Vanessa Carrion works at Clearwater Institution for the Criminal and Mentally Insane. And when a young killer named Harry arrives, strange things begin to happen. It is up to Vanessa and her ragtag team of misfits to figure out the chilling puzzle. A puzzle that is enough to make any sane person go mad.


7. Old Man Jenkins

One person's craziness is another person's reality.”

― Tim Burton

"We're going on a trip!" Everyone looks up at Dylan as he slams a map down on the table. "And by we, I mean me and Vanessa ." Everyone groans and I pick up the map to see the great state of Virginia residing on it. "Well you see Dylan I would love to go somewhere with you but my gold fish drowned yesterday and I have to make sure it's ok." Dylan thuds me on the side of my head and I lick him on his cheek. I laugh as he quickly wipes my spit off his face.

"How do you two even know each other?" Harry's question catches us off guard and then Emma is resting her chin in the palm of her hand. "You know, I don't really know how you guys met either?"

I look over to Dylan and give him a small smile. "Well it was like six years ago." "October 23, 2008 to be exact." Harry rolls his eyes in pure amusement as Dylan recites the date. "Dude, you remember the date you guys met?" Dylan eyes grow sad at this. "It's an important day for me. It's the day my mom died. She was a patient here." I grab Dylan's hand under the table and give it a squeeze, encouraging him to continue.

"Um but yeah we had the same math and English class and she was the creepy brilliant girl who didn't talk much. Honestly she scared the shit out of me with her heelys, lace gloves and bangs covering half her face." I thump Dylan in the head with the hand not holding his. "But the night they told me I was absolutely crushed, I felt like I couldn't breathe. I ran into the cafeteria and I just sat in the dark. I guess she saw me run in because there she was with this huge tub of chocolate ice cream and two spoons a few moments later. And her hair was in these uneven pigtails and her heelys squeezed on the damn floor as she walked over to me. But she sat down with me and we just ate ice cream. After that I still came to Clearwater to see a psychiatrist they provided but I always ended up being with Vanessa. She's one of the best people I know."

I rest my head on Dylan's shoulder and blink my eyes to prevent myself from crying. I clear my voice and speak softly, afraid that it will crack under the pressure of my emotions "So," I lay out the map and trace my fingers over the lines, "where are we going?" Dylan points to the little star resting towards the middle of the map. "The sweet ol' capital Richmond to visit the family of the girls Richard killed." I groan because Alexandria to Richmond is about two hours with good traffic and how in the hell does one show up to a strangers door asking about their daughters killer? "When are we leaving? Tomorrow, Tuesday?" "Today." I look at Dylan how I always look at him, like he's crazy.

"We can't go today! We don't even have a plan." Dylan rubs little circles on my knuckles and looks down at me. "We'll figure out something." I blow the hair falling in front of my face and sink deeper into Dylan. Looking at the clock overhead, I groan and get up from the table. "I've got to go guys, I need to go give some patient s their morning meds." Everyone waves at me and Dylan shouts out for me to meet him in the front at 1 o'clock sharp.

I walk over to the medical portion of the building to grab a pair of scrubs. "Hola Vanessa, como estas?" I look to Lana who works as the receptionist here. "I'm good. Anything new?" I hop up on her desk and she looks up from the typing on her computer. "Nada chica, but there is this intern psychologist coming here. He's around your age." I laugh at Lana's sing song voice and hop down from the desk, clutching the scrubs so they won't fall from my arms. "Not interested in anyone Lana." I match her tone and begin to walk away, laughing when I hear her sing out the next thing. "You mean no one other then tall boys with dimples and green eyes."


I slide my key card and wait until the light turns green for me to go into my last patient's room for today. I've made amazing time, my wrist watch has 11:58 as the time and I think about rewarding myself with a decent color of scrubs. This light green color is not working for me.

"Mr. Jenkins, I'm here with your medicine." I crack the door open before fully opening it. "Well then get your little behind in here and close the door, the draft is getting in doll.

Mr Jenkins sounds exactly how you would expect him to, old and pretty bitter. I would be bitter too if I was in here since I was ten for a crime that I didn't even commit. Twenty years ago, it was found that Mr.Jinkins didn't brutally kill the neighboring family in the house next to his. But he was about to hit sixty at the time they found him innocent and he'd already had it drilled in his mind that he would never fit in with society, so, he told the courts to donate the 800 thousand dollars he was rewarded to Clearwater. He said he just wanted to live the rest of his days here with him having no family or anything to go to.

