Dr. Slim's House

After a near-fatal car crash, a very injured delinquent, Patrick Hull, wakes up in the guest room of Dr. Maurice Slim, who promises to take care of him until he is ready to leave. Once in Dr. Slim's house, however, strange things start to happen to Patrick and, just as he begins to trust Dr. Slim, he starts to doubt his situation.

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4. 4.

Last night, I swear, I had one of the most unnerving experiences of my whole life. The tapping and scratching on the other side of the wall was communicating with me. I swear to God!

It sounded like Morse code. Who am I kidding? It was Morse code! There was definitely someone, or something, tapping out messages through these walls. I'm not lying, either, I swear. It happened last night.

The first couple of taps woke me up and I yelped a little - just quietly - under my breath. My injuries always hurt most when I first wake up. There was the usual wave of pain pulsing up and down my left leg, but my right leg - I'm getting a little more feeling back in that one - hurt like a gunshot. I'm not exaggerating, I started sweating like hell form the discomfort. I didn't pay too much attention to the first ones, but the second few knocks sounded distinctly like somebody's knuckles on the wall. Like they wanted to know if anybody was in my room.

I woke up in a sitting position - my back was on the cold metal headboard because I had asked Slim to adjust it that way for me the night before - and I could just about reach the wall with my good arm. I waited for a few more knocks, just to confirm that there really was someone on the other side, before I responded. Listening out for them I heard a rustle in a tree outside - probably a bird or something - and some creaks in the house, but then there were a few more taps and scratches. I made notes in my head every time they tapped, using what I remembered about Morse code from back in school.

A-R-E-Y-O-U-T-H-E-R-E

It freaked me out. Now, how was it that I made the letters? I responded as best I could, communicating "yes" and "name". I wanted to know who I was talking to, but I realize how stupid that was. Their name didn't matter.

K-C

What the hell kind of a name is that?

K-C

They kept tapping those same two letters over and over before I finally figured out what they meant - "Casey" - and replied "OK". Damn, I wished I paid more attention in school. Anyway, Casey continued:

W-H-O-I-S-S-L-I-M

I realized that I honestly didn't know. Then that thought about Slim killing me came back, welcome as ever, and I replied "do not know". I'm no good with full words - I really don't have the patience for it so I always abbreviate - but I made an effort to say "do not" rather than "don't" so that Casey would understand me a little better. Then they made a few more scratches and taps until, suddenly, they stopped. The silence killed me.

I started tapping and scratching as much Morse code as I could trying to get Casey to continue but there was no reply. I even dented the wall a little out of panic. I stayed in that state of pure fear for Casey's life - never stopping my taps and scratches - for what felt like eternity until, putting me in the deepest and most panicked state I had ever experienced, I heard Dr. Slim's footsteps on the floorboards outside my room.

I had no idea what to do with myself. Why would Slim come to my room at this time of night? My light wasn't on and I wasn't making any noise, so what reason could he have? As soon as I heard the doorknob to my room jiggle and begin to turn, I threw myself back onto the bed so that I was lying on my back again and unintentionally released another yelp - louder this time and more like a cry - from the pain. As the door creaked open completely I shut my eyes as tightly as I could, and simply waited for Slim to leave.

'I know that you're awake, Patrick.' Dr. Slim said in a much more authoritative voice than I was used to hearing from him.

I tensed up completely, but I didn't open my eyes.

'Patrick, you're not fooling me.' he went on. 'What was all that tapping on the wall about, hm? What were you doing and -' He noticed the dent in the wall. 'Now, why have you gone and done that?'

I held as still as possible and still refused to open my eyes, but Slim was smarter than that.

'Do you really think I'm that stupid?' he sounded like he was really getting mad. 'I'm a doctor, Patrick. I know what people look like when they sleep and they don't look like that. Now why did you put that dent in my wall?'

When I didn't respond, Slim did something I thought he never would. Taking his gloved hand, he grasped my right leg, knowing that it was healing faster than the left, lifted it about two feet off the mattress and forcefully threw it back down. Needless to say my eyes finally opened, but I was in too much pain to make any sound.

'Oh, good, you are awake.' chuckled Dr. Slim, frighteningly disinterested in my condition. I looked up at him with nothing but the purest terror in my eyes. 'Now,' he said. 'what was all that commotion about?'

'You!' I was shouting. Can you blame me? I was terrified and in the worst pain of my life. 'I'm not the only one you're keeping in here, Slim! Admit it!'

If Slim didn't like the noise I was making on the wall earlier, he must have hated my shouting. I was really letting him have it.

'Whatever are you talking about, Patrick?' He replied, eerily meeting my screaming with a calm and smooth tone.

'Admit it, Slim! I'm talking about Casey!'

'Who?'

'Casey! The other "patient" you're keeping in the next room! I'm not crazy, Slim! I talked to them! I talked to them last night!'

Slim held his white-gloved hand threateningly over my ankles in an attempt to silence me before he spoke.

'Listen, Patrick.' he began. 'There is nobody - and you can be certain - nobody else in this house but you and I.'

The words were reassuring but, the way he said them, they sounded like a threat. Like he was implying that he could kill me and get away with it because "nobody else" was in the house. Then he slid his hand back into his pocket, used the other to adjust his top hat - that stupid-looking top hat - and approached the doorway.

'Oh - and Patrick,' he uttered without looking back at me as he reached for the door. 'As I assume you have already gathered, I do not appreciate any unwanted noise in this house.' Then he turned and faced me. 'And I am helping you get well, so please refrain from raising your voice and questioning me. You're just a little stir crazy is all. You'll get over it.'

With that, he shut my door and left. It was a relief when he did, but I have never felt in more danger than I feel now. I just hope that Slim forgets all this tomorrow morning. As if it never happened.   

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