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He figured all he had to do was stay calm until his assessment. He'd explain the mix-up, and be out by the end of the day. If only the security guard hadn't insisted he take off his pants, and put on a hospital gown. "Why the hell do I need to get undressed to talk to a fucking shrink?" asked Carl. It was neither the time or place for a rhetorical question.

Two orderlies, a nurse, and the guard that incited the whole scene pinned him to the bed while another nurse cut his pants off him, and tossed a gown over his privates. It was the worst day ever to step out of the house while his underwear were still in the spin cycle.

They gave him something to calm him down, and he woke up later with his wrists strapped to the bed rails. Several hours later, a woman carrying a clipboard came into the room. She spent about thirty seconds talking to him, scribbled something on some papers hidden behind the clipboard, and left. He was sleeping again when the second string of ambulance drivers woke him and strapped him to a gurney. And that's how he showed up at Twin Valley around two in the morning.

He laid there looking up at the ceiling. Trying to be positive, he said to himself, "Okay, day one. Let's see what progress I can make today towards getting out of here." It was around noon when he rolled off the metal rack they called a bed with its thin as a bathmat mattress. He pulled back the threadbare curtain that hid him from the other three beds in the room, and stumbled out the open door into the hallway. Scratching his ass, he headed towards the common area.

He saw the tray on the lunch cart with his name on it had been picked clean. "It seems someone is a little piggy," he thought. He wandered over to an empty table, slumped into a chair, and stared out the double-paned plexiglass window. The sun seemed to be playing hooky for the day.

A few minutes later, a pudgy little woman, looking to be in her early to mid-twenties, sat down across from him. She rolled an apple across the table and he snatched it up instantly. He gave her a nod of thanks and sank his teeth into it. She set her elbows on the table and placed her double chin in her hands. "I'm Lucy Lipton. What's your name?"

He wiped some juice off the corner of his mouth with his sleeve and replied, "Carl, Carl Stash." Just then, a wiry little guy at the next table gave Carl a questioning glance. Carl gave him a fuck off glare, and the guy turned back to his own business. Carl was feeling uncharacteristically calm, cool, and collected. Lucy giggled a little. She coyly looked across the table at him.

"Oh, you don't mess around, do you?" She giggled a little more, and a tiny snort slipped out. She immediately turned red with embarrassment but quickly recovered. "So, what are you in for?" He gave her a sharp glance, and she shot up straight as an arrow. "Oh, sorry. Probably best not to get into that. I just always wanted to say that." She giggled again as she nestled her chin back into place between her hands. Her smooshed little face beamed at him. It seemed like Carl had himself an admirer.

For the next hour or so, he said very little while Lucy blathered on and on about whatever she wanted. Carl didn't hear much of what she said. He just sat there looking out the window. Every so often, he'd say something just to keep her contentedly thinking he was a great listener. She even said that a few times.

The wiry guy glanced his way every so often, but Carl just ignored it. One of the orderlies kept eyeing him too. Carl just wasn't in the mood to give a shit. He wondered if Lucy shared her room with anyone.

Eventually, an orderly came and ushered him down the hall to meet his doctor. Dr. Fennick was one of those overly friendly doctors that insisted you call him by his first name. If Dr. Sam really wanted to be Carl's friend, he would have dropped the prefix. He tried explaining to the doctor (Carl's name for him was Dr. Smug) what a big misunderstanding this all was, but it was obvious he wasn't believing a word of it.

"Oh, sure, sure, I've no doubt you'll be out of here in no time. We just need to go over a few things." Carl wondered just how descriptive the report of the altercation in the emergency room was as Dr. Smug thumbed through the file in his hands.

Carl had never been in a place like this before, but he was quite familiar with shrinks, counselors, and such. Many sessions in his youth (most of them court-ordered) had soured him to the idea of psychiatry. Carl was convinced Dr. Smug would make some erroneous assumptions from the file he had his eyes glued to.

He figured it was only a matter of time before the good doctor slipped the subject of medication into the conversation. Carl headed to his room and flopped onto his bed immediately after the session. He read a book about whittling he found beside his bed. He eventually passed out, missing dinner.

He regretted going to bed so early. He was wide awake now with what he assumed were hours before anyone was allowed in the common area. He was starving. He pulled his blanket over his face and focused on the light hum of the CPAP device coming from the curtained-off bed diagonally across from him. It enabled him to block out the guy in the bed next to his who kept muttering between whimpers, "There's madness without these walls, madness within," over and over again.

"Was he talking in his sleep or did he just not sleep well in this place?" Carl wondered. The hum wasn't as effective at drowning out the disgusting, incessant grunting coming from the guy masturbating across from him.

Eventually, he heard a light knock at his door and figured that was his cue to get up. He left the room and went into the common area. He didn't know what the protocol for getting a shower was, and decided to skip it when he saw what he assumed was the shower line already four people deep. He sat down and nestled his face into his arms on the table.

Lucy showed up a little while later, accompanied by the heavy, sweet smell of white lilies. "Morning, beef-cake," she said with a sleepy little giggle. She really was quite cute. Carl gave her his best smile, and she nearly swooned. It had been a long time since any woman had made him feel like a virile man. He couldn't hold back the feeling that maybe this was the beginning of something good.

"Certainly not the best setting, but hey, you get good where good can be gotten." Carl liked the way that line sounded in his head.

They chatted the whole morning away and turned quite a few heads, but nobody else joined their table. After lunch, Lucy said she needed to take a nap, and brushed his hand as she walked off. She looked back and flashed him a sexy smile before she turned down the hall and out of sight. Carl thought that might have been an invitation to follow her, but then Dr. Smug showed up and dashed his hopes.

His session with the doctor was mostly a blur. He did manage to quell the doctor's advances into the subject of medication, though. He didn't think Smug could press drugs on him as things stood, and he wasn't going to give him any grounds to do so.

Carl went looking for Lucy as soon as he came out of Dr. Fennick's office, but he couldn't find her anywhere. He finally settled on watching some television in the common room. She never showed up for the rest of the day. Carl worried he might have turned her off when he didn't follow her.

"Thirty-five years old, and I have to get permission to make a fucking phone call," Carl thought. As he turned away from the orderly, his fake smile fell away like an engorged tick on a dog's ass. Finally, after two days in this hell hole, he had phone privileges. He called up his boss and apologized for missing work.

"I'll be in on Monday, no problem. You know what I'm going through with my mother. Yeah, I don't think I can take care of her myself anymore. I've got some hard choices to make. Thanks for being so understanding. Yep, bye."

He hung up the phone and suppressed the urge to punch the wall. Putting on an act, and playing along to get the doctor to sign a release form was one thing, but he didn't like lying to Bob. His boss was one of the only people that never gave him shit about his quirks. He just hoped he could get the hell out of here soon and fulfill his promise to Bob before he lost his cool.

The rage inside him tended to erupt in outrageous proportions when he felt persecuted. He knew he had a few quirks that people didn't understand, but he didn't need to be labeled. He certainly didn't deserve to be caged just because he was a bit different. Making people uncomfortable wasn't a crime.

He wasn't lying about his mom, though. He was going to have to put her in a home. Crazy enough to call the police and tell them he was threatening to kill himself, and yet seemingly lucid enough by the time they arrived to convince them he needed a seventy-two-hour hold. Senility was a strange creature.

Not that it was difficult to convince most people that Carl was certifiable. His lack of social skills, funny habit of dodging eye contact, and overall jittery behavior complimented his scraggly unkempt beard and greasy long hair perfectly. He had no doubts the police officers were well aware of his long list of misdemeanors when they pulled into his driveway. His family referred to them as "outbursts."

Carl's checkered past just helped sell the whole misunderstanding. His past indiscretions were like a bitch in heat that periodically bled all over the carpet. Lucy once again was a no-show. He wondered if maybe she had been released.

In the middle of the night, he awoke to the creaking of the door. A sliver of light from the hall crept into the room and slipped under his curtain. The sliver quickly grew into the width of a tree trunk as the door opened further, and then was snuffed out by a shadow stepping into the doorway.

The door creaked shut, and the room went silent with one final click. Carl's curtain slid to the side to admit a short rounded dark form. He recognized Lucy's giggle as she crept to his bed, and slipped under the covers.

She climbed on top of him and nuzzled his neck as she fumbled with his pajamas. Her breath was ice cold, but that didn't stop his prick from standing at attention when she pulled it free. Her short, curly locks brushed his face as she raised her gown and slipped him into herself. The spicy, clove-like scent of red carnations slapped him in the nose as she sat up, and began to rise and fall with the rhythm of a carousel. She grabbed his hands and placed them on her hips.

Carl was surprised at how light she was. The Lucy-go-round began to speed up as she eased forward slightly. He slid his hands along her back and ran them through her long, coarse hair. The realization that Lucy had short curly hair struck him like a lightning bolt.

He shot straight up and rolled her onto the floor. The monstrosity quickly righted itself and spun towards Carl. It seemed much larger now as it towered over him. It wasn't covered in hair at all, but thousands of twitching, swaying cilia.

Carl came as he started to scream. "What's the matter?" It said with Lucy's voice, "You not into full-figured girls?" It clamped onto Carl, its hands biting into his arms like two huge jaws, and pressed him to the bed. It leaned in close as its gaping, dripping maw opened wider than a human torso, and bellowed out a thunderous laugh.

Carl woke up screaming and didn't stop until a cocktail of who knows what entered his bloodstream. He fell limp in the two orderlies' arms. The nurse lost her balance and fell forward as Carl went limp, chipping her tooth on his forehead. A gash opened on his forehead, and blood poured down over his still face.