"What are they giving me today missy?" Mr.Jenkins sits up and I give him the cup of water with two tiny greenish pills. "It's Rozerem, helps you sleep." I grab the cup from his old wrinkled hand and sit down on the chair facing his bed. I expect the medicine to kick in but immediately but I learn that's not the case when he starts talking.

"Doll, is the side effect of this medicine include seeing strange looking boys?" I look up to see what he's talking about and punching in the code to the door is Harry.

"Harry! You can't be in here. And how did you get the master code?" I'm whisper shouting even though it's unnecessary. Harry walks inside the room and sits down on the chair next to mine. "I've been thinking a lot about the riddle you said last night." I gape at Harry in disbelief as he sits here talking so casually like he's supposed to be here and there isn't an old frail man sitting mere inches away from him.

"And who the hell are you boy?" Harry looks over to Mr.Jenkins, "I'm Harry." Mr Jenkins runs his fingers through his long white beard. "So you're the one all these girls and nurses have been talking about." Harry scratches the back of his head and shrugs his shoulders. "I guess I am."

Harry turns back to me to continue his thinking. "Well it seems like it's describing a quiet person; like a wallflower. Think about it, the walls of Clearwater have eyes, ears and hands but never voices. Sounds like a person to me. And maybe that person can lead us to a decent clue." Mr.Jenkins makes this little whining noise from his bed and I'm almost afraid that he's having a reaction to the medication.

"Where did you hear that?" Mr.Jenkins voice is hoarse, like something had tried to take his voice with a fight and I blink my eyes at him. "This man told me yesterday," Mr.Jenkins sits up and grips onto the sheets. "Have you heard it before?"

"Look kids, do you know the history of Clearwater itself?" I nod my head at the same time Harry shakes his. "No not the crap they tell you on the Wikipedia page, the real history." I then shake my head and become intrigued at what Mr.Jenkins is saying. "This building holds dark secrets, secrets that don't need to be dug back up. I've been here for my whole life; I've seen the toughest young killers walk through those main doors be driven to insanity. And there's always this idiot group of friends who try to solve a mystery and they end up going crazy or dead or missing." Me and Harry look at each other and back at Mr.Jenkins.

"You may think I'm just talking crazy but I'm not. I had my own little clique here at Clearwater back in the day just like yours. That Zayn kid is James , Emma looks and acts so much like Twiggy did it's crazy , Dylan reminds me of Sal, Harry, you're me and Vanessa, you're Audrey." Mr.Jenkins says Audrey's name like she put the stars in the sky and carved the moon with her bare hands. "They were the best of friends anyone could ever have. But strange things began to happen here. Then everyone became unsure of each other, not knowing whom to trust.Next thing I know everyone is dead except me and Audrey."

Mr.Jenkins lets out a short bitter laugh as he transports himself to the past. "The whole thing drove Audrey insane. She went from being a nurse here to a patient. Killed herself a week after we found it." The old mans eyes start to droop and I can see the medicine start to kick in. "I loved her with all my heart, still do. Such a shame I don't even have a picture of her, just those I took in my memory." Mr Jenkins lays back down, tears staining his grey jumper. I stand up to help him under the covers and he grips my arm. "Listen to me, call of this whole research thing you're doing now doll, if you want to keep anything you love." I nod my head and Mr.Jenkins finally closes his eyes to sleep.

Harry stands up to stretch and follows me out of the room. "I wonder what was the 'it' they found that drove them to insanity and death." "And how on Earth did Mr.Jenkins escape it." I nod my head and try to image a young Mr.Jenkins but none comes to mind.

I begin walking with Harry towards the Common room just to burn time before I leave with Dylan. Dylan is sitting in the middle of the floor running his fingers along the map. "We good to go?" I sit crisscross next to him and bump his shoulder with mine. "Yeah, I just need to gas up my car and we outcha." Dylan begins to laugh when he sees me in my scrubs. "And aren't you the cutest little thing with your little scrubs on looking like a little nurse." I smack Dylan's pinching fingers away from my cheeks and Harry clears his throat.

"I want to go with you two." Me and Dylan look up to Harry who is standing above us both. "¿Que?" Harry rolls his eyes before repeating what he said. " I want to go with you two." Me and Dylan look at each other and Dylan shrugs his shoulders. "Your call Vanessa."

And I already have the word no on the tip of my tongue. Harry will draw way to much attention because he's attractive and attractive people always cause a scene. And someone may notice him and that will be an even bigger mess. And the question is how to sneak him back in, not even out. And a million bad scenarios are running through my head all at once in a blink of an eye.

"Dylan, do you have any extra clothes Harry can change in to?"

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