A hideous screech shattered the mind numbingly quiet atmosphere. Opening my eyes slowly; I glanced up at the horrendously white ceiling with unnecessarily bright fluorescent lights, hoping that another sound didn’t come from the useless lump of flesh. Another, much softer squeal came from her. I flipped over onto my side. My roommate was on the floor, curled up in a tight ball. Her eyes, widened in terror, were focused on the ceiling, mouth wide open as if she was still screaming.
Her name was Lucille Darbins, stuffed in here because she had delusions of demonic creatures coming to kill her. She and I had been packed into this tiny, stark white cube for two years. Two long, soul dead years. Before this tiny purgatory, I had been put into a maximum security prison, seclusion only, until they had deemed me insane and shipped me here. I reached out for Daeori again, hearing nothing but silence. He hadn’t spoken to me since we were caught. In fact, I could barely feel his presence. I snarled when another whimper broke into my thoughts. Goddess, I hated this idiot and the place we both lived in.
Willow Haven was hell on earth. An old-fashioned, barely operational fun house of insanity. Lucille loved it here, said it kept the demons from killing her. She could still see them, but they couldn’t grab her in the middle of the night. Said she was safer than she’d ever been. Safe, that’s a hilarious comparison. This place was no haven; it was torture, ‘treatments’ were just punishments with a pretty name. One of their favorite treatments was tying us to the bed for twelve straight hours and sending electrical shocks through the frame. Sometimes the thin mattress would protect us, and other times you would be racked with a harsh spurt of pain.
Rapes and beatings were a very common occurrence here. Staff didn’t care enough to protect us. We were just walking stacks of cash to them, something to keep alive so they can get paid. Some staff would even place bets on who was next, or they would give some “personal encouragement” to patients. Few people have lived to tell what happens during it, those that do couldn’t tell their tale. From the rumors I’ve heard the patients would be strapped to a chair, a leather strip, laced with wires, would be strapped to their heads. The electricity would be cranked up high. The lucky ones died. My first roommate, Diara, suffered this fate after they caught us together one night. She lived for a year, unable to move, staring at the ceiling and drooling. Too bad she was more than easy on the eyes and knew her way around another woman.
Doctors got in on the action too. Their worst game was the hydro shock. They would shove you into a bath of ice cold water and hold wires under the surface until you were nice and cooked. I had, luckily, escaped that horrible treatment. Another scream rippled through my mind, bringing more memories to the surface. Images of Stacey’s last moments stirring up the bloodlust. I shivered at the sheer joy and exhilaration at the sound of her screams. I wanted, no, needed that feeling again. Something stirred in my mind.
’Let’s have a little fun, for old time’s sake.’ His voice was little more than a breezy whisper, but he was still there. One more won’t hurt anything, besides she’s begging for it. Lucy’s glassy eyes had turned to me, still filled with fear. I slid off the bed and stepped towards her, rapidly swinging her head from side to side, she slid backwards until she hit the wall. I knelt so I could look her directly in the eyes.
“What should I do with you?” She shook her head even harder. “Should I kill you quickly, or slowly?”
“I don’t want to die.” I snorted and flicked my eyes towards the side. A part of the trim was coming off, a hint of rusted metal peeked through. It wasn’t ideal, but with enough force it might work. I reached over and started prying it off.
“That… wasn’t… a choice.” I puffed between tugs. She moved, and I kicked her in the stomach. She yelped and curled up in pain. I yanked a portion of board free and swung around, pushing her to the floor, pinning her with a hand on the chest. “Scream all you want, Lucy; it makes no difference to me.” I swung the trim down with as much force as I could. The sharp ends of the nails nipped at her skin but didn’t do anywhere near the damage I wanted them to. “Dammit!” Thinking quickly, I grabbed the thin rope to the blinds and tugged until the whole thing came crashing down. I ignored the loud clank as it hit the tile.
“Leave me alone!” I punched her to silence her pitiful pleas, wrapping the rope around her throat and pulling it as tight as I could. She choked, trying uselessly to drag air down into her lungs. Her hands clawed at mine, attempting to tug them away. I didn’t notice the door open behind me.
“Someone help! I need assistance immediately!” The damn orderlies just had to care about someone right this second? Strong arms wrapped around me in a tight hold, hands pried my fingers off the rope, my arms were yanked behind my back and held. A wet cloth was placed over my mouth and nose, a heavy, ethereal scent filled my airways. I was sent into nothingness.
My head ached and was stuffed with fog. Cursing the orderlies once more, I wracked my brain for some clue on how much time had passed. Sighing, I gave up. Trying to open my eyes proved a bad idea when dizziness swamped me, I clamped them shut again. I moved slightly only to find, thick, stiff cloth holding me. Figures, they slapped a straitjacket on me and left.
