In my mind I’m in a facility that’s on constant lock down, staring down a long hallway. A row of gunmetal gray doors lines the powder blue walls.
Somebody lets out a shattering wail of a scream.
My heart squeezes at the broken sound, cracked open and peeled back. It’s raw, like an exposed nerve shivering from so much hurt.
The tone falters into whimpers.
I glance over my shoulder.
Two staff members enters the day room to my far right.
The heavy door clicks shut.
Through the thick glass covering the front of the room, I can see them approaching the guy who is making those heart wrenching sounds.
Another scream splits the stale, artificial air.
Anger this time.
A wooden chair smacks the glass but doesn’t break it, causing me to flinch.
Crashing noises seeps out of the room.
The two male staff members are scrambling to take down the irritable patient, but he’s putting up a good fight.
A piercing buzzer goes off.
It squeals throughout the facility.
The horrible sound hurts my ears. I stick my fingers in them and push my back against the wall.
Doors across the room fling open and a dozen workers who are all male storms in, straight to the day room . . . all but one.
The buzzing noise stops.
He breaks from the pack and heads towards me. His hazel eyes lock onto mine. They’re kind, but I note a determination in his stride and the way he holds his broad shoulders in a straight, confident manner.
I shrink back, wondering what he wants from me.
“Rebekkah,” he says, stopping in front of me, “I need you to go to the last room.” He points to the left.
“Huh?” I look up at him, confused, trying to ignore the hollering coming from the other room.
When he bends his head down to look at me, his dark brown bangs fall into his eyes, curtaining them. “There’s a room prepared for you.”
“Why would there be a room for me?” I ask.
He sweeps his bangs out of his face to look at me closely. The corner of his eyes crinkles. “You’ve been stressed out lately,” he says, “and frankly, we think you might be losing your marbles. ”
Don’t sugar coat it.
I stand there, staring at him.
What can I say to that? He has a valid point. I have been overwhelmed, dealing with a full-time job that’s been chaotic lately because we’re in the busy season. I also been working on launching my second book in my YA paranormal series, not to mention other things life has been throwing at me.
“C’mon.” He gently takes my elbow and steers me down the hall. “I’ll take you to your room.”
Without protest I allow him to guide me, thinking it might not be so bad to chill out for a while in a nice comfy room. Maybe there will be a bookshelf full of wonderful books I can read.
But when we stop in front of the room, I notice the door has an observation port so a person from the outside can look in. There are also metal secure locks and bolts on the door.
My heart drops.
He opens the door and swings it open. I lean forward and peek inside, feeling the blood drain from my face.
There are cushions lining the walls that look to be made out of leather, and the floor is padded as well. The padding looks to be four inches deep.
I step away, forcing the bile back down my throat.
A strong hand clamps down on my arm.
“It’s for the best,” he tells me.
Before I can make a move, he shoves me foward and slams the door shut. A series of clicks follows.
Somebody shouts, “Lights out!”
And I’m shut into complete darkness.