Bedlam, Crazy Bedlam

Here is an old short-story I wrote for Horror Homework, as part of their March Art Contest with Clive Barker.

I was lucky enough to have my submission chosen among the finalists, which was pretty cool.

If you follow this link you can see all the other cool stuff that people did for the contest, my story is also there and its a part of this post if you click ‘Read More’.


Bedlam, Crazy Bedlam by Patrick Ward.

The air smells foetid, with an acrid tinge; of decay with sickly sweet perfume over it to cover the smells of death; orange blossoms mixed with hospital smells.

An assault on my nostrils, causing me to retch the confines of my stomach to burn at my teeth.

With the echoing shuffle of the dragging feet of the mad and the dead.

I detest this place. It is no altar of healing and rebirth; rather it is an all-you-can-eat buffet for Hellhounds and Death.

Even the mad would pray for death, if they could. They have it worst, dying is quite natural, but going mad is the complete antithesis of that.

Still, I come here and answer the dry questions they give. These doctors who believe the answer lies in my subconscious and then is too be drugged once found.

I respect the field, but perhaps not those who practice it. For, sometimes the wires can never be replaced, and the damage remains. Like a burnt wall, you can slap a layer of paint over it, but still it is burnt underneath.

So I answer them. I look at the Rorschach blots they present to me. I do my best, to try and pretend it looks like a grouping of butterflies or like a spreading tree. Where shadows pool beneath it, but it doesn’t to me.

It looks more like a rotting corpse I dreamed of, with engorged maggots writhing blindly into the decaying flesh, squirming over each other, frantically tunnelling away from the light of day into new recesses of succulent meat.

Still, even this avoids the true innermost horror, the real horror.

The horror is nonetheless so very simple. The Rorschach blot is nothing more than a picture of complete empty blackness and the endless void. We are truly alone; there is nothing and no one.

Still, this doesn’t stop the prater. What do they want to hear?

Should I tell them, I haven’t masturbated in months, because I’ve lost my imagination?

How, when I close my eyes and I see a desiccated corpse holding a purple and bloated infant to her breast; but no chiseled, lip biting, leather-clad male sex stallions, moaning in ecstasy from the illusory positions I’ve conjured up in my mind.

Rather, I see a glint of light from a scalpel as it begins to cut though my flesh and limbless infants trying to cry out through sewn shut lips.

Should I tell them, I’m seriously afraid to touch myself?

What does it matter?

In the end they will do nothing more than prescribe antidepressants, which will turn me into a zombie, as I wait and jump from waiting list to waiting list.

Just to hear them dig up my past, from my unassuming birth to this anxiety ridden moment; and all they do is dig, they never look nor put it to rest, just break down the walls and dig up the graves and leave them there, open and festering.

No better than a surgeon cutting up a patient and leaving them open as opposed to stitching them back up.

To no surprise I wouldn’t get any better after such molestation of my psyche, so they will prescribe more pills, with each getting a stronger dosage.

Till I can’t feel anything anymore. My body shakes and trembles, my speech slurs and my mind races with thought to delusion.

They rot me from the inside out.

In my protests, what typically come out first are not words but noises – crabbed, unintelligible creakings, half-utterances and mashed syllables, saliva-specked mutterings.

I now wait, seeming as if I am dreaming, till I hear the words of release. To escape, to wander away from this unknown Tenth Circle of Hell; to stumble along the streets and the passers-byes and pray for the cold and loving embrace of Death.

Just say the words…please.

Just tell me…

Our time is up…


Copyright © 2013 – 2016 Patrick Ward – All Rights Reserved.

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