A Stellar Flare of Young Adult Writing and Visual Art
BY RILEY VILLONE
Stars flying past,
Moving onward fast,
A wish I’d like to make,
But it’s a silly thing to partake.
My dreams still gnawing at me inside,
Wishing to break through,
Break into the outside,
But no one had a clue.
No one knew of the dreams I dreamt at night,
“I wish I may I wish I might”
No one knew what I planned to accomplish,
To achieve my every wish.
Call me an actor. This act I put on, being insane? They truly believe it, but me, insane? Not so much. Possibly acting insane will turn me, but I attempt to push that thought aside. Defeatedly I ponder this staring at my hands. These hands used to wield a pencil like no other, they could draw pictures so realistic it would appear as if you were looking through a window. But now these hands have not touched a pencil in years, they have not wielded a paintbrush, they have sat here, with me, in this stone cold room of nothingness. But this room of nothingness was so much more, the potential it had, I would hate to see it wasted. So I imagined the walls a light periwinkle, adding a pop of color to the bland room. I imagined it that of a prince’s standards. I imagined furniture adorned with gold and other precious jewels, and absolutely breathtaking paintings on the walls. I imagined my mere cot as a king size bed with hand sewn quilts adorning it. It was my home, and it helped me not to feel so alone.
Often I found myself wandering back and forth, from one end to the other in my cell, thinking of all the things I would do when I got out of here, if I got out of here. Then the little voice inside my head reminds me, I am not getting out of here, for I am facing a life sentence that is not mine to face. The only true way to get out of this place would be to finally confess to everyone I am not truly insane, not that they would believe me. If they did then I would just be sent to prison. I suppose I could escape, but that’s probably not going to happen.
The only time I make contact with other humans are at meal times, break, and appointments with Dr. Phillips, the rest I must stay in my room and sulk on my cot and imagine all the things I would do if I got out. Other prisoners, or patients, get to socialize around all day except for at night. They get roommates and play fun games such as chess all day. I acted a little too nuts when I was admitted here so I am locked up more. I must eat constrained in handcuffs and a guard follows me wherever I go. He only leaves me alone when I am safely in my room. I am offered things to keep me busy, but the only thing I long to do most is to release all of the ideas that have been conjuring in my head. All I long for is a pen or pencil, I don’t even need paper, I would draw on my embellished bed or the periwinkle walls if I had to. But Dr. Phillips claims that’s where the trouble begins, when I release all my ideas or stop taking my Num Nums. So here I am, forced to contain these pictures, like genies trapped in a bottle, full of power, but trouble following close behind.
Here at Smith Asylum they do not like change. Apparently it’s best if everything follows the same order every day. We wake up at 7:00 AM sharp and go to bed promptly at 9:00 PM. We have tacos every Tuesday and pizza on Fridays and so on. We are served water and our diets are regulated in fear that too much sugar or not enough vitamins would cause us to die. But that’s not much different than they’re already doing, as we rot in here day by day until death.
I have one friend that has stayed with me, Barry, he’s the crazy I pretend to be. The only difference between us is that I am faking it and he is not. I would hang out with more sane people but then my cover would be blown. Sometimes I wonder if they all believe I truly am a mass murderer. I wish they would find the real murderer, though I know that will never happen. I have been framed so well only I could have done it! All evidence points to me, and I am left with no recollection or alibi of the time of the happening. So here I sit, all alone except for Dr. Phillips, weekly group, and Barry, dreaming about what my life could have been.
I am aware of why I was chosen to be framed. I was the perfect target. I ran a small art shop, I rarely hung out with friends or family, and I am an older man who they could easily peg this on. My paintings are “dark” and could be used as evidence of me “expressing my violent urges in a therapeutic way”. But most importantly, I had no large goals in life, nothing was set high for me to work at or be excited for, no real ambitions, I was the dream target for a criminal, in result I had been taken.
It was the afternoon and Dr. Phillips was in my room for the daily one-on-one appointment. On Fridays we had group sessions but today was a Wednesday, little did I know this would be the best Wednesday in a while. He had forgotten his notepad and had to leave the room to go get it. What he had forgotten in my room with me however was on my table, a pen. Something so cheap, so invaluable to anyone but me. I wanted that pen, I needed that pen. No, I attempted to convince myself otherwise, remember what they said, no rule breaking, I wouldn’t want the few frugal privileges I had to be taken! But at this moment, that punishment didn’t matter, if I was to spend the rest of my frugal life in this building, I want to at least create something beautiful one more time. I reached for it, my trembling fingers wrapping around the cool plastic of the familiar object. I felt something only related to getting shocked course through my veins, though this was not electricity, this was the burning desire I had in me leaving my body, this was power.
I heard the familiar uneven footsteps only belonging to Dr. Phillips approach the room, I quickly tucked the pen into my pillowcase before the young man entered the room. “Okay where were we?” He began. Thankfully as he flipped open his notepad I spotted another pen, identical to the one in my pillowcase, sticking out of his pocket.
Once he had left, the ideas swarming around in my head were free, my thoughts were free; I was free. I released these glorious designs on to none other than my own skin of course. I couldn’t risk using the sheets or walls, if someone saw them I would be busted. I took showers once daily, each day a new canvas and a new day of freedom. It became addicting, being able to release all of my thoughts, as if being able to transfer treasure from a box to a beautiful necklace, something more useful than jewels just lying around. It became my secret, the adrenaline coursing threw my veins gave me hope for a better tomorrow, it gave me joy, and if someone were to take it away, I would be shattered.
The visions began getting harder to conjure, so I stopped taking my Num Nums in hopes it would bring my world back stronger. I yanked out my own wisdom tooth and would hide them in the cavity that lay, invisible to nurses in swallow checks. It worked. Soon enough I began having trouble varying my pillowy, gray, walls from my hard, periwinkle, walls. My cot from my canopy bed. The two became one and I could feel myself drifting off into the wide abyss of my imagination. It was familiar, here I felt safe, here I felt most myself. I was comfortable here, it was my safe place, and to be able to spend every second here was Heaven, until I was thrown into Hell.
It all began when my guard disappeared. I liked to imagine a prisoner had killed him in an attempt to escape, but he most likely was just switched to a different room. Soon after this event my social mealtime privileges were revoked, my handcuffs, pale in comparison, were replaced by a straight jacket removed only for meal time and showers. I was confused. I still had the pen, but now it could only be used in the shower where I would hurriedly doodle my worries away and wash it off before leaving. I was stuck in my cell, my beautiful, colorful, cell. I was confused. What had I done to deserve this? I pondered this in my lush cell for many days and nights, confused on what had occurred, but when Dr. Phillips disappeared, it all made sense.
Riley Villone is fourteen years old and attends Thomaston High School in Thomaston, Connecticut. Riley write what needs to be written to ease the mind and pass the time.