Warren Rome

Warren Rome

Author of the Macabre

The Field "Chapter Two"

As promised, the second chapter of 'The Field'.  The third chapter can be found exclusively on this blog this time next week (23rd October) so be sure to check in for that if you have the time.  This weekend I will be blogging about my next paranormal investigation over the 21st/22nd October where I will be spending time with what has been described as "The most violent poltergeist in Europe".  More on this later in the weekend however...

 

For now, I hope you enjoy the second chapter of my new book.  Feel free to post comments (positive and negative) in the comments box.  Have a great weekend everyone and remember, stay scared!

Wx

@WarrenRome

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www.warrenrome-authorofthemacabre.com

 

CHAPTER 2

 

 

 

Although the hospital was seemingly well populated, the initial smell of must and damp gave an indication of neglect.  The introduction of a nervous smile paid little credence to the snappy spinster inhabiting the reception desk.  It was a long solid oak panel, varnished with unremitting endeavour by the local carpenters hand in the thirties. It seemed to stretch, reaching until it could go no further before ending in an exhausted extremity, angling awkwardly against an unforgiving blue wall.  The area behind consisted of only a few feet of concrete floor and Chloe reasoned that there were no seating amenities due to the lack of available space.  The wall behind the desk was bombarded with musky yellowing paperwork that spilled from an overworked wooden rack.

“We have no time to audit the paperwork.  As you can see it has lain here for many years.  What is the purpose of your visit Miss...?”

Chloe returned from her thoughts and observed the elderly withered woman behind the desk.  One might imagine her to be frail and would maybe go as far as to suggest a sense of weakness.  This would not only be completely inaccurate, but it should be encouraged that any such thoughts be cast out now and put aside; as to infer such ideas and implications would certainly indicate the weakness to be from the fool with such a poor judge of character!  She looked well beyond her retirement years and her bony torso was crowned with a kidney bean shaped head.  Thick, dark rimmed glasses huddled over a long bony nose that perched crookedly over her unyielding pale lips that lacked life.  Her hair was a dirty, greasy grey, and was pulled so tight it was forever engaged in battle with the shrivelled skin that adorned her forehead: the leathery garlanded pelt of a bitter rasping wench.

“I do apologise.  My name is Chloe Attwald and I have an appointment with Doctor Schlobert.  It seems they have a patient for me and as such, I am most eager to be introduced to my first case and hopefully fulfil my studies ma’am.”

With a disparaging hiss, the woman swung open a huge heavy bound book that was in view on the desk.  The pages were tatty and unkempt and when Chloe examined the identities of the previous visitors, was alarmed to see that other than Schlobert, there had been no guests for over a year.

“How extraordinary!  The patients...  They receive little in the way of family visitations?”

Answering in an exasperated tone, the woman replied:

“Most of them in here have been abandoned by their so called loved ones.  They are beyond hope and it didn’t take a college education for me to see that!  You are so green, you arrive here all courteous and polite in your smooth Texan brogue, but they will see right through you.  I doubt you will even last a week in here.  Most of them are criminally insane and the rest are just plain evil!  I am the matron of this hospital so you pay attention to what I say; before the week is out you will abandon all hope, and wish you had never burdened yourself with such poison.  That is what this place thrives on...  Poison and despair.  Mark my words.”

Before Chloe could muster a coherent form of response, she felt a warm hand on her shoulder.  Turning around hastily to avoid further conversation with the stony matron, the relief was palpable to see the welcoming smile of Doctor Schlobert.  He was an affable fellow with more humour in his eyes than this despairing dive had witnessed in years.  He had a healthy complexion and rosy cheeks that housed two chunky dimples that forever winked with every opportunity of a smile.  He had a full head of curly hair that was a light coloured brown and lips that commonly caressed the tip of expensive cigars, his true love and one vice in his life.

“Welcome my dear; it is so lovely to see you.  It seems you are about to fulfil the final part of your studies.  What a case to do so my dear, what a case!  Unfortunately however, I must leave you in the very capable hands of Doctor Vaheys.  It seems I have to attend an appointment back at the college.  I am sorry my dear, I would very much have liked to have been a spectator on your virgin voyage to your inevitable doctorate.  I have great confidence in you my dear.  Ah, here we are...  Doctor Hans Rutge Vaheys.  An exceptional man, who will guide you through the case notes and as agreed, be your mentor on site, or so it was...”

