Hedon, The Silent Ghoul

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    The late night shadows of fall helped to mask their approach.   Cassie, Terrell, Mike, Sean, and Lisa had finally brought up enough courage to approach the old abandoned Massachusetts state mental institution.  It was well known around the state to be a place that was haunted since its abandonment, and the only reported case of murder there brought the entire place tumbling down.  Ever since then, rumors of the facility had been haunted were all that anyone knew or thought of the facility.  Masked by the darkness, they made their approach, both Mike and Lisa walking with camera in hand.  They had to record their experience if it was going to count.  Mike made sure his handgun still had the safety on as he went up the stairs.  He didn’t believe that he would need to use it, but he wanted to make sure that everyone was safe in the case of a rabid animal being in the building.  Sean lead the way up to the entrance, making sure to keep count of everyone.  Each year, money was put into a pot to see who would go through and discover the most places inside the facility.  The main room and a few side offices were all that remained discovered before previous explorers were kicked out.  It started out with just a small amount of money amongst friends to see who could explore the furthest, but the community had put in ten thousand dollars this time around to a group that could videotape and record all corners of the facility.  

    Everyone had their own reasons for entering the contest, but the general consensus was to walk away with the money as an even two grand split amongst everyone present.  Sean made sure his flashlight was on and Terrell had his night goggles and was ready in case the lights became useless.  Cassie had her phone out as a light source, but she felt she came unprepared.  Sean made his way up the steps and gripped his hand around the handle to the entrance door.  "Alright, everybody!  Tonight's marks the 25th anniversary since this institution closed its doors to the public.  It's our challenge this evening to explore and document the abandoned Massachusetts State Mental Institution.  The grand prize for completing this challenge is ten thousand dollars and will be split evenly amongst everyone.  I am your challenge host, Sean."  The cameras began to rotate around to everyone so they could introduce themselves.  

    "I'm Lisa."

    "I'm Terrell."

    "I'm Mike."

    "And I'm Cassie."

    Sean picked up the pace and finished off the challenge intro.  "And this, ladies and gentlemen, is our Fear Challenge."  Everyone started cheering and made their way up the steps to enter the facility.  Sean held the door open for the others as they proceeded in.  The main entrance was somewhat small and only lead down two corridors.  The group decided to split at the entrance, with one camera following each group.  Terrell and Lisa went down the left hallway and Cassie, Mike, and Sean went down the right hallway.  The groups slowly made their way down the halls, everyone examining the insides of some of the rooms.  Many of them were covered in layers of dust and mold that had covered old televisions, discarded trash, and other belongings like a stale blanket, forever showing their age through a veil of forgotten dust particles.  Cassie made her way over to an old stack of magazines and began to look through a few of them.  Each of the objects they found remained aged from the time they came and showed the group what much of the media considered popular during the 80s.  Sean made his way over to Cassie and began to laugh at some of the images of men with long hair and strange clothing.  “Those guys had no sense of style.  They just grew out their hair because they were too lazy and didn’t actually care about their appearance.”  Mike made his way over with the camera and began to argue with Sean over the styles of the 80s.

    “Sean, don’t pretend that you wish you had long hair like me.  You’re just jealous that you could never grow hair like these guys.”

    This fell apart by the second, growing further and further into a useless argument between the two.  Cassie shifted her attention and proceeded down the hallway, passing by more of the rooms along the way.  Terrell and Lisa had already passed by all of the rooms, briefly glancing into each one before moving on to the next.  So far, everything was going according to plan.  Their goal was to examine every office and room they could before they moved up to the next floor.  Once the entire building had been searched through, they were to meet back up in the main eating hall.  Everyone made their way down the halls until they came to the double door entrances to the eating hall.  All five of them made their way inside and regrouped.  Sean was the first to speak.  “Alright, the first floor is clear.  From here on out, we’re venturing into new territory.  Is everyone ok with their groups?”  Everyone nodded their heads except for Cassie.  She didn’t feel comfortable venturing forward with Mike and Sean and vocalized her feelings.

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    “Actually Sean, I wanna go with Terrell and Lisa.”

    Sean remained unfazed by this and everyone else was accepting of Cassie’s desire to change groups.  

