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Chapter 7

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What a relief it was to be back. Home sweet home, right? Just inhaling this musty vomit-and-feet smell, being able to sit on this creaky bed and dusty mattress, being barricaded by huge automatic doors with absolutely nothing to do. Loved it.

My feet shuffled along the hard cement floor as I made my way over to said mattress, sitting down with a prolonged sigh. I swear, if you stuck a perfectly normal person inside one of these cells for a week, they would go mad too.

There's no real treatment, no good food, and awful punishments that involve a lot of whipping. I mean I knew Wickendale would be bad, but this exceeded my expectations. The only part of the day that didn't make me want to kill myself was talking to Rose. She was the only sane person I could actually discuss normal things with.

I had tried to talk to that James guy, once, but he seemed nervous around me. He also seemed reluctant to talk to me and thought of me as a freak, just replying in clipped one word sentences.

And I liked Rose, I decided. She didn't seem afraid of me and if she was, she didn't act like it. Sure she was annoying, but I'm annoying too. She also treated me like a normal person rather than a psychology subject.

Which is what most of us were to these "superior" and "sane" human beings. But we weren't much different, really. The way I'd like to think of it is that we're all crazy. We all have a part of our minds that are in a slightly darker and deranged place, but some of us explore that area a little further than others do.

Suddenly I was shook out of my wise philosophies when I heard footsteps echo through the hall. At first I thought nothing of it because a lot of people walked these corridors, whether they were employees or patients or visitors. But it was when I heard the voices that I started taking interest.

"Should we tell Mrs. Hellman?" I strained to hear the fearful whisper. A woman, I think.

"No. I'm not going to at least." Another woman.

"Rosemary we have to tell someone! One of the guards maybe?"

"Do what you want Helen, but I'm not getting involved. What we saw, it was . . ." I could almost see her shudder. "It was absolutely horrific, I don't want to rehash it. I'm not getting involved. I just want to forget I ever saw it."

I could hear their voices getting closer as I grasped the metal bars of my enclosure, leaning forward to try and get a good look at the anonymous women.

"Plus, we weren't even supposed to be down there at all. We could get into huge trouble." The voice of Rosemary said. They were so close now.

"So! We can't just not tell someone," Helen said.

"Just drop it!" Rosemary harshly commanded. "Somebody else will find them eventually."

As she said the words the women passed my cell. They walked by quickly and weren't looking in my direction, so I couldn't identify their faces.

I couldn't help but wonder what the hell they were talking about, though. There was something going on here at Wickendale, that I knew from the start. Something bad. But I just couldn't decipher what. And now here these two employees were, scared of something they had seen in the institution which only confirmed my suspicions. Plus, this is the only excitement I've had in days, so I couldn't help but open my mouth.

"Hey!" I loudly whispered. They ignored me. I should've figured, patients are probably always shouting crazy things at them. But I needed to get their attention.

"Rosemary, Helen!" At that they turned. One was quite old, probably Rosemary, and the other was a young woman who like her daughter. Both had on employee uniforms and dark hair twisted up into tight buns.

"What do you want?" Rosemary asked quite rudely.

"What did you see?"

"Get back in you cell, Harry." I had no idea how she knew my name, but then again every employee is probably required to know all the names of the patients.

"I am in my cell." I stated. "Just tell me what you saw. What were you guys talking about?"

"Come on Helen, let's go," Rosemary ignored, grabbing Helen by the arm and turning from me.

Shit. I needed to know, or the curiosity would eat up at me. So I went out on a limb and used the information I was given.

"Or, I could tell Mrs. Hellman that you two were down there." I had no idea where "down there" was, but it was worth a shot.

I succeeded in my efforts when they both turned around, walking back to my enclosure.

"And who will believe you? You're a psychopath, Mrs. Hellman will think you're lying," Rosemary said, although it seemed like she was trying to convince herself rather than me.

"Will she?" I questioned. "Look, you both know I'm not like most patients. I've never lashed out or had a breakdown, I'm obedient, I follow all the rules. And for that, Mrs. Hellman likes me. I can almost guarantee that she would at least ask you about it, and you two don't want to have to lie, do you?"

The two women exchanged skeptical glances, still seeming hesitant. I think they needed a little more convincing.

"Think about it this way. You tell me what you saw, and I keep the information to myself. You don't get in any trouble with Mrs. Hellman, I leave you guys alone, nobody finds out about our little exchange. Nobody will know what happened except me and you two. And even if I were to tell anyone what you saw nobody would believe me, like you said. I mean I'm crazy, right?"

Once again they traded uncertain looks, seeming to discuss the matter with merely their eyes.

