawn another of what people around me call a masterpiece. It was just another doodle. The people behind the mirror thought they could come up with my thoughts but looking at my drawings. They wouldn't let me work in the piece and quiet of my room. I stood up and walked to the middle of the room trying to avoid the mirror. I laid on my stomach and put my palms face down on the white tile. The coldness on my hands relaxed me.

I was positive I wasn't insane and no matter how much I tried to prove it, they kept me here, far from my life. I heard the feet of exactly three people enter, but I kept my eyes shut. I knew who they were though. My doctor, Dr. Smith, a plump man with a stern face and a sheriff mustache that hid his slightly down turned mouth. His hair was intensely white. Then there was that lady who wrote everything I did down, I knew she had written the outburst with the pencil, the dirtying of my shirt, and the odd laying down thing that everyone looked at as insane. The lady always wore white scrubs like the doctors but piercing black heels to drawl the doctors attention to her legs. Then there was the person they always brought to make sure I didn't attack the workers, he was a huge Mexican man with giant muscles. The man pried me off the floor and held my shoulders as the doctor lifted the picture from the smeared white table.

"What do you make of this Doctor?" The woman said leaning over the chunky man's head.

The doctor turned to me ignoring the lanky woman. "Mr. Vornamen, could you maybe tell me a little about this, do you know this person?" He held up my picture as if I had never seen it. He talked to me in the same kind of drawl that you speak to an infant in. He knew I wouldn't answer him though, I hadn't spoken since a month ago when they brought me here. "Have it your way." The doctor circled me but the goon kept me from turning. Dr. Smith didn't speak until he was facing me again. "What can I do to get you to answer me?"

I thought for a moment about what would be worth a few words. "I want-" They all stared as the words came out of my mouth and the girl began to scribble on the paper again. "I want, two reams of paper and some nice drawing pencils, along with a nice sharpener for when I'm in my room."

The doctor thought about my request for a moment and then smiled, "Very well, now answer my questions."

"That's my mother," I nodded towards the paper he held in his hands. "I always draw her, I was going to do some life drawing but everything in here is so white and shadow less it makes me nauseous. I new how to draw my mother so that's what I drew instead."

The doctor stood stunned at how much I had just spoken and nodded. "Alright does this mean we're on speaking terms Mr. Vornamen?" I gave him the most pained and evil glare I could in silence and he nodded. "I see."

After a wash up and some new white starched cloths. I was returned to my room. I could hear catcalls directed at the lady whom wrote things about me down. Joseph Taylor, my roommate, was curled up on his old bed in the corner playing with a loose thread from his shirt. He was a little younger than me, I was 16, he was 13 or 14 I believe .I understood why Joe hated these people. I really like him because he would carry on full conversations with me where I could just nod yes or no. And he would enjoy the silence, he told me that.

"Hey birdie!" He called out as I laid down on my stomach with my palms down to relax again. He called me birdie because birds didn't talk but they whistled like I did when I was board. "They're awful don't you just wish they would leave you alone?"

I nodded 'yes' to him with my head hitting the floor when I did so.

"Oh sorry I forgot, I shouldn't talk to you when you're relaxing huh?" he really looked like he needed to talk. I shook my head 'no' and got off the cold cement. "Oh you wanna talk?" I nodded. "That's great! I really need to talk." I nodded again. "You know this really bothers me." He tugged at the string on his shirt. "I know things bother you too, huh?" Joe was kind of like me except he just didn't talk to people who he didn't want to be there. He was fully convinced that people he disliked were not there, and I was the only one who believed him. I believed everything he said. I nodded noticing him kind of waiting for a reply.

I studied him for a minute while he jabbered on and I nodded. I think his talking kept me sane. He reminded me of my little sister. His eyes were big and dark brown with flecks of golden youth, his cheek bones where low and hidden. His hair wasn't long but went slightly beyond his ears, so he gingerly tucked it back every so often as he talked. "You know…" I sat and stared as his words trailed off. "I know you wont talk to me, but I really would like to know your name. Is there some way I can figure that out?" It was a yes or no question but I didn't know how to answer.

I smiled at his curious face. "My name is Aaron Vornamen." I had done more talking today than I had in a month of hospitalization.

