A cure for all ills

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Tales from beyond the shadows

Submitted: May 16, 2017

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Submitted: May 16, 2017



The emaciated woman had long since ceased struggling against his grip, even her verbal assault had by now dwindled to a barely audible whimper. The man in the white coat signaled with his hand and Jeremiah released his grip on the woman’s naked shoulders. Shoulders that were more bone than flesh, he was glad to be able to step away from the skeletal figure immerged in the ice cold bath water. The woman’s eyes that had been filled with anger and hatred now began to glaze over, and her breathing had become rapid and shallow. Jeremiah hated this job with all his heart; these so called treatments were nothing short of torture. How could immersing a woman with a mental malaise, in near freezing water, help to elevate her illness. To Jeremiah these so called treatments were merely experiments, but a man in his position needed to keep his mouth shut.

Jeremiah had been born in this institution; his mother had been committed here while pregnant with him. The outside world was a strange and frightening prospect for him; it was a choice between a rock and a hard place for Jeremiah. A job he detested that earned him bed and board, or go it alone in a world that was frighteningly alien to him. He hated this place and he hated the doctors who liked to play god with the patients, but it was familiar and safe here. Jeremiah’s muse was disturbed by the doctor; the man in the white coat barked an order at him. The woman’s treatment was finished for today; Jeremiah lifted the semi-conscious woman from the freezing water. She was a pitiful sight, her skeletal frame was cold as a corpse; he wrapped her in a blanket and removed her to the ward. In his mind these so called treatments were more for the sadistic pleasure of the doctors, then for the wellbeing of the inmates.

Jeremiah had just finished drying the woman and replacing her night shift, when the doctor entered the room. The man, who thought of himself as almost god like, gazed at his handiwork, as the thin woman trembled beneath the threadbare blanket. “That has seemed to calm her down” he muttered in a sneering manner. Jeremiah watched the grinning doctor leave the room, and in his heart a cold rage settled. A vision of the doctor being held struggling in a bath of freezing water entered his mind; he quickly forced it from his head. Such thoughts were dangerous for a young man like him; the doctor could have him dismissed in an instant. Or worse still the doctor could easily convince people, that Jeremiah was in fact mentally unstable himself. All he could do was try his best to help the unfortunate inmates of this institution, and harbor hope that the doctor would eventually get his just rewards for his cruelty.

Jeremiah went about his daily chores and did his best to avoid the torture doctor as he begun to think of him. On the occasions he found himself unable to avoid the doctor, the hatred of him would flare up inside. The doctor had long since sensed the dislike Jeremiah harbored for him, but this only seemed to amuse him. Whenever he could, he would place Jeremiah in positions that he knew were troubling to him, it became a game of cat and mouse and unfortunately the doctor was the cat. Life in the huge limestone building became more miserable by the day for him, at least until the morning the young woman was brought in. Things changed from there on, the feeling of misery was to give way to a strange feeling of fascination. Something about the young woman was disturbing, she was beautiful and yet terrifying.

The constant whispering from the locked room went on until the early hours of the morning, no matter how much he strained to hear, the words always escaped him. Jeremiah would crouch silently in the corridor night after night, listening to the murmuring of the young woman.  Even when he returned to his room and fell exhausted on the narrow cot, his fitful sleep was haunted by her voice. The following day he would scarcely have the energy or concentration to carry out his work, yet that night again he would be compelled to sneak back to the door of her cell and listen. Almost a month had passed before he finally understood what she was saying; she was speaking to her demons. Soon Jeremiah found himself involved in those secret conversations, and the things he learned were wondrous.

The raven haired woman taught him things very few people would ever know, her whispering voice explained in detail to him, just how he could make this place happier. Jeremiah finally knew what he must do, that night he went to his cot, elated instead of exhausted. The following morning, for the first time ever, he subjected someone to an ice cold bath and actually enjoyed his work. His strong fingers grasped the sinewy shoulders in a steel like grip, this time he held on for much longer. Long after the doctors lips had turned blue and he had ceased breathing, Jeremiah held him under the ice cold water. Later that night he listened intently to her whispering, now that he was in the cell next to her, he could make out the words much easier.




© Copyright 2018 Patrick G Moloney. All rights reserved.

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