The Storyteller of PainLoren Molloy
Black Dreams and Shattered Illusions
Where did all the Dragons Go?
The Very Devil, Herself!
This is a work of fiction.
All of the characters, organizations,
and events portrayed in this novel
are either products of the
author’s imaginations or
are used fictitiously
The Storyteller of Pain
Copyright © 2017 by Loren Molloy.
All rights reserved.
Library of Congress
is available upon request.
First Edition: March 2017
The other shape,
It shape it might be call’d
that shape had none
member, joint, or limb,
Or substance might be call’d
that shadow seem’d
For each seem’d either;
black it stood as Night,
Fierce as ten Furies,
terrible as Hell,
And shook a dreadful Dart;
what seem’d his head
The likeness of a
Kingly Crown had on.
SATAN was now at hand,
and from his seat
The Monster moving onward
came as fast,
With horrid strides,
Hell trembled as he strode.
“And many of them
he hath a Devil,
And is mad;
Why ye hear him?”
To My Mother,
Thank you for your
help with everything.
~Because of you,
I know I can!
“Don’t you see I am a map of scars? Under this skin, under this flesh, a book of scars tells the story of my life. I’m like a patchwork quilt but nothing so pretty or so neat. Each scar is a story. Each story leads to another scar and another story. The story is never complete. It will never be complete. I am the Storyteller of Pain.”
“That’s nice Mrs. DelaCour, but I asked you how you slept last night.” The psychiatrist looked at the woman sitting in the chair across from her.
Mrs. DelaCour was mid-forties, came from a good family and was dropped off at the sanitarium 3 nights ago. The family was powerful and wealthy. They simply couldn’t afford to be seen with a lunatic for a family member, so they signed her over to the sanitarium for safe keeping. Mrs. DelaCour had repeated the same thing to any question she was asked. ‘Don’t you see I am a map of scars?’
Dr. SinClair had been head psychiatrist there for the last 7 years. In all those years she had never been so puzzled as she has been with Mrs. DelaCour. The history given showed neither signs for hysteria nor any psychosis. No signs of trauma or abuse seemed present. She has had patients who rambled things plenty of times before. She’s even had patients who just seemed to crack one day and never return.
This was different. Lilian had never felt this before. She knew she shouldn’t base things on her feelings or emotions but she never felt like this before with a patient. Lilian had been in rooms with murderers, rapists, and mad men alike but she was never scared, only fascinated and professional. Delia DelaCour was different. Lilian couldn’t explain it but the moment Delia spoke, Lilian had goose bumps appear on her flesh and a chill flew up her spine. Delia’s eyes looked dead. Her voice sounded empty, cold, and raspy. The only word she could think was “haunted”.
It was a look of horror, of seeing too much for the mind to handle, a nightmare that would never stop replaying before the person’s eyes. Waking or asleep made no difference. Mrs. DelaCour was stuck in an endless loop of horror. Whatever she saw, whatever happened to her, it was bad, very bad. Her skin was pasty, pale, and clammy. Her eyes were wide, bloodshot, fear-ridden, and yet somehow looked dead and lifeless at the same time.
Mrs. DelaCour seemed like a marionette that only came alive when it was time to say her little speech. She was like a pull-toy with only one message. Ask a question and an invisible hand pulled an invisible cord somewhere deep inside her and suddenly she had lifelike movements and speech. When her message finished its recording, she would go back to a lifeless looking marionette. It was disturbing to say the least. All Dr. SinClair could think was, what could make a person become like that?
This had been their first therapy session since the intake when she was admitted. It was the standard 48 hour observation in confinement. It was during that time the staff decided it would be best for Mrs. DelaCour to stay in confined quarters indefinitely.
The next morning after Mrs. DelaCour arrived, the staff had told Lilian that putting that woman in with general population would be a terrible idea. Anything other than confined quarters would be detrimental to the rest of the patients and would become a dangerous situation for everyone involved.
Dr. SinClair asked what brought them to this conclusion so quickly. She was told by the head nurse that the moment they put Mrs. DelaCour into Observation, the patients in the rooms around her began to get extremely agitated, and violent towards themselves. The fear was palpable and the screams were deafening. It wasn’t until they removed the rest of the patients, one by one into different rooms away from Mrs. DelaCour, that the patients settled down at all.
Delia, herself, didn’t move from the spot on the cot they placed her on at all. She just sat there, not moving a muscle, except to speak her message over and over again. When they checked on her in the morning, she was still in the same spot, same position saying the same thing. Delia never slept, not once in that time. It baffled Dr. SinClair to hear of such extreme reactions from the other patients without Delia needing to do anything to stir them up.
