A rusted electric fence surrounds the walled facility and the facility itself is a series of squat single story buildings connected by hallways. Every window is barred, every door is bolted, every surface is gray or blue. In this way the Kaydeross Asylum keeps the murderous nightmares of its prisoners tucked away from the world of ordinary madness.
Orderlies move through the hallways and buildings like ants, jaded boredom has rendered them faceless and emotionless. They go through their routines but have long ago stopped seeing their charges as human beings. The physicians and psychiatrists assigned to this place are no better, any thoughts of rehabilitating their patients have long been ground away by the never-ending crush of State-required paperwork.
Only Dr. Annabelle Masters truly cared about what went on here. Despite being the director of the facility she still made it a point to oversee the progress of the women remanded to the Kaydeross Asylum. There is a framed photograph she kept on the wall of her office, it shows her standing within the center of a crowd of women wearing faded hospital gowns and slippers; she is smiling despite the fact she is standing with a group of convicted murderers.
As I went through Dr. Masters's office my gaze returned to the picture again and again. There was something about the patients that haunted me- despite their smiling faces their eyes seemed to be screaming.
I was just a temporary administrator sent in to replace Dr. Masters while the investigation into her disappearance moved forward. It was my job to restore some semblance of order to the facility but I already knew it would be no easy task.
A tall bookcase occupied one side of the room, some of the texts shelved there were the standards of our profession but others had fallen out of print after being dismissed as bald faced quackery.
After this I turned my attention to her desk. It was ugly, gray and metallic. It reminded me of the sort of desk a schoolteacher might have. I searched through the drawer and found one had been locked. It took some effort but I was able to break the lock and found seven files that were thick with handwritten notes and EEG readouts.
Dr. Masters's notes were written on cheap onionskin paper, her handwriting script was cramped and strange, reading it was hard going. There was one folder for each of the Kaydeross Asylum's more infamous charges. She had been interviewing and treating these murderesses secretly.
No it was more than that, she had been experimenting on them.
Even now I can recall some of her notes almost perfectly-
...the Precious Machine continues to perform better than expected on Leslie Knapp but she resists treatment. She claws at the air and calls the names of her children. The modified styluses titter and scratch at the paper, there is something beautiful about the patterns they make. When I playback the audio tapes it almost sounds like an animal is skittering in the background like a rat gone wild with the urge to gnaw...
A search of Dr. Masters's office revealed no audio tapes or electroencephalogram, and her notes were maddeningly vague as to what exactly she was trying to accomplish.
Exhaustion, confusion and the murky February afternoon conspired to make me drowsy. I sat down in Dr. Masters' leather-backed chair and leaned back. I meant only to rest my eyes but I was soon asleep.
The dream that came was at first very literal, I was sitting in the office with the cryptic files spread out before me. There was a hollow rapping at the door and I called for the visitor to enter not looking up from my work. Once the visitor stood on the opposite side of the desk I became gripped with a childlike terror. I did not want to look up but my head moved of its own volition and I found myself staring at a figure from my long-abandoned faith. I knew that frail, beatific gaze and those stigmatic hands. But the crown of thorns he wore was metallic and it sparked. My breath caught in my throat as the figure opened his mouth to speak but all that came out was a faint scraping sound like a record that had reached the end of its song.
I awoke then, choking and gasping like a nearly drowned man, but the scratching sound continued. Once the dream had faded away and I was calm, I realized where the strange noise was coming from.
Initially the orderlies balked at my request insisting that the moving of furniture was a job for maintenance but I insisted. Once the heavy mahogany bookcase had been moved a doorway was revealed.
We forced the door open and found what must have once been a storage closet. The so-called 'Precious Machine' was there and it was, as I had thought, a strangely modified EEG machine. A tangle of wires led to a web of sensors that resembled the crown I had seen in my dreams. The EEG had long run out of paper and the styluses scraped and scratched on the bare rollers.
And beneath that crown of sensors was a desiccated figure, she had only been missing for a little over a week but the flesh had an almost mummified look to it. We could only identify the body because of the name badge clipped to the lab coat, and by the eyes, the perfectly preserved eyes that stared back at us.
squirm so much my wee one. Don’t struggle. Let me hold you close while I
work up my nerve. Only a day old and you're fighting to live, well so
am I. Isn't that what we all want in the end? Life, a warm place to
sleep and a full belly. Well, that's what you've got and what do I have?
Nothing I'm just a middle aged man, used up and waiting to die.
