Ok guys I have been done with this chapter for a week. I have been reading it and trying to decide what I don’t like. Please again feel free to comment.
I guess it was a year after I first started getting nightmares. . . I was spending most of my time at the Hall by then. Like I said, I had the run of the place and I loved being there. The staff and the nurses were so nice to me. I also knew a lot of the patients, well as much as you can know a crazy person. You know how sometimes those that are a bit off can be forever changing. I’m getting off track again.
One day, just another ordinary day for me, I was sitting on floor in the hall talking to the Lady in Black. I had no concept of time so I don’t know how long I had been sitting there when Karrick came looking for me. He wanted me to go find Joseph, I don’t remember why. I had to go through the wing for the criminally insane to get to him. I know I told you that Joseph would move Heaven and Earth to keep me out of the wing for the criminally insane. This is true and what I’m about to tell you is the reason why.
I went to the nurses station in the west wing of the hall. I was to short to see over the counter but Erin the nurse always knew when I was there. She came around the desk to talk to me. I remember her brown hair was up in a bun with a few fly aways. She always looked so pretty to me in the crisp white uniform with the little white hat. She smelled like gardenias and spice.
She kneeled down to my level and said, “What brings you here sweety?”
“Karrick wanted me to go get Joseph, can I go get him?”
“Sure sweety. I’ll call him and you go on through when the door buzzes. You can go on down to the day room. It’s right down the hall and I’ll be able to see you from here.”
I nodded and turned toward the locked door. You would think as a little kid I would be afraid of that wing but the truth is I wasn’t. I didn’t know I should be. I remember the door making the buzzing sound going inside. The buzzer was so loud and it sounds like the those buzzers in movies. You know when people go into the big scary mental wing of a big scary hospital, that’s the sound the door made.
I pulled the door and went through it and started to walk down the hall. The floors creaked under my feet. The floors all had chipped linoleum and the walls has peeling paint. It made the place look old and down right dirty. I know the place wasn’t dirty because the smell of antiseptic was stinging my nose. You could also smell the people around. The hall was lined with rooms and there were these little windows in the door.
I was about halfway down the hall when the screaming started. The patients came rushing down the hall at me. That was the first moment I felt fear. The people running at me didn’t seem to be paying me any attention. I could smell this funny scent of something and smoke. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised I mean jails have riots why would a wing for the criminally insane would be no different.
I remember being pushed and shoved out of the way. It was like I was a rag doll, the way I was being moved around. It was like they all thought I was just in the way. I finally ran to the edge of the wall and squatted down. I was trying to curl myself into a ball so I wouldn’t be seen. They were going toward the door that I had just come through and Erin.
I looked back to try to see what they were doing. I wanted to know why they were running at Erin. The men were all crowed around the door and I couldn’t see past them but I heard Erin yell my name, it was like a high pitched screech. Looking back I can identify the fear in her voice but at the time I couldn’t hear it. It was then I felt the hand close around my arm.
I was pulled into a room and the door was slammed shut behind me. The man that grabbed me looked like he had been living out on the street. He had greasy, stringy hair and he was dark. Not like black but tan and a very dark tan. He was wearing an oversized shirt and pants, he was practically swimming in his clothes. His eyes scared me even more then I already was. They looked . . . wild is the best word for it. The expression in his eyes was the strangest I had ever seen. It wasn’t until I was older, more mature that I realized that look. . . it was hunger.
“I wont hurt you little girl.” He said, “I wont come near you. You just go over there and sit on the bed.”
I did as he said for no other reason then I didn’t know what else to do. He pushed back against the wall beside the door and started to slide down to the floor. He then wrapped his arms around his legs and started rocking back and forth. It was almost the type of rocking a child would do but it was different.
After a few minutes the man started to sing to himself. It took a couple of minutes but then I recognized the song. It was a lullaby, In fact it was the one that Karrick used to sing to me, ‘You are my Sunshine’. It was the strangest thing; listening to that song and hearing the riot going on right outside the door. The alarms had started to go off with their blaring roar. I had never heard the Alarms go off before that just added to the panic I was already feeling. I did the only thing I could. I pulled my knees to my chest and tried not to think about my hear pounding and jumping in my throat.
The alarms went off for what seemed like forever. Part way through I lost most of my fear. Yes the alarms were still going off and I could still hear yelling and screaming, yes there is a difference, from outside. It’s just there was nothing happening so there was nothing to be afraid of. Really I was just board and I was looking for something to do. It was obvious that the man didn’t want me anywhere near him and that was fine by me. He didn’t only look bad he smelled. I started looking around the room for something, anything to do. I noticed that he had pictures on his walls, of children. I wondered if they were his family and if so was that why he stayed. This man I admit I wanted to know more about him.
The alarms finally turned off a few minutes after I found the photos. The silence was absolutely deafening after the alarms. I thought for sure someone would be coming to get me soon. Let me tell you right now I was wrong.
