WHO: Ate (the Greek goddess of ruin)
WHEN: 1897 - 1902
WHERE: Danvers State Hospital, Massachusetts
WHAT: Five short years locked up with the mad leaves its mark
WARNINGS: Brief mentions of violence, suggested sexual abuse
It was well known to the doctors of the Danvers Lunatic Asylum that there were certain patients who seemed a little more... off than others. They were all mad, of course, why else would they have been there? But some, especially some in the ward for the criminally insane, were more disturbed (and disturbing) than others.
One such occupant was the patient designated W14A, a young woman by the name of Cassandra Harden who had been dragged in, kicking and screaming and hissing, in the Winter of 1897. The police had found her giggling and dancing at the scene of a gruesome murder - one of the poor officers had never quite recovered from seeing it - and that sight alone had been enough to convict her of being mentally unstable (to say the very least). But her insistence on claiming she was some sort of malevolent demon became the final nail in her coffin and Cassandra was locked away in the darkness.
Some of the doctors claimed she was a pretty young thing once all that blood was washed away and she was cleaned up properly. One of the doctors tried to insist such things in the cold cell she'd been thrust into but after his body was turned almost inside out by the madwoman's bare hands and found the next morning, few saw the attraction anymore.
Cassandra Harden may have been mad, but she wasn't the kind of mad they thought she was. When she told them she was Ruin incarnate she'd never lied. She may have been posing under the name of that crazy Greek prophetess but she was no less a God for it. But the energy of the insane is brutal and unforgiving and it took less than six months for Ruin to forget who she was. (Insanity had always been a weakness of hers, and just as each day in the past spent with the Maniae had made her a little crazier, so too did being locked up among the mad, losing her days steadily and finding it harder and harder to find a handhold on sanity. Here, locked within the walls of a hospital with madness spilling all around, the Goddess of Ruin stood no chance.
The hospital had been designed for six-hundred patients, though in the years that Ruin was locked within the walls the number was near doubled, madmen pressed into every corner. On occasion she was given cellmates, already raving things that - if they survived until morning - were even more scarred than they were to begin with. She was scarred as well, in a myriad of ways that made her ever more dangerous as she became ever more impossibly unstable.
The laudanum they forced upon her helped at first, but she soon grew resistant to it. After that the solution became straitjackets to keep her as well-behaved as they could manage. Still she managed to bite off the ear of one of the doctors who concluded that she suffered from nymphomania, a surprising diagnosis after she had been in the asylum for so many years, but one not doubted by the other wise medical professionals. A clear case of nymphomania to go along with her hysteria (both much easier to focus on and cure than her homicidal rage) and they began their work with ice water baths immediately.
It was the beginning of her fifth unruly year inside those walls when the doctors decided there was only one course left for Miss Cassandra Harden, the young woman who some less scholarly sorts might suggest was possessed by the Devil himself.
She was sedated as well as they could manage and then dragged from her cell and into one of the operating rooms. There she was tied to the table and the head doctor calmly explained to those assembled how a lobotomy was performed.
It would take months before Ate would remember her name outside the asylum, and even longer than that before she would remember the rest of it. But even for years after she still had no memory of how she left that place. Too many lunatics had walked around inside her head and too many doctors had tried to cure her so violently that Ate had simply lost large portions of the mind that should have belonged only to her.
Had the doctors cut it out of her head after all? She never could find any scars to prove it, but sometimes Ate wondered.