Chapter 8

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"Solitary confinement? Are you kidding me?!" I shouted much too loudly for the small diner.

Kelsey replied with a grim nod, sipping from her cup of CocaCola.

"That's not fair! How long is he in there for?" I asked, still much too loudly.

"Not fair?" She echoed. "Rose, Harry bashed Norman's skull against a brick wall and put him into a coma!"

"Yeah, but he saved me from getting raped! Or worse, who knows what the sick creep would've done," I defended.

"Okay first of all lower your voice, everyone's staring. And second, why are you being so defensive? At least he didn't whipped or electrocuted. He'll be fine, it's just for one week."

I let out a huff, grabbing hold of my warm tea. I guess she was right, solitary confinement was one of the more pleasant torturing options.

"Well still," I began. "What Harry did was amazing, no matter how psychotic or deranged he is."

"Yeah, about that," Kelsey said. "He might not be as psychotic as we thought."

"What are you talking about?" I wondered, taking interest and leaning in closer.

Kelsey's voice dropped down to a whisper, obviously not wanting to be heard by anyone else in the room. "Well you know how Harry was out of his cell last night, near the basement?"

I nodded.

"Well during the power outage he went down there."

"To the basement? Why?"

"I'm not really sure, but you'll never guess what he found."

I stared at her, waiting for further explanation. "He found three dead bodies."

"What?!" I exclaimed, shouting again.

"Yeah, but they weren't just dead; they had been skinned. And the bodies were too fresh to have been more of Harry's previous victims, somebody else out there is doing this. "

My jaw dropped, not believing what I just heard. This was a lot to take in. "Okay, okay, so this means what exactly?" I asked, trying to make sense of it.

"It means that somebody out there, who has connections to Wickendale, is still killing these women. Whoever hid the bodies down there could have been the murderer all along; Harry might be innocent."

"Yeah," I agreed. "Or somebody out there could just be following in Harry's footsteps and he could still be guilty. We don't really know for sure."

Kelsey nodded. "Exactly, that's what Ms. Hellman thought. She still thinks he's guilty, and so do the police."

So this new information didn't really change anything. Harry was still behind bars, not that I had expected him to be otherwise. But besides the fact that there was still a killer on the loose, nothing had really been affected by this incident. Or so I thought, until Kelsey spoke up.

"Rose, I think you're missing something important here."

"What?" I asked, dreading her answer.

"The bodies had been hidden in the basement of Wickendale." She elaborated.

"Yeah, so?" I asked, still not understanding why that was so important.

"So the person hiding those bodies, most likely the murder, has keys to the institution!" Kelsey said loudly for effect. "And the only people with keys are employees. Rose, the murderer is someone we work with."

Oh, shit.

The diner suddenly became much too hot, much too stuffy. I needed some air. And I also needed this to not be happening right now, I had to go back to work tomorrow. Today was my day off but in less that twelve hours I would have to be back at the institution, back at Wickendale where a killer could snatch me up at any moment.

This could not be happening. Maybe I should just quit.

"Isn't it exciting?" Kelsey said, flashing a genuine smile.

"Exciting? Kelsey, it's awful! Aren't you even a little freaked out?"

"Not really," she shrugged. "I mean it's not like they would choose another employee as their next victim, it's too risky. Plus now that the police are on to them, there might not even be a next victim."

I nodded. What she said made sense. "Yeah. And the employee could be someone from Ward C or another part of the institution. They might not even know us," I said, only proving her point further.

"Exactly," she nodded. "That's why I wouldn't worry about it."

I just sighed, trying to put my worries at ease. Kelsey was right, I probably wouldn't have to worry. Or at least that's what I told myself.

"Alright, well I better get going," I said, just needing to be by myself to take all of this in.

"Okay, let me drive you."

Usually I would protest to her offer, but considering this new information I gladly accepted. Plus it was cold out, and it was a relief to not have to walk in the buckets of falling snow.

So we split our bill and left the tiny diner, getting into Kelsey's Ford. All the way to my apartment she talked about her new boyfriend, Marvin, while I pretended to listen, but not really taking much interest in the matter.

