If I Ever Escape!
If I Ever Escape!
It was almost 7 pm as Tamara Abbott hurriedly put on her lipstick as she looked into her bathroom mirror. It wasn’t often that the 26 year old college student took a break from her nursing studies to party with the girl friends on a Friday night. But Becky, Samantha and Sarah were persuasive and with her three friends to help keep an eye on her, Tamara didn’t feel any harm would come from going to a party.
Ten minutes later she heard the sound of a cars horn honk three times outside her modest studio apartment and she quickly headed for the front door, grabbing her coat in one hand and purse in the other. As she closed the door behind her and ran excitedly towards the parking lot, all three of her friends were waving to her wildly. Becky sat in the backseat and pushed the door open as she held four Domino’s pizza’s on her lap.
The smell of pepperoni filled Tamara’s senses as she climbed in and closed her door. Toby Keith’s song, ‘Prop me up beside the juke box’ was playing on the radio as all four women began talking to each other. As Samantha backed her blue Saturn up and headed for the street, she told Tamara where they were headed. “I met a really sweet guy in my computer class last week.
His name is Cliff and he just moved here from California. Anyways, he told me he and some of his friends were going to have a party tonight and asked me if I wanted to go. He also asked if I could bring some friends.” Samantha said with a giggle as she turned her head back and winked at Tamara and Becky. “Sarah and Becky already agreed that if they meet a guy and don’t want me to drive them home when we’re all ready to leave, they’ll tell me.
The same goes for you Tamara.” Samantha said as she turned back and winked at her friend. Though Tamara felt a little nervous, the mood in the car at that moment was ‘electric’ and she pushed her nervousness aside. When Samantha took a right on Oak Street she pulled into The Sheffield Apartments, a very upscale gated community. It Samantha turned down the music and rolled down her window and pressed the intercom.
When she heard a man’s voice, she smiled at Becky when heard his voice. After giving her name and who she was there to see, she was asked to wait for the wrought iron gate to open completely before entering. Samantha thanked him and quickly rolled up her window. It was October now and the cold winds of Denver made all four gals shiver for a moment.
Samantha quickly looked down at the slip of paper in her right hand. Everyone looked out their windows for Building E. Once they spotted the building, Samantha parked and all four women huddled next to the car. “We better lock our purses in my trunk. I really don’t know anyone at this party other than Cliff.” Samantha said. Once all four purses were in the trunk, Samantha led the way.
Building E had three floors, and they were headed for Apartment number seven which happened to be on the main floor. As they passed Apartment number one, the girls could hear the sound of loud music ahead of them. By the time they stood beside the door with the 7 on it, everyone looked at each other and smiled as they stared at the three colorful balloons taped to each side of the door.
By the time Samantha had rang the door bell for the third time, a gal with a chiffon blue dress opened the door and smiled as she welcomed them inside. There must have been 30 college students in the apartment. To Tamara’s relief she saw that there were about the same number of guys as there were girls. On the way over to the party, Samantha, Sarah, Becky and Tamara agreed that they would all leave the party at midnight unless they planned to spend the night with a ‘friend’.
Tamara wasn’t much of a beer drinker or wine. But she did like pina colada’s. The gal who invited them in took their coats and they were added to the stack of coats piled on top of a six foot long folding table. Compared to Tamara’s small but cozy studio, the apartment she was in now seemed like a luxurious mansion. She didn’t want to ask whoever lived here what their rent was.
The surround sound stereo was playing soft rock music, not Tamara’s favorite but it was better than listening to jazz, rap or oldies. The living room was huge and adjoined the dining room. The carpet was a deep plush white. It was the deepest carpet Tamara had ever felt as she knelt down and felt it with the palm of her hand. There must have been 30 other college students in the apartment with plenty of room for more as Tamara heard the door bell ring.
Suddenly she felt someone tapping her left shoulder and as she stood up she saw it was her friend Samantha. Next to her stood a drop dead gorgeous guy with wavy blond hair and blue eyes that would make any girls heart skip a beat. He was much taller than Samantha and he dressed very sharply. Both of them had a glass of wine in their hands as Samantha introduced Cliff. Tamara began to blush as he reached out his hand and shook hers.
Cliff’s southern accent was captivating. Tamara had always had a weakness for guys with an accent. Samantha took Tamara over to where the dining room was and around the eight foot long table milled about a dozen other students. Most looked over 21 but she clearly could tell several weren’t. On top of the table was a red plastic tablecloth. The refreshments were divided on the table into groups. One end had different kinds of beer.
The far end had hard liquor. Towards the middle were different kinds of soda and next to them were wine coolers. Beside the table at both ends was a card table. One had all sorts of chips and the other table had pastries. There were several guys behind the dining table who were serving the drinks. When Tamara was asked what type of drink she’d like, she shyly smiled at the tall red haired guy with bright green eyes and told him a pina colada would be nice.
She watched as he poured 3 ounces of rum into a crystal glass. Then he added two ounces of cream of coconut. Then he added two ounces of pineapple juice. Finally he filled the glass with crushed ice. But before handing her the drink, he poured the glass into a blender. After crushing the ice, he re-filled her glass and handed back to her as he smiled. Now it was time to mingle.
Samantha, Becky and Sarah had already disappeared, so Tamara was on her own. As she walked around the apartment, between the music and trying to listen to others who were talking, she got lost in her thoughts. She couldn’t imagine what life would be like to live in such a beautiful apartment. Suddenly someone bumped into her from behind and she almost dropped her drink. As she turned around, her eyes met the most handsome man she had ever seen before.
Andy was a quarterback on the college football team and although she knew his name, she had never dared speak to him. She had seen plenty of photographs of him around the campus and she had seen him play on the field. But this was the first time she was so close to him that she could faint. As he looked down at her, he apologized for running into her. Tamara blushed and knew she had to be red faced as she stuttered as she tried to tell him it was ok.
The two of them shared small talk for a few minutes before Andy asked her if she’d like to hang with him. Once more Tamara felt herself blush realizing that he showed an interest in her. For much of that evening Tamara and Andy were inseparable and from time to time they ran into Sarah, Samantha or Becky. It was plain to see by the way her three friends smiled and winked that they approved of who she was with.
