May 27th. The end of the month is almost here.

Soon May will be over. I’m not sure what will happen to the story after that. I’ve been hesitant about what to write. Time is short, and do I want this to be scary, disturbing, haunting, sad, or something else. Letting lose the patients feels like a commitment to a particular type of story, and I don’t know if I’m ready to make that commitment here in a public, shared space. I feel like earlier in the month I pulled some punches about the security force in the story because I wasn’t ready to commit.

Does that make sense? How dark do I want the characters to be? Should any characters actually die? If I were writing this and not posting it, I’d experiment and go back and rewrite it and rewrite it again.

What I’ve got so far are just bits. I’m not going to be able to end the story in a few days. Then what?

But in the meantime…

A woman scrambled from the shadows after Hannah. Her nightdress caught under her knee and she fell forward. She grabbed Hannah’s foot.

Hannah kicked. She jumped to her feet.

Nurse Meredith looked over her should. “Stop acting the fool. Open more doors.”

The woman stayed on the floor. She wailed and thrashed, but she didn’t get up. Her grey nightdress twisted around her and her hair was tangled in a rubberband.

She tried to guess the woman’s age, but she seemed both twenty and fifty at the same time. “What’s wrong with her?” Hannah asked the nurse.

“Does it matter?” Meredith asked. She unlocked another door, not pulling it open all the way but only a crack.

Hannah darted to the next door. She was no longer sure letting these people free was a good idea. She had thought they would all be happy. Even more hesitant, she picked the next lock.

She didn’t, however, turn the knob this time. She waited. The knob turned from the inside.

Hannah stepped back. Someone rushed by behind her, a patient released by Meredith no doubt, but she didn’t turn to look. She kept her eyes on the steel doorknob, and it turned. She braced herself to run.

An old hand appeared first, gripping the edge of the door, and a second later an old woman looked out. “I’ve a knife. If you don’t believe me, come closer,” the old woman said.

The wails of the woman on the floor pitched higher. The blonde had wondered out of her room and into the hall. A young man now argued with Nurse Meredith, although all Hannah understood the nurse to say to him was, “I’m not here with your medication.”

Shouts rose up beyond the corridor. Security was coming.

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6 responses to “May 27th. The end of the month is almost here.

  1. I’m glad you talked some above about what happens to the writing of the story once May 31 falls behind. When I saw the title of this installment I thought to myself, Yeah — and I damn sure don’t want to wait until NEXT May to find out what happens! Ha.

    You know from back when you first started this blog that I’ve always loved the many off-center, strangely familiar yet alien stories of the asylum’s denizens. This month’s project, though: wow, it’s like a novella (at least!) anchoring it all. Like everything else was just prelude — pencil sketches in a Moleskine journal to let you finally turn to oils, scissors, and probably a little Photoshopping and bring the real story to life.

  2. Don’t worry about ending the story with the end of the month. Take your bits and put them into one document and do what you need to do with it. Let this month’s exercise be just that: an exercise. A month-long writing prompt, with the raw material of a wonderful book at the end. Book, novella, short story, whatever you shape it into. It’s been great, being along for the ride!

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