It was amazing to me how she was so fearless, so casual about everything. Like having an unguarded murderer in the same building as us everyday was no big deal. These kinds of things were exciting to her, she loves drama.

I, for one, do not. I was terrified. And while Kelsey droned on and on, I was mentally coming up with the worst possible scenarios for work tomorrow. Most of which ended with me being skinless in a basement somewhere.

But thankfully my murder scenes were short-lived when Kelsey pulled up to the parking lot of the apartment complex. I quickly thanked her and ran up to my room, unlocking the door and flinging myself onto the bed.

So much had happened in the past two days, I just needed time to think things through. It had been insane. I mean, first I start to sort of actually like Harry, or at least not hate him as much as I did. And then the power went out and I almost got raped, but Harry had saved me and I realized I didn't hate him at all. The way he rescued me was a little more violent than I had hoped, but at least he had helped me. And then Ms. Hellman had seen us with our arms wrapped around each other. After I had explained what had just happened she seemed to waver in her previous decision, excusing me to lock up the patients manually with her key. But this time she had James accompany me, thank God. And as I walked away I could hear Ms. Helman's voice. "Now, Harry, let's go decide your punishment."

I guess a week of solitary confinement wasn't so bad, though. It beats being whipped or electrocuted, like Kelsey said. And then finally I had a day off yesterday, a little break from all of this madness. But as soon as I was starting to enjoy that time, I find out that there's a murderer working at Wickendale. Lovely.

But Kelsey was right, I probably shouldn't worry. Whoever the killer was wouldn't target anyone in the institution, it would be too obvious and would leave too many clues. I'd be okay. Right?

"Harry!" I screeched in excitement. I couldn't believe he was finally home. I couldn't seem to remember where he had been, but I did remember he had been gone a long time. And I also remembered that I had missed him. I had missed him with every ounce of my being, every bone in my body aching with a certain dryness that only he could replenish. And I couldn't even begin to explain the relief I felt when he returned. It was like a dessert finally seeing rain, like the sky being lifted off of Atlas's shoulders.

My feet acted first, taking me out the screen door and down the porch steps within seconds. I saw him standing there with bags in his hands from his long and unknown journey. He was dressed so nice, in a blue button up shirt, sleeves rolled up just under his elbows. He had dark denim jeans on, held up with a tan belt. I was still running towards him while taking in his appearance and reached him in seconds. And I was so fucking happy it was almost overwhelming.

I wasted no time in jumping on him, wrapping my legs around his waist and arms around his neck. It seemed to have surprised him, because we both tumbled down to the grass. I ended up straddling him, palms flat against his chest. He stared back at me with an adoring smile, dimples set deep in his cheeks while he let out a delighted laugh. His eyes were sparkling and he seemed to have an inner glow that I couldn't describe. His joyful expression mirrored my emotions, both of us as happy as anyone could possibly be.

"Baby, I missed you so much," Harry almost whispered as his hand came up to cup my right cheek. His warm thumb rubbed over the skin in a comforting way. And he held me there for a second, eyes just looking over my face. Finally seeing me again after all this time, taking me in. But then we both had enough of that, and I crashed my lips onto his. And oh, his lips were exhilarating. They were so unbelievably plump and soft, and they molded around mine perfectly. Our tongues moved together with ease, like we had kissed many times before. And I wanted, no, needed more of this, needing to feel closer to him. I wanted nothing more than to feel his smooth skin against mine and devour those cherry-red lips, but didn't get that privilege.

Because then he gently lifted me off him and stood up, brushing himself off before offering me a hand. I gladly took it, interlocking our fingers immediately. "Come here," Harry said. "There's something I wanna show you." His smile was giddy and his eyes still held that sparkle. So I followed behind, even though my subconscious was telling me not to. He didn't let go of my hand until we had made our way to the backyard, over by the swing set.

I was stood in front of him as he had his hands behind his back to hold something that was concealed by his body. I looked at him expectantly and his smile grew even wider. But to my surprise, he finally brought forth the anonymous item, letting me see it in full light.

