Chapter 17

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A.N. Hiiiii I just wanted to tell you that from here on out this fanfic is going to get much more intense and gory/graphic/weird so I just wanted to give you a heads up. But I have BIG things planned so please keep reading! :D Also thank you soooo much for all of your reads and comments and votes you guys are literally amazing! also please follow me on twitter @hrrygonkillme :)



CHAPTER 17

Wickendale. It was a place full of untold secrets. It kept the notorious hidden, it quieted the outspoken, it detained the insane. It just barely held onto the last bit of sanity of its patients, the pieces of a crumbling puzzle. These broken people either called Wickendale home or hell, depending on how they chose to view it. Judging by its eye-pleasing structure and its extravagant stone steps, one might think it is well-kept and even nice on its inner.

But people with those thoughts couldn't be more wrong. It was a mental institution, after all. You take one look past its large corridors and main offices, you find that there are many other terrors encased in the building than the employees may let on. There are three wards, one for each group of deranged humans. There used to be a children's ward, but that has long since been removed. Each ward has its own nurse's office, main office, guards, and of course, patients.

Tucked away in a far corner of the institution, is Ella Faren. She is on the verge of being moved to the second Ward, her illness progressively getting worse. But very few took note. Because she never showed it, she never spoke the words jumbled in her mind. The only time she had spoken to an employee in a rude manner was a year ago. All she had wanted us a swing, she had said. To make her cell seem her own she had demanded a swing. She hated being still. She wanted to feel like she was flying. So she screamed and cried and yelled and kicked until, finally, the warden had a swing installed in her room to shut her up. And she was happy ever since. Even when it was raining and her room was dark, she sat in her nightgown, swaying back and forth as she smiled and hummed along with the creaking chains.

In another part of the building is Damen Raloff, who's been kept in a straight jacket for as long as he could remember. He was always restrained and had to be spoon-fed whenever he ate, nobody daring to to release him. Because he was self-cannibal. At least that's what they called him. It started with his fingers, then his whole right hand. Then it spread as he started to hunt other people, devouring their human flesh. It had gotten so bad that he almost got transferred to Ward C. But he was actually improving, so he was safe from that treacherous place. For now.

And then there was Cynthia. She had been a patient at Wickendale for many years before her mysterious disappearance. She had murdered her father, yes. In fact she had stabbed him 47 times in the chest. For that she was sent to this institution. She was crazy, they said. She had stabbed her father for no good reason, she must be insane. People shouted accusations and thought they knew what she was. They thought she was a cold-blooded murderer. But they didn't realize that each vicious stab was equivalent to each time her father had took her down to her basement to molest her. He had violated her 47 times, so that number of stabs to the chest didn't seem as bad if people only listened enough to understand her reasoning. But no, Cynthia didn't have proof and nobody would listen, so here she was.

Many different kinds of criminals rested in their cells each night, each with a different story. Some are in fact insane, but others had reason for their crimes. A small few are even innocent. Forced to be kept in order by numerous employees and guards.

These employees that maintain the building also have some insanity within them, though, everyone does. What sets the patients apart is their decision to act upon it. They allowed their madness to overpower their sanity. Other than this decision, though, the patients and employees are really quite similar. In fact, one of these employees are deranged themselves. Someone among the many workers of Wickendale need to be locked up in the building along with the rest, not patrolling its halls. Because one of these employees is a murderer. And there was no telling who will be their next victim.



ROSE'S POV

I was an emotional wreck as I walked out of Lori's office, to say the least. Harry's story had rendered me speechless, and my thoughts had lost any variation as they could only focus on his disheveled curls and beautiful smile. But this time, instead of feeling of fascination or wonder that came with thoughts of Harry were thoughts of adoration and awe. And I was afraid of just how quickly those feelings would develop to those of love under Harry's spell. Because once that happened I don't know how long I could handle seeing him locked up in the filth and cruelty of this building, and I don't know how long I would be able to refrain from kissing him. Which I could sadly never do because I would surely lose my job and also my mind.

But learning of Harry's innocence had finally calmed one of my largest fears, although it also bared many more worries. Because if Harry hadn't killed those women, who did?

Before I had any time to ponder the question, I saw Kelsey at the end of the hall. "Kelsey!" I said, realizing I hadn't talked to her in days.

"Hey Rose!" She greeted with a smile, quickening her pace. "What have you been up to?" She continued once she caught up to me.

