Louise Hart


The aliens ruled Arkingham Asylum with the force of a steel capped boot in the faces of the minds of everyone who entered it. For they were a feisty bunch whose skin burned green after midnight and extracted inmates brains for fun. Their mission was saving the country from lunacy. But to the outside world they presented as doctors and nurses, supporting the insane to recover their minds and voices from the forces of madness and unreason.

"Motherfuckers…they won't get you."

Cat-Hater's voices spoke all around him, words striking the air, like flames, igniting the atmosphere with the force of absolute truth. "I call you Judas, because your guilt hangs you over and over, again. You, who are The One."

Cat-Hater Slim charged at an alien disguised as a nurse. He lifted her by the shoulders and threw her to the ground. But, she sprung to her feet again, setting off her personal alarm. In seconds the nurses had surrounded him. The evil ones wrestled him to the ground, dragged him into an isolated cell and injected him with a substance so pungent that no common inmate could pronounce its name. They left him comatose with sleep on a bed, dribbling and shitting his sheets until he had regained his composure.

Whilst Cat-Hater slept, 2 new inmates were admitted. A psychopath, adorning a greying beard and Big Bev, who comprised 22 stones of blubber and bull shit. When she met the Asian woman with green teeth, Big Bev asked her if she came from Pakistan, "No," replied the woman, "I'm from Birmingham." Racism was not only tolerated on the ward, it was encouraged. When a black nurse was on a shift, half the ward would unite in a chorus of faux patois. A covert policy of divide and rule helped segregate the inmates and nurses and pleased everyone. No one wanted to look at the enemy and see themselves.

"You're the chosen one."

Cat-Hater opened his eyes and wiped his chin. He stank of his detritus and failure, but managed to shower and change his jeans. The nurses knew that he was awake. They watched him through the hidden cameras, which Cat-Hater's third eye could perceive in every corner of the room.

"Fuckers," he whispered into a microphone, only he could see. When he emerged into the ward, 2 nurses and fat man cradling a moustache approached him.

"The doctor wants to see you," Threatened the shortest nurse. The fat man was a doctor. Cat-Hater looked into his eyes and they transformed, like green gems that emitted perilous light swamping the now prostate Cat-Hater. So, he bowed before the alien king.

"This way, please," said the doctor, motioning towards a door. Cat-Hater followed him. His heart jumped in his mouth, like exploding popcorn.

"Destroy, destroy. He will rip out your subjectivity."

Voices had brains, too. But, into that room emerged a louder more malevolent presence, the doctor's voice. It boomed out of synch with his mouth.

"Scum, never deride those above you. I am the force that will break your mind. Kiss my feet, Judas...I am the Nazarene, himself." Cat-Hater rummaged on the ground planting 2 sweet kisses on each of the doctor's feet. "Now, rise scum. Listen…and do as you are told." Cat-Hater listened.

"I have some excellent news for you, Mr Slim," began the doctor, "the government has approved your participation in our new normalisation therapy programme. You are to be an innovator, an ambassador for your kind...and for you, Mr Slim this means that you will be cured of the severe and chronic mental illness that has blighted your entire adult life."

The doctor's face inflated with a smile, which was simultaneously moronic and menacing. Cat-Hater held back his tears.

"Rip off his head."

"Thank you, sir." said Cat-Hater. The dead man slumped down the corridor back to his room to plan his escape.

Sexually ambiguous men and women who enjoyed being spanked within an inch of their lives attracted Big Bev. When she saw Cat-Hater at lunchtime she knew that she had found a soul mate and victim. "How long you been here?" She asked him, placing her meal of slop and bromide beside him.

"Forever," he replied. The poor man looked very crestfallen. Only she knew how to cure that.

"By the way…don't touch the gravy," continued Cat-Hater, "it's got bromide in it."

Big Bev spat her lunch on the floor and snapped, "They may have taken my freedom, but they'll never destroy my libido." She tried to work out how she could undress Cat-Hater and slap his buttocks without the nurses seeing until they glowed red. "Where's your room?" She thrust her hand on his flaccid cock and he almost smiled.

Cat-Hater knew that the nurses would see him and his paramour, making buttock love but, he still conspired to do it. So, after dinner Big Bev discreetly made her way to his room. She unbuttoned his trousers as quickly as she could and bent his stiff body over her knees. She slapped him a few times before the nurses rudely interrupted them, but the bruises he saw in the mirror the following day made it worthwhile.

The staff parted the sex criminals, like rampant dogs. "I haven't finished yet," shouted Big Bev.

"Neither have I," Cat-Hater replied, shoving his pre-cum cock into his pants. "And you who have been chosen," a nurse snapped, glaring at him.

The psychopath prowled around the ward and narrowed his eyes at everyone who crossed his path. Cat-Hater thought he looked sad and tried to engage him in conversation. "You'll get used to it, mate," he said, "the first 3 months are the worst." The psychopath leaned towards Cat-Hater and bit his cheek with vampiric fervour, growling from the back of his throat. Cat-Hater winced, retreated, like a bullied school boy and decided not to talk to him, again.

