I’m exhausted and it isn’t even 9 p.m. But I’m here! And here is scene three of The Fairy Tale Asylum. I have to think of a way to organize these scenes for anyone who comes in and wants to know they missed, but today isn’t that day. Thanks to our plague year, I’m having to learn to cook and I’m not going to explain in this post why that causes me an irrational amount of anxiety. Thankfully I have friends to save me.
But enough of that. On with our story.
The Fairy Tale Asylum: scene three
Nurse Stillmark unlocked the door to the medicine cabinet. The vial’s original label had been scratched off. Someone had written “quiet” on where bits of the label had been. She held the vial up to the light. The liquid shone clear and bright. She picked up the syringe, and shut the cabinet door.
The patients had to be asleep by midnight. No exceptions. Meredith missed a patient once. She didn’t want to make that mistake again.
She checked the time. She kept things to the minute and she went in order. She never varied her path. Change risked getting off the schedule, and the patients appreciated predictability. So did her bosses.
Nurse Stillmark started her round on the top floor, the 6th. There were twelve rooms per floor except for the ground floor with its offices and kitchen and other vital spaces.
The old woman in the first room was already asleep. She slept all the time, but Meredith gave her the nightly injection anyway. The liquid kept the woman’s nightmares at bay. She dreamed of wolves coming in the windows. Nurse Stillmark never dreamed of wolves. She refused to dream.
The second room was dark. The boy liked it dark. He kept the curtains drawn all day, which management encouraged. Townspeople, especially the teenagers, often tried to climb the asylum walls and peer in the windows. No one had ever succeeded, as far as Nurse Stillmark knew, but you couldn’t be too careful.
She knew her way around the room in the dark. She could walk the entire building blindfolded. She stepped over to the bed and reached for the boy’s arm.
He wasn’t there.
Nurse Stillmark turned around and around, but the boy wasn’t in the room. His absence was impossible. The door was locked from the outside. She carried the only key.
She flipped on the light. The boy really wasn’t there.
The procedure, which she’d not had to follow before, was to set off the alarm and lock down the Asylum. If she sounded the alarm, Management would know the boy went missing on her shift.
Nurse Stillmark didn’t want to go into the Office. Everyone knew they didn’t fire people, nor did they allow anyone to quit. She’d find the boy on her own. She’d finish her rounds. She’d look for him. No one would notice. Everyone else was asleep or busy. The boy couldn’t have left the grounds. She’d have heard. Everyone would know. She’d already be in the office.
The Asylum remained quiet. No sound gave away the boy. Nurse Stillmark took a deep breath and walked out of the room as she did every night. The other patients were waiting, and she was several minutes behind schedule as her heart raced ahead.
Thanks for reading. It really matters to me.