Nine days and still writing. If I were smart, I’d have some kind of outline. But I have hated writing outlines since I first had to write one in school. Do you use outlines? I probably should. Oh, well. One with Story-A-Day May!
Hannah knelt down at the door. A gentle tug revealed the door locked. From her back pocket she took a velvet cloth, unfolded it, and removed a slim silver piece of metal. The delicate piece was meant to pick locks, and it did its job smoothly.
Hannah suppressed a squeal of delight. Her practice paid off.
No light came from the windows, and slowly, still kneeling, she pushed the door. She listened. An engine hum greeted her, but otherwise the world seemed silent. Inside, she shut the door behind her.
At first she thought the room was a kitchen, but while a large metal table sat in the middle of the room and counters with drawers lined the walls, there was no stove, no fridge, and no chairs. It smelled of bleach, and something else Hannah couldn’t quite figure out, but it didn’t smell good.
Two other doors lead out of the room. From under one came a pale light. Hannah chose the door without the light. The wide hallway surprised her. She hadn’t been sure what to expect. She touched the walls which were soft and darkly colored. She was glad she’d left her friends behind. The guys would’ve been nothing but trouble, and this was place that needed to be experienced alone.
Now if she could find an office, maybe she could find registery of patients. She’d look for her grandmother and who knew who else. She imagined many local families had their names in the files. Didn’t every family have at least one crazy? And Hannah was sure that if she found her grandmother, her grandmother would understand her.
She walked down the wall, one hand lightly dragging along the wall. She forgot for the moment that she had to take care not to be caught. She wondered if she were destined to end up in the Asylum as her mother liked to suggest. Many times she heard her mother say to her father, “She’ll end up you-know-where if you indulge her like that.”
Once, Hannah had asked where you-know-where was, and her father tried to dismiss her question. “Don’t worry about it. You’ll always be where you need to be.” But she’d insisted on an answer, and exasperated he’d said, “Hell.”
Hannah knew that to her father and most everyone in town, Hell and the Asylum were the same thing.
She had thought she’d hear screaming when she got inside. She’d pictured chains on the walls and nurses with long fingernails and maybe even blood on their uniforms. But inside the place was quiet and calm. No one was about. It was so ordinary, she almost began to hum.
Outside, Nurse Meredith walked the grounds. She scanned the wall, unconcerned with shadows or windows. She knew this world too well. It didn’t take long to spot the rope dangling down the side of the wall moving slightly in the breeze.
Meredith sighed. First the boy missing from his bed. Then the teenagers attempting some kind of prank. Now this. She was bound to get into trouble unless she cleared this mess up. She could call for more security, but she’d have to explain to her superiors. But as her bosses liked to say, “We don’t want explanations. We want things done.”
The odds of fixing the problem without notice were slim now, but she couldn’t bring herself to sound the alarm. She couldn’t give up the hope that she might get out of this mess with her job and her skin intact. What had one of the old women told her? A patient in a corner room, an old lady who claimed to know every poison in the world and how to cut out a heart, had taken hold of her wrist one day and said, “You have a sliver too much hope for this job. It will be the end of you.”
Meredith shook her head. She knew beter than to listen to patients.
Meredith took a razor from her pocket. It was amzing how often she found it useful. And reaching as high as could, with a few deft strokes, the razor sliced the rope in two. Whoever had snuck onto the grounds was never going to leave.