Thursday, 3 March 2016


(story inspired by a facebook status)

            The day was beautiful and the sun warmed me as it shone through the window to where I sat at my computer.  A small sparrow landed on the window sill and chirped me a song.  It was one of those days; the kind where my fingers flew over the keyboard and still couldn’t keep up with the scenes running through my head.  A strong breeze blew my jaw length dark brown hair into my face.  I reached back to the bed without looking, grabbed my baseball hat, and put it on to avoid any more annoying hair in the face moments.
            BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
            I groaned.  “Allie!  Allie!  Turn your music down!”
            BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
            “Allie!”  I pushed save on my file and stood.  “Shit, I get the whole music is inspiring thing, but come on!”  I was also a true believer that music inspired.  In fact, my own writing playlist was flowing from my computer’s speakers.  The difference?  Only I could hear it, whereas I was sure the neighbors could hear Allie’s.  I stalked down the hallway to my roommate’s room slash office.  It didn’t look much different than mine; laptop, desktop, bed, dresser, shelves full of books and a lamp.  One of the only ways to tell the rooms apart was by the color schemes.  Hers was emerald green and mine was khaki green.
            I knocked on the door, waited a few seconds, then walked in.  Allie finished typing out the sentence she was working on, paused, nodded and looked up.  She could have written a whole paragraph before looking up and that would have been alright by me.  I knew she wasn’t ignoring me.  The worst feeling ever when you’re writing is the one when someone interrupts you mid-thought and you can’t get it back once that person leaves.
            She tucked some long red bangs behind her ears and her green eyes squinted with her smile as she reached over and turned the music down.  “Hey, love, what’s up?”
            I leaned against the door frame and wrinkled my nose.  “Can you turn it down a bit?  Your inspiration is drowning out mine.”
            “For sure.  Just after the next song.  These two are the best.”
            I nodded and tried to keep my annoyance out of my own green eyes.  Allie turned her music up and I headed back to my room.  I took a deep breath, sat back into my chair, and set my fingers on the keyboard.
            BOOM! BOOM!
            Great, I thought to myself.  It’s gone.  I blew a breath out of my nose, pulled my USB stick out of the desktop and grabbed the backpack that help my laptop before heading downstairs.  Sammie, our third roommate, closed the refrigerator door and smiled.  Her long dark blond hair was pulled up into a ponytail.
            She glanced at my backpack.  “Are you heading out?”  Her grey eyes looked up the stairs to where the thundering base was coming from.
            “Yeah.  I need to take Smokey for a walk.  I’m gonna head to the park.”
            My german shepherd went to the door at the sound of his name and brought me his leash.  I grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and headed outside, the rhythmic BOOM BOOM of Allie’s music following me down the block.
            Once Smokey had done his thing, he was more than happy to lay by the bench as I sat back, my laptop perched on my knees.
            BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
            I looked up, looking to see where the beat was coming from.  “Do you see anyone, Smokers?”  My dog looked up at me then lay his head back down, looking slightly irritated that I’d interrupted whatever deep thought it was he’d been submerged in.
            “Sorry,” I mumbled.  I set my hands on my keyboard and took a deep breath.
            Tyler nodded and pulled her around so that her back was to his chest and he could rest his chin on her head.  When she didn’t object, he hung his arms loosely over her shoulders.
            “Hmmm?”  She glanced back at him and caught her breath at the look in his dark eyes.
            “I…”  He smiled and turned her head so she was looking at the ocean once again.  “Just look straight ahead until I’m done.”
            She nodded and put her hands on his arms.
            “I need to tell you something…
            I reread the last thing I had written in hopes of getting back into my story.
            BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
            “For cryin’ out loud!”  I stood and tried to find the person responsible for ruining the perfect quiet of the park.  Smokey look at me, his head tilted to the side.
            “Don’t you hear that?” I asked him.  I grabbed his leash and started stalking back to the house.  My pocket vibrated and I pulled my blackberry to my ear.  “Allo?”
            “Are you up for a drink?”
            I grinned at the sound of Taneesha’s voice.  “Definitely.  You’d think I was on bad drugs today.  I keep hearing music when there’s no one around.”
            She laughed.  “Then you’d better have two.  Meet me at Peter’s.”
            BOOM! BOOM!
            The sound of Allie’s music made its way to my ears as I neared the house.  I smiled and waved at my two roommates who were sitting on the deck.  I gave Allie a teasing grin.
            “Can’t you turn it down when you leave the room?”
            She frowned.  “I did.”