Dr. SinClair just stared at her patient for several moments. It had now been three days and Delia had still not slept. The Veronal milligrams had been upped for the third time in three days. If this Barbital medication doesn’t work to knock Delia into slumberland, then she would be the first person in the hospital’s history to not have this medicine work. It’s what all the patients at Danvers Lunatic Asylum are given at bedtime.
Once, they had to up the dose for one of the male patients but he was 6’7” tall and weighed almost 350 pounds. Upping his dosage only made sense; the right milligrams for the person’s weight. Mrs. DelaCour was not by any means a massive individual and five times the recommended dosage was unheard of. Lilian prayed this time it worked because otherwise she wasn’t sure what medicine to prescribe for sleep that would actually work for her.
Delia just sat there motionless staring at Lilian. The feeling was very unnerving to say the least. Chills of fear ran up and down Lilian’s body. She now understood completely why the staff and other patients f
elt so fearful of this woman. A sickening lump of ice was forming in Lilian’s stomach.
No matter the question she asked, Delia would begin her same monologue. It was very frustrating to Dr. SinClair. She even tried letting Delia finish her whole message and then asked, “But why are you suddenly the storyteller of pain?”
The reply was the very same speech started all over again. Never a word was chosen differently than the time before. It seemed to be a memorized speech, one that seemed to delete all other information from her being. It was just so frustrating! It was like a recording with only one message. ‘Where did the rest of the recording go? Where did Delia go if this is all that’s left?’ Lilian thought. Delia certainly was acting extremely dysfunctional. As for her lack of sleep, if they can’t find something that will knock her out, her health will become seriously endangered.
Finally, her appointment with Delia was over. Lilian learned nothing new about Delia nor did she learn anything new about the woman’s pathology. How does a high class woman like Mrs. DelaCour go from a radiant light and sheer delight in social circles to this “pull toy”?
At first Lilian thought it could have been caused by a delayed nervous breakdown after hearing the news that Delia’s husband died overseas. Alas, that couldn’t be the case. As it turned out, it happened over a year and a half ago. The family said she grieved for many months before showing her face again in society. She seemed to be in relatively good spirits after the grieving process was over. It also wouldn’t explain her bizarre behavior. A loss of a loved one has never caused this kind of reaction from someone.
Lilian felt completely stumped by this case. Her meeting with Delia didn’t illuminate the situation at all. The feelings she got from Delia weren’t normal either. Lilian in fact didn’t feel like herself after the meeting. Pure fear flooded her system throughout the whole meeting. It took all Lilian’s strength not to show her fear to her patient.
She was truly grateful when the session was finally over and a nurse came and took Mrs. DelaCour back to her room. Now that Lilian was alone, she felt sick to her stomach and had a massive migraine. She felt extremely out of sorts. Maybe it was because this case just didn’t make any logical sense. Lilian sat in her office, completely puzzled, staring out the window that overlooked the grounds.
Barkley, the night guardsmen, startled her almost out of her skin when he turned on the light in her office. She had sat there pondering what to do with this bizarre case for so long and so deeply, she didn’t notice nighttime had crept up on her. She was sitting in complete darkness.
“Holy shit Doc! You scared the crap out of me. What are you doing sitting in pitch darkness? I would have knocked had I seen a light on.”
Lilian had always seen him in fleeting moments leaving the building. Nothing more than a hello and goodbye was ever exchanged before this moment. Lilian found herself realizing she had never really noticed him before. She took advantage of this moment to really look at him. Barkley had to be in his late thirties. He was in amazing shape and had the kind of build and tan a man only gets from daily hard work outdoors. Lily guessed he was around 6’4” and realized she was just gawking at him with her mouth open. Barkley started blushing a bit and chuckled.
More gently he said, “You Ok, Doctor? You don’t seem like your usual self, if you don’t mind me saying ma’am.”
Lilian blinked a bunch of times. The ’ma’am’ seemed to wake her from whatever hold she was under.
Embarrassed, she chuckled at him and said, “Sorry you scared me also. I’m alright. I guess I just got lost in thought and time ran away from me again. Sorry I scared you Barkley. Wasn’t intentional. I also realized you’ve worked here two years now and I know nothing about you. Seems terribly rude of me. I don’t even know your first name.”
Lilian just realized she was flirting with the night watchman. It was very unlike her and there she was trying to make it less awkward. ‘Epic fail once again Lily,’ she thought.
Barkley took a step into the room and smiled.
“It’s John. John Barkley. I can’t blame you for that. I only work the night shift. You’re usually gone already when I get here, or just leaving.”
Lily liked the sound of his voice. It was nice. It somehow matched his sun-kissed chestnut wave of hair and sea green eyes. When he smiled, one side of his mouth hitched up higher, showing a dimple in his left cheek. That caused his whole face to make her heart melt.