"Harry's innocent," I blurted, needing to share the news with someone.

"What?" She asked.

"He's innocent." It took her a moment to process the information, her eyebrows shooting up only to come back together in confusion.

"How do yo know?" She wondered. I would just tell her, but I felt as if Harry's word needed to be kept safe, as if our bond would be broken if I told someone what he had so vulnerably confessed to me. It wasn't my story tell. Plus, she would think I was gullible even if I did tell her and excuse Harry's testimony as a lie.

"I just know," was the answer I settled for.

"Rose, you do realize you sound crazy, right?"

"Yes," I said, knowing that it would take a lot to convince anyone of the newfound fact. "But it's true, Kelsey. You already know he's not like the rest of the patients here. And did you hear what he did today?"

Kelsey nodded her head yes. Lori probably already told her about it when she was dealing with Molly.

"Yeah, it was amazing. He helped me sedate her better than the guards did. And he doesn't even show signs of insanity."

"The best criminals don't," she said, her voice laced with complete confidence.

"Well I know he didn't kill anyone. I'm absolutely sure of it. And I'm going to get him out of here and show everyone the truth about Wickendale, and you're going to help me."

"No I'm not!" She protested. "Rose, at least wait until you have proof. But until you can find some I want no part of this, and you need to keep your thoughts to yourself. If Ms. Hellman hears what you're up to it won't be pretty. She's already suspicious of you two," Kelsey said, and along with her words a cold chill ran its way down my spine.

"What do you mean?" I asked worriedly.

Kelsey sighed and tossed her head over her shoulder, her eyes scanning the corridor. "Come with me," she instructed, voice dropping to a whisper as she grabbed my arm and dragged me to a nearby supply closet.

"What are you doing?" I demanded as she shut the door behind her, turning to face me and the many mops and brooms.

"Just listen, okay? You can't tell Ms. Hellman or anyone about this. Talking about breaking someone out of here can get you into big trouble, you don't know what you're getting yourself into," she solemnly spoke, more serious than I had ever seen her.

"And what kind of trouble is that, Kelsey? Because you obviously know something that I don't about Wickendale or about Cynthia or both, and you still haven't told me," I said, matching her tone.

She took in a deep breath and looked side to side in the crowded space of the closet as if to make sure there was nobody else in here. Then she looked me in the eyes, contemplating on whether or not to trust me. "Alright, it's time you knew," she sighed. "But I'm only telling you this so that you don't go around asking more questions."

I nodded, relieved yet uneasy that she was about to tell me the truth.

"To be honest, I don't even know what's going on here myself. All I know is that Cynthia is gone, and Ms. Hellman wants us to keep quiet about it. You're relatively new so she probably wasn't worried about people like you or the guards. But people like me who visit her everyday and have her records on file, we are the one's she's worried about. So she came to my office and told me to burn my files of Cynthia and to never speak of her again or I would lose my job. And that's it, that's all I know. I'm as confused as you are."

I was shocked and slightly disappointed with her information. Shocked because it was unheard of for a warden to simply eliminate a patient from employees spoken words, make her disappear from confidential files, and simply render her nonexistent. And disappointed because I was hoping to solve this twisted mystery, not be left with more questions.

"Okay," I sighed. "Thanks for telling me."

"Sure, but don't you dare tell anybody else. Just don't worry about it, don't ask questions. Something's going on and whatever it is, it's probably better to stay out of it."

I nodded in agreement. "Okay, I will."

"And stop hanging around Harry so much. Ms. Hellman asked me the other day if there was going on between you two, she's already suspicious."

"What tell her?" I wondered.

"I just told her that I didn't really know but that you were probably just making sure he stayed in line and I assured her that you were professional and wouldn't do anything you shouldn't."

"Thank you so much," I sighed, relieved. "And I'll be more careful."

"Good. But anyway, we should do something this week. Go shopping or get lunch or something," she suggested, and I couldn't help but laugh at her sudden mood swing.

"Sounds good," I said. "But first we need to get out of the supply closet."




I walked out of Wickendale and into the cool atmosphere of upcoming winter with my coat buttoned tightly to my shivering body. I hadn't seen Harry in the building since our conversation, and I already found myself missing him. I wanted to make sure he was okay, I yearned to keep hearing his deep voice rumble in his chest, I wanted to see him smile to pick my spirits up just a little. But he had probably been tucked away in his cell all day or in one of those supposedly helpful group activities I knew he hated.

