The writing below is a fictional account inspired by the story of Freda Frost, an inmate at Eastern State Penitentiary in the early 1900s.
Dust trickled down onto my fingertips. Movement, I felt movement. I glanced down and watched as a tiny spider crept its way up my arm. The first living thing I had experienced in three years, I picked up the insignificant specimen by its front two threadlike legs and watched it wriggle around, silently begging for its freedom. I smiled to myself, quietly enjoying every second of its struggle. I opened my mouth slowly and then hovered the spider over the gaping hole in my face. Then it was gone. Disappeared, just like my mind, down the many pathways of my body. Where was my mind now? I used to search for it, back in 1911, before the accide- no not accident, accident would imply that it was not purposeful, and it was. I once had a craving for sanity so severe that I resorted to the act of witchcraft. For almost two years it had seemed like the spells and herbs had finally helped heal my mind, my children no longer screamed at me in public, accusing me of rape and murder, and my husband started to sleep in the bed with me again. But somehow I still felt empty, wrong, and different from the rest of the sane world. But now, sitting in this cell alone, watching paint peel and hearing people die just beyond my thin walls, I realize that I was never broken. I was the sane one, the one with the clear conscience, the good samaritan, in a world full of monsters.