In the week that followed there was no word about the girl, no mention of her in daily reports which was unusual as her file indicated her carers had filed numerous daily reports about her behaviour, including the numerous times she told them to “Go fuck yourself’.
It was in many ways too quiet for comfort.
I looked forward to our next meeting and I was there to greet her as she shuffled in shackles rattling as she made her way to the lounge. Today the orderlies, at my request, freed her arms but did attach her ankle shackles to the floor.
She had the kindle with her and looked pleased with herself.
“I’ve read every novel,” she volunteered, “loved them all. That Terry Pratchett is so funny. The Wyrd Sisters was a great read as were all the others.”
“I’m glad you enjoyed them. Would you like some more?”
“Yes most definitely and another Pratchett?
To this request I pulled out my other Kindle, which I had loaded up in case she did want to read more.
“Swap you,” I said.
She took the Kindle and immediately opened it to scroll through the titles I had loaded for her.
“So tell me what happened this week? There were no daily reports of bad behaviour or attacking the staff. What was different?”
“I started reading as soon as I got back to my room. For the first time in so long I had something to do other than stare at the walls. I found myself engrossed in each novel. My mind was being opened to new things and I found things I connected to, things that made me laugh and I was content. I knew that if I acted up they would very likely take the Kindle away. They’re vindictive that way. So I did all my, ‘Yes sir no sir, three bags full sir.’ They were happy, so was I.”
“And how did that make you feel?”
“Well it served my needs didn’t it? I want to be left alone in peace, they didn’t want me telling them where to go, it was a win win for everyone.”
“Do you think you can keep that behaviour up?”
“So long as they stay where I want them to stay and not try and get under my skin, all will be fine. But I have a request.”
“Yes and what is that?”
“I want to write.”
This didn’t surprise me, as I knew she was very intelligent and exposure to good writing I hoped would light that fire within her.
“I’ll bring it up with management you understand the issues they would see with you having access to writing implements and all that.”
“Yes I know all that, so see if you can. I have a lot to write about.”
“Maybe,” I suggested, “we could start in these sessions, give you space, and I’d sit here and see how you go?”
“I’d want what I write to be private, not for public consumption.”
It was a request that would be hard to justify given her past violent record but if it was going to herald change then I had to give it a chance and so did the management.
We talked for the rest of the session about the novels she had read, made mention that the ‘Holy Sisters’ had denied her anything she showed an interest in and that I was the first person who didn’t seem afraid of her.
I was, but I didn’t want to let her know how much.
At the end of the session as she shuffled out with the orderlies she stopped, said her thank you and asked if I’d see what I could do about her request.
I nodded, said that I would try.
When she had gone I sat down and thought how I was going to manage this change in her.
Part one of the story is here: