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When you’re alone, the world is never completely silent. No matter how much you try to focus on nothing, some lingering thought or sound always breaks through the mental barrier. For Scott Evans, the source of his misfortune, and the cause of his beguiled pain and suffering was the sound of water dripping in a faraway cavernous abyss. In another place and time, the distant echo of the drip…drip…drip, could have been almost soothing to his ears. Soothing in the way a viper’s poison paralyses its victim’s nervous system, before the serpent unlocks its jaws and consumes its prey whole. Scott was trapped inside of a strait jacket, lying face down in a padded cell, with no idea how he got there.

He couldn’t open his eyes at first. It seemed the only part of his body working was his ears, and their only purpose in the world was to hear the constant dripping sound coming from… the ceiling… the wall, where?

He couldn’t quite place where it was coming from. He could only picture in his mind the bottom crest of a water pipe, intermittently collecting water, and when those water molecules became too heavy they would break free and fall to the floor. He could almost set his watch to the perfectly timed droplets of hydrogen dioxide falling through the air, reaching terminal velocity and gladly becoming part of the bigger puddle of the ten million friends who fell before him. The sound was maddening, where the fuck was that coming from!?

Scott’s face was buried in what was some sort of padded cloth floor. His mouth was slightly open and he could feel the cold drool soaking the side of his face. He attempted to muster the strength to move, but his nerves and muscles wouldn’t respond. His mind felt foggy, and he couldn’t quite place how or why he was there, and he wondered if he had been drugged. The only thing he knew for certain was that he needed to find his girlfriend Catherine, and get the fuck out of this place.

The last thing he could clearly remember was spending the day at the lake with his sweet Catherine. They had been dating for the last eight months, and even though they were still in high school, Scott knew they were destined to last forever. He could feel their deep love every time she looked at him with those light-green eyes, and when she smirked that silly half-smile he had come to love. He could almost feel her hand in his, and the sun warming their faces during their mid-morning picnic at Clear Lake. Catherine was absolutely stunning in her yellow sun dress that had little white lilies printed on it, and her long, dark-brown hair was straightened and flowing down her back. Her smile and their shared moments were intoxicating. Her parents even loved Scott. He had an open invitation to dinner any night of the week (except on Sundays), and they were always spending the evenings in the family room, watching movies and eating popcorn. The only rule Catherine’s parents had was that the bedroom door would never be closed, and he happily obliged. He would never do anything to jeopardize what he had with Catherine. It was some of his most favorite times, and Scott believed it was definitely better than spending time with his own family. Which was difficult to do since his father ran out on them two years ago with a younger, bustier blond woman, that didn’t have any pesky kids to bring him down.

Now his mother was spending her days working two jobs, and her evenings drinking herself to death one cheap plastic bottle of vodka at a time. She didn’t even bother to mix it anymore. His older sister was the lucky one who graduated high school and moved out just in time. Scott was the one who had to work bagging groceries to help keep a roof over their heads, and some change in his pocket. He couldn’t wait to get out and move on with his own life. With Catherine by his side of course.

Lovely Catherine.

He tried to muster the strength to move again and managed to open his eyes to the blinded darkness surrounding him. The only light that could be seen was coming from underneath a huge steel door, which looked as if it could withstand a nuclear attack. His head was still foggy and his vision was blurred and his brain was having trouble processing all of the new information. His stomach cramped with nausea from the exertion. He decided to rest a moment and collect his thoughts.

He tried to think of how he got here, in this cold, dark cell, unable to move. Who would do something like this? Who would be so sinister to kidnap at 17-year old? Scott managed to painstakingly roll onto his right side, and when he turned his head, he grimaced in pain as he felt his neck return to its normal position. How long had he been lying that way? His muscle fibers felt like the old beef jerky Scott used find on the floorboards in the backseat of his car. Catherine would always make fun of how dirty his car was. But, he bought it with his own money, and even though it wasn’t much to look at, it was his baby. The silver paint was coming off and the air conditioner only blew a hot inferno right from the depths of hell, and the stereo hadn’t worked since about two U.S. Presidents back. But no one could take it away from him, it was rightfully his. He finally managed to set himself up, legs stretched out forward, directly in front of the white horizontal light emanating from the door. He couldn’t quite judge how big the room was, but from the distance of the light, he figured about ten-feet squared. He could tell his mind was returning to him and he was trying hard to remember what happened to him and Catherine, and how the hell he got into this mess. He closed his eyes and pressed the back of his head against the soft, padded wall behind him, and tried to clear his thoughts. Focus Scott! He figured he must be in some sort of abandoned hospital basement or something. He couldn’t remember any old, dilapidated hospitals in town, so he figured he must be far from home. That’s right, Scott, gather the facts. Try to make sense of it all and find a way out of here. That’s when he recalled something that was absolutely horrifying… the sound of rattling keys.