Daeori, are you still there? There was no response. The drug must have affected him much more than it did me. I slowly opened my lids to a dimly lit, room. It was barren with cement walls, floors and large pillars. They had stuck me in the basement where only the “horrible” people would come to stay. It was dark, freezing cold and smelled strongly of mold, but it was peaceful and barren. If I had known this was the punishment for trying to off someone, I would’ve done it a lot sooner. Maybe not so barren after all.
A small groan caught my attention. I slowly twisted my head towards the gentle sound, a frown crossing my lips. A large male, whom I had never seen here before, was chained beside me. Only a pair of ragged shorts adorned his person. His torso was riddled with cuts and burn marks. Old scars lay underneath the fresh ones. He must have mouthed off to the right orderly if he got off this easily. They probably couldn’t toss him around as easy as they did the rest of us. He was a beast, thick cords laced his body, I vaguely wondered if he could bench press a bus. They probably darted him after they got thrown about. I snorted, I wished I had seen him wreck a few.
“Damn whitecoats always think they’re tougher than they actually are.” I heard a deep baritone chuckle come from in front of me. “Bout time you woke up Collier, thought you were out for good.” I glared at the guard as he strode towards me. The tall man came to a stop in front of me, arms crossed and a sneer plastered on his lips. “It’s so nice to meet the bitch of the hour. You fuck your first roomie and try to kill the second.” I snorted.
“Jealous?” He laughed, his smile quickly falling.
“They found the last body, right behind your house you know.” I shrugged.
“I’m well informed that they found Kevin, it’s not the last though. They’ll never find the last two.” I sneered at him. “Darius and Kara will never be found, and that’s just going to piss ’em off.” His lips turned down into a snarl. He snorted.
“You’re one hell of a rotten bitch, Collier.” He spat on the ground and returned to his post. The male beside me gave another soft groan of pain.
“Who is this guy and what did you do to him?”
“Names Mason Corvella, arrived about three weeks ago. Copped an attitude with Henderson and paid the price. Watch it demoness, he’s a charmer.” I rolled my eyes and settled down for a long wait. Who knew how long they’d keep me down here this time. There were a few moments of pure silence.
“Never imagined I’d see you down here, I’m honored.” The voice was deep and, had it not been roughened with pain, soothing. I looked over at him, meeting dulled lavender orbs nearly hidden by long thick lashes. His full lips pricked up in an arrogant smirk.
“Congratulations.” I rested the back of my head against the wall. He remained silent for a moment.
“Didn’t expect that,” he mumbled, “can I ask a question?” I sighed. I wish he would go back to his pained stupor.
“What do you want?”
“What did it feel like to murder all those people-“ He broke off with a wince, coughing a bit. He swallowed and then continued. “Was there truly someone in your head?” That was over one question.
“There is… was. Why?” He stared into the dim room, lost in thought.
“I was just curious.” Sounded like more than curiosity to me.
“It’s the most intense experience I’ve ever had, better than sex. You feel invincible, like you’re a goddess. No one can touch you, take you down. It’s hard to explain without experiencing it firsthand.” He nodded and fell silent, curiosity assuaged. “Why are you here?” A sharp intake of breath escaped him. He slumped over in pain. After a moment he straightened, panting.
“Full story or just the basic?”
“Nothing else to do, tell it all.”
“It started when I was much younger. My dad worked, still does, as a Social worker in Kentucky. He was always working, his family was just a minor inconvenience. After a while he married one of mistresses, who hated me instantly. Every time he showed me a bit of affection, she would spitefully punish me. Her jealousy ate at her very soul. She wanted to be the only light in his life, the only thing he loved. When he was gone, she made me sleep on the porch swing with no blankets, hoping I would catch my death out there. I ran away numerous times, only to be chased down by my father and brought back. Around 4 weeks ago I held a Glock to her temple, I was tired of her and her games. I hesitated too long and dad walked in. Ran off and was caught about a week later and brought here.” He sighed. Something was missing, a lot of things. His story seemed far too stilted and rehearsed. “I know you come from Texas, what part?”
“Outskirts of Kentamime, a long drive away from here.” Another quiet moment stretched between us. If his story was true, what really stopped him from pulling the trigger? Had something else happened before that, and someone threatened to spill it if he killed her? Had his dad truly been there? So many questions and not a single way to know what was true. He leaned closer to me, his body heat practically searing me.
“What’s your actual story?” I shook my head.
“Why tell a story if there is no ending?” He looked confused at my ridiculous answer but let it go. He leaned closer, straining against his chains. His lips were so close to my ear, I wanted to jerk away, but a soft sound stopped me.
