Chattahoochee

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Jason and Ava are Security Officers at the Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee, Florida. With 1,000 residents and a Hurricane Michael heading towards the hospital, anything can happen.

This story is fiction. During the actual hurricane, everyone was safe and secure at the actual hospital and there were no incidences. This is just one story that could had happened. Hope you enjoy.

Submitted: June 15, 2019

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Submitted: June 15, 2019

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Chattahoochee

By

Brian Lee Clements


 

Jason Crews had been working at the Florida State Hospital as a security guard for about two months and he’s had a few personal concerns while working there.  One reason he was worried about working there was because he wasn’t sure if he wanted to work with people who were mentally ill or have been named criminally insane.  He’s seen the movies and wasn’t quite sure what to expect when he started working there.  And the real reason was that he felt like it would bring back  a lot of memories of his dad who suffered from PTSD when Jason was a teenager.

 

And now, to add to his fears, Hurricane Michael is heading to the Florida panhandle with category three winds which are expected to increase to a strong category four storm before it makes landfall later  in the afternoon.

 

Plus...to add to everything else, Jason was training a new person who started last week. Her name was Ava Lawson and she was a brash straight talking young lady.  She really didn’t hold back how she felt.  Not very strong in the diplomacy area.  But she was someone that was really needed at the hospital.  Someone that had a sense of authority.

 

“Should we be worried with the hurricane coming?” Ava asked

“I don’t think so.  It should dissipate once it hits land and we’re about 80 miles from the coast.”

“We really didn’t have anything like this where I grew up in Maine.”

“Neither did I in Colorado.”

“What are we supposed to be doing? Do you know?”

“We’re supposed to have a meeting this morning around 10. That’s about 30 minutes from now.   But, to me, that’s cutting it a tad short.”

“Do you know if the residents are staying or will they be moved?”

“From what I heard through the grapevine, they are staying here and it will be like the weekend shift.  I hope that’s enough. I’m going to go on my rounds.  Will you be ok until I get back?

“Sure.” Ava says timidly.  “I’ll be fine.”

Noticing how quiet Ava was, Jason asked, “Would you like to come with me?”

“Sure, if you think you’re going to be scared.”

“Me?”

 

At that time, the wind started to pick up and they both looked at each other with concern.

 

“Ok, you can come with me.” Jason said. “ But if I hear one scream out of you, I’m sending you back to the desk by yourself. Ok?”

“Ok.  But that goes for you too.

“You really think I would get scared?”

 

The lights started to flicker and Jason stopped talking for a second.

 

“Yes, Jason. I think you will get even more scared than you are right now. And you’ll probably let out a bigger scream than me”

“Not scared.  Just a little startled. Big difference.”

“Yea, right.” Ava said sarcastically

 

While they walked through the building, Jason explained to her the history of the hospital when it used to be an arsenal before the Civil War and later on was a prison.  Then, after that it became the Florida State Hospital and the state’s first mental hospital.

 

As they were walking, Ava became uneasy and started shaking a little.

 

“Ava, are you ok?

“I’m a little nervous right now.”

“You seemed so sure of yourself when I first met you.”

“That was all an act. I get scared just like any other person.  I’ll try not to scream and scare you.”

“I appreciate that. You seem to hide you fear pretty good.  Let’s check the bathrooms.”

 

As Jason checked the men’s room, he suddenly heard a scream from Ava coming from the women’s bathroom.

 

He opened the door to the bathroom,  “Ava, are you ok?”

“I think I am.  It was horrifying?”

“What happened?

“I was checking the stalls and turned around and saw the light from my flashlight shining towards me. It scared the crap out of me.”

“I forgot to mention that they want us to turn the lights off today to save power during the storm.  The light switch is right over here.  If you don’t control your fears, you’re going to freak yourself out before the hurricane even hits the coast.

“Thanks.”

“Or, here’s what you could do..”

“Yea?”

“Sit in a dark bathroom in front of the mirror stare at yourself with your flashlight only for 10 minutes.”

“Why?”

“Just listen.”

“OK”

“Your brain will start getting bored and you will start hallucinating and start seeing things behind you.”