Scott’s mind convulsed with a vision of him wearing a white hospital gown and frantically running down a long hallway of what looked like a cell block. The hallway was painted in strobes of flashing red light, and the siren coming from overhead was mind numbing and threatening to crack his ear drums. The most terrifying detail he could muster, was the sound of banging coming from each of the cell doors, accompanied with wails of torture and screams of absolute delight. Laughter, cries, screams and joyous exclamations filled the halls and as the siren blared the unholy apparitions locked behind the cell doors banged in frustration as they tried to get to his poor living flesh. As Scott turned his head to get a look behind him through the chaos he tripped on his hospital gown and went sprawling on the laminated tile floor. The floor was cold to the touch and smelled of bleach and sterility. His arms came crashing down first to catch his fall, but his face did most of the work stopping his body; Scott was sure his mouth was bleeding. The painted cinder block walls laughed at his misfortune, and his whole body hurt from the shock of the fall. But he mustered the strength to get back on his hands and knees, where he managed to pull in a few large breaths of fresh, much-needed air. At that moment he looked ahead down the hallway and saw a green painted door, with very institutional white stenciled lettering that said: “Outside Visitation Area,” and in smaller just-as-institutional lettering below it read: “Approved Trustees Only.” This was it, this must be the way out! Scott got to his feet, and with renewed vigor and determination he ran towards the door. The strobing red lights with the corresponding sirens, and the haunted banging cell doors and screams of joy and terror were shoved to the back of Scott’s mind as he lauded the idea of freedom. Scott reached the door just as his lungs began to burn (when did I get so out of shape?) He reached out desperately to the brass knob and grasped it with his clammy hand, and gave it a hard turn. Nothing. The door, and only obstacle left in his path to freedom was tightly secured by a simple keyed lock.

He screamed at the top of his lungs, “NOOOOOOO!” He balled his fists and with both hands he started banging on the door. That was when the sirens and the lights stopped, and after a second or two the screams and laughter died down as well. It was like the ghosts of the dead patients knew something more dangerous was coming. Scott’s spine froze in his back, like a small stream in a blistering January winter, and he fell to his knees, defeated and destitute. That’s when the sound of rattling keys began. At first, the sound was far away, and Scott’s heart stopped beating in his chest. That meant he may have more time to get out. The sound of the keys was getting closer. He turned around and got back on his knees and started banging again frantically, he didn’t care if he broke his hands trying. He was going to get someone’s attention, someone had to help. Scott cried, “Somebody help me! I’m being held hostage! Somebody please!” The rattling stopped for a split second, as if the bearer of the sinister key ring was trying to listen for Scott. He wondered if those keys were to the cell doors in this crazy haunted insane asylum, and how many innocent people had died within its walls. How many were dying just like him right at this moment? How many of these tortured souls were already dead? Just as he was finishing his final thought the key bearer turned onto Scott’s hallway, and the rattling of the keys got louder, and quicker, as whatever dark figure picked up the pace. It had Scott in its cross hairs now and the end was inevitable. Scott fell to the floor and curled up in a ball, and closed his eyes. He couldn’t bear to see what was chasing him. That’s when the world went dark, and the last thing he remembered before waking up in this god-forsaken padded cell, was the sight of a singular drop of blood ruining, the perfect white pedal of a summer lily. As the horrifying dream faded from his mind, he found that his vision was blurred by hot tears streaming down his face, and falling onto the strait jacket. His arms and shoulders were cramped, and he couldn’t stretch or move them one bit. He banged his head in futile frustration and screamed, “FUCKKKKKK!” “I wouldn’t make too much noise if I were you,” a voice suggested from the darkness to his left. Scott’s breath froze and he struggled to blink the tears away and focus on the dark room. He could see the different shades of grey and black coursing through his vision, as his eyes and brain attempted to make sense of his surroundings. Then he saw it. The light coming from underneath the door, partially illuminated the middle section of the room right in front of Scott. He could barely see the outline of a foot, stretching into the column of light. Someone was in the room with Scott, sitting with his back against the wall to his left. In the same position as he was. “Who… Who the fuck are you?!” Scott demanded, as he tried to draw in breath. With a deep sigh, the voice replied, “You know who I am, it’s Kevin, your oldest friend.” Scott shook his head and let out an exasperated gasp of relief. He suddenly became excited at the prospect of having some help getting out of here. How did they kidnap him as well? What kind of sick bastards am I dealing with? “Yeah, and Mike is here too, you silly motherfuckers!” a voice exclaimed from his right side. Scott could see another foot jutting into the light to his right. Mike, his other dear friend was sitting directly in front of Kevin. Now he had his two best friends with him. Neither of them could see the big smile on Scott’s face. But they could both hear him when he started laughing.