“What would you say to breaking out of here?”
“I suppose you have a plan, playboy?” He smirked. Throughout the next few hours, we worked out a plan. Our soft whispers stopping when the guard made his rounds. We waited until what we assumed was late night or very early morning at the least. Over the hours Mason had been messing with his restraints and, once the guard was gone, he bent the now loosened, fragile links freeing his arms. He growled in frustration when he couldn’t get the thick cuffs off his wrists. His frustration came out in a huff. I rolled my eyes and motioned him over. “Get me out and then we can work on those.” He crawled over to me and began unbuckling the jacket.
I sighed when he finally got the heavy, constricting material off. I rubbed the feeling back into my arms as he broke the thin ankle chains. He pulled me to my feet. Pins and needles swarmed my calves. I staggered over to a pillar and used it to steady myself.
“Go check and see if any orderlies are posted.” He did as I ordered while I rubbed the prickling feeling out of my lower limbs. He quickly returned to my side. “How many are there?”
“One and it’s the night assistant, nothing we can’t handle. I didn’t see a walkie on him. Hopefully, he left it somewhere and we have more time before the guards come.”
“If we can get them to go fetch the guard, the way will be clear.” I nodded at the jacket. “Get me that.” He handed it to me. “Prepare yourself, Mason.” I threw it out in the hallway. It clanged loudly against the opposite wall. I heard a curse and then footsteps. The assistant shouted a command. He swept into the room, walking straight past me. Mason quickly knocked the lackey out, tossing him to the side. Heavier footsteps rang outside, announcing the guard.
“How the hell did you two get out?” He boomed. I clasped my arms behind my back and moved into his line of sight.
“I’m afraid that I’m just not willing to share our secrets.” The guard took a step towards me.
“I asked a question bitch! I want answers when I ask for them!”
“I don’t have to follow your orders.” He stalked towards me, stopping with his face mere inches from mine, his lips quirked up in a smirk.
“You think you can fight me darling?” I shrugged, with one quick movement I kicked him in the stomach, shoving him right into Mason’s powerful arms. Mason locked him in an unbreakable hold.
“Snap his neck.” I spat. Mason let go of his body, grabbing hold of his neck and, after some struggle, snapped it. The guard fell to the floor in a heap. I searched through his clothing, finding the building keys and snagging his gun. I looked back at Mason, his eyes were bright with excitement. All of his pain seemed to be forgotten for the moment. “Well?”
“You were right, it felt amazing!”
“It gets even better. Come on.” I looked out into the softly lit, empty hallway. We slipped through the eerily quiet hallways, making it back to my room without seeing a single soul.
“You would think this room would be shut up nice and tight.” In his few weeks here, he still hadn’t learned that they just didn’t care?
“They don’t care, Mason.” I looked over at the spot where I had tried to kill Lucy. Was she still alive or did I actually kill her? “Would you mind grabbing my clothes out of the closet?”
“Sure.” Meanwhile, I climbed onto the cheap plastic countertop and reached into a cabinet near the wall. My fingertips brushed a wad of money near the back. I grabbed it and hopped down.
“How did you get that?” Mason was staring at the cash with wide eyes.
“You would be amazed at how many people leave money out, staff included.” He smirked.
“Only you could get away with something like that. I’m glad you’re on my side.” I snorted.
“Trust me, anyone can do it. Nothing special.” I motioned towards the window. “Kicked out the screen a long time ago. It’ll be loose enough for us to get it out.” I quietly unlocked the window and opened it, prodding the screen until it fell to the soil below. I hopped out first, with Mason following, a bag in his hand. Everything was silent and still outside as well. We walked out into the parking lot, not bothering to hide.
“They really don’t care.” I heard Mason murmur behind me. Had he been placed in a padded cell for the entirety of his stay? Had he had no personal contact with any personnel? No, they loved torturing and taunting people. There wasn’t a chance of that. It couldn’t be that he was stupid; I could see intelligence shining in those brilliant lavender orbs. That only leaves me with one more option. He was acting. He was trying to get me to believe that he was absolutely clueless. I would have to keep my guard up around him. The security guard was right, he was a charmer, but his charms were going to get nowhere with me.
“There’s the car, Hanzard never takes his keys out of it.”
“How do you know all of this?”
“It pays to befriend the right people.” I walked to the car and slid in the driver’s seat. Mason joined me seconds later.
“Where are we going?”
“To my house.”
“Won’t there be neighbors who can easily report us?” I was already regretting bringing him along.
“Then I guess we’ll just have to be careful, now won’t we?” I could tell this was going to be a long and, in my case, painful journey.