The Yard

The Yard

A Portrait

by Dominika Lein

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It was the strangest case, but somebody had to take it and that someone was Miss Lacey Grey, a woman of impeccable taste and a scrutinizing gaze. She stepped through the dark room, her heels clicking against the hardwood floors as she entered the old prison school which housed the finest psychiatric medicines than any she knew of. It also housed the insanest of the criminals – most of them locked away in straight-jackets, but every year that number became less and less and Miss Grey was very proud of her success.

But today, something was off – not quite a bit right – as she leaned over the railing of the staircase and spied not a single of her wards.

Where were they?

They couldn’t have gone far, she searched high and low. So frantic was Miss Grey that she didn’t catch a glance out any of the tall, looming windows – for if she would have, she would have seen that her wards were out upon the lime-green lawn.

She realized this as she burst through the kitchen door, her hair a-mess and falling out of her bun as she watched with a perplexed expression as her wards continued moving along – as if on some invisible assembly line, hauling invisible rocks with invisible machinery and nothing she could see at all.

This unnerved her as she regained her composure and stepped through the maintained grass to look over the insane ones as they focused on their work. She nodded to a couple of them with a thin smile. Most disturbing, was how they all worked together.

As soon as Miss Grey stepped back into the house, she rushed to the phone and dialed swiftly – it was only one ring before Miss Blanca answered, “What is it, Grey?”

“They’re… ” She tried to figure out how to describe it, glancing out the window and holding the phone close to her face, “Come here, please, I need help.” For dramatic effect, to make her point, she hung up after her last word.

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Miss Blanca was there within 15 minutes, parking her turquoise corvette in front of the house as she hurried up the steps to where Miss Grey waited for her, “What’s happening?”

“They just began, acting like, I don’t know, you have to see it.” Hurrying down the hall, she led them – glancing at Miss Blanca’s dour maid, who always accompanied her – before they reached the yard and both women gasped at the sight of so many cooperating in such a strange hallucination.

“Do you think it’s the new drug?” Miss Blanca asked, unable to tear her eyes away from what the wards were doing.

“They look like they’re in a factory.” Her maid dully murmured, walking over and waving to a man as he ignored her – lifting an invisible box over his shoulder.

“It can’t be,” Miss Grey said, “Something of this magnitude, it makes very little sense… unless…”

“You’re aware of what this means.” Miss Blanca murmured.

“Of course, I’ll contact Doctor Yeingard the moment we get in–”

“No, no, don’t call that prick.” Miss Blanca shook her head, and as the benefactor she had the right to, “we must experiment. These findings might be the key to having a mind control drug that actually works on the market!”

“But we have no idea if that’s actually what it does.”

“But we’ll find out.” Miss Blanca turned away, heading into the building and throwing her coat at her maid to catch as she went to the kitchen. The maid swiped it swiftly from the air, folding it over her arm.

It had begun to rain lightly outside, the sky a monotone grey color as mist hung low. The scent of tea quickly filled up the room as Miss Blanca’s maid started making breakfast.

Miss Blanca sat at the table with Miss Grey, holding her hand as she explained, “Listen, Lacey, we’ve been friends for a very long time and you know exactly what this kind of drug could do for my career… if I take the credit of synthesizing the compound, if I can get the patent transferred to my name, you’re aware what this means?”

“Yes, of course, I know how much this means to you.”

“Precisely, and that is why you cannot tell Yeingard about any of this.”

Miss Grey sighed, taking a sip of water, “I won’t, but what if he comes by for a visit?”

“And when was the last time he did that?” Miss Blanca snorted.

“Right, not since he took over the lease.” She looked over her friend, “It’s really a shame you can’ t own the land.”

Rolling her eyes, Miss Blanca fixed a strand of her ice-blonde hair into the bun at the top of her scalp, “I would if I could, but there’s some nasty business involving taxes and having a certain number of properties.”

“Oh, well I just mean it’d be nice.” Miss Grey quickly amended, so her friend wouldn’t feel pressured, “Those biscuits smell delicious.” From the kitchen, the scent of warming bread wafted in.

Miss Blanca nodded, then leaned in, “Look, so I’m going to leave Anabel with you.”

“Anabel?” I asked.

“My maid.” She said, “Or whatever you want to call her, I suggest making her take the title of lab assistant.”

This confused Miss Grey, so she drew back her hand and took a larger sip of water, “Why? What does she do?”

“All sorts of things, but mainly she’s for protection.” Miss Blanca explained, “I keep her around for enemies,” She laughed dryly, “But you can keep her in case one of those patients go haywire or anything, got it?”

Miss Grey nodded, “I see. Well, it will be nice not having to be alone at night in the halls.”

“Precisely.” Miss Blanca stood up, “I’ll be going.”

“But you just got here!” Miss Grey’s eyes widened, “You haven’t even ate.”

Placing a hand on her stomach, and the other as if she was swearing upon the bible, Miss Blanca shook her head, “No, no way, I’m fine, I’m doing a new diet where I don’t eat anything. It’s called fasting.” With a smile, she headed towards the kitchen, “I’ll let Anabel know she’s staying and I’ll be sending Mrs. Gold here, later, to talk about the compound with notes I have.”

At the thought of Mrs. Gold visiting, Miss Grey moaned and finished her water, “Bye then.”

“Ta~” Miss Blanca winked, then disappeared into the kitchen.

With a sigh, Miss Grey peered out the tall window at the lawn. She watched a patient pull at levers and press buttons that weren’t actually there. From time to time, the strangly man would look up and wave at another patient, who would in turn, salute in a friendly fashion. Like clockwork, they went through these motions. Were they not tired? What would happen when night fell? If they didn’t take their usual dosage of medication, would the hallucinations stop?

Miss Grey sighed and closed her eyes.

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to be continued

 

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