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Horror Thriller Fiction

  It had been twenty-four years since she’d last seen it, but the place looked exactly the same, terrifying. To anyone who hadn’t been locked inside the walls of Angel Hills, the hospital appeared as serene as any other private medical facility.

While the passing public marveled over the sculpted hedges and manicured lawns, she knew they contained plenty of secrets. The lush green lawn hid a variety of sensors which ensured the guards could monitor every patient when they were outside, without the need for physical patrols. The sculpted hedges bordering the property contained an electric fence with enough voltage to stop anyone from climbing to freedom.

Once known as Angel Hills Asylum, the hospital was still home to the criminally insane. Those deemed by society to be too dangerous to be allowed to live without constant supervision. Most who were sentenced to this secure facility would never be permitted to leave.

There were no plans to attempt another escape. She had resigned herself to the fact she would spend the rest of her life behind the stone facade. The world had changed during her two decade absence. The “unconventional” methods once used to treat patients were no longer permitted nor tolerated. 

State officials now monitored the staff along with the specific type and amount of medications given to the residents, providing safeguards against lawsuits. These protocols were not in place the last time she had been confined to the psychiatric ward of the facility. During those years, it was believed that the ends justified the means.

The doctors never concerned themselves with why she heard voices or what they were telling her to do. When it was determined she was a danger to herself and others, they ceased the therapy sessions and began to explore other alternatives to silence them.

Concoctions of drugs were introduced, leading to unexpected side effects which kept her bedridden for months at a time. A failed suicide attempt led to electroshock therapy four times per week, along with forced sleep deprivation. They were confident these techniques would cure her.

When her third year at the asylum began, the doctors had changed their approach. They no longer asked if she heard voices, instead focused all of their attention on how the treatments influenced her physical and mental capabilities. She had lost count of how many times they promised her condition was improving.

The hour-long sessions locked in a deprivation chamber turned into three, and then eight, leaving her with nothing but the voices in her head to keep her company. Unlike the doctors, they never lied or made false promises; rather they spoke of the future and filled her thoughts with the desire for revenge.

Day after day, month after month, she was consumed with planning for her eventual escape. Learning to hide the pills between her teeth and gums instead of swallowing them had proved to be more difficult than faking the drug induced state. The staff had long ago stopped caring if she felt pain during their experiments.

She understood that sooner or later, without the drugs coursing through her veins, an infection would ravage her body. It would force the doctors to move her to the medical side of the building if they hoped to keep her alive. Months passed before she developed a fever. It was a risk not taking the antibiotics, but she knew it was the only way.

On the morning of her scheduled return to the psych ward, she stole a pair of nurse’s scrubs out of a laundry basket. With the aid of a sharp edge on the nearby locker she removed the band around her wrist which allowed the guards to monitor her location. Holding her head low, she walked out into the soft natural light for the first time in nearly four years.

With no money and no place to go, she learned the hard ways of the street, where people took what they wanted in order to survive. Life had always been a harsh taskmaster, punishing the weak in mind or body, and she dedicated herself to becoming its best student.

Like all homeless people, she had become invisible to everyone, including the people who were supposed to be searching for the escaped mental patient. She learned to move among the population as a shadow, there one second and gone the next, dismissed without a thought.

Guided by the voices in her head, she stalked the doctors and nurses who had assured her they had her best interests in mind. Discovering where each one lived had taken her years. When confronted, each one begged and pleaded for mercy, swearing they had been compelled to act against their own wishes. Their prayers went unanswered. 

  At her trial, she listened in silence as the prosecutor described her crimes in great detail. She wasn’t surprised when he failed to acknowledge what had happened to her during those years of incarceration or when he glossed over her possible motives to commit these acts. No one could comprehend what she had done, and had no desire to understand why.

The public defender assigned to her case did not call upon her to take the witness stand where she might offer an explanation or excuse for her actions. He never attempted to verify her experiences, relying on the same argument which had started this entire saga so many years ago.

Found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity or mental defect, the jury of her peers recommended she should be incarcerated in an institution until such time she is no longer a danger to herself or others. The judge thanked the jurors and both attorneys before passing sentence. She found it ironic to be sent back to where it all began.

Looking up at the stone facade as the guards led her into the building, she knew that eliminating the name “asylum” would never change the past or make her forget about the sins which had occurred within its walls. In time she may find it in her heart to forgive those who turned a blind eye to the atrocities committed against her. For now, she was comforted by the fact the voices in her head were there to keep her sane and that was all that mattered.

November 15, 2020 00:18

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1 comment

Molly Leasure
23:11 Dec 01, 2020

Oooooh, this story is super creepy. I like it! But also, poor girl. The idea of those people torturing her for all those years and then she gets her revenge and they just send her right back. Awful. This story is REALLY well written and I love how you bring us back to the beginning the way she's brought back to the beginning. What a clean transition, like it's just going to happen all over again. And the description of the hospital and how she escaped. It all drags you into her story! I don't have any critiques that I could find. I just enj...

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