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Horror Thriller

(Content Warning: Strong Violence, Murder, Psychological Phobias.)





October 1, 2020

My name is Doctor Jeremiah Isaack, and I’ve decided to commit my thoughts to words. It’s an exercise I often suggest for my patients because it helps prioritize problems, fears, and concerns. It also allows me to track their day-to-day symptoms, making it easier to recognize specific triggers that cause stress leading to a more fulfilling diagnosis. I think everyone should keep a journal, even if they are not currently seeing a psychiatrist like myself. 

I’ve refrained from using this practice myself in the past simply because the demands on my time were so extensive. Helping my clients has always been an obsession. I pride myself on being the best and make no excuses for it.

Dear journal, I’ve always upheld a professional appearance and carried myself with class and dignity. For the past thirty-five years, I’ve dedicated my life to psychiatry. I have no family to speak of, and although I have amassed a vast fortune, I don’t have time to spend a dime!

Ruby City has been drowning in a sea of madness for as long as I can remember. I sometimes wonder if all the “sane” people have abandoned the ship. Despite my years of procrastination, I remained ever vigilant in my personal crusade for greatness.

Just this morning, my secretary, Amber, informed me that we received several one-star ratings from some of our new clients. I must admit that this surprising revelation left me feeling angry and bitter. It’s not my fault that this facility has become a drive-thru psychiatric practice. Clients are allowed fifteen minutes on a weekly basis, and I try my best to get the most out of each and every session. One-star review, indeed…



October 2, 2020

         

This morning I instructed Amber to give me the names of everyone who gave me a one-star rating. A bit harsh, I know, but I simply must make amends. After a few hours, I found myself staring at the list. Ethically speaking, I will not use their real names and refer to each person by first name only. 

         

Sam, Alice, Ben, and Jessica have defiled my good name and reputation by giving me a one-star rating. This can not stand! I will not allow it! 

         

Ahem… I don’t know what came over me. I must take a break before seeing my next patient. 

 


October 3, 2020

         

Today I found myself sitting at my desk, staring at that list again. Beside each name was a contact number, and without hesitation, my brilliant mind formed a plan. I personally took the time and called each client to make amends. I informed them of a special one-off session, after hours, of course, to better help their needs.

         

Naturally, there was some hesitation, but after I informed them that this extra session would be free of charge, they all agreed to see me. I scheduled everyone on a different night to give them my undivided attention… 

 


October 10, 2020

         

It’s been a while, dear journal, but after a busy week, I finally have some time to jot down some thoughts. Tonight is the first of four private sessions with the one-star defilers and to say I’m excited to begin is an understatement…

 


October 11, 2020


My God… what have I done?

Last night, I met with Sam in a private session. As a child, Sam was abused by his father and helplessly watched his mother take one beating after another. Now a middle-aged man, Sam had become his father and beats his wife and kids regularly. A classic story of the victim becoming the abuser. About one-third of victims fall prey to this devastating statistic.

Our session was going well up to that point. I asked Sam why he sought help for his sins, and he told me that his wife was going to leave him if he didn’t get some kind of aid. I thought this was a fascinating fact because he was only seeing me for his own selfish purposes. He didn’t care about the pain he so maliciously caused his own family. Classic abuser mentality!   

I decided to delve deeper into Sam’s mind. I asked him how beating his wife and children made him feel. He immediately took offense to the question. I diffused the situation by telling him that this was simply a method to express himself without fear of prosecution or judgment.

He talked about how his rage took over and that he didn’t have control of his impulses. I listened intently and secretly wondered how that would feel. To give in to something so dark, so primal… it must be a freeing experience.

As Sam continued, I rose from my chair and slowly walked behind him, taking notes. He spoke of a memory from his childhood and remained motionless.

I felt annoyed and aggravated by Sam’s boring story and couldn’t help but notice the golden candlestick resting on my bookshelf. I interrupted Sam and asked how hitting his innocent family made them feel. He paused for a moment, and before he could answer, I whacked him with the blunt weapon.

