Security shoved Nurse Meredith into the Questioning Room. She hit the wall, but she didn’t flinch or cry out. She knew what to expect having witnessed interrogations from the other side of the one-way mirror.
The Questioning Room was sparse. Outsiders might have called it an interrogation room, but Asylum management preferred its own names. The Questioning Room was soundproof, and the table was bolted to the floor. In one corner was the door most staff used to enter and leave. That door opened from the Office. In the opposite corner was a door used less often by ordinary staff, and it led to the Asylum mortuary. It was not the only door to the mortuary, but it may have been the most frequently used.
The first security agent bent forward. Meredith wasn’t short, but even at 5’10, she was no match for any agent. She didn’t look up. She hated their eyes.
The agent’s breath came hot and damp down on her face. She stared straight ahead. “You’ve lied.”
“I’d like to explain,” she replied.
A thin sharp hand shot out and struck her face. Blood instantly oozed up from three cuts across her cheek.
“We’ll come back.”
This surprised her. “Where are you going?” She regretted her question immediately. Agents didn’t usually leave anyone alone in the Questioning Room, and neither did they like to be the ones answering questions.
One of the agents snarled. She never could tell them apart. All this time she assumed they were males, but really she had no idea. It was foolish to assume anything about them.
They needed to take only a few long strides to be out the door. They left her in the Questioning Room alone. As much as she wanted to touch the cuts on her face, she quelled the impulse. She knew better.
Meredith looked around the office, and her anger brewed. She’d worked too hard for too long, years of her life, for them to treat as a common miscreant. They dared question her when her record contained no blemish. All the messes she’d cleaned up and the needles and the screaming and the scratches and everything, and they’d let one intruder bring it to an end? She wasn’t about to be demoted.
They had taken her keys but had left them on the desk. She rolled her eyes. Agents were overconfident. Fear was no longer enough to keep her in check. She scooped up the keys and dropped them in her pocket. Let the alarms distract them. She knew how to cause real damage.
* * *
The bag full, Hannah prowled the rest of the room. Finally, next to a rusted, dirty sink, she spotted a doorknob. The door blended with the wall, and the doorknob was so tarnished, she almost missed it.
She put an ear to the door. Nothing. But whether that was because the room beyond was truly quiet or because the door trapped all sound, she couldn’t guess. She’d have to open the door and find out. She prepared herself to run.
Slowly, she opened the door and peered out into a bright, clear hall. She moved one foot from the basement side of the door to the hallway side of the door. She put more weight in her step. Sounds and lights and voices rang around her.
Hannah retreated further back into the basement. Eventually they’d figure out where she was.
The basement door swung open, and the girl and the nurse faced each other.