Chapter 22

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I have been employed at Wickendale Mental Hospital for the Criminally Insane for 4 months and 26 days. I've worked eight hours a day, five days a week. 760 hours total. Although usually long and dreary, in the eventful minutes I've spent at Wickendale grew a feeling I've never felt before. And I never thought I would feel it; at least, not with a mental patient. But whether I liked it or not, there was something that held him and I together and I couldn't ignore it. If I left this place I would never be able to forgive myself for leaving him behind, and that undeniable something between us would pull my stomach into knots the further I parted from him. So I had to stay until he was able to come with me.

But in these hours at Wickendale as I got to know Harry, I had also learned many things. Some weren't of much importance, like how I learned how to properly clean cuts and scrapes or how I had gotten quite skilled at applying stitches. Some things weren't as trivial, though, like knowing how to evade a killer. And more importantly, knowing that that killer was James. Knowing that Ms. Hellman was his mother. Knowing that Cynthia was missing.

I had accepted the known, though, and I had swallowed the puzzling and horrid facts. But the known was not what I was afraid of. The known was something that we could either except or deny, but at least we're not left wondering. What seems to scare us is the unknown, the endless possibilities. Like where James was, and what he was hiding from. He hasn't been at work and I didn't have a clue as to what he was up to. I also didn't know what happened to Cynthia still, her whereabouts remaining a mystery. I didn't know that Norman was slowly waking up from his coma, and that he was being watched over in the back of the surgery room. I didn't know the other doctors and nurses who were part of that wing, and I wasn't sure who I could to trust besides Kelsey and Harry.

Most importantly, I didn't know how I would even begin to get Harry out of Wickendale. And these were the things that scared me. But that was the plan for today, to make the unknown known and to render my questions answered. I was sick of being helpless and of watching Harry suffer in this prison when he didn't deserve it. So today was the day I would get answers. I made sure to catch up on sleep last so that I was alert and aware today, wanting to retain as much helpful information as I could. Usually important words were said and actions were executed, but my drowsiness or distraction let them slip by without notice. And by distraction I meant Harry.

But due to Ms. Hellman's orders I wasn't allowed to be near him, so that wouldn't be a problem but yet be my biggest problem today.
Instead of thinking about Harry, though, Cynthia Porter's image floating into my mind as I saw Thomas. He was walking through the large corridor of the medical wing which was a mix of operation tables, hospital beds, sedatives, and medical records in each of the rooms.

My shift didn't start for a few minutes so I figured I'd talk to him. He was my best shot at figuring out this whole Cynthia scenario, considering he was the one who brought her into surgery before her strange disappearance. I usually hated talking to people I wasn't familiar with, but Thomas was an exception considering the circumstances. "Hi Thomas," I said just before we crossed paths. He didn't say anything in reply but just kept walking.

"Thomas," I addressed more sternly in hopes of getting his attention. "What?" he asked rather rudely.

"Um . . . can I talk to you for a second? I have to ask you something."

He sighed, stopping and looking down on me like I was a pesky child. "What is it?"

I wasn't sure how to word the question, so I just said the first thing that came to mind. "What happened to Cynthia?"

It was hard to catch unless you were looking, and the action would've slipped by without my notice if it were any other day. He shifted ever so slightly from foot to foot apprehensively. Nervously. "I don't know what you're talking about."

The performance was rather convincing as he did actually look confused, but I knew better. "Look, I saw you bring her into that surgery room a couple weeks ago. You can't just expect me to believe that I had thought it all up."

"Ma'am, I honestly don't know what you mean. Sorry, I can't help you," he said, although he didn't sound sorry at all. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have a job to do."

He turned and started to walk, but I wasn't finished yet. "What did they do to her in there? Did they run tests on her brain or something?"

He stopped dead in his tracks. For a moment he stood there but then turned to face me. "How did you know that?" He demanded, his voice having grown quieter.

