Amber Skye Forbes

Writing Words With the Tips of My Toes

Victoria’s Asylum of Maggots

This was published in issue 4 of Sorean: A Gothic Magazine. There is also a part 2, and I may continue it with a part 3 and whatever else I can conjure from this mind of mine so that way all of you can have a taste of my writing style. Sorry for the one column, but I just copied and pasted it directly from the magazine because I lost the thumb drive this was on a long time ago, so I have no copies myself. Here we go!
VICTORIA’S ASYLUM OF MAGGOTS: PART ONE

Alice, from American McGee’s Alice: Madness Returns. This is similar to what Victoria faces.

Unwanted wife, suicidal, prone to hysterics,
abnormal–that is what my chart reads. My
mind says otherwise. I am an unwanted wife
who never wanted to be one. My husband is
abusive, so hysterics are to be expected.
And suicidal is normal when ones husband beats her for forgetting to put out his tie.
As for my abnormality, I see nothing wrong
with pouring boiling tea on my husband’s
crotch.
That’s not what Bethlem Royal Hospital, or
Bedlam as we victims call it, would have me
believe. If I’m considered mad now, I’d like to
see just how mad I am when someone decides
to let me out.
Four gray walls stare down at me. An eave
sits above my head to keep me down. There is
no window, no light. The floor is marred wood.
A layer of dust sits like a quilt, tucked neatly
into the cracks of the floor. Moss creeps across
neglected walls and grows through fissures.
Unknown creatures twist and turn in the walls,
as well as my nightmares.
I have been staring at these walls for the
past two weeks. I have not seen the light in
four months. I don’t know what the sun feels
like, or what the flowers smell like, or what the
sky looks like anymore. Wetness devours my
body in the form of bodily fluids, and ice strips
away my skin, replacing it so that I am forever
shivering. My hair is a pile of brambles. My bed
sheets haven’t been changed in weeks. Chains
hold me down.
Why am I in chains? The scenario happens
as such:
‘Victoria Wilson. Age fourteen. New arrival,’
the nurse says. ‘Attacked her husband. He
couldn’t handle her anymore.’
‘What should we do?’ the other nurse asks.
I am on my bed, staring out the window. I
used to be in a room with a window.
‘The only thing we can do.’
‘Leeches?’
‘Yes. Fetch them for me.’

Emilie Autumn’s Leeches

One can imagine what happens afterwards.
I lacerated those beasts, and they removed my
fingernails for it, a procedure that turned me
into a twitching fiend. My nail beds are dried
pieces of bloody skin.
I am a rose that has lost its thorns.
I can’t be insane, though. The insane ones
are outside of Bedlam. They choose to ignore
the fog infecting London, the dark creatures
slithering through their minds. They ignore it
by gambling, drinking, and buying prostitutes
and children for themselves.
I should have lost my sanity by now. I
should be grazing the air with my stubby
fingers. I should be mutilating the slimy
creatures in me. I should be screaming,
writhing, moaning, panting. Yet, I haven’t felt
the urge to. If I did, I wouldn’t hesitate to
unleash the black worms from my mind, let
them glide across my body, wrap their slickness
around my limbs and take control of me like a
marionette.
Instead I stare up at the eave, thinking too
much, waiting for sleep to consume me. Present
thoughts are comforting. Memories are
despairing. I purged myself of my memories
when I heard my husband was sending me to
Bedlam. I let all my insanity out at home before
I came here.
But I believe maggots clogging my veins are
delaying this inevitable lunacy. Soon they‘ll
turn to flies, and begin to buzz within me. It
won’t be long before I find these chains too
tight.
A girl screams in the cell next to mine.
Startling me, jolting my eyes wide. The
walls are hollow arteries, so sounds are never
muffled. I should be used to these screams; this
one is just too near. Thudding emerges behind
my head. Like everyone else, she just wants to
pull her brains out and ooze away her
memories.
Thud, thud, thud.
A steady, hollow rhythm.
No one answers her cries. She’s a banshee in a
hollowed-out body. Two black coals for eyes. No
heart. No soul. Every girl here is a banshee.
Some day, I’ll be one as well.
It must be nighttime, which is why no one
comes for her. One can never tell if it’s night or
day in here. The darkness is eternal.
The thudding stops, but the screaming
doesn’t. A simple word follows the screaming.
“Why?” Her voice is hoarse and cracks as
she draws it out.
That’s the simplest question, the word with
the most impact. Why is she here? Why is she
subjected to this? Why does no one care? Why is
she alone? Why isn’t anyone coming for her? I
could ask that same question, too.
“Why indeed,” I whisper.

Alice from American McGee’s Alice: A Madness Returns.

Footsteps resound down the hall. Must be
daytime then.
The footsteps stop at her cell. A lock clicks
open. The screams crescendo, then die down.
“Tabitha,” a female voice says.
She lets out a string of incoherent words.
Only the mad ones understand her.
“Tabitha,” the woman says again.
“Get out of here!” Tabitha says.
“Wot’s she ‘ere for?” a rough, masculine voice
asks.
“She’s here after attacking her husband. No
reason given. No reason asked. They talk
about her as though she isn’t in that cell, as
though she isn’t human. We are rats and not
patients. “Her father wants her here until she
is wholly sedate. Then he wants custody of her.
She’s twenty-three.”
Not a girl, but a woman old enough to care
for herself. A woman is never a woman, though,
no matter what age. She’ll forever be a girl.
“We’ll have to act fast with this one.”
“Should we try the leeches?”
“Yes.”
“Wot if those don’t work.”
“Cliterodectomy.”
For a moment all the suffering in the world
makes itself known to me. There’s a torture
somewhere, a woman getting raped. A babe is
dying in its mother’s arms. Men are killing
each other faster than rabbits reproduce.
Someone commits suicide. Slaves are whipped,
girls molested, boys abused, mothers killed,
animals tortured.
Maim, rape, torture, kill, abuse. Repeat.
Living is impossible if one is not doing any of
those things.
“Come on, Tabitha,” the woman says.
The screaming starts up again. It sounds
like Tabitha’s now clawing the wall as though
she can create a hole, crawl through it, and run
away. Someone slams the door to the side.
“You’ll have to get her arms,” the nurse says
in a hurry.
Tabitha screams louder. The sound of two
bodies colliding meets my ears. One of the
bodies hits the floor. The sound of tussling
mixed with screaming ensues. I imagine
Tabitha’s a tiger clawing at a gazelle, rending
its flesh with sharp claws.
“Nurse Hayes, grab ‘er legs!”
The screaming stops. The struggling ceases.
There is only the sound of whimpering.
“I’ve got ‘er from ‘ere.”
“Are you certain, Carlisle?”
There are no words. I assume Carlisle
replies with a nod.
Carlisle grunts. He must be hoisting her
over his shoulder. Boots scuff across the floor.
Heels click. The door shuts.
The boots scuff down the hall. The heels
click in my direction.
The lock clicks on my door.
“Time for your medicine, Victoria,” Nurse
Hayes says.
No. Not the medicine. Please not the
medicine.
My heart swells to the size of a boulder and
drops through the earth, taking my stomach
with it. I soil my bed.
When Nurse Hayes comes into my room, I scream.
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3 comments on “Victoria’s Asylum of Maggots

  1. Rob Read
    April 20, 2013

    This is a captivating read. Excellent story-telling. I do hope to be able to read more and will watch out for further posts.

  2. Pingback: The Oldest Piece of Writing: The Haunted City (Reader Participation Required) | Amber Skye Forbes

  3. joseasanoj
    April 22, 2013

    Reblogged this on My Day Out With An Angel.

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