Ok I wasn’t apart of what happened next but I did find out about to it so I will tell you. Remember I was stuck in room with a crazy man. Anyway, here’s what happened. While the alarms were going off everyone who worked at the hall was trying to get the wing back under control. Apparently the riot was bloody and really bad. They inmates slash patients rushed the door. Three orderlies, two guards, eight patients and five nurses were killed before the guards and other nurses could subdue everyone.
Once they did subdue everyone Joseph and Karrick found each other in the mess. Karrick asked where I was. That was when they realized I was missing. I heard Karrick was furious and he wanted to turn the wing upside down to find me. Everyone said he turned into a raving, angry, maniac; I’m glad I didn’t see it.
They way they decided to find me was a room by room search in the wing until they found where I was. The powers that be decided it would be the best way to find me. I was told everyone was hoping that I hadn’t found some nook or cranny that was still unknown to the adults. They were also preying nothing had happened to me. Considering they didn’t know where exactly they lost me just which wing the powers that be knew it could take some time to check every room. I was told it took thirty minutes to find me from the time the riot ended. I can only guess that some one the inmates were giving the orderlies and guards a hard time.
When they found me the real horror in my world began. You see it was guard that opened the door to the room. As soon as the door opened the man jumped up and started screaming, “Get her out! Get her out!
The guard said, “She’s here? Where is she?”
I really don’t think the man was in condition to answer because he just kept screaming, “Get her out! Get her out! Now, please, get her out!”
“Back away from the door,” The guard said, “We need to come in.”
The man just kept screaming and finally the guard called for a nurse to bring a syringe. The guard pushed the man back and then pushed him against the wall. Karrick was right behind the guard running straight to me. I can’t describe the emotion I felt as soon as I saw Karrick. It was like my world stopped and also sped up all at the same time. I just started crying hysterically; looking back I wish I hadn’t.
The man started getting hysterical himself. He changed what he was screaming to, “I didn’t touch her! I didn’t touch her! I was just trying to get her out! You have to believe me!”
Karrick looked straight up for a minute before he said to me, “Come on baby girl; let’s get out of here. Let’s get you home.”
“Please! I didn’t touch her! Please believe me!” The man screamed. Then he did something so horrible. A guard had come into the cell at some point with a bottle of soda. The man grabbed the soda and smashed it against the wall. He then took the part that he was still holding and slit his own throat. Blood was gushing everywhere. I had no idea there was so much blood in one body.
I went from crying to screaming in about a second flat. Blood started pouring from his neck, down the front of his shirt. His shirt was coated in blood and his eyes started to glaze over. His face went white and then some of it oozed out of his mouth and nose. He slumped down to the floor, dead.
Karrick picked me up and took me out the door in a flash. I had never seen him move that fast before, or since. As soon as we were out the door he put me down on the floor. He was mumbling something but I couldn’t tell you what he said. I know he was trying to calm me down but I was just couldn’t calm down. What I had seen was just so . . . I don’t even know how to begin.
Karrick finally put me down in the hall and kneeled in front of me. He seemed to want to talk to me but I was still screaming and crying. I know now he just wanted to calm me down as there was no point in trying to talk to me there. Again, to tell the truth, there was no point in trying to calm me down there either. People were still running around and calling out orders. My word was still upside down.
I have no idea how long we stood in the hall before his words started to work into my mind and I stopped screaming. My throat hurt and I was gasping for air because I had been hysterical. The first words I remember were, “It’s ok baby girl. You can calm down now. No one is going to hurt you.”
On a hiccup I responded, “Why? Why did that man do that?”
Karrick lowered his head for a moment like he was trying to find a way to order his thoughts. “I can’t answer that. I’ll never really know why but I have to ask. . . did he. . . did he hurt you at all?
I shook my head no. He hadn’t really hurt me, just scared me.
“Did he. . . did he touch you at all?”
“He grabbed my arm and pushed me into the room with him.”
“What about when you were in the room with him. Did he do anything to you there?”
“He sat on the floor rocking and singing. He told me to go sit on the bed and after I did he sat down on the floor and started rocking. Did I do something wrong? You always tell me to do what I’m told and I did.”
“No, baby girl, you didn’t do anything wrong. You were a good girl and I’m, sorry you had to see that. Let’s just get you home and we’ll finish talking about what happened, ok?”
I nodded and Karrick stood up. That was when I saw her. Erin the nurse I had liked was slumped on the floor in front of the desk to get into the wing. She was black and blue all over and her uniform was ripped. It was obvious that her hair had been yanked and pulled out of it’s bun and her hat was just gone. She wasn’t moving and even tho her eyes were closed I could tell, even at that age that this was the second horrific thing I was seeing that day. Later I did find out the Erin was indeed dead. The men coming out of the wing had overpowered her and take her life. As an adult I understand that they probably raped her but I don’t know if they did or not. I’ve hoped many, many times that Erin’s dead was quick but somehow I don’t think it was.