That thought stopped her in her tracks. That mushy shit is so not her style. Something was wrong. Trying to bring things back to a professional place, she looked down at her books and asked,
“What made you become a night guard here? It’s obvious you’re not from here. From your muscular physique and that delicious tan, I can tell you spend a large amount of time doing some form of manual labor outdoors.”
She stopped again. The pen in her hand dropped. She was making little heart doodles. Damn it! That was worse than the last time she opened her mouth. She couldn’t believe she actually said ‘delicious tan.’ What the fuck is wrong with her?
When she looked up, she was red from embarrassment. John had a huge, dazzling smile on his dreamy face.
He said, “Well you’re right Doc. I’m not from here. I was a police officer in New Orleans ’til about 4 years ago. A drug bust went bad. A rookie thought that he didn’t need his team or the plan. Fucker went in like he was in some ridiculous Western movie. He died. Three other officers also died. I got severely wounded. I was told I was lucky to be alive.
I was in the hospital for 6 months. Must have had damn near 9 surgeries to fix all the damage done to me. All ‘cause some kid thought he was the lone- fucking –ranger! After physical therapy and rehabilitation, I got the heck out of that state and far away from those memories. Honestly, I knew I couldn’t escape the memories but I also knew I needed to get away from all the reminders. I couldn’t drive in that town or walk any of those streets afterward. So I came here. ”
“With my background I got hired as a guard and yes, pretty lady, I work on a construction crew several days a week, building houses. I hardly slept when I was on the force, not going to suddenly start now,” John said.
She just sat there silently and blinked at him again. John took another step into the room,
“You sure you’re ok? Want me to walk you to your car, Doc?”
Lily knew that would be a very bad idea. She didn’t trust herself to talk at first and just shook her head. John took another step toward her out of concern. She had to get out of there before this became something out of a ridiculous, trashy romance novel.
“No, I’m fine. Thank you for your concern Mr. Barkley and thank you for sharing your story with me. I must go now. I’ll lock up when I’m done. Have a good evening.” From the tone, it was an obvious dismissal.
It was John’s turn to freeze and just start to blink at her. The massive switch she had just made towards him confused John completely. He went from Barkley to John to Mr. Barkley within the same conversation. She didn’t even go back to the usual Barkley. No, now he was Mr. Barkley. That’s always the problem. Nothing can ever go back to the way things were before. He was now Mr. Barkley who was being suddenly dismissed like a child or a lowly subject. John sighed inwardly and thought, ‘Women!’
“Yes, Dr. SinClair. You get home safely now. I enjoyed talking with you, Dr. SinClair.”
He turned his back on her and headed toward the door leaving his sarcasm heavy in the air. He turned back to her once more from the doorway. She looked hurt, confused, and completely mortified. He felt suddenly so guilty and sighed outwardly. He leaned against the doorway and looked at her again. Her chin was even trembling.
John suddenly realized she was a whole heck of a lot younger than he originally thought. He never got a good look at her before this. She was always walking away from him with her head stuck in a case file. She seemed older somehow then. He thought she was late 30s, easily, but now studying her he realized he was wa
y off. She had to be mid or late twenties. If she was over 30 at all, he’d eat his hat.
“Damn!” He whispered.
“What?” she asked hostilely trying desperately to act cold, aloof, and in control of the situation.
John could truly see her now. The act wasn’t working anymore with him. She was scared and worried. It was obvious to him suddenly, that she desperately needed someone to talk with. All John could think was a beauty like her should have plenty of friends or a man of her own. It was clear to him neither were true for Lilian. She’s all alone with no one to talk to and had no idea how to interact with normal people. Her job was her life. John knew from experience what happens when all you have is a job and nothing else. It’s a sad and lonely life.
John sighed again at this revelation. He recrossed his legs and arms and leaned against the doorway once more. It was pointless except he saw her watch his every movement. She liked him. He could tell. She was very attracted to him and it was obvious by the color that flushed her cheeks at his every movement.
“Listen Kitten, in Louisiana I worked complex, difficult, sometimes fucked up cases. I don’t scare that easily. So sweetheart if you ever want to talk about whatever is worrying you so much, I’m here. No, I’m not some fancy shrink with a bunch of degrees but sometimes a different view helps. Sometimes just having someone to talk to about it helps.”
John smirked at her a bit. It was such a shrink line he used on her, he just couldn’t help smirking.
He looked at her, his face turning serious and said,
“In all seriousness though, don’t let this place or people get a hold of you. Sometimes there’s just a darkness rooted in deep. Sometimes there’s no answer and if you don’t let go of that poisonous puzzle, it’ll poison you. So sayeth my shrink in New Orleans.”
He had his hand raised palm toward the sky in mocking contrition. He chuckled again. He took his time removing himself from the wall. He loved her reaction to him. When he was finally standing fully upright he stretched, raising his arms wide overhead, and yawned for a few seconds.