Henry cleared his throat, “I’m sorry, who did you say you are again?”
The girl laughed, “Oh, Henry, I don’t look that bad. Come on you two.”
Henry gasped, but Lewis pushed Henry’s shoulder playfully with his hand. Henry jerked his shoulder away from Lewis and walked about the strange woman who seemed to know his name. Lewis remained five steps behind the two of them. The name Rachel popped into Henry’s head. He decided to give that a try. “So, Rachel, how many people are we scaring tonight?”
Rachel laughed and looked over her shoulder. Her hallow black eyes sent a chill through Henry, “Oh, we have a packed house tonight. At least seventy people, but we have them broken into groups of twenty. We wanted you and Lewis to lead a group, but you guy broke off to do whatever it is you do.”
“Uh, sorry, we got busy,” came Lewis’s voice from behind Henry.
“Don’t worry about it. Come, check this out and then I have a job for you two.”
“Okay,” both men said in unison.
The old hospital seemed to be in excellent shape the further they went. By the time they had climbed the next two floors and walked down two corridors the lights were even working. Henry looked back into the dark pathway from where they had just come. It seemed strange. It was almost as if a gray line divided the white walls, freshly waxed linoleum, and wooden handrails from the dingy, dirty painted walls and dusty carpet.
The group walked into a room filled with just over twenty people who looked as if they were all dressed to trick or treat. All heads turned towards Henry and Lewis and then back to the table before them. A person dressed in a straight jacket and hospital cotton pants laid strapped to a bed. Their head was held fast by a tan leather strap that kept their head firmly against a pillow. The person attempted to struggle, and Rachel reached over to him. “Don’t struggle; you know it only makes it worse.”
The mouthpiece the stranger bit down on only allowed him to answer in grunts and attempted yells. He wiggled, and two people dressed as orderlies tightened the straps even more against the body. The man screamed. Rachel looked over to Henry and Lewis and smiled, “He’s always such a drama queen. Now, everyone, step back.”
Another orderly pushed a large switch upwards that stuck out of the wall. Static electricity could be felt in the air, and the man on the padded table convulsed so quickly he seemed to vibrate. The lights flickered several times, and then the switch was pulled back down. The motionless body laid still. The orderlies took out the mouthpiece and unstrapped the patient. The white-clad hospital worker put his ear to the man’s mouth and then his chest. He shrugged.
“Okay everyone,” said Rachel, “time to go to the morgue. Henry and Lewis, please follow the stairs all the way down to the exit. Penelope has something she needs you to set up.”
“Okay,” said Henry, “Which stairs?”
“Out the door and to your left. Are you feeling okay?” asked Rachel, “You guys seem disoriented.”
Lewis finally spoke up, “Um, yea. We’re good. Just a little tired.”
“Stay focused boys. Halloween is our biggest night.”
The two men nodded their heads and followed Rachel’s directions to the stairs. They found the exit door four flights down. “I don’t recall there being an exit four stories down,” said Henry.
Lewis replied, “Who cares, let’s get out of this place.” Lewis pushed the bar lock and gave the door a shove. The obstacle swung on its hinges and gave way to the night air. Lewis stumbled forward, carried by his momentum, and Henry followed quickly behind. The door slammed shut behind the two men. Henry turned around, looked at the door, and gasped.
Both men stood in three-feet tall weeds. The door they had just burst through was peeling, rusted, and padlocked shut with a chain running through two eye-hooks that were firmly anchored in the bricks. Henry glanced over at Lewis who was staring wide-eyed back at him. “What in the heck is going on?” whispered Lewis.
Henry tried to take deep breaths and calm himself. Every cell in his body wanted to run in the opposite direction of the old hospital. “I don’t know what’s happening, let’s go get to the truck and get out of here.”
“I’m not even sure where we are,” whined Lewis.
Henry pointed towards the rising hillside. An old dirt road could be seen rising around the hospital. Lewis nodded his head. Both men started to walk towards the pathway when the sound of horses’ hooves broke the still night air.
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