I know what your wondering right now. Why was I allowed in that wing at all. Why didn’t Karrick just call Joseph to come to him. I can answer that question. Again later I found out that Karrick wanted to talk to the doctor and had called the nurses station before he sent me to go get Joseph. Erin hadn’t been at the station at the time. One of the volunteers took a message from him to keep me in the common room for a few minutes. He had meant the common room just outside the wing. Erin was just following what the note had said and I like to think she couldn’t have known that the riot was brewing.
Regardless of the note or the fact I was fine, an investigation was launched. With 18 well 19 people dead as the result of the riot everyone wanted to make sure nothing like this happened again. I know the investigation was hard on everyone working in the Hall, but Karrick took it really hard. I don’t know if he blamed himself for Erin’s death but I can only think that he did. On top of that I know he believed and taught me to believe that no loss of life is acceptable. Yes, I know people die. It’s the cost of living but still. . . people should be allowed to die with dignity not just thrown away like a piece of trash.
In the end the kingdom reps agreed with Karrick’s beliefs and the hall was closed for good. The official statement was “After such grievous losses it becomes apparent that the facility is no longer serving the purpose for which it was designed. As such the doors will be closing and all the patients will be moved to other facilities. It will be up to those facilities what further actions shall be taken with the patients. Warwick Manor with it’s upgraded building and staffing will now house those patients that are considered criminally insane and new evaluations will be done on each patient. If at that time the physicians at Warwick Manor feel it is appropriate for any of these patients to stand trial for their crimes they will.” Whatever the hell all that means.
Luckily Warwick Manor had been courting Karrick and Joseph for jobs since the facility opened. Some of the other staff were not so lucky. I understand where the kingdom was coming form now but at the time I could only think about what a big change it was all going to be. Again my world was being forced upside down, the only difference this time a kingdom agency was making it happen.
We only had two weeks between the end of the investigation and the time the hall closed. Karrick hadn’t taken me back to the hall during the investigation to see the doctor. He didn’t want me back there are all. I had to see the Lady in Black before the Hall closed. I had to say goodbye. I begged Karrick for most of the two weeks before the Hall closed to be allowed to go back and say good bye to everyone. You can take a guess what he said and you would most likely be correct. It took me going to Joseph for Karrick to see sense. I don’t know how but somehow Joseph talked Karrick into letting me go back to the Hall the last day it was open just to say good bye.
The wing for the criminally insane had already been shut down and all the patients transferred. Yes, they actually did it that fast. One moment the Hall was up and running and the next it was dying. All the nurses and orderlies even though most of the patients also had been transferred out. The doctor was there to. They all seemed happy to see me and sad to know that most of them would never see me again. I wandered the halls most of the day and I wasn’t surprised when I found that I was followed by Joseph all day.
It was around noon when I found the Lady in Black. She was looking out the windows in the common room. Now that I knew where she was I just had to find a way to talk to her. Since Joseph was there I thought he would be sure to think I was talking to him. I knew Karrick didn’t believe and I could only think that Joseph didn’t either. Then he did something that surprised me. It surprises me to this day.
He said, “Elaine I think Raven here wants to say good bye to you.”
The Lady in Black turned and looked at him and me. My eye must have gone wide and I’m sure I gasped. She said, “Thank you Joseph. Child you look like you have seen. . . well me.” Then she laughed.
“He knows?” I asked
Joseph laughed that time. “I’m the one that told you about her. Don’t you remember?”
“I thought you were just telling me a story.” I started, “Are any of the stories true?”
“No, but you’re the one that saw her. I just filled in who she was.” Joseph said, “I’ll be over there where I can see you. You don’t need to worry this part of the Hall is mostly empty. No one will bother you.” Then he walked away.
I turned back to the Lady in Black and found I was at a loss for words. She started, “I heard this place is closing.”
“I’m sorry. What will you do now?”
“I’ll do as I always have; I will stay here. Sooner or later someone will buy the house, they always have.”
“Once the Hall is closed aren’t you going to be lonely again?”
“I can deal with being alone. I have before and I’m sure again.”
“Joseph once told me you would tell me your story if we were alone but you never did. What is your story?”
She smiled for a moment and then said, “If you really want to know, I will tell you.”
It was then she told me her story. She told me about her life and her husband. She told me about her children and her death. It was a sad, sad story. A part of me wants to tell it to you but it isn’t my story to tell. I would tell you to go see her and she would tell you if you can see her and you just asked but. . .about two years someone bought the Hall and within a month it was torn down. I don’t know what happened to her. I went back a time or two but I never saw her. One day I hope to see her again but somehow I don’t think I will.
After the end of her story we talked for a while longer. I wanted to cry when I had to say good bye. If I had known it would be the last time I would have seen her I’m sure I would have made a much bigger fuss about leaving.
After Joseph and I found Karrick we left to go to home. I had to go to work with Karrick the next day but that wouldn’t be at the Hall. I would never see the Hall in one piece again. However in Brantwood Hall I was a child and a victim, forced to do as I was told and never having a say of my own. In Warwick Manor I would go in as a child with few choices but I would be more.