Blood was always difficult to clean off. She grabbed a sponge from the bathroom and put it under the water with some soap. She then grabbed the sponge and started cleaning her boots, as they were covered in red. The sponge, that used to be yellow, got heavily tainted and it was almost impossibly to clean it after having removed almost every trace of blood from her boots. As she walked the bathroom, she grabbed the sponge and walked with her footwear on the other hand.
Her name was Linda, which means “beautiful” or “cute” in Spanish. But that had nothing to do with her. First, because her parents had no idea of another language and they would have never bothered to learn anything about a world outside theirs. Second, because although she had a nice body and all the curves men would like to stare at, she didn’t found herself all that cute.
She put on the boots in the living room and then went to the kitchen to throw away the sponge. She grabbed a yogurt, cheese and an apple from the refrigerator and ate them all practically at the same time. She hadn’t had a decent meal in a while and she had to take that moment to eat something recharge batteries. As she gulped down the yogurt, she realized her hands had lots of little cuts and she had blood under her nails. When Linda finished eating, she tried to clean it off but failed.
It was time to go. Linda took out a cellphone and checked her messages. She had told Marlon to only text her and never to call her. Apparently he had gotten the idea because she had not received any calls, only one text when he asked if she was ok. She answered by only writing “yes”.
When she walked out the house through the back, a gust of very cold wind hit her directly in the face. Maybe rain or some kind of snow front was coming. But that wasn’t important right now. She just closed her jacket the best she could and walked towards the car that was parked just on one side of the garden. It was one of those houses where everything looks perfect. But what was inside was not perfect, unless you were a homicidal maniac with a thing for order.
Linda dismissed the thought of it all and got in the car. She had found the keys in an ashtray inside, as if the person that drove the car was always very careful about them. Linda drove faster than the previous owner, getting to the highway in no time. She tried not to speed in order not to attract any attention but it was hard. Her only wish was to be very far away from there, and that had to be done fast or they would link everything that had happened the last few days to her. And she couldn’t face that.
Night came fast and also a thin rain, which was more annoying than anything else. She kept driving, remembering the faces she had seen recently and putting tags on the ones that she would never see again. Many people had died violently because of her lately and it was something that, although not honestly shocking, she did want it to be left behind. She wanted to be free from those awful memories and sights; she wanted to be left alone.
However, as the “gas” sign on the car’s dashboard started beeping, she knew that wasn’t going to be possible. Right now, many cops, many people in general, were thinking that it was all her fault, it was all because of her and it was her who had done it all. And they were right, at least partially. Because she did have blood under her nails, because her body did ache because of the struggle and because she had seen what no one else had seen that week.
Seven hours after departing the house, Linda pulled over a gas station. It was self-service, so she used the cash she had found on the house to fill the tank and hope no one would catch up with her there. She entered the store to pay and realized a table had been set up inside and, before she could walk back, the family having dinner there noticed her and smiled. Somehow, they were happy to see her, even if she had no idea who they were or what they were doing. Suddenly, people got up and smiled and she saw food on the table and remembered.
It was Thanksgiving Day. She had forgotten all about it as she had been too busy dodging life. She walked closer and asked to pay for her gas but the family invited her to a plate. She insisted on paying but the mother replied they had all decided to celebrate the day there because the station was family property and they couldn’t close it down so the best way to celebrate was to do it in the store and give any costumers a plate to share the joy of the holiday.
Linda insisted many more times, looking out at the car, but every single one of them kept insisting. They then put a plate on her hands and she had to do something she had almost forgotten how to do: act. She forced a smile on her face and went around the table putting various types of salads and vegetables and turkey on her plastic plate. She then thanked them all and told them she would prefer to eat it in her car, as she didn’t want to interrupt.
Then, Linda heard it again. She froze right where she stood as the voice, which was not feminine or masculine, invaded her head. She didn’t understood how it had found her again. It had to be close. She asked for it not to do anything to her or to the people there but, when she realized it, she had dropped her plate of food and was now holding the knife they were using to cut the turkey. Her arm moved and she was inside of her body, unable to control anything. But as she was about to slash one of the attendants, a bullet entered her leg and she lost balance, collapsing to the floor. She lost consciousness right there.
The woman had some awful dream, were voices in different tones told her what to do. One wanted her to poke her eyes out, another one advised to grab a knife and cut her legs off. Another, deeper voice, ask her to just drop dead. And then they all stopped talking and she heard a beautiful female voice. It was someone she knew or at least she seemed to be very familiar to her. But that didn’t matter. The voice told her, in words that felt like a medicine, that she had to fight back, not letting them in.
Linda woke up, panting and sweating in a hospital bed. She had wanted to move but two things stopped her: she was tied to the bed, as they did with mental patients, and her leg was hurting too much, so she could barely move properly. She tried to fight her restraints but it was useless and she tried to scream too but her throat was dry and she would only hurt herself. Linda couldn’t cry either, as much as she had wanted to do so many times before. Somehow, she couldn’t.
Two men then entered the room, a policeman and a doctor. The agent started talking about how she was going to be incarcerated due to her having murdered over twenty people the past few days and her attempted murder of a family that had been seating about to have dinner. Linda just shook her head, unable to speak. The men ignored this. The doctor then spoke, telling her that she apparently suffered from a condition in which illusions and voices were very present so he had recommended the police not to put her in jail but in a psychiatric ward.
Again, Linda tried to scream, but couldn’t.
She was transferred to a psychiatric hospital two days after they had extracted the bullet. There, she wouldn’t be isolated but she would remain for life. They had deemed her “incurable”, so she was just left alone with her thoughts.
As much as she tried, for several years after her demise, she never regained the ability to speak. However, people understood her all the same. She had no idea why and she had no need for an explanation. The voices, both the crazy ones and the beautiful one, disappeared from her life. So she was just a regular girl living in a place filled with the most criminally insane people in the world. And all because of what some voices had told her to do, controlling her mind and body.
As she got older, the clinic used her as the patient that welcomed any new additions to the madhouse. It was then when she realized how it was possible that people understood her. And it was amazing no one had said anything, as if it was the most normal thing in the world. Maybe she was manipulating them too but realized that was too far fetched. Linda could only be in their heads, that was it.