21 | Ashley's Asylum

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"Ashley I need you to cooperate. I need you to help us, help you."

Machines buzzed, beeped and whorled in the stuffy room, clinical white, with the sickly sweet smell of detergent all-pervading. She was battered and bruised and apparently severely dehydrated, but other than that okay for questioning. That was the most important thing. That they could ask their questions. She was in a grey zone between victim and suspect which is why they'd bestowed this beautiful metal accessory on her wrist. From one captor to another. Ashley rested her head back on a firm pillow and stared hard at the detective sat to her right. He looked young but the way he asked questions made him seem a lot older.

"I need to know what happened Ashley. What happened while you were gone, at the cabin in the woods, the vet surgery?" He glanced around, presumably searching for the right words to coax out a response. "Why don't we start with the surgery?"

Ashley glanced down at the handcuffs attaching her right wrist to the hospital bed. She felt an uncomfortable heat prickle up along her spine as she considered whether or not she should say anything without a lawyer present.

"What day is it? How long have I been here", she began with a crackly voice.

"Ashley this is important. I'll answer your questions just as soon as you answer mine."

Her white hair covered her face as she tilted her head down to hide her rueful smile. "If I tell you, about the surgery, will you stop treating me like a prisoner?"

He sat forwards. "That depends on what you tell me, Ashley. I need to know all of it. The absolute truth, even if you think it'll get you into trouble. I just need to know the truth."

Ashley glanced back up at him. The truth?


...


Ashley walked out through the main entrance and loudly exhaled into the chilly air. She needed a minute to herself, even if it was only to grasp what was happening right now.

She'd taken a hostage. She had driven the car of a murder victim, with the murderer of said victim tied up in the back, away from the police and further held a second person at gunpoint. She was now forcing that person to treat the bullet wound of a psychotic asshole. What was wrong with her? Had she sincerely lost her mind?

This wasn't her, but she didn't know how to stop. Ashley felt like she was free falling down a bottomless black hole. She was afraid of going to the police, of not being believed, but she was equally afraid of continuing in this direction. She was so full of fear it made her sick to the stomach. It made it hard for her to think straight. Safety was all she wanted, to be held and told that everything was going to be alright but she felt like she would never have that again if the police didn't believe her.

The saying was 'innocent until proven guilty', but what did Ashley honestly have going for her? Who would listen to her, when the truth sounded like an elaborate lie?

Who would believe two, certified insane criminals, had the cunning and competency to escape a secure facility off of their own backs? What were the odds that someone knew how intelligent Michael really was or how his mind worked! How could anyone even begin to fathom his ability to scheme or implement plans that were based on the actions of others so far in the future, plans that offered such a minute chance of success they seemed completely ludicrous. Trying to explain that alone would sound far-fetched to any normal minded person, so how could she go on to say that her decision to work at Dale-Creek Hill was entirely a coincidence and, she had no knowledge of her relation to Michael. Who would trust the fact Michael being her patient was all David's doing? Who would believe David had been the only one helping them when he was dead and she was still alive.

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