It was a huge kitchen knife. His smile all of the sudden wasn't beautiful anymore, it had turned devilish. And his eyes, those eyes no longer sparkled but they were mad, crazed.

"Surprise," he grinned before thrusting the knife down onto my neck, splitting it open.

I abruptly sat up drenched in sweat, shaking from cold and yet too warm all at once. What a strange dream. I was breathing heavily, still in my clothes from yesterday. I guess I had fallen asleep. My eyes darted to the clock on the back wall noting that it was 5am. All hopes of falling back asleep seemed lost, I was already wide awake. I might as well start getting ready for my dreaded day at work.

So I took my time in the shower, letting the water relax my tense muscles. Once the hot water had run low and it was turning chilly, I stepped out to get dressed. I cooked myself a nice breakfast and watched a little television to pass the time. I like being able to relax in the morning, its much better than rushing at the last second like I usually do.

But all too soon it was 7:30am and I had to head to work. The walk seemed shorter than before, and I figured maybe it was because the air was much warmer. I arrived to the institution in no time, thinking about my dream of Harry along the way. I mean I knew it was just a dream, but part of it felt so real. The part at the end where he murdered me was frightening, but on the other end the kiss wasn't.

And just that little glimpse of what it might really be like to kiss him, that was enough to make my mind wander. If a fake kiss of my imagination was that exquisite, a real one would be beyond amazing. I could just picture them now, his lips. They were so unbelievably plump, filling his heart-shaped mouth wonderfully. And they were such a deep pink. They somehow always seemed glossy from his habit of gliding his tongue across them, yet they were never chapped. Always looking soft and luscious. Just the way he talks and how his lips mold around each word, forming them slowly as he spoke.

But its not like my yearn to kiss him had any reflection of my feelings for him. It's just that he was so undeniably captivating, everything from his tall, lean body to his rumbling husky voice. But that was just his looks, I couldn't even begin to understand his personality. The fact that he had saved me from Norman changed my views on him, though. I mean at first I was scared of him, then I loathed him, and now I don't loathe him. I wouldn't say I particularly like him, I just didn't hate him whatsoever. It was a strange way to feel about someone, and I didn't even really understand it myself.

Harry took up the entirety of my thoughts throughout the day, making the time slip by quickly. He was the only thing that I could think of, really, to keep my mind off the murderer employed at the institution.

But I thought of him especially at lunch, which had seemed much too empty without him. There was nothing to do but sit there and watch the other patients. And now that I was used to conversation with Harry during these two hours, I had no idea how I had been able to sit here the whole time without finding something to do.

"Hey," a voice spoke from beside me, tearing the image of the curly-haired boy out of my mind. I turned my head to see James, a grin taking over his features.

"Hi," I smiled back, surprised to see him.

"You looked bored over here, I thought I would come talk to you."

"Thanks," I replied.

He just nodded, still smiling. He settled with his back against the cement wall like I was and looked out to face the sea of deranged bodies before us. "For mental patients these people aren't all that exciting," James noted, eyes scanning the room.

"Yeah, not really," I laughed. "It can get boring."

"I know. Sometimes I wish someone would have a breakdown just so we had something to do," he said and I laughed.

"Yeah," I agreed. "If anything the employees are more exciting than the patients, now that we have a killer working here."

"What do you mean?" He asked. So he didn't know.

"Well," I said hesitantly. "Did you hear about the bodies that Harry found?"

James nodded. "Yeah, I'm pretty sure everyone's heard about that."

I'm sure he was right, Wickendale is a dull place. Not much happens around here, besides what's gone on in the last few day, so news like that spreads quickly.

I then proceeded to tell him what Kelsey explained to me at the diner, and how there was a murderer amongst the employees here.

"Oh my gosh," James said when I was finished. "That's crazy. Do you think it's someone on our floor?" His expression was worried, scared even.

"No, probably not. I mean this place is huge, there's got to be at least thirty employees. We'll be fine," I told him, mostly just trying to convince myself rather than James.

