Ella tiptoed around the room in her converse sneakers, hand flipped perpendicular to her forearm pretending to walk in heels. Her lips moved but no sound came out. She seemed to be having an intense conversation with an imaginary person.

“She’s been at it for hours, just let her be?” Mark told Dave as he inched closer to the glass trying to ‘listen’ to what she was saying.

“It’s not worth it bro, just let her be, she will tire,” Mark continued in the hope that Dave would leave her alone.

Ella grabbed herself abruptly, arms crossed over her chest, palms grabbing her upper arms, she caressed herself and closed her eyes pouted her lips. Dave turned his head, Mark just rolled his eyes and resumed his paperwork.

“How long has she been at this?” Dave asked with such deep concern.

“Since she got the converse this morning, for some reason she seems to have acted out walking in the mall, going shopping for fancier clothes and now she has found a man and she’s making out with him.” Mark recollected very nonchalantly.

“Why is she doing this, she was clearly getting better.” Dave uttered under his breath concerned.

It was almost as if Ella heard him through the thick glass because she ran and slammed herself against the glass, then clawed at it with her nails. When she realized, her nails were short and had no effect on the glass, she started to thud at it.

Dave was startled. Mark stood up with a taser and turned it on. The electric current flashed through and Ella quickly scuttled to the further end of her room.

“Why did you do that?”Dave inquired.

“Dude, have you never worked in a mental asylum before? She is testing you, she is testing to see how far she can go without consequences.” Mark retorted.

Dave looked a bit worried, he crossed his arms on his chest thumbs out slowly tapping his arms.

“Dude, look, you are fresh meat, like any high school substitute teacher with teenagers. They will test you to see what they can get away with. It’s human nature. Like wild animals, teenagers and patients with a mental disability or any human in different circumstances will always sense fear and exploit it. So when you are giving Ella, her meds today, don’t sweat it. Relax, follow the protocol you will be fine.” Mark reassured the now shaken Dave.

Ella was pressed on the glass window again, this time licking the glass suggestively. Eyes wide open waiting to see which reaction she elicits from the two mental health nurses. Mark lifted his taser from the drawer above his head, eyes still focused on the paperwork. He turned it on, a stream of current passed and Ella was repelled from the window.

“She likes you,” Mark quipped as he stood and filed the papers he was working on in a filing cabinet.

Ella fell in a heap on the floor of her room. White walls, nothing but a steel bed with a thick mattress, sheets, 2 pillows and blankets. There was nothing about the room which seemed homely at all. Dave was overwhelmed with sadness for her plight.

The sound of a trolley rolling down the corridor grew closer steadily until finally, “Knock! Knock! Knock!

“Ella’s lunch is here,” Mark called out startling Dave.

“Take it to her, Frank!” Mark called out at the the food server through his open door. “Thanks” Mark thumped up once Frank had delivered the meal.

Ella ate slowly and extremely peacefully. Dave was still watching her.

“Dude, she’s not a zoo animal quit starring at her while she eats, how would you feel if someone stared at you, as you ate?” Mark snapped at Dave.

“Sorry, I just can’t help myself, she seems like a lovely woman, what happened to her?”Dave inquired with concern.

Mark stood up and walked to the filing cabinet once again and rummaged through it. He pulled out a file and slapped it on the table.

“Ella Omingo” the file name read, Dave steadily read through the file, his brows lifted as he flipped from page to page, squirmed in his seat a couple of times, gagged a bit and kept reading.

Mark received a call.

“You are familiar with the procedures of administering medication to patients in solitary right? You did that downstairs where you did your residency right?” Dave shook his head violently yet unsure as he responded to Mark.

“Look, I really got to go, don’t show fear, be confident, here’s the taser in case she’s stubborn, and here’s her medication, make sure she takes it.” Mark pushed a tray with tablets as he punctuated his statement and walked out.

Dave stood there looking at Ella, not quite sure if he should believe what he just read in her file, or believe what he was seeing before him. Ella abruptly pounced on the glass startling Dave as he completed his thought. Dave accidentally dropped her medicine. He froze still debating on whether he should pick them up or tase Ella.