    “It’s settled then, Cassie will be with Terrell and Lisa.  From here on out, we’re to explore every room we can in the facility and meet back up here when we’re done.”

    Sean pointed to Cassie to indicate a new responsibility she would be forced to take up.  “This place is still haunted, and if anything weird happens, I want Cassie to call either me or Terrell and to let us know what’s going on.”

    And with that, both groups split up and went up their respective staircases to explore the rest of the facility.  There were more doors that separated the second floor from the staircase, and the air itself seemed to change as both groups entered the second floor. Terrell, Cassie, and Lisa made their way through the first few rooms on the second floor and tried each door.  Most of the objects they found were the same as before, but something about the very air and atmosphere around them seemed off.  They continued to check rooms and quickly realized that many of the rooms themselves had shown signs of being abandoned in a rush.  Something had happened to the facility that caused people to leave in a panic.  These rooms hadn’t been touched before, and the remnants of what happened the fateful day of panic.  Reports came in that had details of one of the patients lashing out and beginning to viciously murder and consume other patients in an animalistic state before being contained.  The man was only charged with the murder of one woman, even though he ripped apart two other people in the process of chasing after her.  The facility’s malpractices were brought to life after this event and promptly shut its doors the day after this event occurred.  Tables lined with medical equipment had been left undisturbed for decades, some filled with the rotting remnants of antipsychotics.  

    Sean and Mike were the first to examine some of these discarded and abandoned vials of medication and opened the bottles, only to meet a stale and foul stench of medications left long ago to decay along with the entire structure in which they were found.  “Ugh!  Get a closer look at these Mike.  They smell fucking awful, but they still look like they’ll work.”  

    “Are you sure you wanna try that dude?  Smells like ass.”

    Before Mike could say anything else to convince Sean otherwise, he took out two of the pills and forced them down his throat.  Mike placed an arm on Sean’s shoulder as he heaved a bit from the aftertaste of decay.  Sean began to nudge Mike off of his shoulder in an effort to regain composure.  “I’m good man.  Just get your arm off me.”  Mike slowly moved away from Sean, slowly regaining an assured feeling that his friend would be fine.  He continued forward and examined some of the rooms.  There was a repetition on both sides of scattered rooms, abandoned belongings, and an overall stale environment.  Both groups continued up the next flight of stairs up to the third floor.  No other people to that day had ever seen the third floor, and the door hadn't been opened since the facility was still under investigation.  

    They took their next steps forward up the stairs on both sides.  Terrell, Lisa, and Cassie walked up a more narrow side of the stairs, as part of the steps had given way and an exposed broken beam with a point at the top remained on the left side of the steps.  They made their way up the stairs and opened the doors that led further up into the unexplored areas of the facility.  Lower levels showed signs of graffiti and other traces of recent activity, the very air of the third floor breathed an unnatural sense of dread and death.  The third floor opened up to reveal walls that were slowly rotting away, once flooded areas that were now a home to mold, and disturbing marks of blood.  The entire atmosphere had changed, and everyone had taken note of it.  Lisa moved forward with her camera and nudged Terrell to stay close to her.  Cassie stayed close behind as the three of them moved forward down the hallway and stepped around the puddles of water and mold and made sure to capture the streaks of blood on the floor and walls.  Everyone covered their faces, Terrell covered his mouth with his undershirt so that no one would breathe in the spores.  Sean and Mike were in a similar situation but had to stall as the medicines Sean ingested began to react.  

    Sean’s vision and hearing began to distort.  Mike reached over to him to make sure that Sean was ok.  Colors for Sean began to change into varying shades of light colors and everything him began to sound hollow.  Mike tried shaking a hand in front of Sean’s face but backed away when he saw Sean’s eyes were dilated.  “What the fuck?!  Sean!  Are you alright man?  Did you smoke or eat something when I wasn’t looking?  You look high as fuck man.”  Mike grabbed Sean by the arm and urged Sean forward with him.  Everyone continued past the rooms, most of them repeating the same abandoned appearance as before, with the few exceptions that showed signs of panic and violence.  Everyone was on high alert now.  The air was too still and it was too quiet.  Everyone proceeded up the steps to the fourth and final floor.  