Sam fell to the floor, head gushing red. He was dead; there was no doubt about that. I felt a surge of electricity, and my God… I was smiling. The power, the exhilaration, was amazing. I felt alive! 

My joy was short-lived because the reality of what I had done began to sink in. I needed to dispose of Sam’s body and clean up the mess. I decided to dump his corpse in the Ruby City Canal on my way home, but before I did, I used Sam’s thumb to unlock his phone and changed his one-star rating to a perfect five-star review.

So, what have I done? Something amazing! I can’t wait for my next private session!   

 


October 13, 2020

         

Alice was next in line for my special therapy session. She suffers from Entomophobia, which is a fear of bugs. We began our session by discussing her phobia. She took me back to a childhood memory where she was accidentally locked in her grandmother’s cellar full of cockroaches and spiders. She was trapped for hours as the tiny bugs scurried about her feet with their alien appendages.

         

I could see her hands shaking as her voice trembled. Again, I found myself smiling… 

         

Wanting to move on, I asked Alice if she was willing to partake in a special exercise, one that might cure her. She pressed me for more information, and I simply told her that facing her fears was the only way to overcome her phobia. It took some convincing, but Alice reluctantly agreed.

         

Being one step ahead, I asked Alice to step into my office closet so that she could face her fears. The small space was dark and had a musky smell. Having second thoughts, Alice tried to run, but I grabbed her slender body and shoved her into the closet against her will. Once again, as I locked the door, a surge of power washed over me, and I loved it! 

         

I listened with delicious glee as Alice whimpered. Now, the real fun could begin. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a remote. I told Alice it was time to face her fears and pressed the red button.

         

Above Alice was a sealed tank full of cockroaches and poisonous spiders that were now free to explore her body. I pranced around the office full of giddy delight. Hearing Alice scream and pounding the door filled me with electricity. 

         

After a few minutes, the only thing I heard was the sputter of tiny little insect legs crawling within the closet. I unlocked the door and dragged Alice’s lifeless corpse out of the dark, confined space. I checked her pulse and felt the little buggers crawling beneath her skin.

         

Again, I unlocked her phone and gave myself a five-star rating. I dumped Alice’s body in the canal and went home to plan my next session.


That was so exciting. I guess Tom Petty was right… The waiting is the hardest part!

 


October 18, 2020


What can I say about Ben?

         

Ben was a relatively simple case. He had a fear of heights called, Acrophobia. Our session started out well, much like Alice’s did. I listened intently as Ben discussed how his father had died working as a construction worker. He fell from a giant skyscraper, and Ben was there to witness the whole thing. Since this tragic event, Ben’s fear of heights has plagued his entire adult life.


It was to be expected, but not to fear; I had the solution!  

         

I told Ben the same thing I said to Alice. The only way to conquer his fear was by facing it. So, with much debate and persuasion, I managed to get Ben on the roof. I told him to stand on the ledge, which was one hundred feet high.

         

Ben looked me in the eyes and told me that he wasn’t ready and couldn’t do what I asked.

Why is it that every time I offer a solution, it gets spit back into my face?

I smiled politely to acknowledge his reluctance and noticed sweet relief wash over Ben’s face. We decided to go back inside. However, I couldn’t allow this transaction to go forward. I needed… no… I wanted to feel that powerful feeling again!

Before reaching the door to salvation, I grabbed Ben, drug him to the ledge, and threw him over. I giggled as he screamed to his death. The mess was enormously hard to clean off the pavement, and all I can say is, “thank God for bleach.” Being after hours, we were utterly alone with no witnesses to observe my little miracle.

After changing Ben’s rating to five stars, I dropped a bloody trash bag full of Ben’s broken body parts into the canal and called it a day.

 


October 31, 2020

         

Dear journal, it’s Halloween and my last private session of the month. I craved that powerful, dominant feeling, and I simply couldn’t wait to get started!

         

Jessica had a fear of water, otherwise known as Aquaphobia. I must admit, this particular session took me some time to plan…

         

Our meeting began like all the others, but I needed to get Jessica to face her fears. There wasn’t much I could do in the office as far as water was concerned other than drowning Jessica in the fish tank. That simply wouldn’t do because I adore my fish. The excitement of watching Jessica gasp her last breath might cause my little friends to die, and I simply can’t have that!  

