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Erin Baker

Creative Writing: Genre writing

Repeat After Me

        Flowers. Why do people send flowers? Perhaps to make up for the words they don’t know how to say, Clara thought. Clara Spae was a nurse at the Saint Gaine Mental Hospital, and looked after the patients in long term care. Saint Gaine was like any other phyc ward; a large, white building, with barred windows and a pathetic excuse for a garden surrounding the entrance. Ms Spae longed for the gardens to be renovated, at least some greenery or trees instead of the dry expanse of lawn grass.

       Almost every second day a batch of flowers were sent to the institution, and it was her job to cut them, water them, and place them in white, plastic vases next to the patient they were sent to. Her mother, who worked as a surgeon in a nearby hospital many years before, used to mutter to herself whenever a family would send flowers to their loved ones: “If I end up here, don’t give me pretty, dead things. Gin is far more helpful.” However, Clara felt differently than her mother. Often she finds herself gazing at the petals, the way they fold and create even more colours in their own shade.

       “Good morning Mr Wamire,” Clare sung as she opened the blinds in her favourite patient’s room.

       “Good morning Mr Wamire,” a low, mimicking voice echoed back at her.

       The patient she was most fond of was Bodrick Wamire, or, when she was sure no one was listening, Bodie. He had a rather severe case of echolalia, a condition where one repeats the words or sentences they hear other people say. Bodrick was sent to the ward by his family who could no longer take care of him; they visit as often as they can, and send flowers more often than they should, perhaps, Clara wondered, out of guilt. Mr Wamire was as gentle and as harmless as a butterfly with a broken wing. Although she knew it wasn’t quite right, he was Clara’s favourite for two reasons: firstly, his family sent the most flowers which she adored looking after, and secondly, because hearing your thoughts echoed back at you can be therapeutic, and entertaining. He was also her friend, even if their one-sided relationship was a little unconventional.

       “We have you scheduled for sewing today, Bodie. Won’t that be fun?”

       “Won’t that be fun,” Mr Wamire mindlessly repeated, staring at the window overlooking the garden.

       Bodrick rarely spoke words of his own accord, sometimes a yes or no, but mostly a slow nod or a shake of the head sufficed.

       “I potted the most beautiful flowers this morning. Blue lilies I think they were.”

       Clare watered and re-arranged the flowers at the patient’s bedside, humming a tune quietly to herself, unsure where it was from exactly. She was a young woman, late 20s, and had finished her nursing degree not a year ago. She loved working at the mental hospital, and it was a perfect fit for her kind, nurturing personality.

       Mr Wamire didn’t dislike her, but also didn’t mind her presence in the lonely mornings of winter. Despite what the doctors said in his medical report, he was perfectly capable of complex thought processes, he just never could express them. It was a rather sad life, being trapped in his own mind, everyone treating him like a 4 year old, constantly cooing at him. He was surprised they didn’t clap their hands on their thighs and squeal ‘cmon Bodie, come here.’ Clara was the only tolerable person in the hospital according to Bodrick. She was the only one who treated him like a person.

       Clara sighed as she sat down on the side of Mr Wamire’s bed. She smiled, and placed her hand on his.

       “I know you can hear me, Bodie. I know you’re in there.”

       Mr Wamire just sat there silently, still looking out the window. His fingers twitched, and a small tear gathered in his eye and rolled down his cheek.

       Clare gazed into his eyes in a sorrowful way and then, as if to snap out of a trance, slapped his arm, blinked a few times and said, “Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. Your family is visiting today. Sometime around noon. They mentioned your niece will be coming too? I think it’d be lovely for you to see her again.”

       “Lovely for you to see her again,” Bodrick murmured, the tear still wet on his cheek.




       Noon came around, and Mr Wamire was transported to the visiting room. His family, two adults and a child, presumably his siblings and niece, were huddled in a cluster waiting for him. One of the siblings rushed forward and wrapped their arms around him.

       “Oh Bodrick!” his younger sister, looking to be in her late 30s, hugged him tighter, “It’s great to see you again.”

       The lady smiled, and a twinge of sadness stuck to the corner of her lips as she stood up to join the others. Bodrick remained still but managed to look in the direction of his family. His younger brother stepped forward and held out an extravagant bundle of white roses.

       “We um, brought these. Again,” said his brother in a rather stiff manner.

       Hiding behind the man holding the flower’s legs, Mr Wamire’s niece poked her head out to get a look at her lost uncle.

       “This is Lucia, my daughter. Do you remember her, Bodrick?”

       “Do you remember her, Bodrick?” repeated the patient.

       Lucia was shuffled forward by her father and very timidly, managed to speak, “Hello Uncle.”

       All was quiet for a few seconds, and then in a blur of madness, Bodrick seized his niece and dug his nails into her arms, shouting at her, shaking her violently “YOU SHALL PERISH LIKE THE REST OF THEM. COWARDS. ALL OF YOU.”

       Everyone in the vicinity heard the commotion and tried to rip the little girl from the man’s arms. Mr Wamire was still clutching to Lucia, his eyes flickering red.

       “I HAVE TO GET OUT. DESTROY THEM,” he spat at the girl who was now whimpering, “I WILL EAT YOUR TONGUES AND DRINK YOUR BLOOD- I’m sorry-FILTH. VERMON.”

       Two security guards intervened and pulled the petrified girl to safety. Bodrick’s brother and sister were hugging Lucia, white with shock. Mr Wamire was held down and shot with a sedative by hospital staff.


       Bodrick’s brother dropped the flowers, took his family, and ran out of the building. Mr Wamire was still screaming curses, and started scratching his face, drawing blood from underneath his skin.



       Sunset came early that night, as if even the light was scrambling to get away from the horrors that occurred on the grounds of Saint Gaine that evening. After Mr Wamire’s outburst, he was seen as a threat to others and himself, and was sent to the high security ward. His niece was physically fine, but traumatised to the bone. When Clara found out what happened, she cried and cried and didn’t want to believe it, and without the knowledge of any other hospital staff, went to visit her favourite patient while everyone was at dinner. Nobody saw her after that. All that was left of Clara Spae was the black and white security footage of Bodrick’s cell. Which views as follows…

       Clara entered the room at 7:14pm with a tray of food and a bundle of flowers. Mr Wamire was sitting upright on his bed, facing the wall.

       “Bodie? I uh, I brought you some food. Thought you might be hungry after, well, after all that.”

       She paused for a moment to wipe her eye with her sleeve and placed the tray on the ground, still clutching to the white roses. Bodrick remained still and silent.

       “I found the flowers your family brought you. They’re- they’re beautiful,” Clara’s voice trembled and she broke down into a sob, “I just don’t understand! You could never have done the things they said you did. You- you could never!” the nurse’s kneels buckled and she knelt on the ground, roses loose on her lap.

       “You could never,” Bodrick echoed in the familiar low, mocking tone.

       The patient then gradually got to his feet and walked over to the nurse, looking down on her. Clara looked up.

       “Bodie? You could never, right? Never?” she sniffled, her tears wetting the petals of the roses.

       “Never,” repeated Bodrick, and the footage flickered. In a swift motion, he striked her hard across the face, “PATHETIC, USELESS, NOTHING,” red seeped into his eyes as he hit her again and again.

       “Please, no! Bodie!” Clara crawled backwards on her hands, blood smeared across her face.


       Tears were streaming down both their faces, splatters of blood on one and smears of it on the other. Bodrick continued to smash Clara’s skull in as she kept trying to crawl away, pleading for her life. One final blow to the head was all it took, and the girl slumped to the floor. White roses decorated the pools of blood, petals floating in the red. Mr Wamire stood completely still, and then looked up into the camera. The footage cuts there.

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