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Sanatorium

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: BoMoWriCha Prompts


If it sounds too good to be true, maybe it is. A short story written for a BoMoWriCha House prompt. Cover designed by Booksie member, Markie Bee https://www.booksie.com/users/markie-bee-223538

Submitted: August 31, 2018

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Submitted: August 31, 2018

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Sanatorium

Flynn was not the most sociable of guys. This had led him to losing more than one job, for no one wanted to be served by a guy who said not a word or to receive their door-to-door pizza from a silent delivery man. Money was getting really tight and he was starting to despair of ever finding any position that would suit him.

The vacancy seemed a bit too good to be true. Janitor in Parkvale Sanatorium. How many people would be applying for that? The pay was reasonable, the hours, mostly night-work, but the thing that prompted Flynn to apply was the ‘must be able to work under own initiative’. In other words he’d be working on his own. Perfect!

He dialled the number, was just about to hang up when the phone was hurriedly snatched up and a harassed voice snapped, “Yes?”

Had he got the number right? Flynn asked, “Is this the Parkvale Sanatorium?”

Yes, yes it is. How can I help you?” The voice sounded a bit more civil now, which Flynn found reassuring.

I’m phoning about the vacancy for a janitor. Is it still open?”

Yes,” the voice said, a bit too eagerly. Then, perhaps realising that wasn’t the best thing to do, added, “that is, I think so. I’ll just check.” There was the sound of paper being moved around and then the voice returned. “Yes it is. Would you like to apply?”

This guy sounded almost desperate, thought Flynn. Maybe he’d be able to push for slightly more pay. “Er, yes, I think so. When could I have an interview?”

How about 2pm? That will give us, you, I mean, plenty of time to sort things out.”

2pm? Yeah, that will be fine. The name is Flynn Colton.”

Okay, Mr Colton. Someone will see you then.”

Flynn thought about the conversation that he’d just had. They seemed a bit scatty, kind of odd for a Sanatorium, but maybe he’d just rung at an awkward time.

He checked the address. About an hour’s walk out of town. The day was a bit on the chilly side but at least it was dry. Flynn decided to give himself an extra half hour to get there which left him just enough time to tidy himself up and get a bite to eat.

The Sanatorium was up a long drive. Grassy lawns spread on either side of it, with sporadic clumps of bushes. As Flynn wandered his way up there, he wondered whether his duties would include maintaining the grounds. They were pretty extensive so that alone would take up a lot of hours. In the distance he spotted a ride-on mower, so perhaps not.

It was an old building, tall and dark with numerous but small windows. It certainly did not seem like much modernising had taken place for a long time. No wonder they were rather desperate for a janitor. The door was wooden, firmly closed. Now what?

Flynn was just trying to decide whether to knock when he spotted the bell, off to the side. He pressed it, and could make out the buzzer going off within the building. After standing there for a couple of minutes, Flynn heard footsteps approaching and the door opened to reveal a man in his forties, casually dressed. One of the doctors, perhaps.

Mr Colton? Come in, come in. We’re just in the middle of a bit of a crisis. You might be able to help us out actually.” The man ushered him through the door and wandered off along the hallway, leaving Flynn with little choice but to follow him.

The further they went inside, the noisier it got. There were shouts and sobs, orders being given. The man stopped beside a door that appeared to have been half-pulled from it’s hinges. “If you could just try and fix this, it would be a great help. The tool box is just inside.”

Flynn warily stepped in to the room. The tool box might be in there but for all he knew so was the person that had caused the damage. No one was there, the room was thankfully vacant.

He’d be the first to admit to not being the best craftsman, but it looked here that they were more interested in getting the job done than in how neat it looked afterwards. Good, that suited him fine. Maybe others could have replaced the hinge quicker but the man seemed satisfied.

Well, Mr Colton, we’ll take this as your interview shall we! You passed the test with flying colors so I’m delighted to offer you the position as janitor.”

Thank you, Mr....”

Doctor. Dr Evans. You won’t see much of me but I’ll always be somewhere around. Your duties are really general maintenance but there have been, how shall I put this....signs of attempted break-ins during the night. Initially we’d like you to work nights, keep an eye on the place and just see to any repairs you come across. If we need anything done urgently we’ll leave you a note. How does that sound?”

Flynn nodded. Made no difference to him whether he worked daytime hours or night. A job was a job, so far as he was concerned.

Wendy here will show you to your office.”

When would you like me to start?” This seemed to be going way too fast for his liking. He’d not even had a chance to ask about more pay.

With that, the man disappeared, leaving him standing next to a woman in a no-nonsense nurse’s uniform. She looked stern, unfriendly, so he just gave a slight smile and followed her in silence.