         

Ugh… After listening to Jessica’s story of woe-is-me at a campground where she almost drowned as a child, I managed to talk her into coming with me for a drive. It took some convincing, but Jessica was more willing than the others to do my bidding. The way she looked at me… I think she may have had a crush. I couldn’t hold that against her because it is true that I am a sexy old man! Alas… I didn’t have time for such nonsense. My work was far too important! 

         

I drove through Ruby City until we reached the canal. The night air was cool, and the water looked like a dark serpent slithering against the molded cement. I told Jessica it was time to face her fears. She strolled over to me and placed a firm kiss on my lips which surprised me. I knew I was right! I wasn’t just a brilliant doctor, but a sexy beast as well! 

However, I felt nothing from the kiss, but when I slammed her head on the hood of my car, I felt joy. That power was addictive, and I wanted… no… needed more. In a sense, I was a little overwhelmed by that feeling, but once a person gives in to that kind of temptation, killing is easy as breathing!  

Jessica was out like a light, so I searched for her phone and found it neatly tucked away in her back pocket. With my trembling hands, I changed her rating to five stars.

I needed to act quickly before some passerby saw my exploits, so I grabbed Jessica’s blonde hair and yanked her to the water. A devilish smile erupted on my face as I plunged her head into the freezing depths. After six minutes, I let her body float away like a piece of trash, for that’s what she was to me!  

 

I emerged from the canal and looked out towards Ruby City. The lights were like demons serenading my ascendance into the dark realm, calling me to a higher purpose.

I must be honest, dear journal, I like the new direction my life is taking. I can see now that my work is just beginning. From now on, I see nothing but five stars in my future!

My good work must continue, and it will! I can’t wait to get started…      

         

 


Daniel R. Hayes 

April 13, 2022 21:42

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40 comments

Sharon Hancock
01:34 Apr 14, 2022

😂😂😂I love this so much!! This is right up my twisted alley. “So, what have I done? Something amazing! I can’t wait for my next private session! “ My favorite line. Such fun horror at every turn. I love the fears you described and the bug scene made my skin crawl, marvelously! Fantastic! One of my favorites!😻

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Daniel R. Hayes
05:46 Apr 14, 2022

Thank you so much Sharon! This is my first story after a long break. I'm glad I had a chance to write this one, and that you liked it. I think the story was fun in a twisted kind of way, and I'm so happy that came through, thanks again!! :)

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J.C. Lovero
00:56 Apr 21, 2022

Hi Daniel, I knew we were in for a treat with the "Star Crazed" title paired with the horror/thriller. Of course, you did not disappoint! As someone who enjoys writing in an epistolary format, I think it suited this piece well. I found myself paying attention to the dates, which contributed to the suspense of the story overall. Knowing that the narrator was itching for his next session, the gaps made me even more curious as a reader. Also appreciated the humor you injected throughout. The line "That simply wouldn’t do because I adore my f...

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Daniel R. Hayes
04:59 Apr 21, 2022

Thank you so much!! I really appreciate you taking the time to read this one. It was fun to write and I just posted the follow-up story. I like to to add some light hearted moments (like the fish) into these dark stories. I think it works and makes these stories fun to read even for the person who doesn't like horror/thriller. Thanks again :)

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Riel Rosehill
17:09 Apr 17, 2022

Hi Daniel! Oh, psychologist turned psycho, I like that. Especially how he made sure to change his ratings, haha. Like how he spared was so considerate of the fish :) When he first wrote "what have I done?" I thought he'd be scared/regretful, now, there was a twist... This was a fun read, thanks for sharing!

