CHAPTER 3- THE RULES
“I think you’ll find Westin Hills to be quite comfortable, I’m sure,” Calvin told Lexi as he started to show her around the place. It had been a few hours since Lexi had hit rock-bottom, whenever Dr. Graham told her the worst news of her life. Many tears were shed during that time, and all Lexi did was lay on her bed and stare at the ceiling, wondering how in the hell all of this could have happened to her. Almost immediately, her thoughts shifted to Krueger. She knew that bastard was the one responsible for everything, but who could she tell? Who would believe her now? She was locked up in an insane asylum for god’s sake. Chuckling sarcastically to herself, she knew that her chances were slim and none. However, despite that, she figured she would at least try and tough it out. After all, she knew she wouldn’t be there that long anyway, because with no defense and no one else to turn to, it was only a matter of time before Freddy--
“Lexi?” Calvin asked, interrupting her momentary daze.
“Huh?” she replied, coming back to her senses. “Oh, I’m sorry. Go ahead.”
“You’ll find the rules here are very lax,” the tall orderly continued as he pushed his squeaky medicine cart down the long, narrow hallway. “All we have is a mandatory lockdown between the hours of 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. All patients must be in their rooms during that time. However, the rest of the day, you are free to watch TV in the lounge or try your luck at some foosball in the game room.”
“I don’t play any games,” Lexi replied glumly as the smell of bleach and some other industrial grade cleaner invaded her nostrils in the main corridor.
“Oh, well that’s alright,” Calvin shrugged. “We have a lot of other stuff to do down there, like chess and checkers, and I managed to pull a few strings and get a Playstation, so that might be something you’d be interested in.”
Lexi didn’t reply. She just grinned with a half-smile and continued following Calvin down the shiny, spotless marble floor.
“Um, we bring breakfast in around 9 a.m., lunch is at noon, and dinner’s around 7:30,” he continued, trying to recall the rest of the hospital’s basic regulations. “We are usually very cool about things here. We realize this is a hospital, but we also know that you people are still kids. And kids like to have fun, so we’re doing all we can to accommodate you. Just the same though, don’t ever cross us or step out of line, because if you do, you’ll end up either tranquilized or in the quiet room, and that’s something we take no pleasure in.”
Lexi still didn’t respond. Somehow, she already knew what the quiet room looked like, and exactly what would happen if she got put in there. Nodding to acknowledge him, she followed Calvin as they approached the first door on the right, which hung open about halfway into the hall.
“First stop,” Calvin muttered, stooping down to reach something at the base of his cart.
“What’s that for?” Lexi inquired, noticing all the different pills scattered about in little plastic dixie cups.
“Each patient has specific medication prescribed to them, so I have to make sure everyone gets what they’re supposed to,” Calvin responded, picking up another clear, small Dixie cup with two red pills inside it. “It’s crucial to the rehabilitation process.”
“Knock, knock,” Calvin smirked, tapping on the open door with his knuckles. Inside, Lexi noticed a room very similar to her own, right down to the alabaster white and blue walls, stale, musty air, and generally drab appearance. Inside sat two patients, both male, who seemed to be preoccupied. Hearing Calvin’s knock, the first one, sprawled out on his bed, looked up from the magazine he was reading and smiled.
“Wassup, Calvito?” the young patient asked calmly in a heavy Latino accent.
“You know the drill, Manny,” Calvin replied cheerfully, handing him his pills.
“Yeah, mang, I know,” Manny responded with a sigh, setting down his copy of Import Tuner magazine and sitting up in his bed.
Manuel Cuevas, 18, had been in Westin Hills for a little over a year since his accident in Collins, just south of Springwood. An avid lover of cars, Manny took great pride in his black souped-up Hyundai Elantra. Working on it day and night, he was extremely happy with his finished product. From the rear spoiler and loud bass system to the red street glow lights and shiny silver rims, he loved it all. To top it off, he applied a decal of a large dragon up each side, added some fuzzy dice in the rearview mirror, and voila, the Red Dragon was born.
After showing it off for the better part of a year, he decided it was time to put it to the test. So, through one of his friends, he got involved in illegal street racing, and his whole world came crashing down. He managed to win a few races at first and score some cash, but then Manny got mixed up with the wrong crowd and ended up right in the middle of a gang war between rival factions. Needless to say, the gangs did not take too kindly to these invaders racing on their territory, and the end result was a massacre. Every one of the six racers involved was gunned down, including Manny, who was shot in the chest point blank. He barely managed to pull through, but his girlfriend Naya wasn’t as fortunate. She endured multiple slugs and died right there on the street next to him. Ever since that incident, Manny’s life plummeted on a downward spiral. His grades slipped, he lost interest in cars altogether, and he became a total recluse. He just couldn’t cope with the loss of Naya, and was deathly afraid that the gangs would come after his family next.
Things got so bad that he just couldn’t go on without some sort of professional help. His mother (a single mother of four), sought help at a youth shelter outside of Springwood, but when Manny refused to go, she telephoned Dr. Graham at Westin Hills and had him committed. There would be no choice this time. He would get help, one way or the other.
“This is Lexi,” Calvin informed him, turning his palm and pointing at her with his right index finger. “She just moved in this morning.”
“Hey,” Manny politely stated as he gulped down his medication with a mouthful of water.
“Hi,” Lexi responded, waving a hand at him and briefly managing to crack a smile.
“What’s HE up to today?” Calvin questioned, nodding his head toward the other patient, who sat peacefully by the window with a pair of headphones on.
