That was the sound of Calvin slamming his locker shut for the final time as a staff member of the Westin Hills Psychiatric Hospital.

Dressed in a t-shirt and blue jeans, Calvin, carrying a small box of his personal effects, was escorted down the narrow hallway to the back exit by two of his former comrades, Damian DeLorian and Jonah Singleton, who figured to get pay raises from Dr. Graham for executing their job correctly.

“Guys, is this even necessary?” Calvin questioned as he stood between the two. “Ya’ll know me well enough to know I’m going to walk out that door and never come back.”

“It’s company policy, Calvin,” Damian replied coldly. “Surely you can understand that.”

“Yeah, bro,” Jonah added swiftly. “If we disobey our orders, we’ll end up just like you. And I don’t know about you, but I like my job.”

Calvin just shook his head and kept going, letting their ignorance blow over for the time being as they turned the corner. The back hallway, dimly lit by the aging bulbs above them, was totally quiet. The sounds of their shoes echoed off of the squeaky-clean tiled floor as the aroma of dirt and pine sol lingered in the air.

Reaching the back door, it was Calvin who fired the last shot as they forcefully snatched his name badge and keys.

“Man, fuck you guys!!!” he shouted. “Can’t you see what’s really going on here, or has Graham pulled the wool over your eyes too?! Those kids need our help. They’ll be lucky to make it out of here alive because of what just happened tonight. For god’s sake, watch them. Take care of them. We’re all they got!!!”

Neither Damian nor Jonah flinched from their uncaring, robotic stance, pissing Calvin off further.

“Good night, Mr. Jennings,” Damian smugly concluded as they shoved him out the door.

“Don’t touch me!” Calvin yelled, banging on the door from the outside. “Don’t you ever fucking touch me!!!”

Staring coldly at them face-to-face through the window of the door, Calvin threateningly pumped his fist in their direction, but they just laughed and disappeared from sight.

Frustrated, Calvin turned and headed down the small flight of cement steps and got into his SUV, slamming the driver’s side door closed in disgust. A moment later, his white Cadillac Escalade roared to life, and the ex-orderly sped off down the road into the night, leaving a cloud of smoke in his wake.

Back by the door, a familiar set of eyes watched from the shadows as the moonlight reflected off of something lying on the cement staircase.

From a distance, it appeared to be nothing more than a loose bubble gum wrapper or a small pebble, but as he approached, he saw it was much more than that.

Hearing the gravel crunch beneath his feet, the Man in Black stooped down to one knee and clearly saw that it was a set of keys along with a badge of some sort.

Labeled “Jennings, Calvin,” the man soon figured out that the keys must have fallen out of the orderly’s hands during the struggle with Calvin, and dropped there without any of them noticing.

Except him, of course.

Adjusting his black fedora and long black trench coat, the Man in Black swiped the card and entered the hospital.


“Suze, do you really think Ty killed Manny?” Maria asked her roommate as they laid in their beds on lockdown. “I mean, come on, we knew the guy, there’s no way he could have done that.”

“Well, helllllllooo,” Suzette responded smartly, setting down her copy of Vogue magazine and rolling over to face her. “Ty killed before, that’s why he got put here in the first place. It was really only a matter of time before he did it again. I guess Manny was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“But what about that dream stalker guy, Freddy Krueger?” Maria asked, the concern clearly etched across her face. “What if he’s real? What if Lexi was right about him? Any one of us could be next. Did you ever think about that? It’s no coincidence that we all dreamt of this guy.”

“It’s all an illusion,” Suzette stated, badly refuting her argument as she chomped down on a cracker. “It’s probably something in the food they give us here or our medication. It makes us see things.”

“You really think so?”

“I know so.”

“What are we gonna do?”

“I’ll tell ya what I’m gonna do,” Suzette yawned. “I’m gonna get some sleep. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in a long time. Since...”

“Since Lexi got here?” Maria questioned, completing her sentence for her.

“Yeah, since Lexi got here. Why’s it matter?”

Maria sighed. “I guess it doesn’t.”

“You’re right,” Suzette agreed. “It doesn’t. Look, we’re obviously gonna be stuck in this room for quite a while, so you might as well make the best of it and get some rest. We can talk about it in the morning.”

“Yeah, if we make it that long,” Maria mumbled to herself, rolling back over away from her.

“What did you say?”


Proceed To Chapter 16
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