A short, rotund figure emerged into view.  The sinister stare that looked through the thick garments sported by Chloe, made her visibly shudder.  The old hospital was cold throughout so there was no excuse necessary when Schlobert slightly raised his thick bushy eyebrows at his slender pupil’s reaction.  The glint from the bright hospital lights camouflaged the seedy gaze of Doctor Vaheys.  They reflected from the small glasses that gave him the appearance of being Nazi-like, in the vein of Heinrich Himmler, Chloe contemplated.  His skin was greasy and full of acne, and Chloe had to look away as she observed a web of thick saliva appear between his pouting pudgy lips.

“Welcome to EC Hospital for the criminally insane my dear.  May I say what a pleasure it is to have such a young enthusiastic female with us?  As I am sure you both will appreciate, we do not get many visitors here and certainly not of the youthful variety... Ha!  If you would like to say your goodbyes I will await you in my office, just down the hall, you cannot miss it.”

His fat hand pointed with a stubby digit, revealing yet more cracked, flaking skin.  The sharp yellow fingernail that protruded from the disgusting doctor’s hand gestured to a dark corridor that Chloe had failed to notice until this point.  Vaheys shuffled off, and Chloe observed him head into the darkness until all that was visible was a headless white coat, floating away, ghost-like, sinister and awaiting her company beyond the dark.  After bidding her tutor farewell, Chloe gave a heavy sigh and slowly made her way down the corridor.  She counted twenty steps before she reached a door, which although she could not view the inscription on the panel, guessed it confirmed it to be the office of the creepy Doctor Vaheys.  Chloe knocked twice on the door before entering the room.

“Welcome...  Come sit down over here and we can discuss the itinerary and get you sorted out.  My, my, it is so nice to have such a fine looking woman here in my hospital.  I think we will get on very well.”

The room was dimly lit accentuated by the scarlet wallpaper and poor lighting, the most prominent being the desk lamp, which created further tension to her situation.  Chloe was nervous to begin with, this was not only a day of which she had been waiting for such a long time, but with her poor social skills and timid interchanges with most folk; the assignment to work with such an odious creature that was leering at her from behind his desk, made the atmosphere intolerable.  Her nerves made it hard for her to breathe and she could feel the beads of sweat making haste in some desperate attempt to escape, along the contours of her spine.

“Thank you Doctor Vaheys for allowing me the wonderful opportunity to work alongside you in this magnificent building.  I hope to do both you and Doctor Schlobert proud, sir.”

Chloe seated herself awkwardly into the chair opposite Vaheys, and understandably pulled at her long skirt to abort any possibility of it riding up her legs.  She was wearing thick brown stockings that were certainly not attractive in the slightest, but her dress and actions seemed to arouse the gloating individual further.

“You seem nervous my dear.  Is there anything wrong?”

The thick saliva had returned and appeared to curdle on his cracked tongue.  He looked at her chest and grinned with perverse pleasure before opening a paper file that lay on his desk.  Chloe shook her head slightly to indicate she was in good humour and attempted to ignore his gaze as best she could.

“This, my dear, will be your report, or as I like to call it, our personal file.  I will write notes daily and then once complete, this will be passed on to Doctor Schlobert for review.  Any questions so far?  No?  OK, good, I will continue.  I think it would be best if I show you around the hospital and the areas where you have permission to visit.  Anywhere else you understand, is forbidden.  You get one chance here and if you are found to be visiting areas you shouldn’t, you will be asked to leave immediately; your report will indicate a fail and so, you will be out my dear.  I am sure we have nothing to worry about though there, do we?  This is a high security hospital and although we do not have many patients these days, seventy-five percent of the patients that are here are criminally insane.  The rules are for a reason; your safety.”

Chloe nodded in agreement and as that same yellow fingernail pushed a pen towards her, she plucked it from the desk and signed the declaration.  The shudder as he touched her hand was not missed by Vaheys:

“Oh you are so nervous!  So nervous and so young.  He-he, I like you Chloe my dear.  I will always be around to guide you, you see if I meet someone I like, I will always go out of my way to help them, I mean like with friends.  Are you that way too?  Oh!  Forgive me; what an impertinent question!  Of course you are; I know, I can tell.  I will allow you as much time with the patient as you desire, the curriculum states that you are advised to spend only one hour only at a time, but like I say, I like you and as my favour to you, feel free to spend as much time and gain whatever knowledge you can.”

