“AAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!” Inhumane noises drifted down the hall. Nurses and orderlies flooded the room.
A muscular man stopped her just as the patient was about to bash her head against the wall. From the look of things, she had been doing this for awhile. Blood gushed from her wounds.
“Andi, you need to stop this,” a petite woman whispered as the men restrained her. Andi thrashed her legs and then lunged at the whispering woman. The patient felt the sting of a needle and then fell limp into their arms where a strait-jacket awaited.
As her wounds were treated, Andi floated in and out of consciousness, unaware of her surroundings. There was only one place she longed to be.
“Mommy, we’re hungry. Maddie’s crying, hear her?” Seven-year old Nathan tugged at Andi’s shirt. He was scared but he had to take care of his three little brothers and his baby sister.
“Nate, Mommy has a headache. Can you please make sandwiches for them, darling? You’re my little man, you know.”
Nathan’s chest swelled with pride. He liked being Mommy’s little man. He smeared peanut butter on the stale bread and found a bit of jelly to make it not so dry. The milk needed to be saved for Maddie.
Around the table sat the motley crew of five. Maddie, just barely able to sit up, was in a highchair. Jonathan helped hold the baby’s bottle and stuffed his sandwich into his mouth with the other hand.
Beside Jonathan sat the two toddlers, Landon and Peter, just a year apart. Nate sat at the head of the table; wise beyond his years.
“Kids, we forgot to pray.
Andi watched it all as she peered around the door. Tears fell from her eyes. She whispered her prayer. “Lord, I don’t know what’s happening to me. Please be with my children. They don’t deserve this.”
Andi’s eyes fluttered open. Her head was on fire but she didn’t care. “My babies,” she screamed, “I need my babies.” Her voice reverberated down the halls of the psychiatric hospital.
The whispering woman came back. Prayer was the only thing Andi responded to. As the woman whispered a prayer into her ear, Andi relaxed and her eyes brightened. “Lord, help her,” was how she always ended these snatches of time.
Andi’s body tensed when she heard the door close. Her mind again traveled away from this tortured place, away from the bindings to another place of torture.
“Get your brothers in here now,” Andi shrieked. The boys lined up, biggest to smallest, heads down, tears falling. “You broke the lamp. You disobeyed me playing ball in the house. You’re going to hell.”
Little Jonathan stamped his foot. “Not going to hell!”
Nate grabbed his brother and drew him close just as Andi lifted her hand to slap the tear-stained face. When all she hit was air, Andi was livid. She filled the bathtub with water.
The boys knew what was coming next. It was time to wash away their sins. It was a weekly ritual that they hated. She methodically took off each boy’s clothes and set them in the tub, one at a time. Last was little Maddie.
The voices inside Andi’s head screamed at her. “Unclean!”
She shoved Maddie’s tiny head into the water. The boys tried to help their little sister as bubbles reached the surface. Tiny arms flailed and then stopped.
Nate screamed. It was up to him to protect his brothers. Andi took hold of his head and with all her might, she shoved him into the water. “Cleaned in the Name of Jesus.” Nate fought to the end but soon his body stilled.
She ‘baptized’ the three others. When finished, she got them out and wrapped them in towels. When the voices quieted, Andi snapped back into reality
She was found holding Nate in her arms, eyes glazed. No more tears would fall. She was dead inside, just like her babies.
The whisper lady was near as Andi woke up. She looked into her eyes but could only hear a little boy voice. “Mommy. We loved you. Why did you do this?”
“Oh God! Why did I kill my babies?”
The whisper lady dried Andi’s tears as she prayed. She knew a battle was being fought – the battle of good vs. evil. “Dear Lord, please keep watch over the dear children everywhere who are still alive and living in circumstances such as this. Please protect them from their ‘Mommies.’”
Author’s Note: Aundrea Yates drowned her five children: 6-month old Mary, 2-year-old Luke, 3-year-old Paul, 5-year old John, and 7-year old Noah, in their Houston-area home in 2001. It is believed she suffered from severe postpartum psychosis and, in a delusional state, believed Satan was inside her and was trying to save them from hell.
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