"Okay, fine," Helen sighed when they seemed to have come to a conclusion.

"She speaks," I said in surprise.

"We were in the basement and we . . . ," she started, ignoring my comment. "We saw three bodies . . . all women I think."

"Dead bodies?" I asked.

Her fearful eyes and shaky nod were the only confirmation I needed. "Yeah. But they weren't just dead they . . .they had been skinned."


I walked back to Lori's office in a much lighter mood, despite the awful weather. Which was odd, because Harry had initiated a happy aura this time, instead of leaving me upset or angered.

I really hated to admit it to myself, but he had actually been quite charming at lunch. During our Clue game he was so funny and charismatic, while he was actually being sort of sweet. Sort of. And by sweet I meant not making any rude or vulgar remarks.

But still, something about him was . . . refreshing. He was so lively compared to the other patients. If he weren't an insane criminal I might have actually considered becoming friends with him.

I was shaken out of my thoughts when a miraculous "BOOM!" erupted through the building. The raging thunder hadn't let up, and I assumed it would only get worse. This storm had to be the worst one I've experienced. Even through the thick ceiling I could hear the rain pouring onto the roof. The sound of rain itself usually calmed me for some reason, but now, with weather this harsh, all the noise was obnoxious and chaotic.

Two more rounds of bone-rattling thunder had sounded by the time I reached the office, stepping in to find Lori hunched over her desk as usual, going through more paperwork. I stepped past the few hospital beds to reach her, taking a seat in the small chair in front of the paper-filled table.

"Hi," I greeted.

"Hello dear," she replied, not looking up.

"Do you need any help?" I asked.

"No," she said. "We probably won't be busy for a while, all the patients went back to their cells while the storm passes. Mrs. Hellman doesn't want any of them freaking out because of the thunder."

I nodded in response, grabbing my book off her desk. I always took it to work with me in case of boring situations like this, and I was grateful I did so.

I flipped to my previous spot and started to read, completely enthralled by the words on the page. I was sucked into the story and lost track of time, not looking up again until the strangest thing happened.

The lights flickered, everything going black then light again. Then black.

And it stayed black; the power was out.

I looked up at Lori as our worried eyes locked, but we stayed quiet; because then there was a sound. Kind of like a chain being pulled or heavy doors being opened. A mix between the two, maybe. Then somewhere down the hall a mad shouting.

The weird part about the shout wasn't the tone behind it. That I was used to, lots of patients made lots of strange noises in strained, indecisive voices. The part that worried me was the proximity of the voice. It sounded close, much too close and then faded out as if someone were running past the office door.

Which should be impossible, because the patients were locked inside their cells. The thought of anyone escaping was ridiculous, the automatic doors keep them tightly locked in.

And that's when it clicked. The doors were automatic. The power was out. And with no power, the doors won't stay locked. So the patients could now escape their cells; and I had no doubt in my mind that that's exactly what they did.

I turned slowly towards Lori, not wanting to hear her say what I knew was coming. In the dim red emergency lights I could just barely make out her features. They were worried and afraid.

"Rose?" she asked.

"Yeah?" I whispered, for some reason afraid of speaking too loud.

"I think we have a problem."


I sat on the edge of my bed, elbows resting on my knees and hands holding my head, as if to keep it from spinning.

I couldn't believe what I had just been told, my mind was buzzing with this new information. There was three dead and skinned women in the basement of this institution. My "victims" had been skinned, and so had these ones here. The dead bodies had to have been killed recently, or at least recently enough to see that the skin had been peeled from their flesh.

I didn't quite know what this meant, but it definitely meant something. I just had to figure out what. I had to see the bodies for myself.

But how the hell was I going to do that? The bodies were supposedly in the back of the basement. Probably somewhere where they were never meant to be found. So that would take searching, it would take unsupervised time to find them; which was something I had very little of.

Hell, I can't even take a piss without a guard leading me to the bathroom, making sure I don't try to escape. Whenever I walked the halls there was always one just around the corner, a guard I mean. The only alone time I had was right now, when I was enclosed in my cell; it was just me and my beloved mattress. If only I could find a way past these damned metal bars . . .

Suddenly the lights flickered, bringing my planning to a halt as I looked up. The bulb went back and forth, dull to bright, and then shut off completely. At first I thought it was just my cell, but then noticed the darkness from the hall and the sudden raise in volume of the strange noises the patients always made.

The power have gone out; and it hit me right away.

I rushed over to the large cell door that had caged me in so many times before, feeling almost giddy as I was able to slide it open. I can't believe it worked, and what perfect timing.

