The building grows larger, beautiful in all its horror.
The car pulls slowly to a stop, idling.
Its appearance is cause for excitement inside.
The newer residents have senses acute enough to hope,
They claw at the doors and windows, seeking escape.
Still believing that maybe they can get out of this place.
Still dreaming of blue skies and green grass,
Instead of grey walls and grey floors and grey ceilings,
Hoping for a breath of fresh air to relieve their lungs.
But the veteran residents, numbed by years of pain,
Are jerked into a sense of alertness, ready to fight,
They are on edge, tensing at every turn.
Each sound pushes them ever closer to their breaking point.
They pounce on their shadow, ready to attack any threat.
Prowling past their mirror, they catch sight of themselves.
They are unrecognizable to all, abuse having aged them.
Their faces are marred by scratches and bruises,
From the hands of others and even their own fingers,
When they turned to self-hurt in their darkest hours.
Over time, they began to plot, to seek revenge.
They want others to pay for the hurt inflicted upon them.
But few have enough left of their brain, enough sanity left in the back of their mind,
To have any chance of succeeding in their endeavor.
They are constantly on their guard,
But the one they should fear most, themself,
They have no hope of defending against.
After so long, they give up even on that.
And begin to turn to what they see as their last hope.
Their will slowly leaves them, and they become empty.
All desire to exist, to keep living in hall, vanishes.
And they are ready to depart from the pit of darkness they call life.
So they take their own life, the only good thing they could think of to do,
And end the hurt and pain that has plagued them since their arrival.
There is no going back for them, they will never leave this place,
They will remain, they chose to make the final decision.
Outside on the lawn, the car door opens creakily,
And a little girl gets out, holding the hand of her mother, who is crying.
In her other hand, she clutches a worn doll.
She stares up at her father with her bright, round, blue eyes,
And smiles at him, with the true love and trust of a small child.
But he turns his head away and guides them to the door.
When they enter the hall, the doors snap shut behind them
And the lady at the desk rises, smiling but doing nothing to lighten to the atmosphere.
We have been expecting you, the words ring out coldly and echo into silence.
She wrenches the little girl from the arms of her mother and walks her down the hallway.
Her mother struggles and screams for her little girl, but her pleas fall upon deaf ears and stone hearts.
The child waves at her parents as they grow smaller, dropping her doll as she opens her hand.
As her parents disappear from view, she hears a shriek, her mother already grieving the loss of her baby.
With her last shred of sanity, she watches the doll dwindle into a little speck in the distance,
And as the cries fade into a ringing silence, she whispers,
I love you