As the evening wore on, couples paired off and the four couches in the apartment were filled with couples kissing. Those who weren’t seated were leaning against a wall kissing. Andy and Tamara talked of many things that evening. As it grew late though, the many pina colada’s Tamara had drunk took effect and she told her friend that she needed to find Samantha so she could be taken home.
When Andy asked if he could drive her home, he sounded sincere and she didn’t want to say no. But she did tell him she had to let her friend know. Tamara found Samantha on a couch nearest the den and saw her lips were locked on a guy’s lips. His hand was wandering but Samantha didn’t seem to mind. When Tamara spoke, Samantha broke their kiss and took the guys hand off her blouse and looked up surprised as she smiled.
Tamara was light headed as she smiled down at her friend and told Samantha that Andy had volunteered to take her home. Samantha winked and told her she’d stop by her apartment tomorrow and drop her purse off to her. With a small wave, she turned and made her way back to where Andy was. Hand in hand they made their way down the long sidewalk to the parking lot.
When they stood beside Andy’s 1965 Ford Mustang, the metallic blue paint shined like glass. The interior was all white and it looked like the car was brand new. No sooner had Andy taken her into his arms and held her softly, they kissed. The next moment, Tamara passed out. As Andy held her close to keep her from falling, some football jocks would have taken advantage of a pretty gal sexually. But Andy didn’t as he carefully helped get her into the passenger seat.
He should have driven Tamara home but he didn’t nor did he put her in his bed. Instead, as a practical joke, Andy drove the sleeping woman far out of town to an abandoned sanitarium that was all boarded up. 10 years ago there had been a huge scandal where some doctors and nurses were accused of torturing mental patients.
Some patients were given psychotic medications to make their conditions worse while others were repeatedly given electric shock while doctors or nurses laughed. In the end, the police arrived with arrest warrants and on the third floor there was an intense gun battle. Nine nurses and doctors were killed as were six police officers. After that, The Cambridge Sanitarium had its medical license revoked and was closed down.
Now the grounds were covered in two feet high grass and many of the barred windows were broken out. All the ground level doors and windows were boarded up. Andy had a wild prankish side to him and perhaps the booze he had drank that night brought out the worst of him as his mustang crossed the center line time and time again. When his car came to a stop, it was almost midnight as his high beams shone on the building that time had forgotten.
Slowly Andy got out of his car and immediately he stumbled and fell. When he got back up, he held onto the side of his car and went to the trunk. He fumbled with his car keys until he got the right key in the lock and unlocked the trunk. He reached around searching for something. He felt himself smile as his hand gripped the crow bar. His plan wasn’t to harm Tamara but rather to play a practical joke on her by trapping her in the abandoned sanitarium.
He would come back to let her out Sunday morning and apologize. All he had to do was pry one of the plywood boards off of the windows and carefully lower Tamara inside before using the crowbar to pound the nails back in. Although Andy’s headlights lit the way ahead, he knew he wouldn’t be able to see the boarded window he had to pry open. So he went over to the passenger side door and opened the glove box.
After moving some papers, he put the mini-flashlight in his mouth. It took Andy longer than he thought to reach the building as he brushed off the grass from his trousers where he had fallen to his knees. After several attempts Andy managed to pry off a large plywood board covering a window. Then he used his crowbar to break out all the glass so that neither he nor Tamara would get cut.
But after he got her out of the car, no matter how he tried to carry her to the sanitarium, he couldn’t do it. He was just too drunk. He had no choice but to hold her under her arms from behind and walk backwards to the building. In doing so, both of her shoes came off. When he made it back to the open window, he double checked to make sure there weren’t any sharp pieces of glass poking up.
Before he began to slip Tamara thru the window feet first, he put his mini-flashlight into her front pocket. He took a moment to catch his breath before he reached down and leaned the crowbar against the wall nearest his knee.
Then he picked her up with both arms and bent over as he guided her feet through the open window. It was all he could do not to drop her as he lowered her body through the opening.
Then he used his foot to find the piece of plywood and slowly pounded the nails back into the window frame. Then he went back to his car and put his crowbar in the trunk. He really felt tired at that moment as he sat in his car seat. He knew Tamara would be mad at him on Sunday morning. He would make sure he brought her some food and something to drink when he returned.
Sometimes the most innocent of practical jokes backfire or don’t turn out as planned. This fact would hold true for both for Tamara and for Andy. It was a miracle that Andy made it back home without hitting another vehicle or being pulled over for drunk driving by the police. By the time he woke up the next morning, he had a terrible hang-over. But he wasn’t the only one. Tamara was beginning to wake up too and her head was throbbing.
She quickly realized she wasn’t in her bed or Andy’s. She felt bitter cold and her body ached. She realized she was on a cold hard floor but didn’t know where she was. She slowly rolled herself over and as she lay on her back, she knew that her shoes were off her feet. She pushed her long hair away from her face and wiped her eyes as her tears began falling. What a cruel joke Andy had played on her was her only thought at that moment.
There was absolutely no light where ever she was and she let out a terrible scream. That was when she felt something in her right front pocket and knew immediately what it was. It was a flashlight. She was grateful he had the kindness to leave it with her but he would still have hell to pay when she saw him again. She took it out and turned it on.
As she moved the flashlight from left to right she could see she was in some sort of basement, but the room was too large to be the basement of a house.
The room had a strong odor of dust and dampness. She could feel the goose bumps on her arms as she struggled to get to her feet. But she fell. She began crying as she made her way to the nearest wall. She sat down with her back against the wall and her hands across her knees as she continued to cry. She fell asleep again and by the time she awakened, she was more than hungry and thirsty.
When she got back to her feet this time, she didn’t fall. With the light of her flashlight she saw the only stairway at the far right end of the room and began walking towards it. When she reached the steps, she lost her balance half way up the steps and had it not been for the hand rail, she would have fallen and probably died alone. When she turned the door knob at the top of the stairs, she expected it to be locked.
But to her relief the door opened and she could see light filling the hallway from open doors from other rooms and she turned her flashlight off. She stuck it in her back pocket and brushed back the hair from her face. As she looked to her left she saw a long dust filled hallway. She turned around in a circle and saw the same thing in the other direction. The paint on the walls had long since peeled off.