Carl woke up in a hospital bed with his wrists secured to the railings. "Oh, not this shit again," he thought to himself as he scanned the room. It looked like an ordinary hospital room.

"Oh, good, you're awake," he heard Lucy's voice exclaim. He could have sworn she wasn't sitting in the corner a moment before. He closed his eyes, trying to block out the horrible image of her from last night.

"It was just a dream," he said with a sigh. The tension in his neck and shoulders subsided a little.

Lucy squeezed his hand. "Oh, you were dreaming? I hope it was a happy dream. Was it a continuation of what we did last night?" She coyly grinned at him. "You were wonderful, by the way." Carl struggled in his bindings. He noticed his ankles were bound as well. A look of concern came over Lucy's face. "Do I need to get a nurse? Your lips are chapped. Your throat must be dry. Do you want something to drink?"

Carl gave in to the tight hold of the bindings and nodded. "My throat is a little sore, and my head is killing me."

Lucy brushed her hand across his cheek. "You bumped your head last night, sweetie. Here, let me get you something to drink." She pinched the edge of the bandage on his forehead and ripped it off. A torrent of red gushed down over his face and into his eyes and mouth.

It washed over him, soaking into his hospital gown, and spilling off the sides of the bed, splashing onto the floor. Carl shut his eyes as the warm stickiness ran over his eyelids. He suddenly felt a heavy weight press down upon him. The flow stopped and he opened his eyes.

Everything around them was gone, replaced by a dark, ebbing, and pulsating mist. Lucy was on top of him, pulling up his gown. They floated there as Carl tried to push back the fear of falling. Lucy grabbed hold of his stiffening member.

He grabbed Lucy by the throat as she slipped his entire length into herself. She began to rise and fall upon him, quickening the pace. "Oh, you like it rough, huh Carl?" He began to tighten his grip around her neck as she arched her back, and began to howl with pleasure. Carl began to scream too.

The screaming of the alarm clock woke him with a start. He reached over and shut it off. He flopped his head back onto his pillow. "What a fucked up dream," he said. Looking around at the familiar setting of his bedroom, he sat up and slipped out from under his blanket.

His feet touched the hardwood floor, and he realized it was freezing in his room. Much colder than it should be this time of year. He went over to his closet and pulled a sweater off a hanger. He slipped it and a pair of socks on and headed for the kitchen.

Walking down the hall, he noticed his mother's door was closed. He was thinking how strange that was as the delicious aroma of coffee and sizzling sausage replaced the sweet, fruity scent of roses he had awakened to. He walked into the kitchen, and Lucy was standing at the stove with a spatula in her hand. She was wearing nothing but an apron.

He glanced around the room. Sitting in highchairs by the kitchen table were three dark, shapeless forms pushing cheerios around on their trays. Carl backed into the hall as Lucy turned around and rushed toward him. She gave him a peck on the cheek. "Good morning, sleepyhead. Did you sleep well?"

Carl shoved her away and backed further down the hall. His mother's door shook as someone banged on it from the other side. His mother's voice yelled out, "Carl, the door is jammed. I can't get out. What's going on out there?"

Carl twisted the knob, but the door wouldn't budge. "Don't worry, Mom. I'll get you out, just hang tight for a minute."

Looking concerned, Lucy rushed up to him and reached for his hands. He slapped them away and backed up further. The shocked and confused look on her face turned into a stern stare. "You've made commitments to me and your children."

She raised her hand and waved the wedding band in front of his eyes. "Don't think you can back out of your responsibilities now." Smiling smugly as though she had just won an argument, she turned away and headed back toward the kitchen. "Go wash up, breakfast will be ready in twenty minutes."

Carl lightly slapped the sides of his face a few times to bring himself back to the present and returned to his mother's door. "Back up, Mom. I'm going to kick it in."

Lucy yelled from the kitchen, "What's up with you today, Carl? Your mother passed away. You padlocked the door because you couldn't bear to look in her empty room. Don't you remember? Oh, please tell me we're done with that infernal hospital. I couldn't stand to see you in there again." He looked at the door, and sure enough, there was a padlock on it.

His mother's voice sounded through the door, "She's right, Carl, I'm dead." He backed up against the wall and slid down it to the floor. Huddled in a ball, he pressed hard against the sides of his head and started slapping his palms against his temples.

He opened his eyes. He was sitting in the common area of Twin Valley Mental Health Facility's low-security ward. He stared out the double-paned plexiglass window. The sun was nowhere in sight.

A pudgy little woman sat down across from him. She set her elbows on the table and placed her double chin in her hands. "I'm Lucy Lipton. What's your name?" Carl began to scream.

Written by Kolpik
Content is available under CC BY-SA