Kevin let out a groan and Mike chuckled.

Kevin, sounding worried said, “Shhhh, be quiet, Scott! You don’t want him to hear.” “Fuck him, we’ll jump his ass, take his stupid keys, and we’ll escape this hell hole!” Mike announced to his friends.

Scott’s laughing died down and he regained his composure. The room was still dark, and it was difficult to see his friends, but their presence was a great relief. He didn’t feel alone anymore, he had faith they would make it out of this alive.

“How did we get here guys? What the hell happened?” Scott inquired.

Kevin said, “You don’t remember?”

“No, I don’t. Everything is a blur and foggy. I think they drugged me, or us. I don’t know,” Scott explained. “Someone fill me in!”

He could see movement to his left as Kevin repositioned himself and said, “It’s all that sick fuck’s fault. Mike did it! He’s why we’re in here!” he said. “Oh here we fucking go again with this bullshit!" Mike said with his frustration palpable, even in the dark. “If I wasn’t in this strait jacket I’d beat your ass.” ”Why are you such a bully? Why do you like hurting people Michael!” “Why are you such a pussy, Kevin? All you think about is hugs and rainbows and shit. You don’t have a mean bone in your body, that’s what I’m here for. Scott needs me to be strong. You just hold him back with all your bullshit feelings and poetry. You want Scott to get married or some shit, don’t you!?” Mike yelled. Catherine! Scott interjected, “What happened to Catherine? Is she ok? Is she here too?” And his friends became quiet, their feuding had ceased for a moment. Neither of them was sure how to proceed until Mike said, “You don’t have to worry about her anymore, buddy. She’s gone. Good riddance to her, she didn’t love you anyway-”

“She was just going away for college!” Kevin interrupted. “She was breaking up with him. I couldn’t let her hurt my best friend in the world like that!” Getting louder Kevin exclaimed, “She was coming back in the summer!” Mike said, “She was gonna go fuck other guys next summer, she wasn’t coming back to a pussy like Scott. She was going off to college where she’d meet tons of new people, and a bunch of hot guys. It would all start with her forgetting to text, and then to call, and then all-together, she’d forget all about poor little Scotty. With his piece of shit car and crappy job and alcoholic mother. Why would she stick around for him!?”

Kevin screamed, “YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO KILL HER YOU SICK FUCK!!”

Scott, confused said to his friends, “No, no she’s fine, the last thing I remember is us at the lake having a picnic.” We had ham sandwiches that Catherine made, and we sat laughing and talking all afternoon.”

Mike laughed again and said, “She was taking you there to break up with you. She didn’t want you causing a scene. Hence the picnic by the secluded lake. Dumbass! You’re almost as bad as Kevin over here.”

“You-You’re lying! She can’t be dead!”