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Daniel R. Hayes
05:37 Apr 18, 2022

Hi Reil, thanks for reading this story, I'm so glad you liked it. I always like to put some humor in my dark stories :)

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Zelda C. Thorne
08:36 Apr 14, 2022

Hey Daniel! Where have you been? I've missed you. Ok, favourite bits: "one-star defilers" haha Golden candlestick - how very Cluedo "guess Tom Petty was right… The waiting is the hardest part! " "drowning Jessica in the fish tank. This simply wouldn’t do because I love my fish" One tiny thing: Jessica floats away... And then he uses her to change the rating in her phone. I would maybe swap those sentences around for clarity? Thanks for posting another fun story!

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Daniel R. Hayes
20:31 Apr 14, 2022

Hi Rachel, I had to take a unexpected break because my daughter had some major medical issues. She is in the clear now, so the stories can begin again :) I'm glad you liked this story, I wrote it during my lunch break and didn't have much time for editing, but I think I will go back and give it a good look see before Reedsy approves it ;) I can't wait to catch up on reading everyone's stories that I've missed out on including yours! Thanks for welcoming me back!! :)

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Zelda C. Thorne
20:36 Apr 14, 2022

Oh no, how awful. Relieved to hear your daughter is better. Family comes first. Looking forward to your next tale of comical terror 🙂

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Daniel R. Hayes
22:10 Apr 14, 2022

Thank you Rachel, I really appreciate that! :) I just went back to the story and did some edits, since I had the time, I think it's a lot better now, and I'm happy with it. Can't wait for the next story and to catch up with your amazing tales! :)

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Zelda C. Thorne
22:12 Apr 14, 2022

Of my stories, I reckon "Flicker Tick Flicker Tock" and "Star Status" will be your sort of thing...

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Daniel R. Hayes
05:56 Apr 15, 2022

Sounds like some good recommendations, but you know I love your work, so I will get to everything I missed. I'll have some reading time tomorrow to catch up :)

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Aeris Walker
23:55 Apr 13, 2022

Casually terrifying. Well done.

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Daniel R. Hayes
05:41 Apr 14, 2022

Thank you Aeris, I'm so glad you liked it. I just read your story and thought it was fantastic!!

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Aeris Walker
08:46 Apr 14, 2022

You’re so kind, thank you!!

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L. Maddison
12:02 Apr 22, 2022

This is brilliantly horrible and laugh out loud hilarious. The good work must continue indeed!

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Daniel R. Hayes
17:26 Apr 22, 2022

Thank you so much, I'm glad you liked it :)

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Jalaya Jenkins
23:55 Apr 21, 2022

This story is an interesting one. If what I'm about to say makes sense, good but. . . I felt him changing while reading your story almost like I was him in a way. I felt the way his mind was changing and the feeling of exhilaration he got when he killed the one star raters. (that sounds creepy but I hope you understand what I mean) Overall great story! One minor nitpick I will say is I wish it was october 19 and not 18 since the 19th is when my birthday is lol. Anyways can't express this enough, great story!

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Daniel R. Hayes
05:21 Apr 22, 2022

Hi Jalaya, I don't think that you feeling what he did was weird at all. I think in a way that was my intention when writing it in a journal format. As writers, we want our readers to feel something so they continue reading, and your comments made my day! Thank you very much!! :)

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13:15 Apr 21, 2022

He's definitely star crazed! This story was definitely an interesting one, as a fan of crime and psychology(hoping to become a therapist/counselor one day), I enjoyed this story. It's interesting seeing him just, give in and like, become addicted to it. Wonderful story!

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Daniel R. Hayes
19:36 Apr 21, 2022

Thank you so much for these wonderful comments. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! :)

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19:52 Apr 21, 2022

Of course! They're wonderful : )

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Keya Jadav
07:03 Apr 18, 2022

Wow Daniel! I really enjoyed this one. It's good to see you take a step ahead and write in first person. When the doctor killed Sam, I was so shocked. I didn't see that coming. At all. Like your other stories, this one too is brilliant :)

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Daniel R. Hayes
16:57 Apr 18, 2022

Thanks Keya! I'm so glad you liked it, and I actually have an idea for a follow up, so hopefully I can get the chance to write it :)

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Ron Davidson
03:03 Apr 17, 2022

