They didn't match my outfit at all, striped blue and purple as they were. It looked as if I’d skinned James P. Sullivan himself. But no, I wasn't a killer. Not just yet. I’d have a lot of time to consider it, it seemed. It was really quiet in the new place where I lived. The walls were soft, and nobody came to talk to me anymore.
That is, besides the people in my imagination. Sometimes, I think they’re real, but they’re mostly just in my head. That’s why I never liked 3D movies. You can never tell what’s there and what’s not, and when you try and touch it, you just end up looking stupid. Though that’s no reason to take me away and put me here. I was just trying to figure out what it all meant. Well, I guess I don’t mind it now.
My mom only came to visit me once in the soft place. At first, I hated the confinement, but now it doesn't bother me. I don’t need other people to be happy. I’m perfectly content here. It’s safe and warm, although they don’t always give me the food that I like. There isn't any chocolate pudding, for example. Or string cheese.
They brought me out of the room to see her. I was in a long hall of doors, doors that led to rooms just like this one. No windows, of course. I’d almost forgotten what it looked like.
"Hi, Mallory," my mom said. Her smile was nervous, guarded. She didn't bring any of the kids with her. She was scared of something.
I wondered why. Dad wasn't here, and the security guards weren't scary. In fact, I’d made friends with some of them. In fact, they were really nice. Though they didn't talk very long.
"How are you?" I asked cheerfully. This was going great!
"Oh, I’m fine. Once I paid for the lawsuit, of course..." These last words were mumbled, as if embarrassed. "Lawsuit? What lawsuit? Aaron didn't crash any cars in the last year, did he?" My fifteen-year-old brother was sooo irresponsible.
"No, no. It was for the...murd..." She didn't finish, so I decided to try to guess what she was saying.
"Merchant? Mervin?" Then I gasped. "Murder? Who was murdered?"
"No one, Mallory. It’s nothing." Mom began to turn away. The security guards were whispering.
"Nothing? Are you suggesting that I am a murderer?" My voice, rising in a crescendo, shot up a pitch on the final word.
"No, no, no!" Mom cried. She was walking away as fast as she could. I think she may have been starting to cry. But I didn't care. That last statement was totally uncalled for, and I just lost control.
"I’m not a murderer! I’m not! I’m not! It wasn’t me, I swear! He’s not a person..it didn't count...not a murderer...not a murderer!" I screamed. The security guards grabbed me. I kept on yelling, trying to make my point clear to her as I struggled. But Mom just ran away, her high-heeled footfalls resounding in a staccato beat in the empty corridor. Click, clack, click, clack.
It was a while before I calmed down, but eventually I gave up because my throat was sore and my head hurt too much from crying. Crying and the memories. Everything else. Everything.
Take me back. Take me back to my safe place. Take me back to my heavenly room, where the walls are soft and nothing can hurt me.
I kept repeating the words as they escorted me back to my room, softly sobbing them under my breath, "You've got the wrong person...not a killer...I’m not, I’m not a killer...not...yet..."
It all faded into black velvet silence as I collapsed in a heap. From that day on, nothing has ever hurt me since. The world is too much for me, so I have grown to love my soft-walled room.