“Get out...You’re just trying to freak me out.”

“No. Really. It’s just your brain playing tricks on you.  You should try it if you ever get home.”

“If?”

“Did I say ‘if’?  I meant when you get home.”



 

As they continued walking, Jason could barely keep his laughing under control.

 

“What’s so funny?”

“The situation we’re in right now.  We have a hurricane heading towards us with 1,000 residents here at the State Mental Hospital.”

“That’s not funny.”

“It isn’t? Just think if the roles were reversed.  How would you react?”

“I would be laughing my ass off.”

“Now you know why I’m laughing.”

 

With the wind started to pick up outside, they got back to their security post at the front door.  As they were waiting, Jason decided to head to the bathroom before it got really hectic with the storm.  While in there, he suddenly heard the security desk panic alarm going off.  Jason quickly headed back to the security desk without finishing what he was doing.

 

“What the hell is going on?”

“I don’t know.  One of the doctors was leaving and I leaned over to push the button to let him out and all hell broke loose and everything started going off.”

“It looks like you just pushed the panic alarm by accident.  You’re not the first person to do that and definitely won’t be the last person either.”

“Have you done it, Jason?”

“No, I haven’t”

“Oh, great.”

“That is, not yet ”

 

Ava gave him the ‘I could kill you’ look.

 

As people started to come to the desk to find out what was going on, Jason showed Ava where the reset button was.  And the alarm was shut off within two minutes, but it was a long two minutes.

 

“I’m going to get fired, aren’t I?”

“Not for pushing the panic alarm one time.  Now, if you flipped the switch to release all of the residents, you might get fired.”

“Where is that switch?”

“Don’t know yet. We don’t have access to that one nor do we have a key and I don’t want a key.”

“Good. One less thing to worry about.

 

While the wind got stronger as the day went, Ava and Jason made sure all of the doors were locked and everybody was inside.  According to the news, Panama City and Mexico Beach were being hammered with 150 miles per hour winds.  Those winds and heavy rain were not expected to dissipate until the storm got way into Georgia.  Chattahoochee was in the direct path of it.

 

The groundskeepers had already gotten most of the windows boarded up and all of the loose items inside before hurricane force winds hit the hospital.  Now all they could do now was wait.

 

By this time, Jason was already sitting down to a game of Sudoku while Ava was pacing the floor in front of the office.  This was annoying Jason because he knew it wouldn’t help.  He decides to put his magazine down when suddenly all of the lights go off.  Luckily the emergency lights came on.  At least some of them.

 

“My god,” Ava said.  “What else could happen today?”

 

Right after she said that, the front doors burst open when a strong gust of wind hit the building.  Leaves, limbs and other debri started flying into the building.  Jason and Ava quickly closed the door and put furniture in front of it to keep it closed.

 

“I had to ask.”

 

They had never seen winds like this before in the area.  Pine trees were bending, breaking and uprooting.  Palm trees were blowing in the  wind.  There were roofing shingles, metal roofs, trash cans, tree limbs and anything you can think of blowing in all sorts of directions.

 

Jason said, “The winds should be dying down soon as the storm heads northeast of us.”

“When will that be?”

“About an hour.”

“An hour?  What do we do until then?”

“Sit tight and hope the residents stay in their room.”

 

At that time the radio started chattering.

 

“Jason, do you copy?” the radio spurted out.

“This is Jason, go ahead.”

“Mrs. Whitaker is not in her room.  Could you sweep the building and grounds to see where she might be?”

“10-4. We’re on our way.”

“We? Who is Mrs. Whitaker?” Ava asked.

“60 year old woman.  Pretty harmless.  When she stresses out she runs around naked through the building and grounds.”

“You’re kidding me, Right?  We’re looking for a 60 year old naked lady?”
“Afraid so.  Let’s find a robe or towel for her..

 

The radio then maked another announcement.

 

“Mrs. Whitaker is dancing naked out on the grounds.  Could you go out and catch her and bring her back before she gets hurt..  She’s closer to you than to us.  Make sure you take a jacket.  Pretty wet out there.”

