Each of us can only be sure of our own thoughts, there is no way of testing consciousness.
Cathy Proctor has, what some would call, a comforting life for her ripe twenty-four years. Two functional, adoring parents; Mike, a pillar of the community and her doctor husband with a baby on the way. Sure, she hated her mother-in-law Winnie but who didn’t? Most mothers-in-law were disliked, tolerated at best and it could be worse, she could live with them…. Oh wait, she does!
And then the unimaginable happens. In a wicked twist of fate, Cathy’s life plummets into the abyss and now her only comfort is to end it all in a sauna of carbon monoxide fumes. However, when Mike returns home from his surgery with news that the current sickness and cystitis she’s been suffering is another pregnancy and not a water infection, she is forced to stay put in the hellish world that she was planning to leave.
The night Cathy’s parents died in their sleep during a house fire, Cathy had believed the worst had already happened. She was unaware of the brutal delights the great architect of the sky still had in store for her but she soon discovered the torment was far from over the night that her baby girl, Elizabeth disappeared without trace. As the months dragged by with no trace of Elizabeth and with the impending birth looming over her, Cathy begins a slow descent into madness, which she believes is facilitated by the birth of Albert, who she is convinced hates her and her mother-in-law who is intent on destroying what little is left of her. Cathy’s behaviours eventually see her committed to Hayfield Asylum.
Cathy’s goal to get home, un-medicated and find out what happened that night to Elizabeth becomes her driving force but until she conforms to the whims of the psychiatrists’ and begins treatment she can never leave the rot ridden walls of Hayfield Secure Hospital.
Cathy is convinced that Mike is trying his hardest to get her home and hold everything together, unbeknown to her he is priming his practice assistant, Jennifer for the same fate that he’s bestowed on Cathy and his ex-wife, Alexis.
Cathy desperately continues to grasp any shred of reality that will stop her from descending further into the faux insanity that she’s been tricked into but when everyone is telling you that you are mad and you are trapped in a secure mental asylum, what can you do?
Cathy is unaware that Mike is leading a convoluted dance to convince his wife that she is going crazy.
Who will save Cathy? Will she save herself? Is it the only option she has when everybody else around her who she loved is no longer there and the ones left thinks she is a crazy, filicidal maniac responsible for the disappearance of her baby girl and dragging her poor husband through that hell with her.
‘Cathy wake up! Call the police there’s somebody in the house again.’ Mike slid out of bed and crept towards the landing like he was the intruder in their home. Cathy, blinking awake and dazed, fisted her eyes trying for clear vision – blurred, like looking through a heavily licked window. Mike spoke again, still hushed but stretching his mouth wide as if he was talking to a deaf woman that could only lip read. ‘Cathy there is somebody in the house. Call the police now. Tell them to send someone right away.’
Cathy turned towards the phone on her bedside table and dialled 999 for the third time that week as Mike stepped out onto the landing with the battered cricket bat that now lived at his side of the bed.
Cathy placed the receiver down and crept towards the nursery where ten-month old Albert was sleeping soundly – for once. She peeped through the crack in the door willing the boy not to wake. Mike sprung up behind her causing her to jump and grasp the cage that housed her heavy heart.
‘They’ve gone. I must have scared them off again. Come away, no point in waking Albert. Go back to bed. I’ll wait for the police downstairs.’ As he whispered into her ear the wispy lanugo hairs on the back of her neck soldiered up to attention as she chilled.
‘I can’t sleep now Mike. What if they come back?’
‘Did you call the police?’
‘Yes.’ Cathy’s skin had assumed a greyish tinge of late, at best a pale yellow. Her lips were cracked, a desert dehydration creating crusty lesions. She was seriously dehydrated. The only time she managed to keep the water she forced down her funnel from heaving back up was when she bit her tongue so hard that it bled – a self-taught technique to distract her brain from throwing the pills back up. She needed the pills to take her from the dark that consumed her to the best she could hope for anymore, translucent. Once the numbness spread over her she would let the fluid out any way it wanted. Hell, she would even give it a helping finger or two.
‘Then go back to bed.’ Mike urged. ‘I’ll make you a nice hot cup of tea and bring your pills.’ Mike pressed his palm lightly on the small of her back ushering her back towards their room. ‘Go on Sweetie, we don’t know how much sleep we’ll get before Albert wakes again.’
Mike adored Albert, their son. She watched as his face brightened at the mere mention of his name. Cathy knew Mike thought him the miracle that had saved them. She had given up praying to feel something similar. She couldn’t. She wouldn’t.
And then Cathy had discovered the waste pipe – just in case she didn’t get out. It was suspended from the ceiling, in a side room off towards the laundry. The room was used to store the simple wooden chairs when space was needed in the group therapy room for twirling around like fucking fairies – dance therapy (with a pit faced, chunk of a woman who resembled a puck – both in the mythical sense and…
Well today has been eventful. I passed out this morning and ended up back in A&E. Docs think i passed out because of the pain in my stomach caused by the fibroids. Really need this operation ASAP. Meanwhile i will use not being able to go out and having to rest as more writing time. I am putting the finishing touches to Cathy's decline into the asylum at the moment and will put another excerpt on…
I was working on the second edition to my comedy, The Unconventional Life of Jenna Jaghe, when the idea of Cracked Cathy took over. I was going through some heartache at the time, my grandmother had passed away after four years of being ‘locked in’ her own body after a debilitating stroke, I was going through a divorce, had had to leave my home, was cut off from all of our finances and I felt like…