Ellis woke up at the crack of dawn, gentle whispers greeting him kindly as he slowly sat up in his twin bed. The weak morning light crept through the translucent window, motes of dust dancing gracefully in its presence.
"Daria will be making her rounds soon," Ellis thought with annoyance as he looked around his dirty room, dull-colored slacks and shirts scattered around the small space, the small bin by his bedside overflowing with empty water bottles and tangerine skins.
He didn't like Daria cleaning his room, the elderly Ukrainian woman filling him with an uncomfortable feeling. He knew it wasn't really fair for him to feel that way, after all, she was just doing her job, but Ellis hated people being in his room, even if it wasn't really his, and she didn't help the matter. She had such a morose air about her, her aura a graying shade of dark blue that left the already sickly spirits in his room lethargic and ashen. He'd ask what it was that made her so sad if he thought he'd get a response but Daria rarely spoke to anyone, the few times he'd heard her voice in the month he'd been at Alistair's only when she was answering one of the staff, her curt words thick with a heavy Eastern European accent. A part of him wanted to ask the spirits, consult their endless knowledge, but he knew all he'd get would be a vague response and more trouble than it was worth. Just thinking about them made the whispers louder, the hushed background noise growing agitated, eager to share their forbidden truths.
"Don't listen to them," Ellis said to himself, forcing himself to ignore his worse instincts. "That's what got you in here. Just ignore them." He took a deep breath, practicing the breathing exercise Dr. Evans taught him. "There are no such things as spirits. It's just your illness talking. They don't exist."
The whispers became quiet, growing dejected in his denial. The air calm again, Ellis got up from his bed, stepping over his scattered clothing and walking to the bathroom. He went about his morning routine, using the toilet followed by a quick, hot shower ending with him brushing his teeth. When he was done, Ellis took a moment to check himself out, wiping the steam from the mirror with a flush hand. He was looking better, his previously pasty white skin a healthy tone, the heavy crow's feet he'd gotten from one too many late nights faded enough for him to pass as a hardcore gamer and not a feral raccoon, his coffee-stained teeth now the normal yellowish color. His posture had even improved, his prolonged slouch straightened out thanks to regular stretching. You could even say he looked good, if you were into lanky teens with perpetually unkempt hair that is. Ellis stepped out of the steamy bathroom with a relaxed sigh, making his way over to the wardrobe. He thought about his current living situation as he got dressed, the same drab greys and soft blues spread across his floor filling his wardrobe. Ellis had to admit: things could be worse. Life at Alistair's wasn't that bad, calm and easy, no hassle. He didn't have to work, didn't have to pay bills; he didn't even have to clean up after himself. All he had to do was 'get better'. There was no annoying boss, well, Mr. Almasi was a pretty nice guy, no nagging girlfriend, not that he had one before, no condescending family, something he had a lot of, just pleasant beige walls and a caring staff to take care of all of his needs. Ellis did his recommended daily stretches, the occasional pop and crack filling the quiet room. Alistair's was great, really; just what he needed to get back on his feet. Finishing his stretches, Ellis stood up straight and, slipping on his sneakers, walked to the large wooden door on the side of the room, giving the handle a good yank. It didn’t open. He looked down at the electronic deadbolt on the door, an inconspicuous red light blinking back at him, no way to open it from his side.
"Yeah, great..." Ellis mumbled as he turned around and walked back to his bed, deciding to spend more time in his room at Alistair's Juvenile Correctional Facility for the Criminally Insane, the stay brilliant so far.