"So it's true," I said, although it was more of a question than a statement. His eyes shifted from side to side as if he thought someone were watching. "Thomas, what do you know?"

His features were hard as he looked at me, reading my expression. It looked as if he were about to speak, but instead of his voice came only the sound of footsteps. He looked at something behind me and I turned to see the source of the noise. It was Ms. Hellman, heading towards us from down the hall.

Again dread hung over me with what was to come. Hopefully she wasn't looking to fire me or talk to me about Harry, because neither of those conversations were exactly appealing.

Once I looked back over to Thomas he was already across the hall, his figure disappearing as he turned a corner. I didn't mind his fleeing, though, because I had gotten what I needed out of him. It wasn't exactly a confession but was close enough to one to settle Harry's theory. Cynthia had been part of a test. I almost wasn't even surprised. Wickendale was horrid and this only further proved that fact.

"Rose, I have to talk to you?" Ms. Hellman's voice said from behind me. I jumped, not noticing she had gotten so close. She didn't wait for me to reply but just continued. "Assuming that Harry attacked you yesterday, you aren't to go near him any more."

I nodded, knowing that this was inevitable. At least she had either forgotten or was ignoring my shouted confession that I had kissed him yesterday. The damage was done and I didn't want to rehash the situation.

"And I don't need any more trouble from you, Rose. You're here for one reason and one reason only, and that is to do your job. And if you can't, there's no reason for you to keep working here. Do you understand?"

"Yes," I nodded, trying to refrain from punching the bitchiness out of her. She walked off without saying another word, and I was left alone in the large brick hallway.


These stupid fucking handcuffs were digging into my skin with every move I made and my back still stung like hell. My body was worn and my mind was weary, my own tired thoughts the only sound filling the cell. The floor was accumulating a layer of dust and I had just killed the 3rd spider that I've seen in the past two hours.

But last night I had gotten one of the best nights of sleep I've had since arriving. I had my cigarettes and I had Rose, which is all I really needed in this God-awful place. I was turning into a sap, I knew it, like how I was with Emily. I was starting to feel that way again. But if being a sap helps me sleep better, then I didn't really mind.

I had no idea how long I slept for, but five minutes after I woke Brian came ad told me that it was time for lunch, so I assumed it had been quite a long time.

We entered the cafeteria and I sat and mine and Rose's table, but she wasn't there like she usually was. She was sitting at the back of the room, the place where I had seen her my first day returning to Wickendale. God, she was so beautiful. Her hair was down, and I couldn't help but think that my comment from yesterday had something to do with it. Even from here I could see the green-blue color of her eyes. They seemed to be different everyday, sometimes a close color to mine and other times as blue as the ocean.

Her eyes met mine as she caught me looking at her, and I slowly licked my lips, hungry eyes scanning her body. I was purposely trying to make her blush and was rewarded when she did just that. I chuckled while she looked away, an embarrassed smile forming along with flushed cheeks. The rest of the time was spent making faces at her and chuckling when she tried not to laugh, sometimes having to cover her mouth with her hand. Words couldn't be spoken between us but we didn't seem to need them.

But hen either of us noticed a guard watching we stopped, not wanting to take any chances although our actions were harmless. You never know, though, and I really didn't want to get whipped again; once had been more than enough. But somehow I knew that the incident wouldn't be the last punishment that I would have to suffer.


After leaving lunch early, having witnessed Harry stick his tongue out at me or scrunch his eyebrows together at least a hundred times, I headed to Kelsey's office. I had a minute or two to kill and I prayed that she did too. I knew that I was currently living with her but I wanted to talk sooner than later, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to speak with her now.

I knocked and she just shouted, "Come in!" so I assumed she was free.

I closed the door behind me and found her at her desk, going through a file of some sort. "Hey! What's up?" She asked, probably surprised to see me. I didn't waste any time in telling her about the exchange between Thomas and I, desperate for someone besides myself to know so that I could get a second opinion on what to do. But instead of providing advice, she scolded me.

