What if Robert had phoned the police when Giselle arrived in New York instead of looking after her?
A conversation I had with one my best friends after we watched this film…I just had to write this short story!
Their footsteps echoed in the tiled corridor, she could tell there were three of them, she had listened to the comings and goings for so long. The first set of footsteps belonged to Dr Watts, she knew because this week there was a stone trapped in one of his shoes, there was a slight tap with every other step.
‘This is an interesting case Dr Watts, when did the patient first come to you?’ His voice was soft and gentle, not one she had heard before, but she could tell he was an older man.
‘The patient was first referred to us from the Psychiatric Unit of the New York City Hospital, it was five years ago now.’ Dr Watts, that voice she knew.
‘Hmm, and you say the police were the ones who originally found her?’ Another voice, the third set of footsteps. A woman this time, her voice was thin and high pitched, not as soft as the man.
‘That is correct, they took her to the hospital late one night after they received a call from a concerned citizen that the woman was in danger.’ Dr Watts again, describing the night she had arrived here.
‘In the five years you have observed her, have her delusions ever broken, has she had any lucid moments?’ The soft voice.
‘None whatsoever. She has responded to none of our treatments.’ She shuddered at the memory of the small white things they had given her to eat, they made her head hurt terribly.
‘It is most unusual, there would normally be signs of lucidity in a time period that long.’ The woman’s voice this time. ‘What medication is she taking at the moment?’
She could hear the quickening of Dr Watt’s breath ‘None, at the moment, the situation is …complicated.’ Dr Watts replied, fumbling his words.
‘Complicated?’ The soft voice, she liked this one, it was comforting, but she could not trust that, the orderlies sounded comforting too but she knew what they were capable of.
She heard Dr Watts clear his throat several times, as though trying to speak, but not sure how answer.
A few moments of quiet before the soft voice asked another question ‘Can you tell us more about her delusions?’
‘Yes’ Dr Watts immediately sounded more confident, this he knew the answer to. ‘The patient believes she is a princess from a world she calls Andalasia. She was sent here on her wedding day by the evil stepmother of the prince she was going to marry, Prince Edward.’ Both man and woman chuckled, Dr Watts joined in for a second. ‘I know, a touching tale, if it weren’t so sad.’
‘As far as delusions go, it seems harmless. Have you questioned her about this world, pointed out inaccuracies in her story?’ The woman asked.
She heard Dr Watts take a deep breath before replying ‘The difficulty we had at the start was that her story remained consistent. The patient has woven an intricate web of friendships and characters, all of whom she truly seems to believe are real.’
‘Have you tried role playing with these characters? I had a case with a patient where role play allowed them to see the inconsistencies in their own characters, it helped them to see through the delusions.’ The soft voice again.
Dr Watts cleared his throat ‘Yes…we uh…tried that, however it was not successful.’
‘Any why was that?’ The soft voice.
‘The patient believes these characters are…animals.’ Dr Watts said with a sigh.
‘Animals?’ Both voices this time.
‘”Yes. Anthropomorphised animals, they talk as we do, they have rich personalities and she describes them in great detail.’ Dr Watts said curtly. She could tell from his voice he was getting more nervous.
‘How very interesting’ the soft voice said ‘and she believes she herself is human?’
‘Yes, she has never once indicated that she believes otherwise.’
The woman spoke up ‘Have you tried getting her to interact with animals, to prove that they are not able to talk?’
Dr Watts started to fumble over his words again. ‘Well…we….well…Dr Knight, Dr Wilson, this is why I have brought you here.’
‘Oh?’ She could hear the puzzlement in both of their voices.
‘There was an….accident…one night’ Accident. He still used that word. ‘An orderly was in her cell…checking on her. The patient experienced an…episode…and, well, screamed.’
‘Had she experienced an episode such as this before?’ the soft voice.
‘No. Nothing like this before, which is why the orderly was allowed in the room with her.’
‘Well what happened?’ The woman’s voice.
‘The patient…screamed…and when the other orderlies arrived at her cell…the orderly was…’ he cleared his throat ‘Excuse me, this is…difficult…for me.’ He paused again. ‘The orderly was on the floor, covered in rats. They were biting him.’
‘And the patient? What of the patient?’ the soft voice.
Dr Watts inhaled sharply ‘The patient was sat calmly on the bed, the rats forming a circle around her, not touching her.’
Not a sound.
It seemed like an age until one of them spoke.
‘When did this incident happen?’ the soft voice.
‘One month ago’ Dr Watts replied.
‘Where is the orderly now?’ the woman asked.
‘He…he died…the…rats…carried his body out into this corridor, before…returning to the room.’ His voice kept choking, he could barely speak. ‘No one…no one has been able to enter since.’
‘You mean to say…’ the soft voice ‘they are still in there?’
Silence, followed by footsteps, they were right outside her door.
She looked up towards the glass pane from the corner in which she sat, her friends filled the floor between her and the door. Two faces stared in at her.
Smiling, she gave them a little wave, it was only polite after all.
Author note: I love Enchanted…but I couldn’t resist completely twisting the story when I had this conversation with my friend. I had this vision of Giselle sitting in this padded room, surrounded by rats, creepily waving at the doctors and I just couldn’t get it out of my head! I hope you all enjoyed it, let me know in the comments below or on social media!
If you haven’t watched Enchanted, I’d recommend it! Enchanted on IMDb
Image taken from Pixabay (Free Stock Photos)