“We’re on our way.”

 

Jason and Ava grabbed their jackets and a robe and started looking out for Mrs. Whitaker.  About five minutes into the search with the rain coming down heavily, they finally found her.  But she ran away from them.  They ran after her but she maked a quick turn and both Jason and Ava slip and fall in the wet grass which was quickly filling up with water.

 

When they got up, drenched from head to toe, they started running towards Mrs Whitaker one more time.  Jason almost caught up with her when she suddenly stopped and sat down in one of the puddles in the lawn.  Jason couldn’t stop in time so he tried to jump over her and landed flat on his back and made a big splash all over everyone including Ava.

 

“Hi, Mr. Jason.  Are you ok?”

“Yes, Mildred.  I’ll be better when I get into some dry clothes.  Let’s get this robe around you and find you some clothes also.  You need to stop doing this.”

“I can’t help it. This robe is wet..”

“ I know.  Have you met Miss Ava?”

“How are you, Miss Ava?. Nice to meet you.”

“I’m ok.  A little wet too.” Ava responds.

 

After they got Mildred back to her room and changed , they find some dry uniforms for themselves.  It wasn’t but just a couple of minutes laterwhen the radio comes to life again.

 

“Jason, do you copy?”

“This is Jason.”

“Got some bad news.  The roads are flooded and it looks like we’re stuck here until the roads are cleared.  The generators are kinda working and we have plenty of food for everybody.”

“How long do you think we’ll be here.”

“Maybe three days.”

“Thanks.”

 

Ava responds, “Three days.  We’re going to start to smell a little bit.”

“Let’s worry about that three days from now.  We have showers and extra deodorant.  We may not stink that bad.  If it gets too bad, we can do what Mrs. Whitaker just did.”

“No thank you.  I think I would rather smell than see everybody running around naked out in the rain.”

 

Everything was going smooth for about a half hour when the generator decides to die.  Apparently, some of the debris hit the generator and knocked it out.  The backup emergency lights were supposed to come on, but none of them were working.  It was now flashlight time.

 

 “I wonder what’s wrong with the emergency lights?”  Jason wondered.

“Are they powered by the generator?” Ava asked.

“No, they have a backup battery in case we lose complete power.  Wonder why it’s not working?

“Why don’t you find a ladder and find out?”

 

Jason went and found a ladder, then opens the casing for the light.

 

“No wonder it doesn’t work?

“Why?”

“The expiration date on the battery says Jan 1, 2010.”

“You mean to tell me that the battery has been dead for 9 years and nobody knew?!”

“I guess there was no reason to check it.”

 

The radio started cracking again.  “Jason, Do you copy?”

“Could you answer that, Ava?”

“This is Ava. I copy. Jason is checking the emergency light.”

“Looks like we have only one light working in the whole building.  One more thing. The last power bump unlocked all the doors and most of the residents are wandering the hallways.  We need to start rounding them up.”

“We copy,” Ava says,  She then says to Jason, “He’s kidding, right?  You didn’t tell him to say that to scare me, did you?

“Not me. How could I?  I’ve been with you the whole time.”

“I guess you’re right.  What do we do?”

“After I put the ladder away, we’ll head to the other wing and start getting people back to their rooms.”

“I’m ready.”

After Jason put the ladder back where it belonged, he said, “Okay. Let’s go.”

 

It took them about five minutes to get to the wing where the residents stay.  They looked and noticed nobody was there.  They then went to the other wings, same thing.

 

“I wonder where everybody is? They should be here.” Jason wonders out loud.

“Is this going to be like ‘Halloween 2,’ where everybody in the hospital gets killed by the maniac killer.”

“And you know who are always the first to get killed in those movies, don’t you? 

“The girl running around in her underwear?”

“No. The security guards.”

“Really? Are you kidding?”

“That’s the way it is in the movies.  Also, after the guard, it’s the girl running around in her underwear always which has a matching bra.”

“I guess I’ll be safe,”

 

Jason gave Ava a weird look.

 

All of a sudden, there was a crash coming from one of the dorm rooms.

 

“What was that?” Ava asked.

