I open my eyes to take another look around the room. The thick, steel reinforced walls stained with soot and the occasional blotch of dried blood stand high and menacing. They enclose me, like an animal in a cage yet deprive me of the freedom of a grilled window. Freedom? The word was almost unheard of here at Westcliff Mental Ward. A place I do not belong.
The air is filled with the smell of sweat and urine, so thick it makes the nose twitch and the stomach churn. I let my eyes drift towards the single, flickering light bulb hanging from a rusted chain in the ceiling. It struggles to stay alight, constantly blinking on and off. It reminds me of a man on his last breath, clinging on to his dear life. Between the fluctuating flashes of light I catch glimpses of the other men entrapped in the room with me. On the far corner of the room, Jeremy Briggs, a small man in his fifties stands with his shoulders hunched. He glares me for a moment with his piercing grey eyes, filled with pain and confusion before turning to face the colossal steel walls. He thrusts his neck forward and begins pounding his forehead into the impenetrable barricade, repeatedly battering his skull as if he were the head of a hammer driving in an invisible nail. Not even a squeal escapes his thin, chapped lips as blotches of blood splatter on the wall. Droplets of the thick fluid race down the cold steel as his forehead continues to collide in perfect rhythmic timing.