He filled my thought as I had gone the rest of the day partaking in bland duties that Ms. Hellman or Lori asked me to do. But finally the long day was over and I could walk home with James and then get some sleep. I hadn't seen him come out of the building in five minutes of waiting at the bottom of the steps, though, and it was really cold. I was just about to give up and walk home without him when headlights broke through the fog of the air, a black car moving its way down the street beside me. I looked with envy at the vehicle, wishing desperately to have one of my own, especially in times like these.

The car lurked along the road and slowed even more once it approached, coming to a complete halt beside me. A wave of panic struck through my body, numerous theories shoving their way into my mind as to who could be behind the wheel. I found out soon enough when the window was rolled down, revealing James who was wearing a toothy grin. "Hey Rose!" he smiled, almost shouting to be heard over the engine.

"Hi!" I said, relieved it wasn't some creep. "Is that your brothers car?"

"Nope," he replied. "It's mine."

"Really?" I asked. I didn't know he bought a car.

"Yeah, I got it yesterday after work," he told me, grinning proudly at his vehicle. "Want a ride?"

"It's okay, I can walk."

"It's not a big deal, I can drive you," he told me. For some reason I hesitated, though I wasn't sure why.

"Come on, it's freezing!"

I finally gave in and walked around to the passenger side, opening the door and slipping into the warm seat. "Thanks."

"No problem," he smirked.

We sat there basking in the warmth of the heater for a few minutes, enjoying the escape from the cold air. I listened to the crunching of gravel and pebbles beneath the car and to the wind whistling as we flew past it. Other than those sounds silence fell between us, seeming as if we had nothing to talk about. Ironically just as I noticed the quiet, James spoke up.

"Shit, I think I'm running out of gas," he said. "I don't know if I'll make it to your house. Do you mind if we stop by my place really quick? It's closer and I have a gallon of gas there."

"Sure," I said, although I suddenly became nervous. I wasn't sure why, though. He had been to my place twice so I shouldn't be reluctant to go to his.

I watched carefully as we made our way down a dirt path, following the swerves and turns laid out through thick woods before coming to a brick house.

"Nice place," I commented, the house a medium size with a well-kept lawn and wooden porch.

"Thanks," he said, pulling out his keys as the car came to a stop. "Come on in," he told me as he nodded his head towards the house. I unbuckled myself and stepped out, fallen leaves crunching beneath my feet as I walked. He pushed through the unlocked door and held it open for me. As I stepped through the archway I was revealed to a cozy living room, a couch and two chairs facing the stone fireplace, each seat draped with a blanket and a variation of different pillows. It was very normal and homey which calmed my small nervousness.

"While we're here, do you want some hot chocolate?" James asked.

"Sure," I smiled. I haven't had the drink in ages. James wandered off into the kitchen which was set behind the living room to fix the beverages, while I took a seat on the couch. I heard the clank of cups and silverware behind me. I sat for about another minute before getting up to look for the bathroom. I stood from my spot and walked off into the hallway that broke off of the side of the room, my feet dragging on the carpeted floor as I realized I still hd my shoes on.

Oh well, we would probably be leaving soon and my shoes were relatively clean. I kept walking along the hall as I noticed a small wooden door on the right. This might be it. My hand rose up and my fingers extended just as I was about to reach the handle.

"What are to doing?" A dark voice asked from right beside me. I jumped in alarm, jerking my head to the side. Phew, it was just James.

"Sorry, you scared me," I smiled. "I was just looking for the bathroom."

James' face didn't break into a warm smile as it usually would, his expression remaining emotionless. "Well this isn't it," he said. "It's the one on the end of the hall." He stood his ground at the door of the room, as if he wanted to keep me from seeing its interior.

"Okay," I said, my nerves returning as I scurried to the apparent bathroom. I shut the door behind me and took a deep breath. That was weird. Why was he being so protective of whatever was in that room? What was he hiding?

Nothing, I told myself. I was probably just overreacting again. But even if that was the case, I took as much time as possible in the bathroom fixing my hair and washing my hands for much longer than needed. And when I opened the door again, curiosity was eating up at me. What if there really was something in that room?

