The Buildings themselves looked like ghosts. A sickly green light, lit the two whitewashed buildings of the State Hospital for the Insane. Abandoned for years, it was here i brought my dates. It was here i'd tell them stories, it was here, they'd squeeze my arms, as tales of mental torture slithered from my lips.
Mad Doctors, inhuman therapy, possession rather than pathology, were the ingredients for my stories.
Tonight my audience was one. Myself. My stage, not the steamed windows of my old ford pickup, but the grate found in between the buildings and whatever rested below.
I got to work using a car jack and a tire iron. Leveraging the grate against itself. I bent the iron, but gained admittance. Now to see if there really was a network of tunnels under the old hospital. Where the most delicate work occurred.
I climbed down the rusted rungs, and easily jimmied the door. Descended a flight of stairs. There I was. In a long tunnel, running farther than my light fell. Water dripped, rats scurried, my breaths deepened.
First I entered what must have been an observation room. Using my sleeve i wiped the grime off the one way mirror, to reveal a rusted chair, upholstery was either never there, or had been taken by some animal for it's nest. Half moon clamps were on the arm rests and where ankles would have been. A leather strap, with holes like a belt hung from the head rest.
The room had chains along the walls, and a table with similar restraints. I quickly left the observation room and entered the room proper. I saw a mummy. No not the kind you'd find in a pyramid, but what appeared to be the remains of one of the former patients. I gagged. His flesh was nearly eaten away by the smaller residents of this tomb. He had on the remains of a jumpsuit, and the name Jones, over his right breast. "Well Jonesy, what brings you down here?” I told him my name, and stuck out my hand in a mock gesture. “Let's be friends.”
I swear I heard my name. Not from the mummy, but from the hallway.
I left my new friend in the floor where i found him and returned to the hallway. A door shut farther down. It was time to leave. I returned to the stairs to get out, or at least where the stairs should have been, but there was nothing. I searched in circles, wondering where they could have gone.
The chains rattled in a yet unexplored room. My head got dizzy. I sat down.
The hallway got foggy. Blurry. I heard my name again, but just my last name. I looked up and saw a strong man in all white grabbing me to my feet. He and another equally strong man, drug me farther down the hallway, which was lit now. The dripping was gone. it was all blurry, i tried to speak, i tried to move, but i couldn't We entered another room third man, in a long white coat ordered them to do something and i was strapped in a chair. Non rusted. Wrists, ankles and head were all restrained.
"what is your name"
"Why are you here?"
I just wanted to see what was down here?
The man in the long coat looked meaningfully at someone i couldn't see.
"are you sorry for what you've done"
yes, i'll leave
"you can't leave. what if you hurt more people?"
i haven't hurt anyone, i swear.
"now we're back to this. You must be sorry, we'll help you be sorry"
They all left, and a warm liquid started dripping on my hand. A mild irritant at first, but as the minutes stretched on, it burned. It rand down my hand, and dripped into a puddle on the floor. within minutes my hand was on fire. Hours the hand had been eaten away by whatever acid had been dripping there. I couldn't' see it, but i felt it was gone. I felt the fingers fall off one by one, then the palm.
"are you sorry?"
Yes, i pleaded. I am so sorry, let me leave.
"Sorry for what?"
For whatever i did to deserve this.
"But what did you do?"
I came down here, i'm so sorry
"You didn't come down here. We brought you here."
I was just exploring!
"I can see we have a lot to of work to do. Bring the drill."
The drill was brought, it slowly lowered down toward my nose.
"Tell me why you're here. I can save you."
I DON"T KNOW
"Tell me. This doesn't have to happen."
TELL YOU WHAT?
The drill was so close i could no longer focus on it. I saw two drills approaching both noses.
"This is your last chance. You can return to your family that's still alive. Tell me why you're here"
I CAN'T I CAN'T I CAN'T I CAN'T I CAN'T
The drilled hit the cartilage. I blacked out.
It wasn't very hard for them to find me once the started looking. My car was feet from the open grate. I came to strapped into the old metal chair. In the same room as my buddy the corpse. The cops wanted to know who came down with me, who had strapped me into the chair. I didn't know. I didn't tell them what i saw.
As they freed me from the chair, i glanced over at the dusty old mirror, in a flash i saw the room, clean, brightly lit, and a man wearing a jumpsuit with the name Jones, written above the left breast, strapped in the chair, with a drill slowly inching toward his face.