The child was dressed in a white tunic. From her arms hung chains that were broken. Emery could see chains dangling from the wall, where the child used to be restrained.
The people rushing into the room wore gas masks. Emery coughed as the gas drifted out into the hallway. The child on the floor fluttered her eyelids and murmured, rocking her head slightly, like a child talking in her sleep. Hands reached down, lifting the semi-conscious girl up. This was the creature they called Beastly?
Emery lifted her hand to her mouth and her eyes watered -- from more causes than gas alone. She hated it, hated this place, hated whatever had put that child here.
"This is your fault," Pansy said again.
Emery turned and ran.
Away from Beastly and past the office room, the hall turned to the right. And near the end of that was a lobby of sorts. Two red overstuffed chairs, a green couch, and a big clock on the wall. Emery flung herself into one of the lobby chairs and cried. They were hot, angry tears.
"I don't want to be here. Oh, God, show me what to do! Please! You have to have a job somewhere else for me! How can people work here? How can they lock children up like this?"
When Emery had spent all her tears, she sat up, feeling somewhat calmer. A glance at clock told her it was time to go home. She wiped her eyes and blew an exhausted breath through semi-closed lips. She could still hear commotion at the other end of the hall.
Two doors up the hall from the lobby was the door to the stairs. Emery paused with her hand on the handle of the stairway door. An awful thought struck her. What if the Asylum fired her for her behavior this evening?
As much as Emery wanted to find a different job, getting fired from this one was no good. Who would hire her after that?
Tomorrow may be too late to win back their favor. She should talk to them tonight.
For one second longer, her fingers lingered on the handle. At home would be her mother and affectionate siblings. At home would be a hot meal and a warm bed.
Then, with a sigh, she turned away from the door. From the far end of the hallway, the sounds were only growing worse. A sound like the laugh from an evil monkey ricocheted against the walls. Emery retreated to the lobby. She would wait for Pansy to come.
Emery was halfway into the lobby when she vaguely noticed the fogginess creeping into her brain. She could hardly hear any commotion anymore. How tired she felt! It was as if...
Emery furrowed her brow. As if...as if... Oh, she couldn't remember what exactly. But it didn't really matter, did it? There was a nice couch in front of her. She could just lay down for a little while and...