"You'll like it 'ere, Chase. Honest. The doctor's 'll take care of you and you'll be out in no time at all!"
I don't respond. Just stay quiet and stare out of the car window at all the pine trees that hastily become a dark blur. God, my face hurts so bad, makes me cringe with its cruel sting.
"Oh, come on! Is not that bad. 'Ere, I'll put the radio on. Take a swig of this, keep you warm..."
My companion and driver offers me a silver flask. I note the discoloured grazes on his large knuckles and smile. We were a right state. Taking the flask off him and wasting no time in forcing back a long swig as he had suggested, despite it's pleasingly strong taste, it burns the back of my throat and makes me question exactly what it was but I stay silent, place the flask into the glove department above my knees, giving him a look of curiosity. The radio dulls the fuzzed sound of jazz music and he smiles, looking to me in triumph before taking his attention to the road again.
"It's bourbon. Oh, aye! Just got a thought; you'd probably be the only Brit in there. Remind me, why is it that yer parents wanted you to go this place instead of one back home?"
The jazz music. The constant fuzz of it, then the unbalanced melody it made with the windshield wipers against the light drizzle of rain. The noise shoots through my mind as if my nerves were shattering. I snappily turn the radio off. Tense with the journey and the feel of his eyes burning into me. He knew how I was, we'd been friends long enough for him to know. Knew my parents just as well. Which is why it was odd for him to ask about their decision. My face, the pain had returned and my throat felt all cut up inside, all dry and lined with thin lacerations that grated as I spoke.
"Because they have the money to waste, Steve. Because it's the only institute in the world to have patients recover fully, proof that their work actually works. Sadly."
He goes quiet, returns his eyes to the road with a grim look to his squared face. We pass a sign which was barely visible in the night and the headlights weren't much help either. I figure it probably had the asylum's name on it and the mileage away we were. Non important stuff like that. Push the thought to the back of my mind. I feel a trickle of blood slowly streaming from my nose. Wipe it off and sniff to make sure.
"Hangabout, who's this then?"
Steve gives a suggestive nod to the corner, slows the car only slightly. In the rain there's a woman. She lasts a few seconds and I couldn't get her face as we drive by. We were told by the locals not to pick up anyone from the road we were on, the road to the asylum. Said that patients had a tendency of escaping at times. I look to the now startled man beside me and we share a worried glance. He shakes it off. I don't. I can't. The feeling...
"What is going on? That's the same woman, right?"
Again, I follow his line of sight. She's there. We pass. Still no face was seen, seemed she was staring to the ground. Something wasn't right- AH! My face! I can't help but hiss through my teeth in agony. Steve seemed fearful now, ranting on about ghosts. My hands are cupping my bruised face with my fingers tangled in my hair and I tug at it as if it would help ease the pain. My palm masks the gaping gash on my cheek. I hear two words that are so clear and loud compared to the rest of them from Steve, two words that make me look up quick and forget my face.
That woman. She was just standing there in the rain. In the middle of the road. He swerved and went off the road but I couldn't make out what was going on. Falling? No, not quite. It was steep though. Mercilessly steep. The trees were all around us, passing so fast it was a green blur. Then we came to an abrupt end, hitting a tree's core so hard, Steve's head cracked the windshield. A warm splatter of blood showers my face. Everything is eerily silent and it goes dark.
Then I wake up.
"You had quite an accident zere, didn't you boy?"
My eyes adjust to the bright lights of the room, just barely. I go to shield them with my hand but I can't move it. It is held down by god knows what. I try to move the other. The same. Where was I? I couldn't make out the man's face because of the light. but I knew he was right beside me, inspecting me. His breathe was there, so cold... I stay silent.
"You're at Kindred Heart's Asylum, Mister Villiam Chase. I am Doctor Erbärmlichkeit. But you may call me Doctor. Or if you prefer, Sir. Now, I shall get a nurse to show you to your room. You must be so tired..."
"Steve...What of Stephan Jones? He was--"
"The vun who vas in ze car?"
The doctor was momentarily quiet. Then he resumed his steps away, made me linger on edge in wait of an answer. Though In truth, I already knew what it was, just needed another's words to make it feel real.
"Oh! he's dead."