“She’s gone, Scott! As soon as she said that she wanted to break up with you Mike took the knife from the picnic basket and stabbed her,” Kevin explained to his friend somberly. “Yeah, I took that knife and stabbed her in her pretty little belly, right through that stupid yellow dress with the white flowers on it. TURNED ALL THOSE FLOWERS RED! She won’t be hurting you again, buddy, I fixed her,” Mike announced victoriously. At that moment, Scott had another blinding vision of Clear Lake. There was a flash of the pale dead body of a browned hair young woman, wearing a yellow sun dress with white lilies stained with crimson blood, lying on a checkered red and white picnic blanket. A brown reed picnic basket with half eaten potato salad and sandwiches, was strewn about the dirt as if a struggle had occurred. The final image in Scott’s mind before the rage, terror and insurmountable grief reached its paramount was Scott looking down at the knife in his bloody hands. The cold steel of the serrated knife’s edge stained with blood all the way down to the hilt. Scott remembered the truth. That’s when he started screaming.

Then there was a crash. A thousand-pound battering ram slammed into the steel door, giving the poor frame a run for its money. Then there was the familiar, terrifying sound, the rattle of a key ring.

“Oh no he’s coming!” Kevin exclaimed. Scott didn’t care what was going to happen now. His Catherine was gone and it had been his fault, and his life was over. He didn’t care if he ever left this place. He kept on screaming. It was the only thing he had control over.

The lock in the big steel door turned to a satisfied “Clunk.” A blinding light from the hallway flooded the room and Scott closed his eyes but the tears and the screams kept rolling. The figure of a giant man was standing in the doorway with a long chain holding a heavy set of keys. The light behind him, shrouding his large thick body in darkness. With three large strides he crossed the room and grabbed Scott Evans by the neck, and brought his body three-feet off the ground, using only one impossibly strong arm. He said, “You better get off the noise, you sick fuck! I’m tired of listening to your screaming every damn night! For three years, I’ve been listening to this shit!" Officer Woodworth of the Sunny Valley Mental Institute (for the criminally insane, the locals always added with a chuckle) screamed into Scott’s face, with a tiny bit of Copenhagen Long Cut flying off his lip into Scott’s eye. His breath was horrendous. He picked Scott up with both hands and slammed him down on the padded floor, face down and knocking the air from his lungs. Woodworth pulled apart the back of his hospital gown exposing his bare ass to the world, and Scott began to squirm, thinking the worst. Woodworth told Scott, “Shut up, you little lunatic, it’s time for your medicine.” Then a nurse scurried in through the open door, and the next thing he knew he felt the cold moisture of an alcohol wipe, and then the hot prick of a hypodermic needle entering his buttock. Scott screamed out in pain one more time.

As the nurse hurried her way out of the room, Woodworth rolled him onto his side and got within an inch of his face and said, “Who the hell were you talking to anyway? You’re little friends again? Look around, dipshit, no one is here!” Scott looked around the now well lit room and saw that he was all alone.

The guard maintained his grip and formidable distance and continued, “Remember the other day when you ran away from that group counseling session in the cafeteria? I had a good laugh when I found you crying by the outside visitation door. You sure did give those other patients a scare. Did you hear them screaming? They didn’t know what the escape sirens were for; you had this place up in arms. All because you killed your little girlfriend, and every time you remember, you flip out again. The judge believed your lawyer when he said you were crazy. They should have given you the electric chair, instead of this nice padded cell. Well anyway, that Thorazine should be kicking in right about now. Sweet dreams, Scotty boy.” He let go of Scott and he slumped back to that all too familiar position, face down on the padded cell floor. Officer Woodworth left the room and slammed the door. A few patients down the hall began cheering with glee and screaming bloody murder at the loud bang. With his mouth slightly open, he felt the stream of slobber start forming in the corner of his mouth. His friends Kevin and Mike were gone. For now, but they’d be back. They were always with him, since he was a little boy. Kevin was always so nice and Mike, well, he was always the one causing trouble. He could hear the comforting sound of water dripping off in the distance. Was that coming from the wall? He was almost certain it was... That was Scott Evan’s last thought as he once again drifted off to his warm, fuzzy Thorazine reprieve.



Written by JE.AllenStories
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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