Just like you, not that you realize what's coming next of course.
again maybe you do understand, you may be blind and confused but maybe
you do know somehow. Is that why you keep trying to get free?
is all because of Eve. We had known each other since college. She was
already halfway towards becoming a lawyer and I was a well respected
graduate student. You should have seen her. She was so damn beautiful
with creamy skin- just like yours. I first saw her in the college
library, I was so smitten that I followed her home. Just to see if she
was married or living with a boyfriend or something like that. I spent
the next few days tracking her, learning whatever I could and once I was
sure I knew enough to pass for her soulmate I made my move.
played my cards just right and won her heart. It was a whirlwind
romance, the kind of thing you'll never know my wee one. Maybe that's
just as well, maybe if you could you'd thank me for sparing you the
now I don't know what went wrong. Was I too agreeable? Too clingy? It
doesn't matter. She found someone else. The breakup was an ugly thing,
uglier than you my wee one.
tried to be gentle, she told me we could still be friends. I was so
angry, I said terrible things but in the end I took her up on the offer
of friendship and hoped she might come to her senses.
never understand women. They're called the fairer sex but everything
they do is unfair. How is it time and time again they're drawn to the
wrong men? Why couldn't she see that her new boyfriend was all wrong for
her? And why for God's sake did she marry him.
don't get me wrong, I tried to move on. There were other towns, other
girls and no matter how much I learned about them before I made my move I
never got as far as I had with Eve.
that why I kept coming back to my home town? Was that why I stayed her
friend even though the sight of that ring on her finger left my skull
pounding with rage?
Calm down now my wee one. I might drop you if you keep struggling so. Is that what you want?
stayed her friend, I prayed for her to divorce but then it got worse.
They were tears of joy in her eyes when she told me she was pregnant. I
smiled at the news but in the back of my mind I was calling her a bitch.
She never cried for me but she had a fountain of tears for a baby that
wasn't even born yet. A baby that at this point was just a lump of cells
no better than a tumor.
say life begins at conception but I don’t think it begins until you
have your first real thought. Until then your just a thing that eats and
was during her final trimester that I decided something radical needed
to be done. I would steal her little baby and I would keep it away until
she promised to leave her husband and love me forever.
We would raise the child together. Even though it was another man's I would raise it as my own.
to things like email and her husband's Facebook page I knew when Eve
started to go into labor. I waited about twenty-four hours, and then
made my move.
always I had done my homework, I knew the hospital's routine. I went at
night, wearing stolen scrubs and an official-looking ID badge.
made my way to the nursery convinced that no suspicious eyes would turn
my way. I suppose love blinded me in that respect. I barely had the
baby in my arms before someone raised an alarm. Escape wasn't easy but I
managed to get out of the building. Then I found myself in the middle
of a car chase. I knew I could evade the police if I made it to the
state park and drove with my headlights off.
The crash was a directionless blur, I thought I was running parallel to the ravine but I ended up careening right into it.
here I am, pinned in my car with broken bones poking through the flesh
of my legs. I had dared everything and I came away empty handed.
Doubtlessly Eve and her husband are cooing over their baby and cursing
me for what I had tried to do.
I'm not sure why no one has found me yet, I mean they must be looking but it's been two days and I'm still waiting alone.
I was waiting alone until you came along. The flies must have laid you
while I was drifting in and out of consciousness but now my wounded legs
are crawling with maggots.
isn't cruelty, it's just that I'm so hungry and you’re all I have. I'm
going to eat you first and then once I’ve gotten the taste for it your
brothers and sisters will be joining you by the handful.
I'm going to live through this, and somehow I'm going to get my Eve back.
Somehow. Somehow I'll do it.
Just don't squirm so much my wee one. Don't struggle.
can’t really blame what happened on some kind of horror movie outbreak
or evil spell. I just woke up one morning and I was dead.
Dead, totally dead but walking around, no pulse but a head still full of Star Trek
trivia. I was 16 years old and it looked like I wasn’t going to be
getting any older. So weird. I’m still not sure what I am really. Am I
some kind of a zombie or vampire or something? Has this ever happened to
anyone else? Even Wikipedia couldn’t tell me, maybe when I’m done here
I’ll make an entry.
My complexion had always been pale and my parents never listened to me really so the whole I can’t go to school because I’m only breathing out of habit. excuse didn’t fly so I still had to shamble on out to catch the bus for school.
ride to Allen Palmer High School was always rough, insults and blunt
objects get thrown at me not matter how close I sit to the bus driver.
That day was no different, so I guess we can add dead people to the
things that metalhead stoners have no respect for.
the shit they pulled would make me get angry or even cry but that day
none of it bugged me. Of course it made the shop class rejects even
madder when I didn’t react to them. Finally a textbook hit me in the
back of the head and I turned in my seat to glare at them.