            I looked up to her bedroom window
            BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
            I raised an eyebrow at her.  “No, really, hun.  The neighbors are going to start to complain.  We’ll never find another place like this again.”
            Sammie was looking at me like I’d gone crazy.  “Mireille, she shut it off.”
            “But…”  I walked past them into the house and made my way to Allie’s room.  Everything was quiet.  “What the fuck is going on?” I mumbled to myself.  I dropped my backpack onto my bed, made sure Smokey had water and grabbed my wallet off of the coffee table.
            “Are you alright?”  Allie’s green eyes were full of worry.
            I took a deep breath and ran my hands over my face.  I shook my head and smiled at her.  “I’m probably just tired.”
            “Maybe you should take a break for a few days.”
            I gave her a hug.  “I can’t.  I have one week to get the final edits done if I’m going to get it out by Christmas.  It’s my own damned fault.  It seems like any time I sit down to do edits on ‘Destiny’, I end up getting a brainwave for ‘Tyler’s Story’.”
            “Where are you heading right now?”  Sammie looked like she was going to tell me I had a curfew.
            “Tee just phoned.  I’m gonna head over to Peter’s for a drink.  You guys wanna come?  He’s got imports on sale tonight.”
            Sammie shook her head.  “I have a date.”  She grinned at my whoop.
            “He finally asked you out?”
            She blushed.
            “I want details when you get home!”  I turned to Allie and tried to keep from frowning as the rhythmic BOOM BOOM filled my head.  “What about you?”
            She grinned.  “You know me and imports.”
            I laughed as she grabbed her wallet.  “Later, Sammie!  Don’t do anything we wouldn’t do!”
            She stuck her tongue out at us as we walked out the door.  I snuck a look up at Allie’s bedroom window as a new wave of resounding base filled my head.  I smirked and linked my arm with my friend’s.  I definitely could use a drink.

            I parked the truck in a spot at the end of the parking lot.  Peter’s wasn’t known for its rowdy crowd, but there had been the odd fight in the parking lot and I didn’t need any of my windows smashed in.  I spotted Taneesha’s long curly black hair and headed toward the booth she was sitting in.
            “Hey, hun!”  I gave her a hug and sat beside her.  Her brown eyes, so dark they could have been black, lit up at the sight of us.
            “Hello, my loves!  Where’s Sammie?”
            Allie grinned.  “She had a date.”
            BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!  I looked to the people dancing and tried to ignore the fact that the music they were dancing to didn’t match the beat pounding in my head.
            “What can I get you, girls?”  Our waitress’ voice snapped me out of my thoughts.
            The beat in my head was starting to give me a headache.  “I’ll take a round of tequila, a shot of Jack, and a mug of Guinness.”
            Allie and Tee raised eyebrows at me.  I shrugged.
            “A mug of New Castle, please.”  Allie grinned.  “And you’d better add a round of apple pie shots.”
            The waitress left to fill our order.  I rubbed by temples and took a deep breath.  BOOM! BOOM!
            “Mi, are you ok?”  Tee frowned as she took a drink of her beer.
            “I’m fine.”  I smiled and paid for my drinks.  “Cheers to two of my favorite women.”  I shot back the tequila.  Allie’s eyes widened as I shot back the Jack Daniels a fraction of a second later.  She hesitated before passing over the apple pie shooter.  I lifted it in thanks and shot it back as well.  The mix of alcohols started to burn in my stomach and I sighed as the pounding in my head receded.
            “You know that song you were playing this afternoon?” I asked Allie.
            “It’s stuck in my head and I can’t get it out.  I swear I can hear it plain as if it was playing on the jukebox right now.”
            She grinned.  “Injection by Rise Against.  It’s a good song.”
            I took a long swallow of Guinness.  On any other day, I might have agreed with her.
            BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
            I had a hard time concentrating on the conversation as the pounding increased.  I drank faster to get rid of the noise.  By the time Allie and Tee had finished their second drink, I was on my fourth.
            “I think you’ll be driving.”  I handed my keys to Allie.
            “Girls!”  We all turned toward the door, grinning in welcome at the sound of Tymothy’s voice.  He ordered his drink at the bar and joined us.
            The pounding increased and I blinked a few times to try and clear my head.
            BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
            I ordered another drink and a shot of Hot 100.  I had to fight not to throw up as the Hot 100 went down and I quickly chased it down with the cherry whiskey paralyzer.
            BOOM! BOOM!
            “I need some air.”  I stumbled toward the door, walked to my truck and squatted so that my back leaned against the front tire.  I rested my head in my arms.
            BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
            “How are you doing?”
            I looked up into Tymothy’s deep brown eyes and shrugged.  “I think I’m drunk.”
            He chuckled.  “I don’t think, I know.  Look, Allie said something in there…”
            “She said you were hearing things.”
            I grunted.  “It’s her fault.  It’s that stupid song…”  The world started to spin and the pounding in my head intensified.  “I think I’m losing it Tym.”  I took a deep breath and glanced at him as he sat beside me.  “I’m just tired.”
            I tried to stand and was glad when I stumbled and Tym caught me.
            The sound rang in my ears and I started to scream as I felt the blood pour from my ears.
            Tymothy’s voice was lost under the ringing.
            The whole world seemed to shudder around me and I blacked out at the pain.

            “Mireille.  Mi.”
            I felt a hand on my arm.
            “Mi, wake up.”
            I groaned and let my eyes open a slit.  Tymothy’s face lit up with his smile.
            “Are you alright?  How are you feeling?”
            “I…”  My voice felt scratchy and it hurt to talk.  I swallowed hard and gratefully took the glass of water he offered me.  I frowned.  “Where am I?”
            The room I lay in was painted completely white.  I sat up and couldn’t help to show the shock I felt.
            “Why are you wearing your work clothes?”  I reached out and touch Tym’s lab coat.  I couldn’t help but admire how handsome he looked in his dark blue shirt and black tie.
            He smiled apologetically.  “I didn’t know what else to do.  Some of the things you were saying… Mireille, I’m worried about you.”
            “What the hell did you do, Tym?!”  I jumped out of bed and looked down at the white scrub pants and white tank top I was wearing.  I had the fleeting thought that I was days away from starting my period and that white was not a good color be wearing at this time of my life.  I slowly looked back up to meet Tymothy’s eyes and tried to keep the panic I felt from turning into screams.
            “Mi, it’s not as bad as you think…”
            “I’m in an asylum, Tym!  You admitted me to a mental asylum!”  I looked around the room, looking for any way to get out, which, of course, there wasn’t.  “Unadmit me!”
            His head came up in surprise.  “Unadmit?”
            “Well, whatever the hell it is you call it!  I’m fine!  Tym!  This is me!”  I ran my hands over my face and tried to hold back the tears that were threatening to fall.
            “You said that Allie was out to get you, that she was purposefully ruining your writing habits… You told me Sammie and Tee were in on it.  You’re hearing things…”
            I took a deep breath and tried to control myself.  “I was drunk.  I was tired.  I’m fine.”  The pressure in my chest was getting stronger by the minute.  On the plus side, there was no more booming in my head.  I sat on the bed and let Tym put his arm around me.  “Please let me leave.”  This last statement was merely a whisper.
            Tymothy pressed his lips to my hair.  “Soon.  I just want you to stay here a couple of days.  Think of it as a forced vacation.”
            I snorted and wiped my arm across my face to get rid of the tears.  “Can I have my laptop?”
            I felt him smile.  “Sorry.”
            The door opened and we both looked up.  I frowned as a man was wheeled into the room on a bed.  A beautiful woman wearing a lab coat over her knee length skirt and white dress shirt followed along behind him.  Her hair was pulled back into a bun and she looked prim and proper from the top of her head to the bottom of her black high heeled pumps.  She looked at me and smiled.
            “Hello, there!  I’m glad to see you’re finally awake.  Dr. Longoria was worried about you.  I’m Dr. Jordan.”  She held out her hand and I shook it automatically.  “I’ll be your doctor for the duration of your stay.”
            I frowned.  “But…”
            “It’s alright, Mi.  I can’t be your doctor because you’re my friend.  It’s against the rules.”  Tym smiled reassuringly.  “Don’t worry.  River understands why you are here and that you’ll be released in a few days.”
            Dr. Jordan flashed me a smile of her own and nodded.
            I gestured toward the man on the bed.  “Who’s he?”
            Tym stood.  “That is Dennis.  He’s your roommate.”
            “Roommate?  You guys don’t have a keep the men and women separated rule?”
            “You don’t have to worry about it, Mi.  He’s on so many pills he’s never really awake enough to do much.  There are days we have to feed him through a tube.”  He laughed at the surprise on my face.  “This may be a small holiday for you, but don’t forget that most of the people here are here for a reason.”  He gave me a hug.  “I’ll be back in a few days to check on you.  Take advantage of the break.”
            Dr. Jordan nodded as she followed him and the orderlies out of the room.  The door locked shut and I was left looking at the comatose man lying in the bed next to mine.