Daniel, I love this story! I, too, wrote a story this week about a psychologist and his mental slide. It was fun to see the coincidental parallels. I liked your use of a journal to carry the story along. My favorite part is where he shows more concern for his fish than Jessica. Well done! -Ron

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Daniel R. Hayes
06:04 Apr 17, 2022

Hi Ron, I'm so glad you liked this one! Thank you for taking the time to read it. I think it's awesome that you wrote one about a psychologist and I can't wait to read it. I'll check it out tomorrow and let you know what I think :)

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Felice Noelle
01:17 Apr 17, 2022

Daniel: Too much humor to rival Stephen King, but so very horrific. This is a real thriller, the story of someone who's given flight to his wildest desires and will live to kill another day....we can hope. I guess I probably shouldn't enjoy such terror,but it Is just so good. With some bipolar relatives in the past, I have spent some time with psychologists and psychiatrists, and think you are not far from the truth. Maybe what their clients have is catching? Or maybe they go into the career to find self=revelation? Or maybe they are j...

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Daniel R. Hayes
06:07 Apr 17, 2022

Thank you so much for those wonderful comments, they really made my day! I have to be honest and say that I'm really excited to read your new story because I love when people try something outside of their comfort zones. I think I'll have time tomorrow to read it, and I'll let you know what I think. Have a good day! :)

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Cindy Strube
16:45 Apr 16, 2022

Well done. Yes, I think this villain needs to live on for at least one more story. I’m a fan of true crime, psychology studies, and mysteries. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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Daniel R. Hayes
23:25 Apr 16, 2022

Thank you so much Cindy. I think we will be seeing him again ;) I think what makes a good story is the villain because they are so much more interesting than the hero.

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13:17 Apr 21, 2022

That's so true. We know how heroes are supposed to be, but the minds of the villains.. Always intriguing.

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12:31 Apr 16, 2022

A lot of suspense throughout, the patients phobias are very relatable. And about him being peeved about 1 star reviews. I did want the MC to meet his fate and die in the end by taking things too far, but it's also admirable you took things all the way..

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Daniel R. Hayes
16:31 Apr 16, 2022

Thank you Scott. I thought about killing him in the end, but I like the idea of letting the bad guys win. Also, this is kind of an origin story for a villain which could lead to another story with him included, and perhaps then... he will meet his end. ;)

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Francis Daisy
12:06 Apr 15, 2022

As I shake my head and giggle, I can't help but wonder if I am loving your story or horrified. I think LOVING! Once again, you have written a thriller! Definitely a ten star story!

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Daniel R. Hayes
17:26 Apr 15, 2022

Thank you so much Francis! This is the first story I've written since my unexpected break, and I felt a little rusty. I'm glad you enjoyed it and I look forward to catching up with all the stories I've missed since my absence :)

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Francis Daisy
14:44 Apr 16, 2022

Welcome back! You have been missed.

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Chris Campbell
02:53 Apr 14, 2022

Daniel, This is a funny read. A serial-killing Psychiatrist who gives priority of the well being of his fish over a human life. Great stuff! I've often heard that some Psychiatrists need more analysis than their patients. Your one certainly does. Well done!

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Daniel R. Hayes
05:52 Apr 14, 2022

Thank you Chris! I've had this idea floating around all week and I always wanted to write a journal type of story. Thanks for taking the time to read this one, I really appreciate it!!

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Shea West
00:52 Apr 14, 2022

Daniel! I'm so excited you've come back. Your stories have been missed, but this story did not miss! You know how to write a good creep. I think Aeris mentioned below that it was causally terrifying and that is a fabulous descriptor. There's a casual tone to the narrator that made me feel like I should question every therapist I come across from here on out. I liked that you had the MC play on each patient's individual fear. I think my only suggestion is that there are a few places where the tense goes from present to past. If you go th...

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Daniel R. Hayes
05:43 Apr 14, 2022

Thank you, Shea!! I didn't have much time for editing this one, but I'm glad I got it out there. I wrote it during my lunch break today, but it's been swimming in my head all week! Thanks again, my friend!! :)

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