by Diego Pena

They want to take her away from me. They want to steal her off my hands. They want to leave me with a crippled heart, and sore eyes. They ask me where she is every day, but I'll never tell them. I'll protect her forever.

They look at me with demon-like eyes, as if what I did was wrong. I'm just protecting my daughter. It's what a mother does. I shall never tell them, or even hint, about where she's hidden. All they want is to hurt her, and I know it. They tell me many things. But I know they only lie. I know that they wish to destroy her heart, and fill her up with lies, make her like them: A creature of hatred.

They call me Seventeen, they say that I'm not worthy of a name. I disagree. My name is Scarlett. If anyone's unworthy of being named, it's them. They're the creatures, the monsters, the demons, the entities of hate. I know that they wish only terrible things upon me, but they can't kill me. If they kill me, they'll never know where she is. They keep me alive because they believe that I'll tell them. Whether I'm dead or walking, I'll never tell them. They will never know.

\"Seventeen!\" a deep voice calls from along the dark brick walls.

\"What is it?\" I mutter, as I remain sitting down, with both my hands tied to each opposing side of my waist.

\"Are you ready to tell us?\" the voice asks, as a man with a white trench coat, black pants and gloves appears.

\"Never.\" I reply, as I do every day.

\"I see. Will you ever?\" he asks, as he runs his fingers through his short, pale blond hair.

\"I never will.\" I reply, once more, as I do in a daily basis. The man walks off, and I remain quiet until his footsteps can't be heard along the cold, grey floor. It's a different one every day. Although they all look the same: White coat and blond hair. I wish one of them would be different. Perhaps someone who looks like me. Or at least how I looked, last time I saw myself in a mirror: Long, black hair, pale skin, and grey eyes. It's as if everyone wants to look like them nowadays. It's been hours, maybe a day has passed. I lose track of time after a while. I wish I would just think that a long day has passed, but every year, they remind me how long I've been under their dreadful grasp. But they also remind me of how long I've been protecting her. Twenty-six years have passed, at least since last time they told me. I wonder how life is outside this box... I wonder if the sun has changed. Maybe it's grown. Or maybe it's now silver. Doesn't matter, they said I won't leave until I betray my daughter. In other words, they said I'll never leave. Or at least they think so. My eyes feel tired.

\"Seventeen!\" the voice wakes me up.

\"What is it?\" I mutter.

\"Are you ready to tell us?\"


\"I see. Will you ever?\"

\"I never will.\" The blond man leaves, his footsteps vanishing into the echo of the dark brick walls. Suddenly, I remember: It's been a while since they've come to fix me up. My hair's a mess, and so is my smell. I want a bath.

\"Guard!\" I yell across the hall, my voice echoes three times before I can hear footsteps walking towards me.

\"Seventeen?\" the blond man stares down at me.

\"When am I getting a bath?\"

\"Never, or at least until you tell us.\"

\"I see. Alright, go now.\" The blond man looks at me with rage in his eyes, he seems like he wants to punch me right there, but something seems to keep him from doing so. Maybe he's scared of me. I'd be scared of me. I wonder what it is. I remained thinking about why he didn't assault me, but I don't know when, I began to look at the dark brick walls. They seemed more interesting than the blond man, who's quite boring. The walls are nice to me, they understand me, and they stay with me all this time. I can see the walls as my friends. Friends... I wonder who my friends were. I can remember the bakery lady, but I could never consider her a friend, I know she wanted to hurt my baby. Agatha Sherman... I think that was her name. She wanted to hurt my daughter. I knew so, I always did.

I think everyone's just jealous of my daughter; she had the prettiest name after all: Emily. She's such a beautiful girl. Her hair is the most gorgeous of them all, a wavy jet-black hair. Her skin is just like mine, snow white and delicate. She is a bit short, but that only adds to her cuteness. Oh, Emily. I don't care how much I'm going through. I do it all to protect you. My eyes feel tired again... I can't believe it's been a day already.

\"Seventeen!\" the voice wakes me up, again.

\"What is it?\" I ask, as usual.

\"Are you ready to tell us?\"

\"Never.\" I answer, like I always do.

\"I see. Will you ever?\"

\"I never will.\" I liked the dream I had. I dreamt of Emily. I dream of her every night. Although some nights, I have nightmares. A couple of nights ago, I was seeing Emily being taken away from my hands by the blond man. Why do they wish to take her away? Why do they want to hurt her? Why can't they just leave her alone...? Don't they have any feelings? No they don't. Demons don't have feelings. That's what they are: Demons.

I miss the feeling of being clean. I can feel my nails growing inside the suit they gave me. It's uncomfortable. I can't move while wearing the suit. As I try to move my fingers around, I hear a light Rrrrip! Oh, the suit has a hole now. I keep using my nails to open the clothes, and soon, I see myself able to move around. I look down at my hands, and the nails have grown quite a bit. Maybe I can draw things on the walls with them. I'm sure they'll like looking beautiful. My dear friends.

I drew a picture of a tree, or at least what I recalled what they looked like. I was forced to use most of my nails, since the tip became tiny, and the edges weren't any good for drawing. My nails looked like pretty triangles. I like them. So I kept drawing until my nails all had the shape of triangles. I look pretty. I mean, prettier.

\"Seventeen!\" the voice calls once more, and I quickly place the torn suit over me. Luckily, it was only broken behind, so if I placed my back on the drawings, he wouldn't notice.

\"What is it?\"

\"Are you ready to tell us?\"


\"I see. Will you ever?\"

\"I never will.\" I had no idea a day had passed. It seemed so short. Maybe drawing is a good way to waste time. I continued drawing, but I stopped after a bit. My triangle nails were going to lose their shape if I did. So instead, I decided to make up for the sleep I had lost while drawing, and closed my eyes.

\"Seventeen!\" the voice calls.

\"What is it?\" I mutter.

\"Are you ready to tell us?\"

\"I am.\"

\"Good.\" The blond man grinned. He opened the gate, as he pulled out a knife, and pointed it to my chest. Oh great. I'm dead. But at least I protected Emily. She was all I lived for... Rrrrip! I hear once more, the man had opened the suit in the front, and then gave me his back. Not a wise decision of his. This is my chance! I have to go back to Emily!

I placed my nails in his back, and without any effort, they pierced in, he was only able to let out a light grunt, before he fell into the ground. Now that the gate was open, I easily slid out, and ran across the halls. I could feel my friends cheering at me. The walls were always nice to me. It was time for my escape.

Two tall men stumbled upon me on the halls, they both wore the white trench coat, and black pants. Obviously, blond. I ran in between them, and used my nails to shred their chests, throwing them both to the ground.

A siren could be heard all along the halls. I could see the exit gate, but a bigger, stronger man stood there. He wasn't blond. He didn't wear a white trench coat. He had brown hair, and black clothes with some sort of emblem in his right arm. I leaped over him, and as I did so, I took a hold of his face, which as I came down, I could only listen to his agonizing cries for help. I kicked the door open, and burst out of the building. A voice could be heard coming from the speakers:

\"Attention Emerson Mental Facility employees! Scarlett Mason, also known as Inmate Seventeen has breached her cell! Do not attempt to confront her, she is mentally unstable, and will assault anyone whom she finds a threat! She has been classified as mentally unstable since she murdered her own child, Emily Mason! She has also murdered Agatha Sherman and Doctors Coolidge, Ericson and Hamate!\"

Those were all lies. I only did it to protect her. I had to hide her body in a place they would never find her... I did it for her. I had to protect her. They wanted to hurt her. I know they did. Everyone did...

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