Surprised by the willingness of the doctor to help, Chloe smiled and thanked him gratefully.

“Now before I begin to show you around the accessible areas, he-he...  I bet you are impatient to learn of the patient you have been assigned to.  Fear not, Chloe my dear.  His name is James, James Anthony Douglas.  A thirty five year old male, he was born in Manchester, England, yet he has spent most of his life living here in Edison County, emigrating at the age of ten.  Any questions so far Chloe, my dear?”

Having scrawled the details on her notepad which was ever-present in her pocket, she looked up and shook her head.  Her writing was always neat and well formed, if a trifle fancy, even when scribbled with haste.

“Wait, I do have a question actually.  How long has Mr Douglas been living here?”

Vaheys smiled, the drool almost spilled from his lips, but like syrup straddling a pancake, it clung for dear life, petrified of what lay in wait.  Sensing the cold slaver on his chin, the Doctor sucked it up with a sense of gratification that caused Chloe to shudder.

“He has been one of our patients for nearing three years now.  Of those three years, he has yet to utter a single word to a member of staff.  He communicates occasionally with the aid of a pen and paper, but never under the watchful eyes of a doctor or nurse.  He has spent most of his time staring at the wall and the rest of the time writing in journals or as I have stated, occasional notes to the staff.  Most of the notes, by the way, are indecipherable, and his journals are of course, the ramblings of someone quite insane and as such, pure fiction.  I would strongly advise you to read them if you wish, but do not pay close attention to them; you will find nothing of relevance in those pages, believe me, I have looked.”

The room fell silent but for the scribbling of Chloe’s pencil.  Vaheys’ eyes narrowed in an attempt to read the notes, but his attempts were futile.

“Can you tell me about the medication Mr Douglas has been receiving?”

The Doctor frowned, realising that his facial expression appeared slightly odd to the interviewer, he regained his composure and smiled:

“Ah, well, we have of course tried a number of methods and several forms of medication, in differing volumes.”

Chloe nodded and probed further.

“Well, currently he is on the usual medication for a typical patient experiencing and suffering the symptoms he has.  That would be meds, sedatives and if I am not mistaken, Ritalin.  Would you care for some tea, or maybe, something a little stronger?  I always enjoy a brandy at this time of the day and it will do wonders for your nerves.”

Chloe did not have to look at the Doctor to know that the smug smirk had returned.  Her attempts to deflect her tension had failed miserably and the bastard was enjoying the feeling of power and control in his seedy office.

“I am fine, thank you.  I am not really one for drinking, Doctor Vaheys.  I would prefer it if you would kindly show me around the hospital and the areas I am permitted to visit; then I would like to introduce myself to my very first patient, if that would be OK?”

Pouring himself a large Cognac, Vaheys smiled.  Chloe watched as he turned to face her once more.  His hand placed the glass on the table and he opened his long coat just a few inches, enough to reveal a slight bulge in his trousers.

“As I said my dear, you are welcome to spend as much time with the patient as you wish; my special favour to you because I like you.  Of course there may be a time when I have to ask a special favour of you and I do hope you will show an equal liberality.”

 

The slurping of the brandy made Chloe feel slightly nauseous, but she forced a smile and placed her notebook into her bag.  Sensing the slender female was about to stand up to leave, Vaheys strode behind her chair and Chloe felt a sudden heavy burden upon her shoulders, it drifted with speed and was soon brushing against her breasts.  She took the opportunity to stand, which forced the Doctor to disembark and return to his Brandy glass.

“OK my dear; well I feel we have an understanding.  So let’s make haste and I will show you around your new place of work.  I am sure it will not take you long to make yourself acquainted with the building and our small team of workers.  We have three nurses in the afternoons on weekdays, and two on an evening.  At weekend we have two nurses in the day and two of course, in the evening.  The matron lives here as do I; there is a security guard at the main gates who you will have noticed, I am sure, on your way in.  We have a resident gardener who under no circumstances is permitted inside the hospital.  Other than that, you will learn my dear, as you go along.”

