The 15th Installment

“Spectacular,” Nurse Stillmark muttered as she agreed to watch the door. She didn’t tell the others of her run in with security. They assumed her explanations would be believed if they were caught.

But she did have the effect of sending patients in the other direction. Any patient who ventured near the office, saw her standing at the door and ran the other way or backed up slowly. She had no impulse to change their minds about her.

The old woman sat on the broad, heavy desk and watched the teenager. But though her gaze remained fixed, her mind shaped plans. Some plans she cast aside and others she examined from every angle. She calculated risks and outcomes. In these moments of relative quiet, she weighed the dreams of revenge she’d had before being free against the reality of being out. Those fantasies of deadly revenge before her own death no longer satisfied. She had the chance to live and she took this into account. To help her focus, she idly dug the point of her knife into the desk’s surface.

Hannah thought of neither woman. She searched the old file cabinets again. The papers she dropped earlier were gone. They weren’t back in the file either. Hannah frowned, trying to decipher the filing system. Unable to think of anything other than R for Robinson, she opened the file drawer marked A-C and skimmed the labels. Alabaster, Apples, Arsenic…Beasts, Beatings, Bees…Charlatans, Concoctions, Crows…

She shoved the drawer shut.

“You’ll never find anyone by their name,” the old woman said. She flicked a pencil off the desk with the point of her knife. “You have to the item that brought them here.”

“How am I supposed to know that?” Hannah kicked the file cabinet. Her boot left a dent.

“Exactly.” The old woman jumped down from the desk. “You don’t know what you’re doing here.”

“I do too!”

A scream and crash echoed through the building. Hannah looked up at the ceiling. The old woman picked up the pencil and used it to twist up her hair. “Come on, fool girl. We’ll find who you’re looking for.”


“And then you’ll help me.”


To continue, go to the 16th installment.