For the life of her, Tamara didn’t know where she was. Before she pinched herself, she would have sworn that this was all a bad dream. But when she pinched her left wrist with two fingers she knew this was no dream. She decided to walk down the hall leaving footprints on the dust covered floor to the room closest to her. As she entered that room, just one look made her realize her nightmare was just beginning as she put her hand to her mouth and let out a horrible scream.
All the barren room had in it was a sink, a bed and a wheelchair with blood stains on it. The window had no curtain and was barred. She could see part of the sanitarium across the courtyard. She knew then and there she was trapped inside the shut down Cambridge Sanitarium. Tears flowed down her cheeks at that moment. Andy had done this to her, but why? Why would he do such a cruel thing to her? She had to find a way out of this place.
Shivers went up and down her spine and it wasn’t just because she was cold. Everyone in town knew what happened more than ten years ago to the men, women and children confined in this sanatorium. People were sadistically tortured and killed by a group of doctors and nurses pretending to try to make them better. No one really knew how many patients died, unable to escape their tormentors.
Slowly, she backed her way out of the room and into the hallway. Suddenly, a cold breeze blew down the hallway and she shivered as goose bumps went up her neck. As she looked to her right and left, she could see paint had been peeling off the walls for years and there were bird droppings everywhere. She hadn’t noticed it before but now she could smell the strong odor of urine.
She gripped the flashlight in her hand tighter before she shoved it into the back pocket of her jeans and began walking down the hall. She had to find a way to escape the sanitarium. She didn’t want to spend the night here. As she walked further down the hall, she began seeing blood stained smudges on both sides of the walls. Then she saw two hand prints in blood and the word, “Run” and knew it was drawn with someone’s finger.
No words could describe the fear building up inside her as she looked further down the hall and saw a set of partially open double glass doors. Above the doors she saw the sign, ‘Psychiatry’.
She didn’t want to walk through those doors but she didn’t see any door near her that said ‘Stairway’ so she walked towards the doors. She wrapped her arms around her shoulders to fight off the chill as she looked down and saw the goose bumps on her arms.
Tamara hoped that she’d discover a sign pointing to where the stairway door was so she could get down to the ground floor. Then she’d go to every room searching for a window she could crawl out of or a door she could open from the inside and escape where she was terrified to be in. Cautiously she peered through doorway before she went inside.
Just inside the room was a nurse’s station and the counter was shaped like an ‘L’. Three rooms were behind the counter, but she had no intention of exploring what was in them. She had a choice of walking down a hallway to her right or continuing to walk down a hallway directly in front of her. Tamara could see a series of doors down each hallway and she decided to go down the hallway in front of her.
As she nervously either peered into each room or opened the closed door she saw a barred window and a single bed. Some had mattresses, others didn’t. Other than a small sink the rooms she saw were barren. The sunlight filtering in through the window gave each room an eerie glow. She couldn’t wait to escape this place and the first place she was going to go to was the police station to see to it Andy was arrested.
He had kidnapped her and at that moment she wasn’t sure if he intended to come back and let her out or if he planned to return and torture her. Perhaps the blood stains she saw earlier in the hallway were from another woman Andy had kidnapped. That thought was so terrifying to Tamara that she pushed the thought away and started walking towards the next door on her right.
But before she reached the door, she froze in her tracks from what she saw coming towards her. A woman with long matted blonde hair was walking towards her, but Tamara could tell by the expression in her eyes that she didn’t see her. She wore a long white patient’s gown and no shoes. Her arms were down at her sides and Tamara wanted to turn around and start run for her life.
But she was too terrified to run. As much as she wanted to run, her feet didn’t move. The closer the woman got to her the more tears flowed from Tamara’s eyes. Even if she had wanted to speak, she couldn’t. The woman who looked to be about 50 years old was so close to Tamara that she could now see the scars on the woman’s forearms and the right side of her neck. Someone had performed surgeries on her, but why?
Tamara barely whispered, “Who are you?” when suddenly the woman opened the door ahead of her and closed it behind her. Slowly she made her way to the windowless door and stared down at the door knob. Part of her wanted to open the door and find out who the woman was, why she was here and how she could escape? Another part of her knew that if she opened the door, she’d find no one in the room.
But Tamara had to know and her trembling right hand turned the knob and pulled the door open. Her eyes grew wide and she put her hand to her mouth as tears flowed from her eyes. She didn’t see the woman inside the room. What she saw was a blood stained mattress and she quickly slammed the door shut. The sound of the door slapping echoed down the hallway.
Tamara’s heart was beating so fast and so loud she thought she’d have a heart attack. She wanted to run away, but to where? Which door would lead to the stairway? As she stood there in shock, trembling, she knew to find out that answer she’d have to open another door and another and another. When she heard a sound behind her she turned around quickly and ducked as three pigeons flew just above her and out the broken window at the end of the hallway.
She put her left hand over her heart and tried to calm down. After taking a deep breath she headed for the next door on her left. When she opened that door, all she found in the room was a single wheelchair. Suddenly she saw the wheelchair begin to move towards her and she shut the door and laid her back against the door. Again and again the wheelchair bumped up against the door.
Not with enough force to shove the door open, but rather, with just enough force to want it to open up. By now no words could describe what was going though Tamara’s mind as she frantically looked across the hall and saw another door. She ran to the door, pulled it open and went inside as she turned and pulled the door shut behind her. She gasped to take each breath.
The curtain less window filled the room with light and she saw there was a single bed in the room with a dusty mattress and she walked over to it and sat down. She put her hands on her lap and buried her head in her hands and cried. When she finally raised her head, she looked over on the wall above the sink and saw a mirror facing the wall.
That seemed odd and she couldn’t remember if any of the other rooms she had looked at had their mirror facing the wall too. Curiosity got the best of her and she stood up and wiped her eyes. Then she walked over to the mirror and faced the mirror the proper way. For the first time Tamara saw what she looked like since she woke up trapped in the abandoned sanitarium.
