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.


11. Promises

"Promises can be made to lull the heart and seduce the soul." ― Karen Marie Moning

Dylan and I both look at the key and then the blue file cabinet. We've been here in my mom's office for five minutes now, admiring how the cabinet’s dull brass lock somehow gleams in the dim lighting of the room. I look over to Dylan and his brown eyes are like the lock, shining brightly with wonder in front of me. I crouch down and insert the key with trembling hands. I don’t even know why I am so nervous.

I mean its just a file cabinet that can have important clues on what is happening but hey, who cares?

The key fits perfectly and one turn is what does it. The pad lock falls open as my head falls on Dylan’s shoulders. He kisses the side of my temple and takes the lock off, pulling the drawer open.

And I don’t know what we expected to find in the old rusty drawer. Maybe teeth, bones, a letter that conveniently explains everything; I don’t know. But the last thing that crossed my mind were actual files.

“What are these?” I grab a stack of the assorted files and plop them on the floor. The same sloppy style of handwriting on the back of Richard’s photo is the one on the tabs of the folders. Dylan fully sits down on the floor in front of me and takes out some more of the files, adding to a never ending pile of them. I watch as he opens a faded yellow colored one and his eyes scan quickly across the pages. He clears his throat before beginning to read it out loud.

“Nancy Carlyle: 24, terminated: June thirteenth 1910." Dylan looks over the folder at me and I'm already making grabby hands for it. Dylan passes me the file and as clear as day is the word terminated in faded red blocky letters. I close the file and set it down beside me. I grab the next folder on top of the pile and Dylan does the same.When I open the file a picture of a girl greets me. There are dark bags under her bright green eyes. Unruly brown hair rests on top of her head and her dimples are etched lightly into her cheeks. Going across her file is the word undecided in black letters.

It's a newer file, I can tell by the quality of the photo and the cleanness of the pages. There's not a single name on her basic information sheet. Honestly, there's nothing helpful on this sheet at all; just information about her eating habits. And to make it even worse, there's no other papers in this file. It's almost as if this girl didn't even exist. I close the folder and there isn't even anything written on the tab of it.

I slam the folder down and when I look back at it, something on the back catches my eye. Written in clean cursive is G. Styles.


I snatch the folder up quickly and burry my face closer to the photo. "You okay there Vanessa?" I remove my left hand to wave Dylan off before returning it to hold the folder. Dimples. Messy brown hair. Green eyes. Extremely gorgeous...

I stare at the photo and then picture Harry's right beside hers. They have the same major features but other than that, not much of a match.

I flip the file around and flash it in front of Dylan's face. "Who does this look like to you Dyl?" Dylan takes the file in his hands and begins to study it. “If I didn’t know any better, I would say it looks like Harry.” Dylan places the folder in my hand and I'm stumbling to my feet. "I've got to go check something. I'll be back." "Well you better hurry, my flight for the moon leaves in .2 minutes." I ruffle Dylan's hair before rushing out of the room. Harry's always wandering down these halls, I've just got to find him.

But surprisingly as I walk past his room, I see him and Evan on the floor having some type of conversation. Harry has his hair up in this little bun pony tail that makes him look much older then what he is. He's mid nod before he sees me standing at an awkward angle, looking at him and Evan. It looks like he's excusing himself from Evan as he pushes himself off of the ground and strolls over to the door.

"Did you miss me babe?" Harry bats his eye lashes and I can't help but laugh. "Yeah no, not quite." I take open the file that I was still clutching in my hands and hold it up in front of him. He takes the file amused before he looks at the picture. He smiles softly at the photo, his index and middle finger lightly ghosting over her features. "Who is she Harry?" Harry snaps his head up to look at me and shakes his head.

"It's my twin sister Gemma. She was a patient here." Harry closes the folders and thrusts it back into my unsuspecting hands before I can even form a question in my head. He begins to walk off and my hand goes to pull the nearest thing I can, which is unfortunately a large chunk of his hair. He hisses in pain as I pull him closer to me. When I releases his hair he massages his scalp roughly and shakes his head. "I do like them kinky." I roll my eyes when I see him smiling and I shove his shoulder.

"Stop being a little flirt and trying to change the subject." I open the file again and tap on the photo of, Gemma was it, twice. "Is she why you're here?" Harry shrugs his shoulders and gives me the look I haven't seen in a while, the sinister smirk. "'Course not, I've killed a few people." He begins to crack each knuckle and I take one step back, a frown no doubt taking over my face. "If you wanna be on joke time and shit go for it but I can't help you in anyway if you don't tell me about this." I wave the file in front of his face again and he firmly grabs my wrist.

"She wasn't a bad person you know? She just had a lot of stuff going on that lead to her problems. When we were 13 she was out one day and these five crack head women raped her. And then they just fucking left her in some alley so she could die. "

Murder of five women.

"They took the spirit of her after that. She blamed herself for it; said that if she would have just stayed home that evening everything would have been ok. It was a punch in my gut you know, to see her blame herself for something that wasn't close to being her fault. She began hurting herself and the medication wasn't working back home so someone referred her to this place. And my parents sent her here and she began to get a whole lot better; was supposed to come home on our sixteenth birthday. But two days before our birthday my parents got a call. Someone from here said she got into the kitchen somehow and stabbed herself to death. I didn't believe it then and I don't believe it now."

"How are you so sure?" I don't want to deplete Harry's hope but nearly five years is a long time to hope someone is alive with no real proof.

