“Dr. Nethers? Neil Nethers?” The nurse asked.
“Dr. Sudekus is expecting you.”
Neil followed down and through the corridors of Allister Psychiatric Hospital past the moans and screams coming from the other side of the thick metal doors that lined the dark beige colored walls.
As they passed a man kneeling and working on a control panel, Neil said, “Why are there high voltage signs posted everywhere?”
“To keep them in their rooms, of course. Where did you say you were coming from?” The nurse quipped curiously.
“It’s funny you mention that. I can’t se…”
“Hello, Dr. Nethers.” Dr. Sudekus thrust his hand out.
“Hello, Doctor,” Neil returned.
As Neil went to shake hands, he caught a glimpse of a figure crossing the doorway behind Dr. Sudekus. The shadow seemed to move with purpose and determination. Even though it appeared to walk, it practically floated and blurred into the surrounding background.
“Let’s get started right away, doctor,” Dr. Sudekus turned and headed toward the nearest steel door. “We keep the illest patients closest to our offices in case we need to act,” he said, pushing the key-like object into the small opening on the door. “Prepare yourself, Dr. Nethers. This woman has been here since the beginning. She has grown powerful over the many years.”
Flipping a switch on the wall, Neil heard the hum of electricity begin to subside. Dr. Sudekus opened the door and motioned Neil to enter behind himself.
“This is Natalie. Try not to look directly into her eyes for too long. She has, uh, she has abilities—let’s say—beyond the others.”
Neil stood before a woman strapped to an upright table by bounds the glowed blue with energy. The woman he looked at couldn’t have been more than thirty years old from what he could tell. A metal mask covered most of her face with just slits for eyes, a nose bar, and a solid cover for her mouth, “I thought you said she’d been here the longest? She’s fairly young, isn’t she?”
“Natalie’s been here eighty years,” Dr. Sudekus replied, moving closer to her. “Hello, dear. This is Dr. Nethers, he just joined us,” with that, she let loose a scream from beneath the mask that nearly knocked them both over as they ran from her room. Slamming the door, flipping the switch, and inserting the key-like device again, “She gets like this sometimes.”
As Neil was about to respond, another shaded figure emerged from the locked door and passed in between him and Dr. Sudekus. “What the hell is that?” He nearly yelled
“Oh, you don’t remember yet, do you?”
“Well, our electrified cells keep the souls in, but the living can go where they want. Dr. Sudekus placed his hand on Neil’s shoulder, “and this isn’t hell. Think of it more like weigh station, and we’re sort of like handlers, zookeepers if you will.”
“But that means that I’m, that you’re…”
“Dead, Neil. We are all dead. Welcome to Allister Psychiatric Hospital. Asylum for the deceased and insane.”