I was unsure of a title for this piece, so I used Pink Floyd's song for now. I hope it's alright that I put this in Fiction.
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Another Brick In The Wall
"This is what happens when you donít want to go to school. You have been warned, now you will have to deal with the consequences," said the young pretty woman who stared down at the thirteen-year-old girl named Tara Hinkel. The only thing that separated them was a thin screen door.
The girl was in a relaxed state when she had answered the front door, first peering through the window to see a harmless pretty woman standing there with a smile. Tara had taken it all in on one glance: the pretty yellow summer dress, the soft black hair, and graceful patient stance. She was in awe of the calm beauty this woman stranger exuded, until she spoke those dreaded words. Her first thought was to bolt back into the house and come out the back door. With the screen door separating them, she would have a good chance.
"If you are thinking of running, forget it. You have no where to go but here. I am the Key Worker assigned to your case. I will just camp on your doorstep until you show yourself. Don't make this harder than it already is. Say goodbye to your mother, Tara," the woman said in a calm but demanding voice.
Tara turned around to see her mother standing there with tears in her eyes. "I'm sorry, honey. I did the best I could to keep those bastards away. Go with her. I'll come and see you tomorrow. Promise to be good, okay," her mother said, coming up to give her a hug.
In a dazed state, Tara hugged her mother back, and then bent down to get her worn out running shoes on. She could hear her mother and the young woman talking in a drone voice, but her mind couldn't register it. It seemed in her state of despair, her mind could only do one thing at a time, and that was to get her shoes on.
"Your daughter will be in the lock-up unit for one week before she is allowed any visitors. After that first week, if she has behaved herself, then you may come and see her. But not until then," the young woman went on.
"This is ridiculous. Just because she refuses to go to school, you treat her like a criminal," said Tara's mother, raising her voice.
The Key Worker ignored the outburst and continued with her one sided conversation. "I will be your daughter's guide while she stays at the Glendal Centre. We all know the laws of Canada. If a child refuses to go to school, then the Government has a right to come in and take that child away and put them in an enclosed environment to make them learn."
"Why don't you just say prison!" Taraís mother yelled back.
Tara snapped out of her lethargic state upon hearing her mother's emotions in her voice. "It's okay, mom. I'll be fine." She looked at her mom with a reassuring smile one last time before she opened the door and walked out.
The Key Worker followed behind quietly. Tara couldn't hear her footsteps, but she knew she was there, as the prey always knows the predator is there. The woman reached around Tara and opened the car door for her.
When Tara got into the front passenger seat, the woman leaned close, smiled maliciously, and said, "Now that's a good girl. We don't want to upset your mother now, do we." Then she shut the door.
They drove along in silence. Tara's heart pounded heavily under her rib cage the farther they got from her home and the closer they got to the dreaded Glendal Centre. Tara had heard about that place, as all young teenagers did. If you screwed up that's where you went, where the young killers lived.
It was that very thought that made Tara follow her gut instincts in a quick blinding moment. They had stopped at a red light. Tara threw open the door and bolted. Cars honked their horns as she ran through the stopped traffic to an open gas station lot and into a neighborhood of apartment buildings. Heart pounding with fear and exertion, she stopped for a moment to catch her breath and to figure out what to do. She couldn't think with fear clouding her mind. That moment of rest cost her her one thought of freedom from the predator and the jail. She heard the car coming down the street and the brakes slamming. She ran the opposite direction of the car, but stopped when she realized she was too confused and scared to go on. She stood her ground and waited for the woman to come and grab her.
The young beautiful woman ran up. "You bitch," she growled, then grabbed Tara in a body-lock that Tara had seen cops use on people. She twisted Tara's right arm up high into the middle of her back.
Tara let out a scream of pain, but the woman ignored her cries and hauled her to the car. She slammed the girl up against the car still keeping that vise grip on her arm while she opened the car passenger door. The Key Worker pushed her in roughly, and then stared at her for a moment. "Don't fuck with me again because next time I'll just beat the shit out of you." Then she slammed the door.
Driving up to the kids' jail, Tara noticed the high chain link fence that surrounded a group of brown brick buildings. She swallowed back the bile that threatened to come out. The woman drove up to a small wooden box enclosure and rolled down the window. A man peeked his head out of the wooden box.
"Good morning, Linda. I see we have another wayward child," he said peering into the car to stare at Tara.
So the predator's name was Linda, thought Tara. Somehow, she thought it would be something different. 'Linda' was just too plain for a mean woman.
'Linda' said a few more words to the peeking man, then the gates automatically opened, and they drove in. There were five brown buildings in all: three, two storied square buildings and two long one-leveled buildings. The one long building, farthest from Tara's view, had a chain link fence around it. A prison within a prison. She figured this was where all the bad kids lived.
'Linda' must have saw Tara's eyes focus on that building because she said, "That is Lock-Up Unit One for the real bad kids. The unit beside it is the Staff Unit, and the three smaller buildings behind us are the last stepping stones to getting out of here. Those are our Group Homes."
Tara stared at this strange mean woman who was talking to her now in a calm, civilized voice.
They pulled up to the long building that had no fence around it. 'Linda' stopped the car and looked over at the young girl Tara. "Welcome to your new home, Lock-Up Unit Two," she said and stepped out of the car.
Confused and scared, Tara opened the car door and stepped out. 'Linda' looked once at her, then turned and marched quickly to the building. "Keep up, please. I have other appointments this morning."
The front entrance inside seemed warm and friendly with large green plants spread throughout with coffee tables and couches scattered along with it. A young native boy was sitting at one couch with an older woman. They both looked up when the newcomers walked in but quickly averted their eyes.