 

The doctor opened the door to his office and Chloe stepped past him uneasily.  Vaheys sniffed the air audibly in an attempt to smell her hair as she motioned through the doorway.

“Such a small number of staff for such a large hospital it seems, Doctor Vaheys?  How does the staff cope with all the patients?  In-fact, how many patients does the hospital currently have?”

The doctor appeared ill at ease with the question, which puzzled Chloe.  He indicated the number to be around “thirty” with a grunt, but offered no confirmation when Chloe claimed she had not heard his response clearly.  Deciding she could investigate further with another member of staff, Chloe ceased her questioning. 

 

As they left the office and walked through the poorly lit passage and back into the daylight of the reception area, Vaheys continued his dialogue.  It was clear that he enjoyed the sound of his own voice.

“I said earlier that most of the population of our institute were criminally insane; most, but not all.  Schlobert and I discussed the issues around this and naturally, it was decided that one of the patients who maybe did not suffer with such criminal afflictions and pose such a direct danger to yourself, would be more suitable for your first case.  However, I must stress that although James Douglas has not been incarcerated for reasons of criminality, he is naturally in the hospital for his own safety and for that of the public.  You see, not only does he write notes in order to communicate; he ignores all forms of life.  Actually that is not entirely true, what with the night terrors, but this will be your case, for you to discover and research, with the aid of the files we hold.”

At this point Vaheys stopped and mopped his brow.  He was remarkably unfit and just the small exertion of walking a few hundred yards and now, beyond the reception and entering a long narrow corridor, had caused him to break out into a heavy sweat.  His face was all blotchy and red, which brought a momentary smile to Chloe but she masked it well and remained silent.

“It seems I am not getting any younger my dear.  He-he.  You will pardon me if we wait for a moment to enable me to catch my breath.”

He opened his shirt slightly by unclasping a few buttons and eyed the meek student beside him.  Returning the bedraggled handkerchief to his pocket, he smiled and opened his arms like a priest would embrace his flock:

“This is the pathway to the heart of the hospital.  Beyond this point are the wards and the most important room of all... The canteen and staff restaurant.  We are too late today to take advantage of the superb lunches provided by our in house cook, Jodie Pzernyethinski.  Jodie is short for another long Polish name; I forget what, so we just refer to her as Jodie.  It has taken me quite some time to remember her surname, I can tell you that!  To get beyond the door at the end of the corridor you will need this fob.”

Vaheys handed Chloe a small plastic fob key.  A large plastic red tag was attached in an unsubtle attempt to avoid the possibility of it ever being lost. 

“We all have one of these and with it, on the red tag is your own personal code.  You will need this to get beyond any further points; the fob key after this door will not open any other door.  For that you use your own code and that, if you have access rights to the intended entrance, will allow you through and unlock the door.  Are we clear so far?”

He did not wait for a response and began to walk, or rather, meander towards the doorway.  It was a long cold, sterile passageway and Chloe considered that the hospital was unlikely to become any more homely beyond this point.  Shuddering slightly at the prospect of the conditions in which the patients existed; Vaheys began yet again to induct her into the life of Edison County Institute for the Insane.

“Your code, as you will see, is CH17.  Four digits for ease of memory; remember the code and remove all evidence of it from the tag when you have done so.  Many of the patients in here are sedated, some more so than others, but as I am sure you will appreciate, the walls have eyes and can decipher but the smallest detail.  We have no wish to scour the grounds on the hunt for an escapee, particularly in such horrid conditions as we are encountering currently.”

 

Although the cracked painted walls cut a depressing sight, they did still envelop the corridor in a small yet substantial brightness as opposed to the previous pathway to Vaheys’ office.  This however, was where the aesthetic quality ended.  There were no pictures adorning the walls, no windows to delight in the vast grounds surrounding the institute; only eight cold barren streaks of light that hung mercilessly from the ceiling accompanied the walkway. As they reached the commanding, solid timber door, Vaheys nodded to the fob in her small palm.  It was awash with tiny droplets of sweat residue and was reflective of her nervous state.  Holding it gingerly to the electronic pad on the door, a small red light flashed and changed to green and the sound of the huge door unlocking made her gasp in expectation of what lay beyond.

 

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