    As the doors opened, a swift air of must and death wafted out.  Everyone coughed from the sudden breeze and proceeded in with caution.  There was a strange shadow that was cast across both hallways.  The moonlight that was seeping in through the windows seemed to escape from the floor itself.  Something was unnatural about this floor of the facility, and it took no time for the group to see things that put them all on edge.  Cassy was the first to notice and shriek when blood was found dripping from one of the roof tiles.  She covered her mouth as soon as the shriek escaped, desperately trying to stay quiet and quell her fears.  Lisa moved back closer to her and took her right hand.  Terrell turned on his night vision goggles and proceeded ahead of them.  Sean and Mike took precaution to walk around the cracks in the floor and avoid water puddles from roof leaks.  As they proceeded across, they noticed there was a bridge where the group could meet back up again.  All five members crossed the hall and made their way towards each other to meet back up.  Lisa quickly made her way over to Sean when she saw that Mike had been dragging him along.  

    “Mike!  What happened to Sean?”  

    Lisa began to slap at Sean’s face to try and get his attention.  “Sean!  Sean!  We need you here with us.”  She looked back up at Mike with anger in her eyes and was prepared to hit him.  “What did you do to my boyfriend, Mike?”

    Mike immediately went on the defensive at Lisa’s remarks.  “It’s not my fault Lisa!  He ate some weird shit in a pill bottle.  I dragged him here so we could finish the tour and get the hell out.”

    As Mike and Lisa continued on with their argument, Sean noticed a small crevice in the tiles of the roof above him.  He began to try and reach for the tiles and Cassie ran to his side to stop him.  “Sean.  What are you doing?  You need to snap out of it.”

    Terrell had joined in on the argument with Mike and Lisa, trying to get them to stop and Cassie stood by Sean as he continued to stare up at the roof.  “I’m sorry Cassie.  I could’ve sworn I saw an eye through that crack there.”  And as soon as these words escaped Sean’s mouth,  a large figure with sweeping hair lunged out from the roof and drove a scalpel into Sean’s throat.  The force of the attack threw Sean to the floor and the blade sunk swiftly and stretched across Sean’s neck, forcing out a fountain of blood.  As soon as the attack happened, the attacker had left, racing down one of the halls down the stairs.  The entire event happened in the blink of an eye and left everyone in shock.  

    Cassie dropped her phone and screamed at the horror that was Sean’s bleeding body.  Terrell, Lisa, and Mike had finally broken from their argument and now ran to Sean’s side.  

    “Sean, baby!  I’m so sorry I didn’t pay attention.  We’ll get you out of here babe.”

    Sean tried to say something but fell silent as blood filled both his mouth and lungs.  Mike tried to pick him up, but Sean’s body was already limp and the life in his eyes was gone.  Sean’s body sank out of Mike’s hands as he eased back onto the floor in a pool of his own blood.  Mike whipped out his handgun and released the safety.  “Whoever killed my best friend is gonna pay with their life.”  Mike took up his camera and went down the hallway the figure went and everyone else followed quickly behind him, all save for Cassie.  Cassie remained with Sean by his side, making sure he was gone and that she took his flashlight with her.  

    Mike followed his target down the left flight of stairs that Terrell, Lisa, and Cassie came up.  As the others quickly followed Mike down, they stopped and yelled as they heard the involuntary gunshot that followed after Mike’s neck was slashed by the mysterious attacker who remained hidden behind the wall at the edge of the steps.  Mike fell to the floor, a nerve in his neck having been cut and his mind going completely black.  His quickly bled out through his artery and was dead before Cassie had caught up with the others to see the mysterious killer in full form.  The figure of a woman with long and unkempt hair was clearly visible.  She had on a worn white dress and held a bloody scalpel in her hand.  Her left eye was clearly visible through her unkempt hair, bloodshot with the pupil largely dilated.   She began to speak, but her deep and sinister voice sent a chill down everyone’s spines.  “You shouldn’t have come here.  Now you will pay with your life.  Terrell lunged for the gun and began to try and aim at the attacker.  The woman fled down the hall and moved frantically in between the walls to avoid Terrell’s gunfire as he began to pull the trigger.

    Terrell got up and chased after the woman.  “Stop!  You’re gonna pay, you bitch!”  Terrell raced after the woman, ignoring the screams of Cassie and Lisa not to run down the stairs.  

