Angela is a 35-year-old female patient, who has been living in Aspen Hospital for a decade. She apparently suffers from amnesia and has no memory of her life before coming to Aspen Hospital. The amnesia was apparently the result of a head injury that Angela had suffered from when in a car accident 17 years ago. The car accident had evidently killed her parents.
Angela has everything going for her: a beautiful face, body and caring hospital staff. She also has a loving extended family comprising of a paternal uncle and two male cousins. However, Angela distrusts them all—the staff, the family and her own body. A sole memory and an incongruous tattoo prove that she was born a man, not a woman.
Prisoned in Femininity
by Yu Sakurazawa
Chapter 1 – Fettered
I gazed out of the window at stony hill tops, long rushes and listened to the sounds of a nearby river. It was a cold Saturday morning, insufficiently warmed by the central heating of Aspen Hospital. I had been shut away at the hospital for about ten years now; I recalled, as my eyes took note of black clouds gathering over in the high skies. There was a hint of rain, probably even of a thunderstorm.
I lay back against my overstuffed white pillow. Today was one of my better days as I remembered some things like the fact that I had been in Aspen for 10 years. Most of the time, I had trouble remembering what I had done a couples of days or even a few hours ago. They said I had some sort of amnesia. The forgetfulness was apparently caused due to a head injury I had suffered as a result of a car accident, which had killed both my parents. That’s what the hospital records said.
They said I had been 18 when the accident occurred; I was 35 now. I had been in Aspen Hospital for only a decade; seven years of my life was unaccounted for. I tried hard to remember what had occurred during this time, but failed. Neither could I recollect the first 18 years of my life. All I could recall was being shut up in this mirthless place with its bleak white walls, locked and barred doors and shuttered iron windows.
I threw myself on the bed and started to cry. Things were hopeless and didn’t show any signs of improvement. I yearned for a bit of sunshine, the sight of highland horses, mallard ducks and fluffy white clouds floating in the air. But apart from my books, I had nothing. They wouldn’t even allow me to have pen and paper. The dean, Theodor Hickman, said that I needed to rest. “You’ll need to get alright as soon as possible, won’t you?” he’d said grinning from ear to ear “how would that be possible if you’re scribbling away until the wee hours of the morning?” He pretended to be cheerful and avuncular. But Dean Hickman’s smile didn’t reach his eyes. They always remained hard and vigilant. I didn’t trust the man with my eyes open. Nor did I trust anybody else in this godforsaken place.
Presently, I heard a knock on the door. Nurse Daisy Hill walked in, wheeling a tray. “Good morning, Angela” she said with exaggerated brightness “I hope you slept well”. Nurse Hill’s plump face had the same fake smile plastered on it. Her tiny porcine eyes were wary. Didn’t these fiends get tired of pretending forever?
“Yes, somewhat” I said out aloud. I observed Nurse Hill making the tea and setting the cup on a tray along with a couple of unappetizing biscuits.
I knew that something was seriously wrong with Aspen Hospital and its staff. But who would believe me? I was a patient who sometimes couldn’t even remember my own name or what I had eaten a couple of hours ago. All I could do was eat, sleep and do some of my daily chores.
Nurse Hill offered to brush my hair as I sipped my rather milky tea. She gave me a functional square mirror to look at my face. I had a narrow beautiful face, a sharp aquiline nose, full red lips and a headful of long thick straw-colored hair. I was a classical beauty, but the realization of the fact brought me no joy. My cheek was pale like that of a vampire who was kept away from sunlight. My wide blue eyes appeared haunted. Even though I couldn’t remember much, my face told a story of repressed horrors and unspeakable secrets. I was not the person they said I was. I was someone else.
Of course, I couldn’t remember who I really was before I came to Aspen Hospital. There wasn’t a shred of personality I could call my own.
Nurse Hill brushed my hair in brisk, efficient strokes. My hair shimmered, and I wished I was allowed to wear something smarter than the drab blue hospital gown. As far as I remember, I wasn’t allowed to wear anything else.
This was a fucking prison. I’d escape someday. But what was the use. I’d always feel trapped because I was not the person they said I was. I definitely was someone else.
There was another knock at the door. A tall, hefty middle-aged guy walked in. He was dressed in white and was carrying some sort of a kit. I remembered that he was Luke Stevenson, the other nurse who had been taking care of me for the past decade.
“Trust you’re feeling better this morning” he said gruffly.
I nodded warily. I watched Nurse Stevenson open the kit and prepare a huge injection. In a minute, he caught hold of my left arm and emptied the contents of my injection into a vein. I tried to remember why the injection was being administered, but couldn’t. I opened my mouth with the intention of asking Nurse Stevenson about it.
Before I could do that, my arms and legs started jerking uncontrollably. I felt a familiar anxiety seize me. As I thrashed my limbs, I felt my mind growing hazy. I couldn’t remember my name any more, where I was or what I was doing here.
The nurses tried to hold me down on the bed with their powerful arms. Nurse Stevenson retrieved a piece of cloth from somewhere and stuffed it in between my teeth. I realized that he did that so that I didn’t bite my tongue.
“I’m having a violent epileptic fit” was my final coherent thought before I lost consciousness.
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