The office was better than expected. There was an armchair, worn but comfortable, a TV, a table, and a small fridge. Also a sink and kettle; that was good, Flynn thought, as he’d be able to make his own refreshments. There was a monitor which displayed the images being picked up from various cameras, so there had been some more modern changes made.

Wendy turned to leave him but paused, pointing to the left. “The stairs to the basement are just along there. You can’t miss them.”

Filling the kettle with fresh water, Flynn made himself a coffee from the jar that his predecessor had kindly left. He sat down and sipped the steaming brew, pondering quite how suddenly his life had changed. It was only as he sat there that he realised very little had been said about hours, breaks, anything else come to that. A strange set-up, but perhaps that’s what they meant about being prepared to work under your own initiative.

No point in going home. He’d just have a rest, a bit of a look around and stay until the following morning. The patients seemed to be kept where he had mended the door earlier. There could not be many of them for there only seemed to be six doors. Even if there were four to a room that would only mean twenty-four, and he somehow doubted that. The room that he had been inside had only one bed inside it. No point in worrying about patient numbers; they were not his concern, but the building itself.

Flynn walked along making mental notes; a flickering bulb, the sound of a drip – pipe or tap he did not yet know. Of course keeping the place clean would fall under his responsibility. No problem – a quick mop-down would see to most of it.

No, all-in-all, Flynn felt like he had landed on his feet. This job should suit him well. After looking around for a while he headed back to his office for a quick nap in the chair. He had to work all night, after all.

It was almost dark when he woke up. Strange that no-one had even been to check if he was still on the premises but then the whole place seemed a bit strange. Flynn didn’t care. So long as he was left alone and paid his wages that was all he was concerned about.

A flickering movement caught his eye on one of the screens, but when he looked closer there was nothing there. Again, from another screen, a kind of misty looking figure. A ghost! Don’t be so daft, he told himself. Coffee. He needed coffee and then he’d go for a walk around.

Feeling a bit more alert, Flynn opened his office door. There, just along the corridor! Another of those misty, foggy looking patches. Perhaps it was just steam from a leaking heating pipe. That was what he told himself until one loomed up into his face, its own face clearly visible.

Ghosts, then. No, it was just his imagination playing tricks. He’d go for a walk, calm his nerves. There was nothing to worry about. He turned, began to walk the other way, when a loud bang stopped him in his tracks. Tempting as it was to ignore it, Flynn did not want to fail in his new position on his very first day; that would have been a record, even for him.

They were still there, the figures. Three of them, almost seeming to leer at him mockingly. Well, let them leer! He stomped towards them swatting at the mist to make it dissipate. Even though the hairs were standing up on the back of his neck, he’d not let them sense his fear.

Another bang, this time nearer, clearer. It sounded like it was coming from underneath his feet. Just what he didn’t need, a visit to the basement. The door was just ahead and the ghostly figures were clustered behind him; Flynn decided that he’d go and just have a quick look.

The door was heavy, stiff. He had to pull hard to get it to open. He flicked the light switch beside the stairs and the bulb flickered on, then died. The door had shut behind him, so it was lucky he had had the forethought to put a torch in his pocket.

Damn thing was kind of small though, didn’t light up more than a step in front of him. Taking it slowly, Flynn headed downwards. There were some curious stains on the stairs, just little drips at first but becoming bigger, more frequent, the lower he went. Almost at the bottom he was almost certain that he saw an arm, roughly severed, and over there....wasn’t that a leg?

Backing up towards the stairs Flynn found his way blocked by the ghostly figures. They seemed to be more solid and he found he had no way of swatting his way through them now.

The torch went out. Trying hard not to panic, Flynn gave it a shake, then another harder one. It flickered to life just in time to catch the back of a moving figure before it died again.

I’m asleep,” he said allowed, his voice echoing around the large underground space. “No need to panic. This is just a dream.”

Running footsteps, laughter, whoops of excitement said it was not. The room suddenly lit up as if by a thousand spotlights. Cold white light that Flynn wished would disappear.

He was standing there in a pool of blood and bodily fluids; limbs, torsos, heads, scattered all around him. Flynn had no doubt that he was looking at the bodies of the real doctor, the real nurses. The lunatics, it seemed, had taken over the asylum.

Dr Evans’ stood grinning, swinging an axe eagerly in one hand, while ‘Wendy’ wielded a very sharp looking pair of shears. There were others too, armed with saws, hammers....

Flynn turned and made a dash towards the stairs. The ghosts loomed over him, their mouths open hungrily. He almost made it to the bottom step, almost but not quite, when the axe struck the back of his neck and put an end to his nightmare.

 

(1997 words).

 

 

 


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