Linda’s request: Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “sh.” Find a word that begins with the letters “sh” and base your post on it. Bonus points if you start your post with those letters. Enjoy!

“Shit in a mitt”, Shula said over a deck of well-thumbed cards. Penury had caused me to take a shift in the woman’s ward of a mental health facility.  So each night, I rode the storm of madness. Of shrieks and screams. Of waking nightmares and living dreams. Sheila seemed to swat invisible flies, but she and I knew they were demons she defended against.

Each inmate had her quirks – why else shield your family from Great-Aunt Shandy and her habit of disheveling herself, even if the motives for enclosure were shady. I wondered how many were driven mad here, within these walls, who were eccentric, free spirits when they arrived with suitcase and some shreds of sanity.

Some shared the delusion they might go home someday. Sons, nieces, grandchildren come to claim them and return them to the shelter and love of family. Short chance of that.

Some knew this was forever home and sank into despair or displeasure; others simply let an institutionalized dementia wash over them.

Nothing was shiny here; all was dull copper and bronze. I came off each shift in a daze; half-scared that one day, the double-locked, wired-glassed doors wouldn’t open for me.

I’d be left on the inside, banging my head on those doors, sans keys, screaming “Shit!”

© Lorraine

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