“Let’s go check it out.  You go first.”

“Why me?”

“You said you were safe.”

“Ha, ha” Ava says with a sarcastic look.

“”Look out the window and let me know if you see anything.  I’ll check some of the other rooms.

 

Ava looked out the window and saw nothing but a lot of leaves, limbs and other trash and debris.  But no people.  She turned around and headed into the hallway when she was startled by a person standing by the door and let out a scream.

 

“Aahhh.  What the hell?” Ava yelled out as she dropped her flashlight.  “Miss Mildred, what are you doing out?”

“I hope I didn’t scare you.  The door opened and I started to wander through the place.  I can’t find anybody.  Can you help me?”

 

Mildred started unbuttoning her shirt.

 

“Sure. I can. Just as long as you don’t get undressed. “

“Okay.  I’ll stop.  I’m so upset right now.  Why is everybody hiding?”

“I don’t think they’re hiding.  I’m not really sure where they are or what’s going on.”

“Can you help me find them?”

 

By that time, Jason got back and had a look of concern on his face.

 

“DId I hear a scream?  Hi, Miss Mildred.”

“Yea.  That was me. I didn’t see Mildred until the last second and she scared the crap out of me.”

“I’m sure she didn’t mean to. Did you, Miss Mildred?”

“Can you help me find everybody?” Mildred asked again.

Jason says, “Sure, let’s look together.”

 

Mildred then pulled out a big chef’s knife and said, “Look what I found when I was walking around.”

“Why don’t you let me hold on to that?” Jason said, “We don’t want you to hurt yourself.”

“Ok, but don’t lose it.  I don’t think it’s ever been used.”

“I promise, I won’t lose it.” as she gave it to Jason.

“Ava then asked, “What’s next?”

“Let’s head towards the cafeteria. There might be some people there.”

“I hope so. This place is getting spookier by the minute.  I’m expecting somebody else to jump out any second.”

 

As they headed down the hallway, they turn down another corridor and headed slowly towards the cafeteria.  From where they were standing, they could hear screaming, laughing and unusual sounds coming from behind the doors.

 

“Sounds like somebody is getting killed in there.” Ava said.

“God, I hope not. Hope everybody is ok.  How would we explain this to our bosses?”

“Since you have seniority, this is your memo.”

 

They got to the door and Jason mouthed, ‘On three, we go in.”

“Ok”

Jason says, “One, two,...”

“What do I do?”  Mildred asked.

“...You stay here.”

“Again, one, two, three.”

 

Jason and Ava pushed the door open and expected to find bodies all over the place.  Instead, they find everybody sitting, drawing and eating.

 

Their sergeant saw them and said, “Where the hell have you two been?”

“We went looking for everybody.  How come you didn’t call us.”

“We would, but our radios went dead.”

“How did you get everybody in here””

“Wasn’t too hard.  We separated the dangerous residents and got them back to their rooms. With everybody else, we told them we had ice cream and that it was painting time.  That got everybody else moving.  Had plenty of ice cream.  So, everyone was happy.”

“Not everyone.  Miss Mildred was wandering around the place and was stressing out because she couldn’t find anybody.”

“Did she keep her clothes on?”

 

Ava looks behind the door and say, “Uh oh.”

“What’s wrong?”

“There’s a pile of clothes on the floor and Mildred is not here.”

“Well, let’s go look for her again.  See you later, Sergeant.”

“Good luck.”

 

They found Midlred within five minutes before she was able to run outside.  They got her back inside and dressed.  She eventually sat with the other residents and started to enjoy herself.  She then smiled and waved at Jason and Ava as they left the cafeteria.

 

As they are walking,” Ava asked, “Do you think we’ll get anything as exciting as this?”

“Like today?  Not really.”  Jason responds.  I hope we get something even more exciting.”

“You know what.  I do too.”

“And you won’t scream?”

“Not if you don’t”

“Thanks for your help.”

“My pleasure.  That’s what friends are for.”

 

A friendship started that day.  Jason smiled and prayed that they will work together for many more years.

 

 


© Copyright 2019 Brian Lee Clements. All rights reserved.

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