I spent most of my day working an art festival. I don’t really consider this much of a story, but it gives a bit of fairy tale detail and adds another complicating factor. Hope I can sort all this out eventually.
Meredith made sure the rest of the patients were asleep. She dropped the empty vial and syringe into the hazardous material waste can. She washed her hands like she always did. Routine was important. When things were wrong, routine hid secrets.
She took a deep breath, and turned down the hall that broke her routine, but it couldn’t be helped. To find the boy she had to look where the boy would go. It never occurred to her to go to the attic. Nothing but the roof and a neck-breaking drop.
The basement was where the things were kept. In special lockers were all the things the patients wanted back. The management wouldn’t sell or burn the items, but they would never give them back. Meredith didn’t see the point of keeping such random bits when no one could ever use them. She disliked the waste.
But she wasn’t allowed to look in the lockers. No one was. But she knew what was in many of them: the glass shoes taken from a girl determined to run away with a boy she barely knew, the red coat from a girl found lost on the road, a packet of seeds taken from a boy who began gambling before he was old enough to drive. Meredith tried to remember what the missing boy had brought with him. Of course, he’d want that back.
A few steps away from the basement door, an alarm sounded. Someone was pounding on the front door. Meredith cursed. That’s all she needed, a new patient to deal with and no telling where that damn child was. He could be just a few steps away. She straightened her collar and turned away from the basement. She was so angry, she might give the new patient extra jabs with the needle. Sometimes she found the patients charming. Other times they drove her mad.