"Rose! I told you to stay out of it, what if he tells Ms. Hellman what you asked him? I mean I know it's awful what they're doing, but- "

"But what? They're performing brain tests and killing people here! What am I supposed to do, just believe that Cynthia disappeared out of thin air and let them get away with this?!"

Kelsey sighed, knowing that I was right. "I don't know, Rose. I have no idea what all of this is about but I want no part of it. I usually think this kind of stuff is interesting but thats only in books, in real life, its not something I want to get involved in. This is really dangerous, and again, you don't have proof. I mean its only happened to one person so far and you didn't even get a full confession from Thomas, right? So next time just be more careful. If you go around asking about James and about whatever is going on with Cynthia then Ms. Hellman will chew you out. She's capable of a lot of things, so if you're gonna go around playing detective do it quietly."

I sighed and nodded. She was right, this whole thing could bite me in the arse if I didn't do it right. If I could prove what they're doing it would get this whole place shut down. But I couldn't do it just yet without knowing for sure, and getting Harry out of Wickendale came first.

But with the thought of Harry came a wave of panic. "Kelsey, what if Harry's next?"

"What do you mean?" she asked.

"What if he goes into "surgery" next? What if they try to run tests on him and end up killing him?!"

"Rose, they won't do that. Harry's too famous, a lot of people outside of Wickendale have heard of him. It would be too risky."

I exhaled a long breath of relief. "You're right. Sorry, it's just a lot to deal with."

"I know," she agreed. "But honestly, trying to get evidence that they're doing those tests is really risky. Just wait and see if it keeps happening. Plus, you're already trying to get Harry out of here, so I would focus on that first."

I nodded my head in agreement. Helping Harry was first on my list, and getting James in jail was second. If I could somehow accomplish those two things, I would work on exposing Wickendale last. Maybe Harry and I could even do it together once he was free.

"Rose?" Kelsey asked again, breaking me from my plans.


"Okay, so I don't mean to sound like your mom or anything but that's another thing I wanted to warn you about. Harry's obviously innocent and going to the police about James is a good idea, but just because Harry didn't skin those women doesn't mean he's not dangerous."

"What do you mean?" I asked a little defensively, her words seeming as if they were only scratching the surface of what she really wanted to say.

"Nothing, its just . . . I don't know, something about him still doesn't sit well with me. Someone who burned his own father and grew up in a mental institution isn't normal."

"How did you know he did that?" I asked.

"I have his file, and his old documents from being here before are in there. Back then he wasn't a good kid, Rose."

"Did you work here when he was a patient? The first time he was here, I mean."

"No," she replied. "But some of the other patients here remember him."

"What have they said about him?" I wondered.

"Not much, but one woman did say that she had been afraid of him. She told me that everyone was. He was constantly being sedated and causing trouble, apparently."

"Oh," was all I could say in reply. This newfound information didn't change how I felt him, though. There's no doubt in my mind that he's changed since then.

"And look," Kelsey continued. "I know that burning your own father should automatically label you as "psychopath" but I read in a paper somewhere that another boy did the same thing when he was 15, and he went to juvy, not an insane asylum. Something about Harry must've seemed off. I'm not saying that you shouldn't try to get him out of here, but again, I would just be careful."

I nodded although I dismissed her words. Harry was a distressed and scared child, and he didn't know what he was doing. Nerves, dread, pain, and fear may have been the source to the "off" vibe Harry had apparently given.

"Okay, thanks Kelsey. I should probably get back to work." I walked towards the door, but before I left she said one last thing. "Just be careful, Rose. The court found him insane twice; there had to be a reason."

Although I did my best to ignore her words a chill ran down my spine. He wasn't crazy, and I knew that, but I couldn't deny the fact that she had a point.

And in just a few days, I would see just how insane Harry could really be.