Delusions - Sophie List '19


“They said I was crazy. I've been in here for almost 60 years now. And you know what
they say, once you're in West Harbor, you don't leave West Harbor.” The elderly lady said referring to the psychiatric hospital she was in. She rocked slowly back and forth in her chair with her bathrobe wrapped tightly around her and a clown doll clutched in her arms. Her gray hair was patchy and thin, barely covering a fourth of her head. 

“I know that Mrs. Phillips. You already mentioned all that. But what I want to know is the
whole story. I want to know every detail from the moment you bought the house to the moment you were brought here.” The novelist explained while trying to identify exactly what the elderly women smelled like. She decided it was a mix of dish detergent, baby powder and mothballs. She had only graduated from Georgetown University last spring but young Margo Callahan was well on her way to becoming a best selling author. Mrs. Phillips appeared deep in thought for a few moments before leaning in close to Margo’s face. Her old blue eyes met Margo’s young green ones as she said. “You better write this all down because I’m only going to say it once.” 

“I had just graduated college and I was moving into my own house. This was the time of my life I had been waiting for since I was a little girl. The house was beautiful with a large yard and the woods out back. For the first two months it was paradise. But then strange things started to happen. When they began I could make up excuses for them. I’d blame the sounds on the old pipes or the humidity or whatever excuse would set my mind at ease. It worked for a little while. Eventually the sounds became nearly impossible to make up excuses for. I would hear footsteps coming from my room, or breathing while I was trying to fall asleep, things would fall to the ground with no explanation, and sometimes I would hear very faint voices coming from the walls. I blamed it all on my imagination. Some days I would look into the mirror in my bedroom and upon first glance I would see a large scar going from my temple to my chin or faces in the background, but upon further inspection I’d realize there was nothing there. I'd also blame that on my imagination or sleep deprivation. After a few weeks I accepted that perhaps my house was haunted. However, the spirit had never done anything harmful so I tried to ignore it. 

One night, about six months after I bought the house, I came home after a long day. My
boss had fired me earlier so naturally I was angry and upset. I stormed up the stairs and hurled my bag across the room coincidentally shattering the mirror into tiny pieces. As the mirror broke, the voices I had been hearing intensified, becoming a thousand times louder. They surrounded me, the screaming and shouting pierced my eardrums. I curled up on the floor as the shards of glass ripped my skin and rooted themselves into my flesh. I covered my ears, trying to find anyway to stop the voices but there was no luck. I laid there for what seemed like an eternity before coming to my senses and realizing I needed to get out of my house. I pulled myself onto my knees before gaining the strength to stand all the way up and run wildly down the stairs. Instinctively I grabbed a large steak knife from the kitchen before sprinting out of my house. I pulled myself out of the mud and ran for the tree line. The rain beat down and blood washed into my eyes, making it harder and harder to find the entrance to the path.  I was breathing loud. I tried to stop the voices, to control them, to hide from them, but it was too much. I found the entrance to the path and followed it till I reached the old shed.  I crashed through the door and slammed it shut. I tried to barricade it with the rakes, and the pitchforks, and a hockey stick which broke in half but it was not possible. I could hear their voices and their footsteps outside now. They were here. They were just outside. I pushed myself against the door, grasping a pitchfork...wiping the blood away from my eyes. Waiting… That's all I can remember before losing consciousness. 

My neighbor found me the next day on an early morning jog to watch the sunrise. I was
covered in blood, lying half in and half out of the shed. He helped me on to my feet and asked what had happened. I explained to him the voices and the mirror but I could tell he didn't believe me. He called an ambulance to come and get me. I was in the psychiatric ward of the hospital for a week. The doctors had me on numerous medications, anything that would help me see past my ‘delusions’. Everyday I would go to counseling and the counselor would ask me to tell her what happened. I would tell her about the voices and the mirror every time. Eventually they decided I was truly crazy and they sent me here to live out the rest of my life.” 

Margo looked up from her notebook and shut off her audio recorder, pushing her glasses
up the bridge of her nose. 

“Is that all you need?” Mrs. Phillips asked, leaning back into her rocking chair. Margo

“Yes thank you. Although, I was hoping I could come back another time and focus on the
details.” Margo requested as she began to pack up her things. Mrs. Phillips shrugged before staring off into space.

Margo Callahan never got to see Mrs. Phillips again. Mrs. Phillips passed away a few
days after Margo’s visit. In order to try and get the rest of the details for her book she went to visit Mrs. Phillip’s old house. The house had a chilling aura to it that sent shivers down Margo’s spine. The paint was peeling, the windows were broken, and cobwebs hung in the porch. Margo and her photographer, John, went inside to explore. After taking notes and pictures of the downstairs, Margo took a deep breath and began ascending the stairs to Mrs. Phillips old room. The first thing she noticed when she walked in was the mirror, completely intact.

“Did she ever mention fixing the mirror?” John asked Margo as he took picture after
picture of the room. Margo shook her head.

“It doesn't look like anyone has been here in years. I don't know who would have fixed it
or why for that matter.” Margo pondered out loud. After she decided she had everything that she needed she picked up her notebook and audio recorder to leave. But as she turned to leave, she could have sworn she saw Mrs. Phillips’ smiling face in the mirror out of the corner of her eye.