Tara saw their look of sympathy directed at her before they ignored her. She could feel that bile rising as quickly as she felt the fear clawing at her gut. 'Linda' ignored it all and kept walking fast toward a long dark hall with brown carpeting and dirty white walls. Tara looked back one last time at those two people, at those doors to the outside world, and at the blue sky that was still visible. Then she followed her jailer.
"You will be staying in the TR Room for twenty four hours before you are moved to a regular room. The TR Room is a Thinking Room."
"The TR Room stands for the Torture Room," some young voice spoke out from behind.
Tara turned her head to see a young blonde boy peeking his head out of a room with a big smile on his face.
"Shut-up, Toby, and get back into your room," snarled 'Linda' without looking at the boy. Tara focused her eyes again on the solid back and followed her as quickly as she could. The Key Worker pulled out a key and unlocked a red door. She pushed it open with one hand. "Your room, my dear. You will be staying here, as I said, for twenty-four hours because of your misconduct on the way here. Your lunch, supper, and breakfast will be brought up to you. When you have to go to the washroom, just knock and someone will escort you to the washroom. This door will remain locked. I will see you tomorrow morning."
Tara stepped in. The square small room was bare except for one small mattress on the floor and a light switch. No blankets. The Torture Room. The door closed quietly behind her. She sat down on the corner of the dirty mattress while rubbing her sore arm from where 'Linda' yanked it back. Her shoulder length brown hair, straight hair felt heavy to her scalp. Her stocky muscled but short body felt too tired to move, and her green innocent eyes now stared out with dull clarity. For a while she just stared at the walls made so bright from the light above. Her mind couldn't think. She couldn't remember anything of her life at that moment. Exhaustion soon claimed her and she fell into a deep sleep.
She awoke in the dark, but she remembered vividly where she was. To her those four walls had a life of their own. Was the light on when she came in? Did she shut it off? Her mind got so preoccupied with what they planned to do to her that she never thought about her mother, her home, or her friends. Eventually she had to get up and stretch her small body in the dark.
Her small hands reached around in the dark for the door and the light switch. She had to go to the washroom, and she was dying of thirst. The different texture of wood made her know that she was feeling the door. Finding the handle, she held on with one hand trying to see if it was unlocked, but it was locked tight. She found the light switch and flipped it on. Taking a deep breath, she knocked. It sounded so quiet, yet it hurt her knuckles. She waited a few moments. Nothing happened. Fear started crawling up her belly again. Did they forget about her? her mind screamed. She knocked again, this time much harder, and much more painful on her knuckles. The doorknob moved, then blessed fresh air slowly poured into the room as the door opened.
"Tara, I was wondering when you would wake up. Hi, I'm Charles, the Key Worker that works the night shift here."
She stared up at the tall man with big brown eyes and a gentle face, and remembered how she was taken in with 'Linda's' kind face. She knew better now. "Could I go to the washroom, please?"
The Key Worker stepped back and allowed the young girl to come out. "The very last door to your right," he said pointing down the long hallway.
Tara walked down slowly hugging her arms, feeling his eyes on her.
"I'll just wait here for you," said the Key Worker.
The girl just looked back at him with dead eyes, and then disappeared inside.
When she came out, the man Charles was still standing by her room. As she walked up to her, she gulped back her fear knowing she had to ask him for a drink of water. She had a drink under the tap in the washroom, but it was just enough to tickle her throat. "Could I get a drink of water before I go back in?" she asked quietly.
The man smiled. "Come into my office and have a seat," he said walking away from her. "You know you have been sleeping so long, you missed both lunch and supper. You can have a seat over there at that desk." He pointed to a cluttered desk at the far corner of the room that was stacked with paper and books.
Tara followed him in and sat down. She looked at her surroundings. There was another desk in the room opposite from her. It sat by the door where Charles was now sitting. That desk was just as cluttered, but this one had a plate of food on it. Her stomach growled in protest, but she ignored it and let her eyes travel the room. The walls had framed pictures of mountain scenes, calendars, and photo's of people in different scenes of camping and fishing.
Her thoughts were distracted by a sound coming from the other desk. Charles got up and brought the plate of food over to her, and a closed can of pop. He plunked it down next to her on the cluttered table. "Eat," he said, then he went back to his desk and turned his back on her. She did eat. All of it.
When she was done polishing off the plate, Charles took her back to the room. "I can keep your door opened a bit if you'd like?"
'Why would he want to keep it open?' she wondered to herself. Suspicion made her choose her next words. "No thank you. I'm not afraid of the room."
"Well, alright. Knock if you need something."
The girl just nodded yes and slipped into her bare room, the TR Room. Full and content as her mind and body could get in that alien world, she fell asleep.
Over the course of the next few months, Tara had met some interesting people. Some of them turned out to be close friends of hers, others her enemies. Enemies she knew nothing about until she got to Glendal Centre. Two of her closest friend's were in for the long term. One, a boy of fourteen, named Stanley was up for murder. Shot his younger brother in the head with their father's hunting gun. Stanley said it was an accident, but her other close friend, Kelly, said if it was an accident why was he there in lock-up? Tara's friend Kelly was in on assault charges. Seems she went up to a total stranger and punched her in the head for no reason. She said she didn't know why she did that. She just had the urge.
Tara had also learned some interesting things, things that were never seen or talked of in her old world, dark secrets that could be used if need be.
When she was finally released from that child's prison, she stood outside of the fence looking at 'Linda' for a moment.
'Linda's' elegant long fingers poked through the chain-link fence, as she stared across from the inside of the jail yard looking out at the girl. "Look after yourself, Tara. I don't want to see you come back here."
Tara smiled with malice. "Fuck off," she said, then turned and walked away.