I know this was stupid, but I needed to know. "James?" I called out. No answer. He was still in the kitchen. And in that case, it wouldn't hurt if I just took a peek. Just one quick look to put my mind at ease. I quietly rushed to the door, looking over my shoulder to make sure he wouldn't be able to witness my distrust. Once I was satisfied that he wasn't in eyesight, I slowly turned the knob. Slowly, slowly . . . almost there . . .

"What do you think you're doing?" James' voice demanded again, his body so close to mind I could feel it behind me. I barely had time to whirl around before I was roughly shoved against the wall, his broad chest pushing against mine. What the fuck. "I told you not to go in there, Rose."

"Sorry," I choked out. Whoever this man was, it wasn't James. Or at least not the James I knew. I cowered in fear as his hot breath fanned my face, trying to wriggle away from him but failing miserably. He had me pinned.

"Stupid, stupid Rose," he tisked, shaking his head in disapproval. "It's a good thing you're beautiful."

"James, what are you doing?" I asked, my voice coming out in a fearful squeak.

"Isn't it obvious?" He asked, his usual warm smile growing into one of menace. "I'm making you my next victim."

My eyes almost popped out of their sockets as I gasped in horror. "No," I whispered, not wanting to believe it. He threw his head back and let out a loud chuckle, his chest vibrating against mine as he laughed. "Yes. It's true. God, Rosy, I've been waiting for this moment for months," he said, and I cringed at the nickname. "I just had to get you here, to my home, but I needed your trust first. And I knew I would get it, I had my sights set on you ever since you arrived at Wickendale. You were so beautiful, with such wonderful long hair," he said enchantedly, twisting a strand between his fingers. My lip was quivering and my body was shaking, trying to push away from him while he remained still, as if I weren't even trying to defy him. "And what lovely skin," he said in a whisper. His fingers lightly trailed up my arms, them my neck, then my face as he dragged his pointer finger along my cheek. With each drag of his finger my heart pounded faster and faster as if it were about to explode out of my chest. I turned my head away but that only allowed him more access to the side of my face.

"Ms. Hellman said you were out of town when those women were killed," I said as if the statement would do any good. Tears were freely spilling from my eyes now.

I received another chuckle in return as his finger traced under my eye to wipe away the tears. "It's no surprise she said that. I mean, of course my own mother would cover for me."

With the raw fear overpowering my thoughts, it took my a while to process what he had said. Ms. Hellman was his mother.

"But that's enough chatting for now, beautiful. Let's have some fun," he whispered, his stale breath trickling down my neck.

I was going to die.

But suddenly, in this moment, I thought of Harry. He had been right about James all along, I should've listened to him. He had lost Emily to this cruel man that I once thought of as my friend. And now he would lose me. I envisioned him in his cell, tears falling from his eyes as he mourned over yet another death of one of the only people who cared about him. But no, I couldn't let that happen. He didn't deserve that. I had to live.

This newfound strength mixed with my scared adrenaline builded up inside me, my muscles screaming to run as James pulled a pocket knife from his back pocket.

I threw my knee up to his groin, and then immediately stepped on his foot with my shoe. I was thankful I had left them on. He grunted in pain as he turned and bent over, releasing me in the process. I turned and ran, but James was quick to recover. He chased after me and grabbed a large book from the coffee table in the middle of the living room, chucking it at the back of my head. He met his target as the object struck m as I fell with a thump, my head pounding with the impact. If his goal was to render me unconscious, he almost succeeded. Almost.

But I could still think, my mind reeling while my body remained still. He stalked over to me, his eyes scanning my body to look for movement. But I dared not to move a muscle. Let him think I was unconscious. I could use it to my advantage.

"Humph," he mumbled in approval. I heard his footsteps disappear down the hallway, immediately opening my eyes as I scanned the room for a makeshift weapon. There was nothing to be found, though, nothing I could use. Soon enough I heard James coming back, having retrieved whatever he needed. Quick, Rose, think. But there was no time to think, so I grabbed the nearest object; a piece of wood stacked the adjacent to the fireplace. I grabbed the item just in time as James' handsome figure appeared in the doorway.

"AHHH!" I screamed, smashing the wood down on his head with as much force as possible. As my temporarily bat came down so did James' body, falling to the floor as he lay still. I didn't take the time to check if he were conscious or not, though, my feet carrying me out the door. I ran along the grass and into the woods, running and running and running. As fast as my legs could carry me I sped the out into the cold night, creating as much space between James and I as possible.

Because I knew that he would come after me, and the chances of me surviving were dwindling with each step I took.

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