Later, Cat-Hater sat in the TV lounge. The psychopath burst through the door and rushed towards a mousey young man sitting in the corner, minding his own voices. He thrust his body towards the other man's and bit into his ear, tearing it from the side of his face, like a rasher of bacon. Roaring, he spat it onto the floor. Blood splattered everywhere. The young man screamed in agony. The psychopath wiped his chin.

Nurses invaded the room from every angle, like storm troopers. They wrestled the assailant to the ground and carried him away to meet a suitable punishment. A single nurse escorted the abused man and his half-eaten ear from the ward to the general hospital which, Cat-Hater guessed aliens also ran.

The inmates presumed that the psychopath would be transferred to the lock-up unit, where only the most dangerously insane were imprisoned, like wild beasts no normal eye should behold. But, a couple of hours later, he arrived back on the ward. Everyone scuttled away. His demeanour, though, had completely transformed. The psychopath shuffled along the ward. His stare was fixed and he seemed oblivious to his surroundings. "A thousand bolts to the head," thought Cat-Hater. Mute and disengaged, the psychopath spent the rest of the day sitting dormant in a chair. Cat-Hater knew not whether to be relieved or angry.

"Yum, yum.… Nasty man wants Cat-Hater and chips for dinner."

The following day Cat-Hater stepped into the shower. The water was ice cold. He recoiled with animalistic grace and savagery. Initially, he thought the shower was not working properly and was about to turn it off, when he remembered his encounter with Bev the previous day and the ecstatic expressions on the nurses faces when they found him with his trousers around his ankles. Somehow, the bastards had turned off the heat.

"Why are you punishing you? You are chosen."

Cat-Hater gritted his teeth and washed every centimetre of his body. When he turned off the shower, he was blue all over, except his buttocks, which were purple and black. He walked to the dining room; his wet hair dripping all over his t-shirt. "Have a nice shower, Mr Slim?" cackled one of the nurses.

At mid-morning the fat doctor requested the psychopath's presence. Cat-Hater watched in silent amazement as he shuffled behind the psychiatrist, like a beaten dog. Two hours later, the psychopath returned. Now, he moved even more slowly and a thin line of dribble slobbered down his chin onto his grey top, becoming increasingly damp and dark with the weight of his saliva.

The following 3 days the psychopath disappeared with the doctor at a similar time and returned a pale shadow of his former selves, slobbering and stumbling with reduced mental capacity. On the fourth day, he returned smiling and his arms swinging in synch with his legs. He entered the TV room and beamed, "hello." Cat-Hater knew that something was afoot, exactly what, he was not certain, but he was adamant that he would find out.

To everyone's open mouthed surprise the next day the psychopath was discharged. Nobody was ever discharged. Cat-Hater felt afraid. He watched in deadly silence the psychopath shake hands with several nurses and leave. He directed a slight motion of his hand towards the other patients, who were now transfixed in amazement at a sight no one thought they would ever witness. Cat-Hater's instincts told him that Bev was on his side.

"She loves you, Cat."

So, he decided to confide his fears in the woman with a double D bra. That night, the 10 o'clock news started on television. A few patients sat in the lounge, pretending to watch. Cat-Hater joined in, his thoughts buried in the clouds with his head and the rain. But, something grabbed his attention. He heard the words, "normalisation therapy," and turned towards the screen. There had been an explosion in, "mental illness," said the newsreader, "a crisis in care," that was bankrupting the government. The State had driven society mad and were remedying the situation with a, "new cure," for insanity.

Following this an interview with one of the first patients to receive normalisation therapy was played. The bottom of the screen displayed the patient's name, The Psychopath. Cat-Hater looked on and immediately recognised the face. It was the fellow who had been discharged from the hospital yesterday. Cat-Hater jumped to his feet, shouting, "look, look…it's him."

"I'm cured," stated the psychopath, "I had no conscience. I was a bad, bad man. Now, I can cry." Tears rolled down his face. Two nurses scurried into the room, one of whom shattered the TV screen with his foot.

"I was watching that," Cat-Hater shouted. The other patients remained emotionless, staring into the void that was their universal medicated mind. Bev looked up from the lap of a handsome depressive to whom she was giving head and enquired, "Have I missed something?"

"Bev, I need to talk to you." Cat-Hater dragged Bev from her companion. They stood in the corridor. "There's something weird going on. Haven't you noticed how their eyes glow green? And this normalisation therapy…they are trying to drive us sane."

Everyone knew that maintaining the social order necessitated 10% of the population being incurably mad. Why were they making the world sane?

Cat-Hater elaborated a cunning plan. When the patients were in bed and the nurses secretly sleeping in the side rooms, he would explore the hospital for clues. Initially, he would steal the keys from a distracted staff member and subsequently advance to the top floor, where no patient was allowed. Although he risked being captured by CCTV, if the security staff were as idle as the night staff he probably would go unnoticed.