I hesitantly stepped passed the cement walls and out into the hallway, hoping there would be no guards around. My eyes searched for them, but then I realized that with the power outage there was minimal light, so I wouldn't be able to see anything anyway. The only thing illuminating the halls were faint red emergency lights, casting an eerie glow throughout the place. I couldn't complain, though, at least I was out of that awful prison cell.

So now all I had to do was find 3 bodies in the back of a basement, which I didn't know how to get to, in almost complete darkness without getting caught by the guards.

Well, I've faced harder challenges before.


"I'm going to go out there and see what's happening."

"No," Lori protested. "It's not safe."

"I have to go find Ms. Hellman, we can't just sit here!"

"Yes we can, just wait. Who knows, the power could turn back on any second."

"You can wait, but I'm going out there." I told her, already up and out of me seat. Sitting here in the dark was scarier than trying to find out what to do next. Plus, if any patients crossed me I knew how to deal with them. For the most part.


Finding my way to the basement was much easier than I had expected. I figured it would be towards the back by all of the supplies and shit, I just hadn't expected to locate it right away. But thankfully, I did.

And with no complications what-so-ever. Well, except for my quick run-in with James.

But I lost him a ways back, I outran him by a long shot, so hopefully I wouldn't be encountering him anytime soon. Or anyone for that matter.

In the hallway which holds all of the supply closets and storage rooms there was a staircase to the basement. It was sort of hidden, though, towards the back of the corridor. You had to have been looking for it to find it, otherwise you'd probably walk right past without noticing.

The steps were covered in filth and the air was musty, signifying that this area had been unoccupied for a long time. My feet pummeled the cement beneath them as I hurried down towards the bottom floor, noticing the steps got dustier as they went.

By the time the walls on either side of me spread out into the large chamber that was the basement, a layer of dust was blanketing everything.

There were no emergency lights down here, giving me another clue that this wasn't among the most popular areas of Wickendale.

There was only the faintest of glows behind me, which allowed clear sight for just about a 6 foot radius, everything else being black. I could tell the basement was large, though, by the seemingly thinner and cooler air.

And if I was going to navigate my way throughout this large space I would need some light. I cautiously felt around, my hand successfully touching what seemed to be a flashlight.

I tried not to get my hopes up, swallowing them down as best as I could. I picked up the item and felt a protruding switch, fumbling with it for a second before I was finally able to slide it down, initiating light throughout the room.

Well wasn't this just my lucky day.

I shined the light around the huge area, searching for anything dead-body like. I walked around a bit, searching under tables and in corners. Nothing.

The only clue I had uncovered was a faint sickly sweet and rotten scent somewhere in the back left of the room. So I sort of sniffed it out.

My nose had mislead me a few times, steering me into spiderwebs and old desks. But this sort of misleading brought me to a new discovery, and a rather unpleasant one. Because on the way to finding the source of the smell I had seen dozens of old hospital beds, covered in dried blood. Dozens.

There were also old maps of what I think was the inside of a human brain. Why the hell would they need those? And why were so many of these beds so bloody, and why haven't they been thrown out? It was creepy shit.

But I couldn't think about that right now, I was on a mission and I was determined to make it a success.

I made my way towards the odd smell with it stinging my nose more and more with each breath I took. It was completely awful to the point where I almost couldn't bare it.

But I trudged through the stench and eventually came to a door in the basement's back wall. That's where the smell was coming from, it had to be.

I took a deep breath, through my mouth rather than nose, and slowly opened the door. And the sight behind it was enough to make me gasp in shock.

There in the corner of this tiny closet were two gruesome dead bodies, almost unidentifiable. They looked like some kind of animals that had been butchered, with not a patch of skin in sight. They were all meat and flesh.

"Bloody hell."


I walked along the corridors of the institution, hoping to find my way to the main office where Ms. Hellman would most likely be. I wanted to ask what we could do to stay safe and get everyone contained. Better to have a plan and go to them rather than sitting there waiting for them to come to us.

My steps were much too loud in the silent halls, seeming as if anyone in a mile radius would be able to hear. My goal was to be as quiet as possible to avoid any confrontation, but that didn't seem to be working at the moment.

Up there, a flash of someone running by. I jolted at sight of them, my first instinct to grab them and lock them up. But they were too quick and too far ahead. Plus, I didn't have a key to lock any of the cell doors manually so there would have been nothing I could do.

I just sighed and then quickened my pace to a slow jog. At that speed I reached the main office within a couple of minutes, not wasting any time bursting through the doors. But there was nobody to be found.

Duh, I thought. Ms. Hellman is probably out and about trying to keep things under control, she wouldn't have stayed here and watched all of the madness play out before her. She would be directing everyone back to there cells. I mean, she is the warden.