I wasn’t really glaring on purpose, I thought I looked surprised
because I was trying to figure why in the Hell one of those idiots would
have a calculus textbook. Still it shut them up for the rest of the bus
ride and they left me alone from then on.
wasn’t much of anything, I kind of just went through the motions but
that’s sophomore year for you isn’t it? It’s like the middle film in the
Lord of the Rings trilogy, not good, not bad just kinda killing time until the ending.
wasn’t sure what my ending was going to be now though, was I going to
rot away and fall apart? I didn’t know, I still don’t but it doesn’t bug
me much. After you’re dead what’s the worst that could happen?
The next week went on like nothing had happened, it was school, home and then World of Warcraft.
Of course now I didn’t have to worry about bathroom breaks messing up my raids.
I would get hungry- not the kind of hungry you know. It was like my
bones were aching, like I could feel them going soft. It was a hunger
that fish sticks and fries couldn’t touch. Thankfully my neighborhood is
full of cats, some of the stupidest cats you’ve ever seen.
And plump too, like those little chickens they serve at weddings.
By the second week of my new ‘life’ things started to change, I smelled a little but it was nothing that my Dad’s Hi Karate
couldn’t hide. People started treating me differently, even when I
smiled I had this look that weirded people out. I told the gym teacher I
wasn’t going to play dodgeball, I was going to the library and he just
let me. Amazing!
skin cleared up but my grades stayed the same. You jocks even stopped
calling me ‘Timmy the Tard’ not that I cared anymore. One guy did pick a
fight with me, some seven foot tall freshman. He punched me a few
times, it didn’t much hurt and for once I hit back. One smack and he was
crying on the floor. Didn’t know my own strength. I sure as Hell got
called into the principal’s office for that but after he realized I was
staring at his carotid artery and licking my lips he cut his speech
about responsibility and citizenship short and just suspended me for the
that I cared. My Mom hit the roof when she found out, my Dad actually
seemed kind of proud of me for once. One of the neighbor’s dogs went
missing that night, I felt like celebrating.
I was suspended my mom gave me punishment chores to keep me busy while
she and Dad were at work. That was ok by me. I liked the physical
activity it kept me from just sitting around the house because when
you’re dead that’s what you do- just sit around a lot. You don’t get
bored, you don’t think, you just are. You kind of let things happen to
What was it my Aunt said? Let go and let God.
that God was something I worried about much either anymore. I do wonder
sometimes if Jesus was just a nerd like me, if he was just someone that
kept having to swallow abuse and insults until he just choked on it.
Of course he got cool powers out of the deal. All I got was this thousand yard stare.
And I got laid too.
Seriously. It was the girl next door. Well, across the street.
don’t have anything to say about that? Well, anyway, she’s this gothy
chick named Stephanie but she wants everyone to call her ‘Serpentina’.
She doesn’t go to school anymore. They expelled her for spraying the
tampon dispenser in the girls’ room with lighter fluid and setting it on
fire. I had been taking out the trash and I had just kind of zoned out.
I didn’t even notice when it started raining. Stephanie- I mean
Serpentina- came over and started talking to me, talking about how much
she liked standing in the rain too and how I sure had changed. That
never happened before.
invited me in to talk but the next thing I knew we were making out on
her parent’s couch. They were at work too. I was already hard, mostly
because I had died with one of those piss erections I guess. She starts
taking off her clothes, showing me all the places she’s going to get
tattooed and pierced as soon as she’s eighteen.
Girl’s gonna be busy.
Now it didn’t feel like I expected, mostly because I was dead but I got off in other ways. She was so warm,
I didn’t realize how cold I was until I had her on top of me. I let her
do the driving, she kissed me and moved my hands to wherever she wanted
to be touched. Then she guided me into her.
And since we’re both guys here let me tell you that I was doing the
full on zombie groan if you know what I mean. You know what I mean?
Serpentina was going crazy too, she kept complimenting me on my staying
power. I think we could have still been at it if I hadn’t faked and
orgasm and told her I’d call her later.
Bet you thought I was gonna kill her and eat her or something right?
are you out of your mind? She’s crazy about me, and she told me she
wanted to introduce me to this girlfriend of hers named Umbra. And it
was the way she said girlfriend that has me thinking. I may be dead but
I’m not stupid.
course all that exertion has me tired out and that’s where you come in
you big broad shouldered jock you. I knew you couldn’t resist the chance
to follow me here to ‘teach me a lesson’ after what I did to that
mongoloid brother of yours. The dogs and the cats went neck first but
since you pulled down my shorts in gym class