Her tears had smudged the dirt on her face. Her hair was matted and the mascara was smudged down her cheeks. She looked terrible. She turned both knobs hoping to see water, but not a drop came out. She turned around and sat back down on the bed but had barely taken her first breath when she heard a child’s voice call out to her. As Tamara raised her head she saw a ghostly shape of a small child about eight years old staring at her.
She too was wearing a patient’s gown and she could almost see through the child’s face. The child was missing her left arm. Tamara was trapped in the room with the child’s spirit and there was no way to escape the room. But the child wasn’t there to harm her as the little girl spoke anxiously. “You shouldn’t have turned the mirror around. You must turn the mirror back around the way you found it.” she pleaded before Tamara saw the mirror on the wall begin to shake.
At first she thought it was an earthquake but as she stood up she knew she wasn’t off balance. Before she could take her first step towards the sink the mirror fell off the wall and broke into pieces on the basin. Pieces of the mirror filled the sink and other pieces scatted across the floor. At that moment, the room was filled with a thunderous shouting voice that made Tamara put both her hands over her ears.
The voice was so loud Tamara was sure she was deaf. As she looked over to the child, she saw her waving frantically for her to follow her. “We have to leave now, follow me! We have to find another mirror and put it back on the wall. They are all free now and they will kill you. Hurry! I will try to hide you from them!” the child pleaded as she waved for Tamara to get off the bed.
When they were both in the hallway Tamara could smell something so revolting that she put her right hand on the wall and began throwing up. The child spirit took hold of Tamara’s left hand and pulled hard trying to get her to come with her. As she hurried down the hallway, the third door on the left was a stairway she pushed the door open. It banged hard against the wall as she and the child spirit hurriedly went downstairs.
The stairway was dark and musty and Tamara could smell a heavy mold odor as she reached back and took out her flashlight. When they got to the second floor and pushed the door open, she was grateful to see sunlight. Her heart wasn’t beating, it was pounding. She looked down at the child not knowing what to do next. This hallway had just as many doors as the floor she had just left.
Before Tamara could speak, the spirit of the little girl pulled her arm to her right and she led her to a room with the door open and she pushed her to get her inside before she pulled the door shut behind her. As Tamara looked around the room, she saw a double window that was barred, a white painted radiator and a small desk. The sink was missing and so was the mirror.
When the little girl’s spirit looked up into Tamara’s eyes, she saw sadness as she spoke. “When you turned the mirror back around, you opened the ‘doorway’ allowing the doctors and nurses who tortured all us to be free again. They will search everywhere for you because you’re the only one who can put the mirror back on the wall and send them back to their world.” she said in desperation.
As tears fell from Tamara’s cheeks, she shook her head and told the child the mirror was broken into a hundred pieces. “How can I put the mirror back on the wall?” she asked. The child looked up at her with hopeful eyes and told her in the basement, in one of the rooms was a box of mirrors. If she could find that room, take the mirror and face it back on the wall of the room she could save her life.
“If any of the doctors or nurses catch up to you before you put the mirror on the wall, they will kill you just as they have killed all of us. You will wander these halls just like I do now for all of eternity.” the child said in a sad voice. By now Tamara could hear people’s voices out in the hallway as the child spirit looked at her and put a finger to her lips. After the footsteps couldn’t be heard any more the child spirit spoke.
“My name is Winsom and my parents put me in this place when I was ten years old because they didn’t me want anymore. They lied and said I did all sorts of bad things. The doctors and nurses who the police killed were doing mean things to everyone. From pills, to needles to operations and I heard their screams. Those locked in their rooms begged to die. It was horrible. When the doctor cut off my left arm, I too begged them to kill me.
No one can help us now. But maybe I can hide you long enough to find where the box of mirrors is and you can put the mirror back on the wall. Then I can help you escape this place.” Winsom said as she walked up to Tamara. She quickly knelt down on one knee and hugged the child. As she wiped her eyes, she tried to smile and told the child that her name was Tamara. “A man I met at a party put me in this place.” she said angrily.
“I know. He boarded up the window he put you through. Will he come back and help you escape?” Winsom asked worriedly. Tamara shook her head and said with uncertainty, “I don’t know.” Meanwhile, Andy was driving back to the sanitarium with food and water for Tamara. To him, it was just a prank.
He knew she’d be scared but he was coming to tear off the plywood over the window he had boarded back up.
After he parked his car near the building, he grabbed the crow bar off the passenger seat and picked up the box and began walking. Inside the box was four bottles of orange juice, a large bag of Frito’s chips, a bag of oatmeal cookies and a bag of trail mix snacks and some beef jerky. He would return tomorrow and tear off the plywood. He’d bring a flashlight if he had to go searching for her.
Then he’d apologize for trapping her in the sanitarium and drive her back to town. When he reached the boarded window, he called out Tamara’s name. When she didn’t answer, he used the crow bar and pried off the plywood. Carefully he leaned over and dropped the box on the floor below the window. But before Andy could straighten up, unseen hands pulled him violently through the open window into the basement.
He found himself dangling off the floor near the ceiling below a pipe. A cord wrapped hurriedly around the pipe and then under Andy’s arms. As he hung off the floor in the darkness dangling, in what light he saw from the open window, a pipe raised off the ground. Again and again Andy was beaten bloody with the iron pipe. Not hard enough to let him die quickly though.
Andy endured a slow, deliberate sadistic beating before he died. Then the sheet of plywood outside the window floated in the air and all of the nails were pounded back into the window frame. There would be no easy escape for Tamara, but now she had some food and something to drink, if she found the box. Winsom told the woman many things that led up to the police coming to the sanitarium and how she heard gunfire on the third floor years ago.
She also told her about a psychic who came back after authorities took those patients who were still alive away. She was the woman who turned the mirrors to the wall and trapped the evilness in another world. She too was killed and the other people who had been murdered have been wandering the halls since then. Now that was all changed.
Winsom asked Tamara how brave she was. As tears rolled down her eyes, she told the child she wasn’t brave at all. “I’m scared to death, Winsom. I’m going to die here aren’t I?” she cried out. The child put her finger to her lips again and whispered, “Not if you let me help you. We have to make our way down to the basement.” she whispered as she waved at Tamara to come to the door.
