Schizophrenia - Book cover



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When you find yourself trapped within the walls of Mills Mental Institution, be careful. It doesn't matter if you're a patient or simply a visitor. You will lose your mind. Those who stay here never return to who they once were. When so many have failed before, will seventeen-year-old Ryder survive this hellhole?

Age Rating: 18+

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I Would Like to Check My Daughter into Your Institution

Tick tock... tick tock... tick tock.

The stark, gray walls of the room stared back at me, as unfeeling as the ticking clock on the wall. The only other sound was the rhythmic tap of my mother’s foot against the linoleum floor.

At seventeen, I was being discarded by my own mother, who was convinced I had schizophrenia. She claimed it was a family trait, but I’d never shown any signs of it.

Sometimes, I wondered if she was the one losing touch with reality.

A stern-looking woman entered the room, her gaze shifting from the clipboard in her hand to me, sitting defiantly with my arms crossed. She was dressed in a black pencil skirt and her gray hair was pulled back into a tight bun. The click of her black heels against the floor suggested she held some authority in this place.

She settled behind her desk, dropping her clipboard and spreading out a few papers. “How can I help you?” Her voice was as cold as her gaze.

My mother straightened in her chair. “I want to admit my daughter into your institution. She has schizophrenia and I’ve waited too long to get her the help she needs,” she said.

“Our family has a history of schizophrenia and I don’t want her to get help when it’s too late.” Too late? What was she talking about? I rolled my eyes and sighed in frustration.

She’d never had me tested for any mental illness. How could she be so sure I was sick? And how could she just lock me away, taking away my freedom?

The woman began to fill out the papers on her desk, the only sounds in the room the ticking of the clock and the scratch of her pen.

“What’s your daughter’s name and age?” She didn’t even look up as she asked.

“Ryder Bends. She’s seventeen.”

“And I’m not mentally unstable,” I added, my voice sharp.

My mother turned to me, her eyes wide with disbelief. “Ryder, I’m your mother. Don’t you trust that I’m doing this for your own good?” Her voice was grating, like nails on a chalkboard.

The smell of her hairspray grew stronger as she shook her head at me. It was a wonder she still had any hair left with the amount of product she used.

“Our family has a history of schizophrenia and you think I’m going to let you suffer? I’m a good parent, you know.”

I rolled my eyes. “What kind of good parent throws their kid away before getting them tested?”

She leaned in close, her voice a harsh whisper. “This is for your own good, got it? Once you start losing your mind, you’ll see. I’ve seen what this disease does to people in our family. I won’t let it happen to you.”

She turned back to the woman behind the desk, who was watching us with a blank expression.

I didn’t even know anyone else in our family. I’d never met my


I bet he would have been a better parent than her.

The woman behind the desk turned her icy gaze to me. “Miss Bends, do you understand that you will be expected to follow all rules and regulations of Mills Mental Institution? Failure to do so will result in punishment.” I nodded.

“Our institution has been around since the 60’s and our policies have remained the same. We expect the best from our patients.”

Her monotone voice suggested they didn’t really expect the best from their patients...

She gestured for me to stand, then handed my mother the clipboard. “Please sign here to acknowledge that we will be taking full responsibility for your daughter. Visiting hours are every Wednesday at two in the afternoon.”

My mother signed the papers and handed them back. I looked at her, but she wouldn’t meet my gaze. “Thank you for taking care of my daughter,” she said to the woman, her smile as fake as a three-dollar bill.

The woman walked to the door. “Wait here while I fetch your guard,” she said, then left the room.

I turned to my mother, but she still wouldn’t look at me. “You’re throwing away your own daughter based on nothing but suspicion. What kind of mother does that?” I scoffed. “I bet dad wouldn’t do this to me if he were here.”

At the mention of my father, my mother tensed, her hands balling into fists. She turned to me, her eyes hard. “You don’t know him like I do. He was a sick man, Ryder,” she said through gritted teeth.

Before I could respond, the woman returned with a tall man in white scrubs. He was holding a blue jumpsuit and a pair of black boots.

“This is Deral, your guard. He will escort you to therapy sessions, meals, your room, and so on. He will take you to your room now.”

I looked at my mother one last time before following Deral. She was staring at the floor again, refusing to meet my gaze.

As we walked down the dimly lit hallway, I could see patients behind the small, caged windows in the doors. Some were screaming, some crying, some laughing. Some even catcalled me as I passed, but I kept my eyes on the floor, trying to block out their voices.

The anger and defiance I’d felt when I first arrived had faded, replaced by a growing unease. These people were unstable, and I had no idea what I was getting into.

This felt like being the new kid at school, only a hundred times worse. I was all alone in this ancient, dust-filled building, surrounded by strangers. I had no idea how to handle it...

Deral came to a halt in front of a door, and I followed suit.

He fished a key out of his pocket, unlocked the metal door, and swung it open. Inside was a single bed and an old-fashioned clock hanging on the left wall.

A lone LED light hung from the ceiling, flickering as if it was on its last legs.

Deral handed me a set of clothes and shoes, instructing me to change and give him my current outfit.

I didn’t utter a word. I just walked into the room. Deral shut the door behind me, blocking the small window with his body.

Despite the guard outside, the room felt incredibly lonely and creepy. I felt tiny and vulnerable in this dreadful place.

Upon closer inspection, I noticed the blue jumpsuit had ‘Mills Mental Institution’ emblazoned on the back, effectively branding me as a product of this nightmare of a building.

I also noticed the boots had Velcro instead of laces. I wondered why that was...

I changed into the jumpsuit and sat on the bed. I quietly placed my old clothes and shoes next to me on the bed and stared at my hands in my lap.

I fiddled with my thumbs until Deral realized I was done changing. He opened the heavy door and stepped in, gathering my clothes.

“I’ll be back to go over the rules. Don’t move,” his deep voice echoed in the small room.

I didn’t reply. I just kept my gaze down as Deral walked out and shut the heavy door again.

I couldn’t make sense of my feelings. I was angry at my mother for putting me in this situation, but I was also terrified of what was to come. I was alone in a mental hospital.

This hospital didn’t even bother to check if I was actually sick.

This place might be old, but I didn’t think they still operated under the assumption that if someone claimed mental illness, they’d just take anyone in.

Here I was, a seventeen-year-old trapped in a mental hospital with a baseless diagnosis of schizophrenia.

I was frightened and alone in an unfamiliar environment.

This was a new kind of hell I never agreed to explore.

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