The instant Mac awoke, he knew he was in an asylum. The sterile white fluorescent lights buzzed angrily at him from above, and the room he found himself in resembled a beautified prison, complete with a toilet on the wall. His first reaction was one of panic. Looking around the room for a weapon, Mac stumbled out of the bed he had been laying on. His horror only intensified as he noticed what was on his arm. Firmly clamped around his wrist was what appeared to be some sort of tracking device. It looked like a watch without a screen, and was made entirely of plastic, save for a tiny blinking green light which he guessed was Plexiglas. Mac diverted his attention to the task of removing the object. He slammed it furiously against the slightly padded wall, his heart beating faster and faster as the realization of his situation began to register in his brain. Suddenly, all at once, his muscles tensed up uncontrollably, and he fell to the ground in pain.
It only lasted a split second, but for that moment, Mac felt as if his whole body were on fire. It began to dawn on him that what he had just felt was his first electric shock. Muscles all over his body continued to spasm occasionally, unaware that their electrons were no longer moving. Just as he thought his heart would explode if it were to beat any faster, the handle of the only door in Mac's small cell began to turn. He scrambled frantically backwards on his hands and knees, imagining what sort of massive prison guard might be behind the door. The only explanation for someone entering the room was to teach him a lesson and make sure that was the last time he tried to remove his tracking device. Mac didn't have time to finish picturing all of this before the door swung quickly open. Standing behind it was the last thing he was expecting.
A young girl in a lime green jumpsuit to match the one Mac wore stood smiling in the doorway. She took one look at Mac recoiling in fright on his hands and knees and began giggling uncontrollably. His fear dissolved. She couldn't have been older than twenty five, which would make her only a few years older than Mac. Her blond hair looked casually messy, as if she brushed it occasionally, but frequently forgot. All in all she seemed remarkably harmless and even a little bit out of place.
"Are you... crazy?" Mac asked tentatively, his heart still racing from the start she had given him. The girl's laugh receded to a smile.
"I'm perfectly sane. The real question is what's wrong with you."
Mac felt a tad offended, being called crazy by someone he had just met.
"There's nothing wrong with me!" he snapped, trying to manage a scowl. The girl continued to grin cheerfully.
"If you say so. I mean you are in the mental ward of a hospital, so it would make sense if you were crazy, but if you are it shouldn't be that hard to figure out."
"That's the thing though, I'm not supposed to be here!" Mac said, "they must have made a mistake or something, because I'm not crazy."
"Relax, I believe you," the girl responded. "Anyway, I'm Alice.What's your name?"
"I'm Mac. Do you think you could take me to whoever is in charge of this place so I can tell them that they made a mistake?" he asked, desperately afraid that she might change the subject if he let introductions drag on too long.
"Sure! You won't be able to talk to them until the next assembly, but I'll make sure to point out who you should talk to when the next one comes around. In the meantime let me introduce you to my friends!" Alice said, her voice sounding almost musical with all of the enthusiasm she put into each word.
"Uh... ok," he said. She seems sane, he thought to himself as he followed her down the corridor outside his room. Still, a part of him was afraid that her friends might end up being imaginary. The thought of being confined in a building with only crazy people creeped him out. As he walked through another hallway with a ceiling, a floor, and two walls that looked nearly identical to the slightly padded ones of his room, Mac had a thought.
"Yes?" she said.
"if you're not crazy, why did they put you here?"
She slowed her spirited gait so that she could be side by side with Mac as they walked. Her smile became vaguely melancholic as she thought for a couple seconds before speaking.
"Well there's nothing wrong with me, but Kara can be a little bit... problematic sometimes."
Mac furrowed his brow. "Who's Kara?"
Alice seemed surprised, as if Kara's identity was common knowledge. "Oh, well she's kind of like my roommate. We share a body."
Mac stopped walking abruptly. "you what?"
"We share a body," Alice said calmly, not acknowledging that this was at all out of the ordinary. "We take turns, so sometimes she's awake, and sometimes I'm awake. It's not that bad, it only gets difficult if I'm in the middle of something important when she wakes up. And like I said, she can be a little mean and insensitive sometimes."
She's completely batshit crazy, Mac thought. Still, just being around this sprightly young girl made him feel unnaturally and inexplicably cheerful. Nevertheless, he thought, she's still insane. So are her friends probably. Her insane friends that I'm about to meet. God this is going to be a long day."