Ever so slowly, Winsom opened the door just enough for her to look out in both directions. Then she looked back at Tamara and waved for her to hurry. They both ran to a door down the hall that led to the basement. It would have been slow going without Tamara’s flashlight. Now she found herself back in the same place she woke up in with a terrible hangover.
When Tamara’s flashlight shined on Andy’s body hanging from an overhead pipe, she let out a scream. His body was black and blue and bloodied. Even though Winsom jerked on Tamara’s arm several times, she didn’t look down. She couldn’t take her eyes off Andy’s body. She had been holding onto her last hope that Andy would come back and free her. That hope now was gone.
Her flashlight was going dead when she saw the flashlight stuck in Andy’s back pocket. As terrified as she was to come closer to Andy’s body, she reached up and took the larger flashlight and dropped the one she had been holding. When Winsom was standing beside Tamara again, this time she felt the child tugging on her arm. “He can’t help you now, but he brought you some food.” she said as she pointed to the box below the boarded up window.
The light from Tamara’s flashlight lit up the box and she ran over to it and knelt down. With the flashlight stuck under her arm pit, she grabbed the bag of beef jerky and used her teeth to tear it open. As she hurriedly chewed, she glanced over at Winsom and saw sadness in her eyes. “It’s been a long time since I have eaten cookies or drank orange juice.” she said. At that moment, Tamara felt awful.
Then Winsom touched her shoulder and told her, “It’s okay. I really don’t feel hungry. I just miss eating. Go and eat. When you’re full we’ll go find that box of mirrors.” she said in a soft voice. Tamara ate the food and drank two of the bottles of orange juice but it didn’t mean she didn’t feel guilty. When she stood up they both began searching each room in the basement.
Some rooms had nothing in them. Other rooms had plenty of boxes, but no mirrors. Just as Tamara was about to go to one door, Winsom grabbed her arm and told her there weren’t any boxes in that room. When she went to the next room, Tamara found it locked. As she looked down at Winsom, she nodded. “The box we’re looking for is inside this room.” But neither of them had the key to open the door.
They had to find something to pry the door open with or to jimmy the lock. Tamara was desperate as her flashlight shone everywhere until she saw a small piece of flat metal. It was shaped like a knife. She had never opened a door using a credit card or knife like object until then. Together they both walked back to the locked door and Tamara knelt down. Tamara’s knees hurt as she slid in the piece of metal while Winsom aimed the flashlight at the door lock.
Several times Tamara almost had the latch slid back enough to open the door only to hear the latch slide back in place. Finally Tamara looked over to the child and shook her head as she told her it just wasn’t any use. “I’m just not as good at picking a lock as guy’s are, damn it.“ she said. Then her eyes lit up. “Follow me.” she whispered as she stood up and went back to where the box of food was.
She shined her flashlight all around the box but couldn’t find the crow bar Andy had used to get the plywood off the window. “Andy had to have pulled off this piece of plywood to put this box inside before he climbed in Winsom. If it isn’t in here, it must be outside the window.” Tamara said excitedly. If I can get that plywood off, I can use the crow bar to force that door open and get to that mirror.
Then all we have to do is make it back upstairs and get the mirror back on the wall the way it was.” Tamara said in a hopeful voice. But when she pushed against the plywood, it stayed in place. In a disappointed voice, she whispered that she would have to find something heavy to throw against the plywood. In the light of Tamara’s flashlight Winsom frantically shook her head no.
“If you make noise, they’re sure to hear and when they find you they’ll kill you. Please don’t make any noise!” the child pleaded. But Tamara knelt down and held the child’s shoulders as she spoke, “Winsom, I can’t get into that room to find the box of mirrors. I tried and I just can’t do it. I have to knock out that plywood to get to the crow bar or hammer Andy used to put me in this basement.
Those spirits are gonna find us sooner or later if I stay here, we both know that. At least if I can get that door opened I have a chance to send them back to their world.” Tamara said in a tearful voice. When Winsom nodded her head, Tamara stood up. Together they searched the basement looking for something that was heavy but light enough for Tamara to pick up and throw.
All she found was a treated eight foot long 4 by 4 post. Not only was it heavy but it was awkward to hold being eight feet long. Winsom held onto the flashlight as she watched Tamara nod and ram the 4 x 4 against the plywood. When the post hit the plywood it made a loud sound. She saw a frightened look on the child’s face as she struck the plywood again.
This time, several of nails loosened and some light shined into the room. Suddenly, to Tamara’s horror, she heard Andy’s voice telling her to stop what she was doing. As Winsom aimed the flashlight toward the ceiling, Tamara knew Andy’s body was possessed as he dangled in the air trying to free himself. “You cannot leave this place.” he shouted. Andy’s eyes were a fiery red and it definitely wasn’t Andy speaking to her.
Defiantly, Tamara turned back and hit the plywood again and now half of the plywood was loose as Winsom urged her to hurry. The next hit made the plywood fall to the ground and Tamara dropped the 4 x 4 and ran to the window. Just as she had hoped, when she looked out the window she saw the black crow bar on the ground and bent over and picked it up. By now Andy’s body was jerking in the air as his bloodied arms reached up toward the ceiling trying to undo the cord suspending him off the ground.
But before Tamara could take one step towards the locked door, the room filled with light and the demons she had released began to appear. There were nine men and women and each one had blood stained gunshot wounds where they had been shot and killed by the police. In a cold voice Andy said, “You ran out of luck bitch!” as he smiled down at her.
Winsom pushed Tamara towards the open window and begged her to jump. “Jump Tamara, Jump. Run and never come back!” she cried out as Tamara threw the crow bar in her hand out the window and jumped. When she landed on the ground, she grabbed the crow bar and was on her feet running towards Andy’s blue mustang! To her relief she saw the keys were still in the ignition and threw the crow bar down in the grass and jumped in.
As she turned the key and the engine started she looked out the windshield and saw Winsom waving goodbye to her before someone yanked her away from the window as the flashlight she was holding fell to the ground. Tamara pulled the shifter into reverse and with her foot against the pedal the rear tires tore the ground up as the car spun around and she raced for the highway. When she hit the asphalt the car fish-tailed twice before she got control and raced for town.
