When Ellen continued to scream obscenities and threats despite her restraints, Matron came with attendants who held her while Matron injected her into silence. Ellen had no way of knowing, but it was more than thirty-six hours before she woke on a locked ward with numerous other patients. She was vaguely aware of a giggling presence patting her face. She slapped, eliciting a high-pitched squeal.
“Awake and making trouble already, are you? This will calm you down.” A bitter elixir was forced into her mouth. When she spewed it out, a resounding slap rung her left ear. “You’ll do as you’re told here, Miss, or pay the price.” She couldn’t see through her fog, but another injection soon stung.
When she finally aroused, she was a different woman, listless, out of touch with any world she knew. The former Ellen would have railed at the locked ward, the pitiful humanity she shared it with. A naked woman smeared feces on a wall; another rocked a rag baby, crooning to it. Another repeatedly walked into a wall, calling, “Alice? Alice? Alice?”
Though Ellen had always been a haughty, superior sort who’d snubbed many, it’s unlikely any would have wished this Hell on her. Dr. Evans had called his colleague several times to check on her and been told, “She’s calm and progressing well, but expect a lengthy stay.”
Things were settling back to a new normal at home. Charles had brought Charley home to be reunited with Cora, Josie was enlisted to live in and care for Ginny, and he’d been able to get back to work. The boys were old enough to be occupied with school, sports, and their friends, so their lives were not disturbed. Charley and Ginny thrived in the loving environment. Charles missed Ellen, but hoped she wouldn’t disturbed the peace on her eventual return home.