    They chased after Terrell, trying to catch up to him in time, but he was too fast.  He didn’t remember on the way down the steps as he ran that part of the stairs had given way and that an exposed beam with a sharp pointed edge waited just below him.  He fell face first and screamed in pain as the beam went straight through his torso and caused Terrell to slowly and painfully slide down the base of it.  The woman could be heard from the distance.  “Those who are quick to punish are also quick to die.”  Lisa raced with her camera past Cassie and Terrell in a seething rage.  Cassie was horrified at Terrell’s face, twisted in pain and horror as he realized that he would die attached to the beam.  

    “Terell!  I-“

    Terrell extended his arm out with the gun in hand.  “Take it.  Leave me.”  

    Cassie was barely strong enough to reach out and take the gun from Terrell’s dying hand.
    Cassie hurried out to look for Lisa, only to find her body on the hallway floor of the second story.  Both of her eyes had been gouged out and her neck slashed like the others.  Cassie had had enough and was prepared to face the murderer who killed all of her friends.  Cassie made her way down the last flight of stairs and walked into the dining hall.  “Hey!  You bitch!  You killed all of my friends, but you’re not taking me!”  Cassie heard a large echoing laugh from above her and jumped back as her attacker fell from the roof to the floor.  Her killer landed gracefully in front of her, barely making a sound as she landed.  

    “You intend to take my life, after coming to murder me in my home?”

    Cassie was confused by this woman’s statement. “Your home?  You’re the one who’s haunted this place the entire time?”


    Cassie was in shock but remained steady in her aim and stance against the woman.  “Why do you stay here?”  

    The woman laughed and spoke again in a more chilling tone.  “You just don’t get it do you, darling?  I’m happy here, and the only way I can keep living happily is if I stay here.” 

    The woman removed a file from beneath her dress and handed it to Cassie.  Cassie kept the gun aimed at the woman as she opened the file and began to examine its contents.  Inside the file read a paper titled “Top Secret:  Project Clarity.”  Cassie only had a few moments to read through the contents of the file before the woman reached out and took the file from her.  

    “Hey!  I was still reading that!”

    The woman slapped the gun out of Cassie’s hand before she could react and pull the trigger, a move that was so fast it made Cassie flinch.  “Enough of this!  It’s now clear to you why I remain here, correct?”

    Cassie was left in disbelief and collapsed to her knees next to the gun.  “Yes.  You remain hidden here so these scientists don’t come find you and experiment on you again.”

    “Exactly!  It impedes upon my very happiness and well-being for them to experiment on me, and I cannot allow for anyone to enter here and leave alive with knowledge of my existence.  You are a sweet girl, so I’ll let you choose how you die.”  The woman moved quickly towards Cassie’s side and handed her the gun again.  She whispered her words into Cassie’s ear, “What will you choose, child?  A slow and painful death by blade, or to do the right thing and end your own life with this gun?”  

    Cassie found it impossible for her to think of any other options.  The woman was too quick for her to react, and she would die anyway if she didn’t act.  However, this didn’t stop her from making one final plea.  “What- What if I pretend I never found you, and pretend that I escaped a car crash and that my friends are gone.  I could leave you and no one would ever find you.”

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    The woman grabbed Cassie’s wrist and forced the gun to her head.  “Now, now!  I can’t guarantee my safety if you leave.  You left me no choice once you entered the fourth floor.  I have no choice but to watch you die.  It’s the only way I can continue to live a happy life.  You made the ultimate transgression of coming into my home unannounced and trying to find me.  I cannot allow for you to live any longer.  Please make the right choice.”

    Cassie swallowed hard as she took her final breath.  She pulled the hammer on the gun back, steeling her nerves as the lip of the barrel made a mark on the side of her skull.  There was no way she would make it out alive, and she braced herself as she accepted her fate.  Even as she began to hear police sirens out in the distance, she knew she wouldn’t make it out alive.  She opened her eyes one last time to witness the horrifying smile that was stretched across the disfigured face of her killer, and in her final feeling of fear, she pulled the trigger.



Mia Mina said…
Tim, I think I would like to do this one, but I would like to give you the opportunity to do an edit pass revision. There are some things you may wish to change. I can really tell how much you have grown as a writer since you wrote this. (Yes, I know this makes five.) I may need to do a biography for you.

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