"You're probably right. Just make sure you're careful," he said, and I smiled at his concern for me.

"I will," I told him. He nodded, gazing at me with his beautiful blue eyes. There was a moment of silence between us while he looked at me. Not an awkward silence but not really a peaceful silence; just silence.

"Rose?" He suddenly asked, breaking the quiet.


"Um, do you have any plans . . . next Friday?" He wondered a little nervously.

I thought for minute, trying to remember if I had anything going on. But then I realized I never really had plans. I had just moved here when I accepted this job a few months ago, so I didn't have many friends outside of Kelsey and James.

"No, I don't have plans. Why?" I wondered.

"Would you like to go to dinner or something? Or um, a movie maybe? You don't have to go, I was just-"

"I'd love to," I interrupted. His relieved smile made my heart flutter in my chest. I hadn't had much experience with boys, but I really liked James. He was always kind and he was really cute. So naturally, I agreed.

"Cool," he grinned.

"Cool," I replied, matching his expression. I wanted to stay and talk to James further, but I couldn't. Because then, of course at this moment, I had to use the toilet. It just had to be now, didn't it?

"I um, I have to use the restroom. Can you excuse me for a second?"

James just laughed at the question, nodding. I giggled and walked quickly towards the doors of the cafeteria. Wait to ruin the moment, Rose.

I made my way to the toilet as quickly as possible, almost jogging through the building. I guess this is what I get for drinking three water bottles in two hours. I kept going, knowing I only had one more corner to turn and I would be there. But then I saw something that made me stop all together.

Because there in this hallway was Cynthia. She was a patient I was rather fond of, even though she had murdered her father. She was nice, though, for a criminal. But she wasn't alone. An employee was accompanying her, I could tell by the mans uniform.

I usually wouldn't think anything of it, because lots of patients are taken to many different areas in the institution. But the way the man was glancing over his shoulder as if someone were watching, made me feel like something was wrong here. What were they doing?

I watched as he approached the door they had apparently been seeking, looking over his shoulder one last time. He didn't see me, thankfully, as I was hiding behind the corner. But I saw him.

He seemed around 45, with what I think had been pale green eyes from the few glimpses I got of him. He had dark hair which was combed over to one side, and strong features that made him look unfriendly.

I watched as he reached into his front pocket, pulling out a set of keys. As soon as he unlocked the door they stepped forward, the man pulling Cynthia behind him. Once they were inside I finally realized what was behind that door. It was the surgery room.

But this new realization only left me more confused. No patients are aloud to go into surgery unless they are transferred or recommended by the head nurse. Where I work with Lori is the place we evaluate them to decide what surgery they needed. From there they are taken into care by Dr. Morlin, the head surgeon. But I had never seen Cynthia in the nurses office except for during the monthly check-ups; she was in no need of any operation.

So why was this random employee taking her to the surgical room without permission? What if he was the murderer? What if he is sneaking in that room to skin her? A wave of panic swept through me, but then I came to my senses. He wouldn't kill her in the middle of the institution where someone could walk in at any moment. I needed to stop jumping to conclusions and scaring myself.

I still tried to find out why he was taking Cynthia there, though, by making my way over to the door and turning the knob. It didn't budge so I tried again, twisting it back and forth. But of course it was locked, like I though it would be. I guess it was worth a try.

But just before I was about to leave the door abruptly swung open, making me jump. The person behind it was the man I had seen just moments earlier. I could feel my heart pound in my chest as he stared down at me. And he did not look happy.

"Ma'am, you shouldn't be here," he strictly told me with an annoyed expression.

"I'm sorry, I was just wondering if you had a patient in here? Her name's Cynthia."

He sighed in annoyance. "You have to leave miss. Please stop trying to get in, it disturbs the patients." And with that, he rudely slammed the door in my face. Why didn't he just answer my question? Dick.

I was still curious as to what they were doing with Cynthia, but the last thing I wanted was to anger him further. So I thought it would be best to just walk away. I hoped James didn't mind waiting, because after I quickly used the toilet, I went to someone who might be able to tell me what the hell is going on.

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