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.