Tamara drove like a drunk driver passing cars and crossing the center line as she tried to wipe her eyes. All that was on her mind was getting to the police station and telling someone what had happened out at the sanitarium. Tamara drove so fast past the County Sheriff’s Deputy holding his radar gun by some brush that he didn’t even see her license plate. He started his motorcycle and pursued her as he radioed his location.
By now Tamara could hear the police siren and the blue and red flashing lights in her mirror behind her but she never let up on the gas. When she neared the edge of town two police cars had the road blocked with their emergency lights flashing. 250 feet ahead of them was a spike strip and when the mustang’s tires hit the strip, they flattened the tires. Tamara was swerving left and right trying to keep control of the mustang as she sped around the edge of the roadblock and entered town.
With two police cars and a motorcycle ride behind her they followed her to the police station. When she stopped the car, she jumped out and began running towards the front door of the station. A police officer coming out the door tackled her and they both fell down the steps as she screamed and tried to break free as she rambled on about seeing demons.
Only after Tamara was tasered were two officers able to get handcuffs on her and place her into a holding cell. When she was aware she was locked in a room she immediately started kicking the door and shouting at the top of her lungs. The police sergeant ordered the woman to be taken to the emergency room at the hospital to be examined.
It was a struggle getting her in and out of the patrol and Tamara was even more combative at the hospital. She was placed in a straightjacket after a blood sample was taken. A psychiatrist would speak to her. As she lay on her back in the padded room her mind was blank. She didn’t know where she was. She had no memory of the police pursuing her, arresting her or bringing her to the hospital.
All she knew was that she had to get out of the straightjacket and return to the sanitarium and get that locked door open. She had to get the mirror somehow from the basement to the third floor without being killed by the demons she set free and get the mirror facing the wall again. Within the hour, a man with a white jacket over his suit holding a clipboard came into the cell she was in.
Quickly Tamara struggled to wiggle herself over to a corner and with her back against the wall, she stared at the man. Doctor Anderson was the head of psychiatry at the county hospital and he took out a pen from his shirt. “I just reviewed your blood work and ya don’t have any drugs or alcohol in your system. Can you tell me your name?” the doctor asked. Tamara didn’t speak.
“Whatever is bothering you, maybe I can help. But ya have to talk to me. You’re at the county hospital and my name is Doctor Anderson. I’d like to help you if I can.” he said in a calm voice. Tamara took a deep breath before she frantically struggled to free herself from the straight jacket. The doctor shook his head and told her for her safety, she’d have to remain in the straightjacket.
Once more he asked her name and where the owner of the car she was driving was? With devilish grin she looked the doctor right in the eyes and told him Andy was dead. He quickly wrote down what she had said. “How did Andy die?” the doctor asked in a calm voice. Tamara had a wild faraway look in her eyes as she told the man, “How did he die? He died horribly. I found him hanging from the ceiling dead.
Every inch of his body was black and blue and bloodied.” she said in a shocked voice. Doctor Anderson’s next question was, “Who killed Andy?” This time Tamara looked the doctor right in the eye but he could tell she didn’t see him as she calmly said, “Demon’s killed Andy.” Doctor Anderson did his best to get Tamara to tell him where Andy was killed but she refused to say.
When the psychiatrist felt he wasn’t going to get any more information out of the woman, he got to his feet. “A nurse will come in a minutes and give you something to help ya sleep. We’ll talk some more later.” he said. After he left Tamara, looked around the padded cell she was locked in. There was no window and so she had no idea what time it was. When the door to her cell opened again, a man and a nurse walked in. Tamara saw the nurse held a needle in her left hand.
Tamara pushed herself further into her corner as the orderly approached her. With both arms he lifted her to her feet. Quickly the nurse took hold of Tamara’s left arm and held her arm tight with one arm and gave her the shot. When she stepped away the man lowered her to the padded floor and they both left. Slowly Tamara began to feel sleepy but she fought the medication as she tried to stand.
When she stumbled and fell face down on the padded floor she tried to turn herself over but couldn’t and she closed her eyes. Time held no meaning now for Tamara as her memories replayed all that had happened in the sanitarium. When she came too she felt groggy and she used what little strength she had to roll herself over to a corner. She didn’t remember where she was or how she got in the room. All she knew was that she was in a straight jacket.
When the door to her cell opened, the sound startled her and she brought her knees up to her chin. Doctor Anderson entered and he had a tray of food in his hand. As he sat down near her, he smiled and asked her if she remembered who he was? She shook her head no. “My name is Doctor Anderson and you’re at the county hospital. The police brought you here and I’m a psychiatrist.
Do you know what your name is?” he asked. Tamara glared at him as she shouted, “Of course I know my name! Why wouldn’t I know my name?” The doctor pointed down at the tray of food and said, “Well I’m sure you’re probably hungry. I told you my name. I’ll undo those straps and let ya eat if you’ll tell me your name.” he said in a sincere voice. Tamara looked first at him before looking down at the tray and saying, “My name is Tamara Ueland.”
Doctor Anderson took out a note pad and wrote down her name before scooting forward and reaching behind her and undoing only one of the straps to her arms. Tamara looked up at him with stubborn eyes as she freed her right arm. Then she slowly reached over and pulled the tray over to her corner. Doctor Anderson sat quietly and watched her eat. When she wiped her mouth when was finished eating, he stood up to tie her arm behind her but Tamara resisted.
Doctor Anderson stepped back and shook his head at her. “Would you rather have the attendant do it for you or me?” he asked. Tamara leaned forward and bent her head down as he put her right arm behind her and cinched the strap. Then he picked up the food tray and sat it down beside the cell door. Tamara thought for a moment that he was going to leave but then he turned around.
He walked back over to her and sat down near her before he spoke, “I would like to help you if I can Tamara. But I can’t help ya if you won’t open up and tell me what’s going on. What were you doing before you got behind the wheel of the blue mustang?” he asked. The look in Tamara’s eyes told him she had no intentions of telling him. “Was Andy your husband or boyfriend?” he asked.