Joe smiled back and nodded. "Thanks birdie… you don't mind when I call you that?" I shook my head 'no'. "I also know that's probably the only time I'll ever hear you talk?" I nodded.

About and hour later when Joe was resting on his very uncomfortable bed I leaned over to observe him, He was in a sate of what scientists called REM (rapid eye movement). I watched his eyes move around under his closed lids and sighed. His breathing became slow and irregular. I was lucky he didn't snore or I could never sleep.

The door opened and the woman who scrawls things down came in. She set down two packages of white paper and a huge box of expensive pencils that were balancing on a sharpener. I smiled at her for the first time. "Thanks." She left in a hurry as if she was afraid I would attack her. I laughed at her before getting up to retrieve my supplies. I'm glad I didn't have a violent record or I wouldn't get sharp objects but I was told to make sure Joe never acquired anything sharp. Though I could never see Joe hurting anyone or anything, people do surprise me. I carefully tore one package of paper open and pulled out a nice crisp piece. I placed it on top of the other package of paper to draw. I looked around with what I had to work with and my eyes fell upon the sleeping boy across from me. AS much as Joe jumped around awake, he was a sound sleeper.

I drew Joe, I spend hours on it, not caring how late it got, I got absorbed in my work. I made sure every shadow and curvature was absolutely precise. When I was just about done he turned over in his sleep with his back facing me I drew the back of him, his back, the back of his head, how the blankets curved perfectly with his figure. When I was done with that sure enough he moved again, onto his back this time. I drew that. He then turned back to facing me and curved his legs up against his chest and nuzzled his face into the sheet. I drew him like that too, and then as I watched the sun peak through the tiny barred window we had, I decided to sleep. I pulled the pillow and blanket from the bed and onto the stone floor laying on my belly.

In the morning my drawings were gone and so was Joe. I walked into the bathroom where Joe was sitting up on the counter by the sink and admiring my portraits of him. He glanced up at me leaning on the door. "Oh, Birdie, I need a new name for you birds cannot draw like this. It's amazing." I walked over to him and leaned down to the picture I had drawn of him on his back. "I really like this one." He whispered to me. I looked into the plastic-ish mirror and looked at my eyes, I hadn't slept long and the red lines were making my pale blue eyes look purple. "Common Birdie, we'll miss breakfast!" Joe grabbed my arm a bit too tight and dragged me off to the cafeteria with our chaperone. We were all eating quite peacefully that morning and I was laughing inwardly at the people I really did think were insane. Joe wasn't eating he was staring at some guys hand on the table next to him. It struck my curiosity. It had a ring on it, a small silver ring in the middle of the guys hand and said CTR on it.

"CTR." Joe whispered.

The guy lifted his hand off the table and looked at the ring, "Yeah it means 'choose the right' I was going on a mission before they brought me here." He set his hand down again and continued eating. I never knew why Joe was here because I never talked, therefore never asking him. Joe was acting kind of weird now though.

"mission, church… you're Mormon." Joe stated not taking his eyes off the ring.

"Yeah so." The guy shrugged.

Before I could even blink Joe had taken something out of his pocket and slammed it on the table. It took me a moment to register what it was and where it hit. It was one of my art pencils, and it had gone right through the guys hand, through the bone under his middle finger. I fell backwards from the bench. A piercing scream rang through the cafeteria and a everyone ran. I was lucky my head didn't get stepped on before I stood up. My favorite pencil, my 6B was in some guys hand and all of my thoughts about Joe had somewhat altered. Joe was being dragged off by some guys and some people were rushing the Mormon guy to the nurse.

Joe yelled at the top of his lungs before they got him out the door, "Fly free birdie, save yourself!" I got up on the table and ran across the room were no one was. The voice in my head came back 'get out, he's right!' I knew it was the wrong thing to do but I couldn't stay here when I had done nothing wrong, I wasn't crazy. I pulled hard on the barred window as people ran around me.

"Need some help?" A guy said climbing up near me. He was no body builder but his arms were nicely chiseled, he grabbed a metal chair and flung it at the window. He squeezed up out of the broken bars and exited. His hand reached for me and I took it. My body slipped through the hole with more ease. I was free from the loony been, but who was this guy?