“Oh, you know Ty, chico. He always listening to his tunes,” Manny answered, pointing at the dark shadow that had his back turned to them. “He has dreams of hitting it big in rap, so I guess he taking notes or something.”
“Hey, Ty?” Calvin asked, approaching him slowly. “Ty?” Careful not to startle him, Calvin just put his hand on Ty’s shoulder real gently to get his attention. But even that was too much for Ty, who jerked back and turned around.
“Cut it out, you know I hate being touched!” Ty yelped, taking his earphones off expecting a fight. When he turned back around, he saw Calvin and Lexi standing there and instantly mellowed out. “Sorry, Calvin.”
“That’s aight, man,” the orderly responded. “It’s time for your daily dose.”
Without hesitating, Ty swallowed his pills, took a quick slug of water, and then turned back around to his music. A second later, he spun back around, taking a second look at Lexi.
“Tyson Alexander,” Ty smiled, extending his hand to her. “My friends call me Ty.”
“I’m Lexi,” she stated, shaking his hand.
“But soon, you’ll all be calling me T-Money.”
“Yeah, right,” Manny echoed from the background from behind his magazine. “Maybe in the next century, holmes.”
“Bitch, shut the fuck up!” Ty jokingly quipped. “You’ll be begging to be on my posse when I hit it big. I’m gonna be bigger than 50 Cent, bigger than G-Unit. I’m gonna have the T-Unit. Yeah, that’s right. T-Unit, I like the sound of that. What you think?”
“Sounds great,” Lexi replied, having no idea what he was talking about.
“Damn right,” Ty concluded as Calvin led her out of the room. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to work. Catch ya later.”
“Nice meeting you guys,” Lexi stated as they made their way out into the hallway, still able to hear the two of them playfully arguing back inside the room.
“A bit jumpy, isn’t he?” Lexi asked Calvin as they continued down the main corridor.
“Who, Ty?” Calvin questioned back. “Ty’s a good kid. He’s just been through a lot, that’s all.”
“What do you mean?”
“I was here when they first brought him in two years ago. He was a total wreck. Ty grew up in a very poor, black neighborhood north of Akron. His mother worked three part-time jobs to support him and his two brothers, and his father was a big time drug dealer who only showed up when he wanted something.”
“Every time his father would come around, there would be a big argument, and his dad would beat the hell out of his mother. And every time he or one of his brothers would step in to try to help her, they would get beat twice as bad. That’s what drew him to rap music. When his father came calling, he would just retreat to his bedroom and put his headphones on. It filtered out their shouting and helped him cope with the situation. Call it his aphrodisiac.”
“That’s terrible,” Lexi interrupted briefly.
“That ain’t the worst of it,” Calvin continued. “When Ty turned 15, his father tried to get him hooked on cocaine. When Ty refused, he got beat to a bloody pulp. For the next month after that, his father would come back and flat-out torture him, trying to get him hooked on crack. You name it, it happened to Ty. Hair ripped out, fingernails tore off, that sort of thing. If he wasn’t paying attention, his dad would backhand him across the head. If he was sleeping, his father would extinguish his cigarettes on his arm or leg, or worse, on his face. There was no escaping it. It was just a very difficult time for him.”
“What did he do?” Lexi asked, clearly concerned.
“Well, a month after the beatings started, his mother warned him that ‘Daddy’ was coming, so Ty went to bed and pretended to sleep. And sure enough, his father came into the room and tried to pour battery acid on his face. But this time, Ty was ready for him. He rolled out of the way and had a surprise for him—a sledgehammer.”
“Oh my god,” was all Lexi could say.
“He caved his dad’s head in with it,” Calvin concluded, making a swinging motion with his hands. “That’s why he’s here. He was deemed unfit for society, so the judge sent him here so we could rehabilitate him.”
“But he was just defending himself,” Lexi stated.
“Say what you want to, he’s here now and will be for quite a while,” Calvin responded, noticing two girls walking toward them. “Hey girls, how’s it going?”
“Hi Calvin!” they exclaimed at roughly the same time as they passed by.
“Girls, this is Lexi, she’s new here today,” Calvin stated, winking at her. “Why don’t you two give her the little 25-cent tour and make her feel more at home? I’m sure she’s tired of hearing my boring shtick by now.”
“Sure thing, Cal,” the taller, auburn-haired girl responded. “Hi, I’m Maria, and this is my roommate Suzette.”
“Lexi Murphy,” she replied. “Nice to meet you.”
“Ditto,” the shorter, red-haired Suzette added as they started to walk away from Calvin. “Come on, let’s get you some new clothes. I’m sure you’re tired of the Westin-wear.”
“What, these?” Lexi joked. “I was just getting used to them, actually. They’re pretty comfy.”
“Remember Lexi, dinner is at 7:30, and lockdown starts at nine,” Calvin concluded, his voice echoing as he disappeared down the corridor to distribute the remaining medication.
“I will, thanks Calvin,” Lexi said semi-cheerfully, walking down the opposite hallway with her two new friends.
What she didn’t notice was that on the far wall, four distinct marks appeared and seemed to be chasing her, as if someone was scratching on the wall with their fingernails. Shredding and chipping the cheap paint, the lines picked up speed and just about reached her— when she suddenly stopped and turned around, almost sensing their presence.
“Did you guys hear something?” she asked as Maria and Suzette turned back around.
“Oh, nothing. Nevermind. Come on, let’s go.”
When she looked back, the claw marks were gone.
Proceed To Chapter 4
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