Suddenly Tamara’s eyes brightened and he could see her begin to smile. She shook her head no as she said, “I barely knew Andy and I’m glad he’s dead. He got what was coming to him!” she said with satisfaction. Doctor Anderson asked her how Andy died. “I wasn’t there when he died so I can’t tell ya. I found him dead after I.” and suddenly she stopped talking. “After you what?” he asked.
In an almost boastful laughter Tamara said, “You think I’m crazy don’t you?” Doctor Anderson didn’t know whether to laugh or not at what she had just said. “Now you haven’t told me hardly anything to make me feel you’re sane or not have you? I know your name and that a man named Andy who you knew is supposedly dead. I know you were driving his car and you said something about demons. But that’s all I know.
Why don’t you lower your walls and tell me what happened. I’ve been a psychiatrist here at the hospital almost ten years. I’ve helped many patients and I’ve seen a lot of things. Sooner or later you’ll have to open up to me. I have a 72 hour emergency court order to keep you in this hospital Tamara. After that I have to recommend your release or additional confinement to the court if I feel you’re a risk to yourself or others.
The sooner we make some progress, the sooner I can have that straightjacket taken off and put you into a private room with a bed.” Doctor Anderson said. He could see hesitation in Tamara’s eyes as she thought about what he had just said. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you what happened to me!” she said in an angry voice. “Well why don’t ya let me be the judge of that Tamara.” Doctor Anderson said as he motioned with his hand for her to continue.
Tamara told him word for word everything that happened to her from the time she left her apartment and rode to the party with her friends, Samantha, Becky and Sarah. She told her tale without hesitation and held Doctor Anderson’s gaze with her eyes the entire time. When she had finished, it was clear that Doctor Anderson was shocked by what she had told him. Whether he believed her or not though was another thing.
There was silence between them for the longest time before Doctor Anderson spoke. “Have you told anyone else what you told me?” he asked. Tamara shook her head no. Doctor Anderson was fully aware of what had happened a decade ago at the sanitarium outside of town. As for the part about her seeing Andy hanging from the ceiling dead and then talking to her, Winsom’s ghost or the demons of the people killed by the police it was more than far doubtful.
“Tamara, when the mind is put under a terrible stress and we’re frightened like you were; the mind can make us believe just about anything.” he said. By now Winsom was adamantly shaking her head no and he held up his hand. “I’ll tell ya what I’m going to do. I’m gonna take you to another room that has a toilet, sink and bed. You’ll be more comfortable there.
I’m going to drive out to the sanitarium and see if there is a window with the plywood off as you described. I’ll also take a flashlight with me and if I see a body hanging from the ceiling, I’ll call the police on my cell phone and we’ll see if we can get to the bottom of what happened out there.” he said as he began to stand up. At that moment it took every ounce of strength inside Tamara to appear calm and relaxed. She gave him a little smile and nodded.
When he had helped her to her feet he asked her to lean forward so he could undo the straps on the straightjacket. As soon as she felt her hands free, she jerked her head upwards and her head hit the doctor under the chin and knocked him out. She watched him fall onto the padded floor on his back as she began wiggling out of the straightjacket. When she was free, she looked down at him and glared at him as she made her way to the door.
Carefully she opened the door just an inch or two. The woman at the nursing station was looking down at her desk filling out some paperwork when Tamara nervously stepped out into the hallway. Quietly she hurried to the door with the sign above it that said ‘Stairway’. She didn’t know how much time she’d have before someone checked on her or Doctor Anderson came too and alerted the police.
It was evening now and when she reached the parking lot, she walked away nonchalantly until she was out of sight. When she made it back to her apartment, she put on a pair of socks and shoes and called her friend Samantha.
She asked her to meet her outside Domino’s Pizza. Quickly she changed clothes and made her way down the street. She hid herself in the shadows of the pizza shop wall until she saw the white El Camino pull in and park.
Samantha waved at her and as she got into the passenger side and closed the door, her friend knew something was wrong. Before either woman spoke, Samantha reached over and hugged her friend tight. Then she looked up into her eyes. As she began to wipe the tears from her eyes, she spoke in a trembling voice, “Samantha, I want you to promise me two things.” Tamara said.
In a concerned voice, Samantha asked what was wrong. “Just promise me you’ll do two things for me and I’ll never ask you another thing in my life.” Tamara pleaded. “Sure, sure Tamara, just tell me what you want to promise you.” Samantha said in an anxious voice. “First, promise me that no matter what anyone tells you about me that you won’t believe them.” Tamara said as she squeezed her friend’s hand.
“You’re scaring me Tamara. What’s wrong? What’s going on?” Samantha asked urgently. “That’s not important right now Samantha, just promise me.” Tamara pleaded. After she promised, Samantha asked what her other request was. “I need you to drive me somewhere and not ask me why.” Tamara said as she wiped her eyes. Samantha said, “Okay, where am I driving ya?” Tamara pointed west and told her friend, “Out of town.”
Tamara was sure that by now someone had found the doctor and that the police were looking for her. As Samantha drove them out of town and even when they were on the dark two lane highway she was afraid she’d see blue lights flashing behind them. As they neared the overgrown grass road leading to the sanitarium Tamara shouted for her friend to slow down. She nearly gave Samantha a heart attack when she shouted at her.
When Tamara told her to stop the car, Samantha didn’t know why. As she opened the door, she looked back with tears in her eyes and looked at her friend. “Drive back to town Samantha and don’t look back. No matter what happens, remember, you never dropped me off here.” she said as she hurriedly shut the car door. Tamara stood beside the road as she watched her friend drive away until she couldn’t see the tail lights anymore.
It was almost dark and Tamara knew she didn’t have much time to reach the sanitarium where the open window was. When she was sure she was at the right spot, she saw the window boarded up again. She looked behind her and saw the fresh tire tracks in the dirt where she had spun around so she knew this was the right area. She searched through the tall grass until she found the crow bar. Then she saw the flashlight below the window.
She stuffed the flashlight in her back pocket and held the crow bar with both hands and began prying the plywood off the window. When it was loose enough she threw it on the ground. Then she turned on the flashlight and looked inside. Not only didn’t she see Winsom or the demons that had come for her, but Andy’s body was gone too. The cord that had held him was still hanging from the ceiling. Below it was a pool of blood but that was all.
