"You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it."- Robin Williams
"Well don't you look absolutely beautiful tonight Vanessa." Harry is standing in my doorway with a tuxedo and I look down at my bright red sparkling dress. He helps me down the last two steps and kisses me on both of my cheeks."Shall we get going malady?"Harry takes my arm and loops it with his own, smiling softly at me.
"Where are we going Harry?" We begin strolling through the empty halls of Clearwater. The doors of all the patients are open and completely bare except the beds stripped of the sheets. I look up at Harry and his eyes are fixated on the single door at the end of this hall. "To the funeral." I look down at my dress and see how it is wrong for an occasion like a funeral. "Who's is it?"
"Everyone's." I look at Harry even more confused and try to plant my feet into the ground but he keeps moving forward, as a result I do too. "How did everyone die?" "It got to them." The hallway is getting darker and we're in a part that I've never seen before. The floor is turning into grass and it's so muddy I have to pull up my long prom like dress.
"Well then why didn't it get us? Why are we still alive?" Harry begins to walk at a slower pace at my frantic question. The grass beneath our feet is becoming less and the mud is piling high. "Who said we're alive?" Harry's face has warped into Richard's and I break away from him. The damn mud is more like quicksand now, it's not letting me move an inch. I fall forward and Richard is grabbing my ankles, dragging me through the substance.
"Told you to stay out of it. Now you get to rot in a hole." I look back and Richard's face is gone and it's Harry's again. But he's not smiling at me softly like he was earlier, his smirk is the same as Richard's. I try to scream but the dirt is caught in my throat. I begin coughing but Harry just picks up his speed and I can feel the end near.
"I'm sorry Vanessa but I'm being forced into it."
"Ness." I place my hand over my heart to try to get it to slow down. I look closely at the face and begin to rub my eyes. "Emma?" I flick on my lamp and watch as the room is illuminated in a bright orange glow. "What the hell are you doing up here?" I rest on my elbows and watch as Emma drops a theater mask on my floor.The white shield clatters horribly loud for it to have fell on carpet and in that moment I realized how heavy the mask actually is.
"They were going to try and make me like them Vanessa." I take her trembling hand in my own and rub little circles on her knuckles. "Who was trying to make you like them?"
"I don't know but they didn't even seen human." Emma shuts her eyes and squeezes them, painfully thinking if something. "I woke up in this dim room with my body fastened down on some table and this thing was hovering over me. It didn't have a mouth or a nose but the eyes were literally glowing I'm not kidding. And I turned to my left to see Ella bleeding half to death on another table but her right eye was gone and in it's place was black string or some shit like that."
"How did you get out?" Emma's eyes open again and she shakes her head. "I don't know. I woke up in the hallway and this woman with a mask was telling me to run. Then her mask fell off into my hand and she was missing an eye too and she begin screaming at me to run."
"You remember where the room is?" Emma starts shaking her head and then she rests it on my shoulder. "It had to be some branch off of section c. Maybe Dylan can help?" A pain goes straight to my heart and I'm already sniffling. "Dylan left Em. Like a month ago." Emma lifts her head off of my shoulder with her carmel eyes wide in shock. "Why the hell did he leave? What the hell?"
"You've missed so much. The day when we came to visit you in section c he-" "You guys visited me in section c? When?" Emma looks generally confused but then I remembered that she was bleeding and drugged when we saw her.
"Your first day down there; you were out of it so I don't expect for you to remember. But long story short Dylan's mom was 'terminated'." "What the hell does that mean?" I throw my arms up exasperatedly in the air and flail them around. "I don't know! But apparently she isn't the only one; there's dozens of people who have been terminated here. And Harry's twin was here and-"
"Harry has a twin?" Emma's face lights up at this information. Leave it to her to switch moods in under five seconds. "Are they identical? God bless if they are because that way you can have one and I can have one but if they aren't is he at least cute beca-." I slap my hand over Emma's mouth and lean closer to her. "First off the he is a she. And even if you did swing that way, she's 'undecided'." Emma's eyes go wide with wonder once again and I feel the need to crush her questions. "And no I don't know what that means either."
Emma's face falls and I remove my hand from her chapped lips. You can tell being down there has really taken a toll on her. She's so pale she looks translucent. Her nails are bitten down the the absolute nub of them. Her hair is a dry, frizzy, ball on the top of her head. Her eyes are sunken and the bags under them just make her look sadder. And I didn't think it was possible for her to get thinner but here she is, green jump suit falling off her shoulder or sagging low on her chest.
"This is some creepy shit man." Emma yawns and falls back on the bed. "I hope Dylan comes back soon though, I don't know who on earth I'm going to harass now." I laugh at Emma and she begins to laugh back with me. "Goodnight Vanessa." Emma falls asleep just like that but my bones won't let me rest. There's too much going around right now and my head is a full on hurricane. I slowly get off of the bed and switch off the desk lamp.
I wince as the living section door squeaks as I pry it open. I look over my shoulder to see if I woke up my mom but the coast is clear so I continue on with going into the kitchen.
I remember my first night at Clearwater. I actually had to stay in an empty patient room with my Mom. I didn't quite understand why people did things like kill their families or harm theirselves.And I didn't quite understand why people hurt those who did nothing but love them. But that night my mom told me something that I've been keeping with me for seven years. "Las cenizas no siempre significa la hija extremo. Como el ave fénix, debe levantarse de sus cenizas y empezar de nuevo." Ashes don't always mean the end. Like the Phoenix, you must rise from the ashes and start again.
A hand on my shoulder causes me to spin around with my heart thumping in my chest. I let out a deep breath when I see Mr.Jenkins standing there with his normal deep scowl set in his face. I swear to god one day I'm going to have a heart attack in these fucking hallways.
"What on Earth are you doing out of your room Mr.Jenkins?" "They got me doll. All these years later and they got me." I shake my head at the nonsense coming from his mouth. "Mr.Jenkins I'm going to take you back to your room so you can lay down and all is well ok?" The old man grips my wrist like a vice and he begins to sway back and forth. "I don't have much time so listen closely and listen good. Clearwater is a real shit hole. You can not trust anyone here ok doll? No one. Don't go so hard looking for things, they will usually just fall into your hands. And remember to keep that pretty head of yours open; this mystery is over 100 years old and what seems strange now was the normal back then. I've told that weird new boy with the glasses somethings too, check his notes."
"Mr.Jenkins, I don't think anything is happening right now, besides the side effects of the medicine." Mr.Jenkins drops down to the ground and I see the trail of blood he left going down the hall. But the truly scary part is the knife going through the man's back.
"HELP, GOD SOMEONE HELP ME."I begin to scream hysterically at the top of my lungs and lights begin to flicker on. Louis is running down the hall followed by Niall and both of them slip in the blood, skidding across the floor and onto each other. Mr.Jenkins eyes are closing and I begin to touch his wrinkled face. "Come on now Mr.Jenkins, stay with me." I could never picture Mr.Jenkins young and free but when he took my hand in his warm wrinkled one, I would have payed anything to see him like it now.
Louis and Niall are lifting Mr.Jenkins limp body into their arms. The blade falls to the floor with a sharp clatter, little blood droplets landing on my feet. "Someone go wake up the rest of the guards, whoever did this has to still be in here."
Louis and Niall walk forward to the hospital wing and I'm left standing there as the rest begin to come out of their room and rush over to me. I think back to the puddle of blood we discover a month ago in this very hallway.
Whoever did this has to still be in here.
And that simple fact was what scared me most of all.