I decided not to end there, though, but instead worked my way to the back of the building. Since the main office was in the front I would probably see her on the way.

I walked for five interminable minutes until I finally reached the hallway of supplies and storage. Still no Ms. Hellman.

At this moment I finally let the panic I had so desperately fought back shine through, my breath increasing like mad. All of the patients were out and running wild, there was no sign of Mrs. Hellman, and I hadn't seen many guards. Someone could attack me at any moment.

And then , as if my worries weren't bad enough, a terrible thought struck me. What about the patients in Ward C? We're they still locked in their cells?

But before I could think about it, that worry was yet agin replaced by a new one. There was a man, a large middle-aged bald man with a snake tattoo near his left eye approaching me. He was a patient, I could tell by his attire. His name was Norman, I think. I tried my hardest to remain calm. He was walking directly towards me and my heart was pumping faster and faster with each of his heavy steps, adrenaline pulsing through my veins. Calm down, I told myself. Nothing had is going to happen.

But when Norman stopped directly in front of me I realized I could not be more wrong.

"Hey there," he smiled. I noticed he had half his teeth missing and his breath reeked.

"Hi Norman, let's get you back to your cell," I said in the most confident and superior tone I could manage, trying to walk back towards the main hall.

"Not so fast," he said in an oddly strained voice. I had no power as he roughly pushed me against the wall. It reminded me of my first encounter with Harry, although this was somehow much scarier. I tried to struggle against him but was much too weak, even with my adrenaline rush. I was so scared now, my fright skyrocketing to a point where I felt like I would throw up. Tears sprung up in my eyes as I realized there was nothing I could do.

"Norman, stop." I strictly told him.

"I don't think so," he replied. I was given no warning as his hand was shoved up under my uniform, which was unfortunately a white nurses dress and tights.

I yelped out in surprise and discomfort as his meaty hand roughly slid up my body. He released a shaky moan just at the feel of me. "I've been wanting to do this since the first day I saw you," he told me, his words dark and menacing.

"Please," I begged, already choking on my sobs. "Don't do this."

Suddenly something snapped in his crazy mind, his expression seeming angered as he slapped a hand over my mouth. I shouted out in pain but it was muffled by his chubby fingers."I do what I want," he almost yelled.

He shoved his hand further up my body, Norman's mouth twisting into a horrific smile. I squeezed my eyes shut, not wanting to see his face, hoping someone, anyone would help.

But suddenly there was a shift in atmosphere as Norman pulled his hand away from my mouth slightly and stopping his other from groping my body further. I opened my eyes just in time to see Normans head suddenly slam against the wall next to me with great force. My eyes snapped up to find Harry, and I had never been more happy to see him in my life. I almost jumped on him with a huge hug.

But he wasn't finished as his hand latched on to Norman's bald head once more. His jaw was clenched and his eyes were black with fury. Harry's great strength was evident as he slammed Norman's head against the brick wall with a sickening crunch. He tossed his unconscious and possibly dead body onto the ground like he was rubbish.

Then Harry abruptly turned to face me, features immediately softening. "Rose, are you alright? Did he hurt you?" He asked, concern lacing his voice and worry gleaming in his eyes.

I didn't answer but instead just shakily stepped away from the wall, relief washing over me.

And at this point I didn't care that Harry was a mental patient who may have skinned three women, but I did care that he had just saved me from the most frightening moment of my life. And I needed a little comfort right now, no matter who it was from.

So I came forward and snaked my arms around his waist. He seemed slightly caught off guard at first, but then reciprocated by wrapping his strong arms around my shoulders.

I nuzzled my face into the fabric of his clothing, body wracking with sobs of relief.

And he let me cry there for a moment, even cooing a "Shhh, it's okay. You're safe now," into my ear. The action of him soothingly rubbing my back was comforting, decreasing my flow of tears.

It was a crazy feeling, having no control over what's happening to you. Having a sick, sadistic, psychotic creep feeling you up, no doubt with worse plans in mind. It was frightening, to say the least. And then to have a person come and yank all of the bad things away, causing you to be ecstatic with relief was quite the emotional roller coaster.

"Thank you," I mumbled into Harry's chest, finally able to control my crying.

"Of course," he replied in a calming tone. Even though I was done bawling neither of us let go, the embrace was too warm and comforting.

But soon it had to come to an end when more footsteps were heard down the hall. I removed my head from Harry's chest to see Ms. Hellman walking toward us, her eyes locking on mine as she pursed her lips.

She had the worst timing.

"Well well well," she sneered at Harry I. "What do we have here?"

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