"You are The One."

Cat-Hater had known from the age of 6 when his Uncle had first fiddled with him that he was chosen. Now, he felt deep within his tormented psyche that he was about to find out how. He was a valiant knight among peasants, who toiled a land possessed by no day dreams, but tremours of the night and mind. His destination was about to be revealed. He would destroy those rotten aliens and return order to the ward. Randy Rob, the staff nurse with a predilection for fat bottomed girls, was on duty. As planned, Bev awakened him from his slumber complaining of experiencing a terrible pain in her chest. He removed her bra to have a closer look and she took him from behind with her left fist, sliding his keys to the ground.

Cat-Hater fought his night medication and forced himself to remain awake. He tiptoed into the side room, where Bev had arranged to ravage the nurse and grabbed the keys. Bev winked a sparkly eye at him, but Rob remained blissfully oblivious to the extra presence.

Cat-Hater could hear his heart beat in his ears. His body was sticky with fear. But, he was determined to carry out his plan. He unlocked the ward door and advanced up the stairs to the top floor. He knew not what he would find, but he felt sure that somewhere within the rooms on that floor lay the answer.

When he opened the door leading to the top floor, he discovered a large laboratory-like room. Computers, screens, machinery of torture and the remains of human brains littered his surroundings. He felt sick with fear and anticipation. He did not know where to begin.

"Help, help me." Behind Cat-Hater emanated a voice. He could see no one and did not recognise the voice as one of his own.

"Where are you?" He pleaded, "Help."

To Cat-Hater's horror and revulsion the voice seemed to be coming from a jar. Inside the jar was the cerebral cortex of a brain. He approached the jar. "You talking to me?" He asked.

"He pulled me out of my head…and left me here. How can I bite without my teeth?" It was The Psychopath, not the pleasant, saturnine version who had appeared on the TV news, but the cruel and bullying essence of the man with whom Cat-Hater had shared a ward. The Psychopath's brain recounted a story that chilled him.

Over a 4-day period the doctor had, with predatory ease and efficacy, consumed The Psychopath's psychical energy. Asking him questions about his life, emotions and the symptoms he had experienced he had constructed a portrait of the troubled and troubling man. On the fourth day, he removed his brain from his head.

So, this was the reality of normalisation therapy. Cat-Hater knew that he would be next to be treated. By a process of systematic genocide, The Mad would be eliminated. His fate had been revealed. He had been formed to save his race, the terminally insane.

When Cat-Hater returned to the ward, he crept past Big Bev and Randy Rob sharing a post-coital cigarette. Their backs were turned from him, so he gently slid the keys along the floor. He sloped back to his room and spent the rest of the night planning the aliens defeat.

The following morning, shortly before lunchtime, the doctor appeared on the ward. As expected, he approached Cat-Hater, requesting to speak to him. Cat-Hater followed him into his office.

"Saviour, Messiah, you are Lucifer, himself."

"How ARE you?" The doctor began. "Are you still being bothered by those nasty voices? Who do you THINK you are, today? Have you read the Bible, recently?" Cat-Hater's mind reeled; he had to save his kind. But, how? He kept remembering how The Psychopath's brain had told him that the key to defeating the aliens lay in their eyes.

The more he spoke, the more the doctor's eyes glowed green. Cat-Hater felt as though he were drowning, his energy dissipating by the second. But, a force gripped him propelling him to rise and dive at the doctor's unprepared torso. He plunged his thumbs into the doctor's eyes. Feeling the sockets pop, he forced his fingers and then, his hands inside. A green substance, thicker and stickier than blood spurted into the air, covering Cat-Hater's face and clothes. The doctor's arms and legs still flailed. So Cat-Hater summoned every ounce of strength he could muster and rode two clenched fists into his adversary's skull. Screams resonated throughout the ward. All the nurses dropped to their knees, covering their eyes.

Eventually, the doctor lay motionless. Emerald squelches of brain glared from every facial orifice. Cat-Hater wiped his hands on his jeans and left the office. All that remained of the nurses was a sticky green residue where each had once stood. Only Bev reacted when he first appeared in the corridor. "We're free," Cat-Hater shouted. Bev started to dance. "And now, the lunatics really will take over the asylum." He beamed.

Later, a new patient was admitted to the ward. On admission the ward psychiatrist interviewed him and outlined his treatment plan. He prescribed him intensive LSD therapy for two months, two hours of art therapy per day, recommended a thorough and comprehensive analysis of the lyrics of Stephen Patrick Morrissey and ketamine twice weekly. "Can you start it now?" The patient beamed. "But, of course," Cat-Hater replied.


Louise M. Hart lives in Birmingham, U.K. and is a mad rights advocate. She has published 2 novels and a poetry collection. Her work has been published online on sites such as I am not a Silent Poet and the Scum Gentry, Alternative Arts and Media magazine. Hart is the creator of Luna, a bipolar superhero, whose adventures have been published by the Scum Gentry. Follow her blog at http://madscribedotme.wordpress.com.