Warm drops of rain caress Melanie’s rosy cheeks. Rays of gold peek through clouds. The terrace opened out into a sea of greenery. Jim stares as Melanie exhales and relaxes into her seat. Wet grass tickles her feet as she digs deeper into the soil as if to root herself there. The garden was the only color against the dull washed asylum.

    A storm is brewing.

   “Thank you. It’s peaceful here,” she says. 

   “I’m just glad I could help. Are you sure you want to sit outside like this? The rain will be a lot harsher soon,” Jim says. Stark white and neatly pressed pants and coat hug his fit body. A name tag states his status.

   “I know. I want to. I haven’t been outside in so long,” she says.

   “I’ve never seen you so calm. But I could get into deep trouble if we don’t get you back inside your room. You still have to take your medicine,” he says.

   Jim’s eyes travel along Melanie’s face.

   Melanie looks up and smiles. “I’m glad it’s you though,” She licks her lips and reaches her hand out, “Jimmy, you’re the only one who gets me,” she says.

   Jim leans into her. The smell of Irish Spring soap seeps into his nostrils. Jim’s bright red cheeks brush along Melanie’s face.  

   “I will always be here to save you,” Jim says. He smiles and hugs her.

  Her hands slide along his chest and wrap around him. The light disappears and the once warm droplets turn into steamy pellets. Without looking up, he rises and leads Melanie back toward the doors. He pulls on the door and it does not budge.

   “What’s wrong?” Melanie says.

 She smiles at him and pulls away. “If the door is locked. I may know another way,” she says.

 Her sly expression turns as dark as the sky.

   “What are talking about? I just need to try my badge,” he says.

   He reaches for his coat pocket.

   “Wh — Where is my badge? Where is the pen?” he says.

   He frantically looks around. He sprints back toward the table eyes darting across the terrace. It’s too dark to see clearly now.

   Melanie chuckles, “What’s wrong? Looking for these?” she says. Her smile stretches ear to ear. She saunters over to him waving his badge around and clicking the head of the pen. Jim’s face turns red.

  A chime rings loud echoing in the terrace. Lockdown, all patients should be in their rooms.

   “Now is not the time for jokes Turner. Give me back the badge,” he says.

   “Nope. Now is the perfect time for jokes,” she says. She twirls around and skips out to the edge of the terrace. She dangles his badge over the railing. “How many seconds does it take for an angry doctor to get to this side of the terrace? Um. I wonder,” she says, pretending to throw his badge.

  He leaps across the grass to her. He grabs her arm and they struggle over the badge. “This is not a game. This is not a joke!” he shouts.

  Thunder roars over the asylum. She drops the badge over the railing, and it falls into the bushes.

   “Damn it!” he says.

   “Oops. My bad. What are you going to do now?” she says.

   He looks up at her, enraged his hand flies up and he stops himself from hitting her.

   “Are you going to record me again like you always do,” she says.

   She holds up his pen. “Neat little device you got. I wonder what would happen if the director hears what we’ve done,” she says.

   “She won’t ever hear anything. You’re going to stand here with your mouth shut while I get my badge back,” he says.

   She nods as he hops over the railing and dives into the bushes to look.

   Lighting is chasing the thunder now.

   She smiles and opens her mouth as rain falls in. She laughs hard. “Sayonara, Dr. Jimmy Boy,” she says.

   She hops back toward the door and pulls out a badge from her bra. The door unlocks and she skips inside letting the door lock behind her. She turns around and waves as the furious doctor comes barreling toward her. She holds up her hands to her face and sticks out her tongue.  “The director surely will love to hear it,” she says.

   Three orderlies walk past and spot her at the door.

   “What are you doing?” Greg says.

   She turns around and points out of the door. “Playing with Dr. Jim of course,” she says.

   She’s soaking wet, dripping water all over the floor. The orderlies look at each other and stalk down the hall toward her.

   “Dr. Jim? You mean Dr. Williamson?” Tom says.

   “Yes, just playing a little prank,” she says.

   The two orderlies grab her arm. They lead her away from the door.

   “Dr. Williamson has not been at this hospital in over five years. I don’t know how you got outside during lockdown but, it’s time for your meds and bed,” Greg says.

   “What do you mean? He is just outside. I was going to tell on him. I have his special recorder pen right here. I was going to tell the director. I – I,” she cries.

   “You aren’t feeling well today are you Melanie? Dr. Williamson was fired for abusing his position years ago,” Tom says.

   “She must be having an episode. She was his last victim,” Justin says.

   Melanie looks back out toward the doors one last time. A steamy plump tear falls down her rosy peach cheeks.

Ashley Jones is a freelance creative writer who works with illustrators, filmmakers, and writers to produce thought-provoking entertainment and content. Ashley knows that significant storytelling can move a consumer. It can be persuasive, influential, provide entertainment that is memorable, and push their imaginations further. Ashley produces most of her content on Youtube where she educates and entertains with light-hearted and informative storytelling while baking. Ashley has published in a literary magazine and currently producing a comic to be released in January 2021. Ashley has an Associates’s degree in Digital Media Production and is enrolled at Full sail University where she will graduate with her BFA in Creative Writing, August of 2022.