"Because a week after the funeral I got a letter in the mail telling me that I would have to get some blood on my hands to figure out what really happened to Gem. It didn't have any return address on it but I just knew it was from here and the person was trying to help me.So I did what the letter told me. I got some blood on my hands and I'm willing to do it again if I can find out what happened to her; to see if she's still alive."

I gaze at Harry for a moment, not sure on what to tell him. He must notice my skeptic stare because he's running his fingers through his hair and shrugging his shoulders. "You don't have to help me out from pity or anything. I know it sounds stupid and all but I can just feel it in my bones you know." I grab Harry's hand and squeeze it before breaking them apart. "It's not stupid, and I don't think you're crazy. We're going to find out what happened to her okay? I promise."

Harry locks his eyes with my own. "Yeah?"


He grins at me, his eyes shining like the stars in the sky. Harry suddenly reaches for my pinky and interlocks them. I exhale and look at our fingers connected, his pinky long and thin and slightly tan while my pinky is short and pale.

A promise.

"This okay with you?" Harry's dimples are dented into his stupid looking face and I roll my eyes. "Yeah just come on and let's go get Dylan. There's a dozen of these files in my moms office." I drag Harry to our living section and I type in the code, pulling him up the stairs. Our pinkies not disconnecting once. I peer in each of the rooms to see if Dylan had left my moms office but apparently he hasn't.

I scan the black key card and push the door open, calling Dylan's name softly. An assortment of papers are scattered around Dylan’s feet as he's hunched over in a fetal position. I bend down to pick up one of the papers to see a woman smiling at the camera. Terminated is going across the sheet. Melissa O’Brien. His mom.

“Dylan.” I go down to touch his shoulder but he jerks away from me. He unclenches his hand to let one of the papers from her file roll on the ground.

" I spent the past six years of my life wondering what the hell went wrong. Why the hell she committed suicide when she promised me she would get better." Dylan grabs at the ends of his short hair and gives it a rough tug. I gently pull his hand away, afraid he's going to pull all his hair out.

"But she didn't kill herself , she was killed by someone here. And it hurts like hell because the very place I call home is apparently the root of my damn problems." Hot tears begin to run down Dylan's face and he wipes them away angrily. "She promised me that she would get better and we could go back to New York. Just me and her and my dad." He runs his hands over his face and leans his head on the wall behind him before softly knocking it into the surface.

" I need to leave."

"Yeah, sure we can go for a walk or I could drive us to get some food or-" Dylan begins to shake his head, still hitting the back of his skull onto the wall. "I need to leave from here for a while. I can't be here, I need to be alone."

"No Dylan, I'll stay up with you for as long as possible right now if I have to but I'm not going to let you go wondering around anywhere. Are you even listening to me?" But Dylan's already pulling things from his pockets and placing them down beside him. Flashlight,taser, pepper spray, a shit load of keys, everything connected to his job. Connected to Clearwater. He takes out his I.D. badge with that stupid electric blue lanyard I got him when we were twelve and he stares at it. In the picture he's pink cheeked and bright eyes with his hair going in ten different directions; he wouldn't let me brush it for anything in this world. Now his cheeks are red from anger, his eyes shining from the tears and his hair going in every direction from the frustrated tugs. And god it just doesn't make any sense.

"Here." Dylan takes the lanyard and places it over my head, letting it fall into my lap. I take the laminated card in my hand and begin to quickly take it off. "You can't leave, you can't. What am I supposed to do with out you? Who's going to sit with me in the hallway and talk until three a.m.? Who's going to make stupid useless jokes that aren't even funny but I find myself laughing at anyway? Who's going to be my partner in crime and do stupid stuff with me but help fix it in the end?"

Dylan takes my hand and pulls me to rest my head on his shoulder. "I love you too much and I love Zayn and even Emma's grown on me a bit, to not come back." I close my eyes and shake my head, smiling at Dylan's non sense. "I could never stay away too long; I'll be back before anyone knows it, a few inches taller and with a beard on my face." I let out a broken laugh at this, taking my hand and stroking his chin as if he already has a beard. "I promise I'll be back Vanessa. And I would never ever leave you if I didn't think you were in the best of hands."

Dylan tilts his head forward and I turn around to see Harry leaning on my moms desk. When he sees me looking at him he stumbles over his feet and offers me tissues he's had balled up in his hands. I take them with a silent thank you.

It's empty as I watch Dylan pack up all of his bags, hugging those he's befriended while working here. It's also sad as I watch people cling to Dylan as he says his temporary good bye. And it's depressing when he drops his bags on the floor to give me one last hug before he picks up the bags again. When he opens the door a gust of wind blows in along with all of my anxiety about him. He stands at the door for a minute, back to us and cold air still blowing with vigor, before walking out of the door.

"Come on, let's get you some ice cream." Harry grabs my hand and steers me towards the kitchen when the main doors close back up.


It's three a.m. when I wake up from sleeping. Dylan's work stuff is scattered all over my night stand and I pick up his I.D. before dropping it back down. I look up at the ceiling, remembering the conversation I had with Harry in the kitchen a few hours earlier. A tub of chocolate ice cream resting in between us and our spoons making some heavy dents in the snack.

"How do we know everything is going to be ok in the end? I mean something can go horribly wrong, it has in the past." I know I sound pessimistic but I'm just in that mood now that Dylan's gone and someone has been killing off people here for over a hundred years. " Harry wipes some access ice cream from the side of my mouth before licking the sugary mess off the pad of his thumb. "Even if it doesn't turn out how we wanted, it's going to be ok because it us until the end." I look at the boy who is so confident about this and I can't help but get his reinsurance on this. "Really?"

"Yes, I promise."

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