As frightened as she was, Tamara had one objective and she wasn’t going to let anything stop her. She climbed inside and went to the locked door. With just a little leverage, she pried the door open. She could see there were many boxes piled high in the room. But which one contained the mirrors she thought to herself.
Each box was dusty and the more boxes she picked up and opened the more dust she breathed into her lungs.
Finally her light shone on the side of a box and she read the word ‘Mirrors’. She put her flashlight under her left arm and with both hands ripped the cardboard box open. She lifted up the first mirror and turned it over. It looked just like the mirror she had seen fall on the sink upstairs. In her left hand she carried the mirror and crow bar and in her right hand she held the flashlight.
The sanitarium was now filled with the horrible screams of patients being tortured and the laughter she heard sent shivers up and down her spine. As she passed rooms on the first floor, she saw the anguished faces of dead people looking though the little square windows begging her to open their doors. When she saw anyone that looked like a nurse or doctor, she ran down the hall as if her life depended on it and it did.
The spirits of dead patients were now wandering the second floor unaware she was there. She had to make it to the third floor and then to the room she had seen the broken mirror. She crept up the stairwell listening to the terrible screaming that pounded her ear drums. She wanted to put her fingers in her ears but couldn’t because her hands held the mirror, crow bar and flashlight.
When the stairway door opened just a crack, she hesitated opening it up further, not knowing who she might see. She stuck the flashlight into her back pocket. This was the psychiatric wing and the mentally ill, insane or tortured souls like Winsom were walking down the hallway. Others were in wheelchairs or heard pounding on their doors begging to be let out. Tamara’s mind was a mixture of terror and determination to get to the room mid way down the hall on her left.
She was two doors away from the open door when the door closest to her opened and Andy stepped out and blocked her way. He looked horrible out in the light of the hallway. He had been beaten severely. As he stared down at her and then to the mirror in her left hand he shook a finger at her. “You were a fool to come back here Tamara. I’ll take that mirror and then your life.
Even if you give me the mirror you can’t get out the window you crawled through. I made sure the plywood was boarded back up.” he said with a sadistic laugh. At that moment Tamara remembered what the doctor’s had done to Winsom and she sat the mirror on the floor and then scooted it behind her with her left foot as she gripped the crow bar with both hands. Then she exploded in rage.
Again and again she struck Andy’s body hitting both knee’s first to get him off his feet. Then she beat his head until he couldn’t be recognized. When she heard someone behind her she spun around with the crow bar raised high in the air. It was Winsom and she was holding up the mirror to her to take. “Hurry, face it against the wall!” she pleaded.
As Tamara took the mirror she dropped the crow bar and ran for the doorway and as she did, three ghostly spirits ran towards her trying to stop her. But she got inside the room two seconds before them and as they got their hands on the back of her shoulders, she pressed the mirror against the wall. As quickly as they began to crush her shoulders they disappeared and Tamara fell to the floor crying.
The thunderous screaming was gone and it was deathly quiet as Winsom placed her tiny hand on Tamara’s shoulder. Her touch startled her and she looked terrified when her eyes met Winsom’s eyes. Winsom’s tears fell on Tamara as she thanked her for coming back. As she cried, she told Tamara she didn’t think she would return. “When I told you to run and save yourself, I never thought you would care more about us that yourself.” she said and suddenly through the door other ghostly spirits filled the room.
A man and a woman helped Tamara to her feet and even though she shoulders ached, it didn’t matter. She had placed the mirror backwards on the wall not a moment too soon. As everyone began to leave the room, Tamara was the last one to come out into the hallway. She saw Andy’s body and she felt guilty for what she had done to him. It was Winsom who tugged on her arm and when Tamara looked down, Winsom spoke.
“Don’t feel sad because of what you did. He was dead before you jumped out the window. “What Winsom said was true. But Tamara still felt guilty. When the child tugged on Tamara’s arm again, she motioned for her to kneel down. When she did, Winsom spoke, “Before you leave there’s one more thing left to do but it isn’t a hard thing.” she said as she kissed Tamara’s cheek. Tamara asked what it was as she wiped the child’s tears.
“Do you remember when I told you there were no mirrors in a room in the basement?” she asked. Tamara nodded as she wiped her own tears. “That room contains all of our bodies. They locked the room so no one would find us and since then we’ve been trapped here. If you use that crow bar to pry it open you’ll set us free. We will go to a better place where there is no pain and no bad memories.” Winsom said.
As Tamara looked around her all of the ghostly spirits looked down at her and smiled as they nodded. She promised to help them and walked over to the crow bar and picked it back up. “Show me where the room is. I’ll get that door open if I have to work all night.” she said in a flood of tears. Winsom and the other ghostly spirits either walked ahead or behind her down to the basement.
When everyone stood in front of the door, Tamara put Winsom down and went to work. It wasn’t easy to pry open the door, but she did break the heavy padlock off and pry the door frame enough that the door could be opened. As Winsom handed her the flashlight, Tamara opened the door and saw a terrible sight. Bodies filled the room as if they were useless possessions.
Suddenly the room began to fill with a bright light, so bright in fact that Tamara had to turn her head away. When she opened her eyes she saw all of the ghostly spirits now looked as if they were as alive as she was. No longer were they missing limbs or bearing the scars of how they had been tortured. One by one they came forward and thanked her for coming back.
The last one to offer a hug to Tamara was Winsom. When she picked her up, Winsom hugged her friend with both arms and together they cried as others looked on and smiled. Suddenly everyone heard pounding on one of the boarded up windows and Tamara had a terrified look on her face. “That must be the police. When they find Andy’s body upstairs and my fingerprints on the crow bar, they’ll lock me up for the rest of my life!” she said.
Tamara saw a woman whisper something to Winsom and she began to smile as she whispered in Tamara’s ear, “Not if you come with us.” As everyone heard someone begin to pry off the sheet of Plywood, they began to walk into the room and disappear. When the plywood was pulled off and sunlight began to enter the basement, Tamara and Winsom walked into the same room everyone else had and she went to a much better place.
© 2013 Raymond Cook (All rights reserved)