After years of rewriting, revising and editing my manuscript for my fantasy love story “Warding Off Reality,” I’m finally ready to move forward and independently publish this manuscript. With that in mind, I have set up the novel’s release date for August 1, 2021. For years, it has been a struggle to get this manuscript published because of my constantly deciding whether to go the traditional or indie publishing route, my insecurities with the manuscript (I’m a perfectionist!), and the myriad of personal issues I had to wrangle with.
So now, I’m excited to release some goody from that manuscript. Here’s the caveat, though: the following excerpt is a deleted scene. Hopefully I’ll be able to work the scene into the manuscript later or publish it in a prequel or sequel.
I’m setting the scene: After Morgan is released from St. Barbara Medical Center, she returns to it occasionally to visit Diego, with whom she fell in love while she spent time in the psychiatric ward. Insanity ensues in this scene. Enjoy!
For a month and a half, Morgan visited Diego in the St. Barbara ward, bringing a bag of M&Ms every time. She knew that per the St. Barbara policy, a former mental health patient from one ward could not visit a current patient in the same one. This was because the former patient might be a detriment to the current patient’s recovery since the former patient knew too much about the current patient.
Morgan went through the usual routine for the hospital visitation: park her car in the visitors’ lot, sidestep geese droppings as she headed toward the hospital, sign in at the front desk, buy some M&Ms from the gift shop, and head upstairs to Diego’s ward. Every time she was there, the exhilaration of seeing her beloved animated her, and it shone through every time she sat down with Donovan at the cafeteria table and chatted for about 30 minutes.
However, one day, when Morgan reached the cafeteria door and rang the doorbell, that pleasant routine was interrupted. The door swung open, and there stood a woman dressed in a black suit and a blue blouse. With a hospital ID bad attached to the lapel of her blazer, she had sternness etched into her face. Morgan looked behind the shoulder of this woman and saw visitors and patients, sitting at tables, watching the scene unfold. In the center of the room stood Diego, disappointment written all over his face.
“Are you Morgan Thorpe?” the black-suited woman asked coldly.
The dumbfounded Morgan nodded her head.
“You can’t come here anymore,” the woman snapped.
“Uh … who are you?” Morgan asked that question injected with uncertainty; she didn’t want to come off as bold for fear that would anger this stranger even more.
“I’m the head of the behavioral department,” she said. “Word has gotten around that you’ve been visiting one of the patients here, Diego.”
“Yes …” Morgan knew this day would come when she would get caught for violating hospital policy.
“We have a policy here that specifically says that visits between inpatients and former patients are strictly disallowed for the first six months the former patient has been discharged.”
“Look, I’m only dropping something off here,” Morgan said.
The woman glanced down at Morgan’s hand, which held a small plastic sack of M&Ms with a folded piece of white paper taped to it. She grabbed the bag from Morgan.
“Fine, I’ll give this to him,” she growled. “But you’d better not come here again, or else I’ll call security.”
Morgan felt humiliated as she acknowledged the whole room watched her depart from the cafeteria threshold.
The drive from St. Barbara Medical Center to her house took about 40 minutes, but the time-lapse seemed longer. As she walked up the path to her front door, her cell phone rang. Morgan dug her phone from her purse and answered it. “Hello?”
“Morgan, listen, I’m sorry about what happened back there.”
“I know their policy, but it was so embarrassing, having all those people stare at me.”
“I’m sorry, baby.”
“What happened? How did word get out?”
“Amber. She came by here and told one of the aides that I’ve been getting visits from a former patient. The aide rallied up the troops and were on the lookout for the people who were visiting me ever since.”
Anger surged within Morgan as she thought about the old hag she once talked to in the ward hallways, and the way Miriam trembled with fear as part of some sly act for God knows what she was up to.
About Teresa Edmond-Sargeant
Teresa Edmond-Sargeant is an award-winning journalist and author. Her articles have been published in northern New Jersey and Orlando-area newspapers as well as pop culture blogs. Her short stories are featured in the dark humor collection of “Demonic Anthologies.“
In her spare time she enjoys reading, shopping, traveling, working out, volunteering, and filling her mind with useless factoids worthy of pop culture trivia games.