            A groan made me jump and I looked up from the book I was reading.  At least Dr. Jordan had agreed to let me have a few books to pass the time, though maybe ‘Blood and Spirits’ wasn’t the best book to be reading at this very moment.  I looked over to Dennis.  He was staring at me with the clearest blue eyes I had ever seen.  Well, clear in color; the look in them was more of a confused and drugged one.  I glanced at the door, the butterflies in my stomach fighting for space.  They’d told me he wouldn’t wake up.
            “Who are you?”  He cringed at the sound his voice made.
            “I’m… I’m Mireille.  You’re Dennis, yeah?”
            He nodded.  “Where are we?”
            It was against my better judgment, but I got him a glass of water and handed it to him.  He looked so thirsty.  He took the glass with a grateful smile and gulped it down.
            “We’re at Amo’s Assylum.”
            He closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths.  “I… How long have I been here?”
            “I don’t know. I woke up about two hours ago.”
            Dennis sat up and rubbed his hands over his face.  “I can’t remember anything.  I was out…”  He grunted.  “Where was I?  I was with friends.  I remember my head was pounding…”
            I frowned.  “Pounding… how?”
            “Like… like loud pounding base from a song.”  He looked up as I sat heavily on my bed.  “What’s wrong?”
            I was shaking my head in… in… in what?  Amazement, confusion, awe, shock, fear?  Definitely fear.  “Did you hear it for a long time before it progressively got worse?”
            He nodded.  “Yeah.  Yeah, I did.  How did you know?”
            “That’s what landed me in here too.”  I got him another glass of water when I noticed him eyeing up the pitcher.  “What are you?  I mean, what do you do for a living?”
            “I’m a writer, you?”
            The butterflies had picked up speed and were running out of room in my stomach.  “Writer.”  I waved my hand in the air to get rid of the thoughts going through my head.  “That can’t be the connection.  Both my roommates are writers and they seemed fine.  I mean, me, it was just the song my roommate was playing.”
            “What song was it?”
            “Something by Rise Against.”
            He shook his head.  “I can’t remember mine, but it wasn’t by them.”
            Both of us jumped at the scream that tore through the walls.  I stared at him while I waited for the man’s tortured wail to fade away.
            “What the fuck was…” My question cut off as I watched his eyes fill with fear.  He stood and stumbled, barely managing to catch himself on the edge of his bed.
            “They’re taking him there!”
            “Where?  Who?  Dennis!  What did they do to you?”  As I was asking the questions, my inner voice was battling with me.  This was where Tymothy worked.  There wasn’t anything illegal going on!  Obviously, Dennis was in here for a reason!
            “Oh my god, I remember!  They strap you to a bed and they stick the needles in your head!”  Dennis looked like he was going to crawl up the wall to get away.
            The door burst open and three men in green scrubs poured into the room.  One of them raised a gun and I screamed at the quiet pop it made a fraction of a second before Dennis fell to the ground.  Dr. Jordan strode into the room and smiled warmly at me.
            “Mireille, dear, I’m so sorry.  We should have been here earlier to give him his next dose of medication.
            It took a few tries before any sound would escape my locked throat.  “You… you shot him!”
            She laughed and shook her head.  “It was a tranquilizer.  We find that less of our staff and patients get hurt this way.  We used try and restrain them and give injections by hand, but there were too many injuries that way.”
            Dennis groaned to confirm he was indeed still alive and the men lifted him back onto his bed.  I took a few deep breaths to try and get my heart to slow.
            “Are you hungry?  We’re about to serve supper in the main area to the patients who are emotionally stable.”
            I wrinkled my nose at the thought of leaving the quiet of my room to join god knew how many strange and scary people in another room.  My stomach growled and I decided that so long as the men with tranquilizer guns were around, I should be alright.
            I walked down the hall, personally escorted by Dr. Jordan herself.  It took a lot of effort not to jump and scream every time somebody slammed their fists against their door as we walked by.  It seemed surreal walking down the long white passage.  Everything was white.  It looked like a scene from a weird alien abduction movie.  A tall man wearing a white lab coat over his burgundy dress shirt and black dress pants strode towards us, a smile bright on his face.
            “Miss Chester!  I’m Dr. Amo, the founder of this facility.  It’s a pleasure to meet you.  My wife is a big fan of yours.  I was wondering if you would mind signing these for me.  She’ll forgive me for the rest of my life if I get these autographed to her.”  He held out two of my novels and a pen.  I wasn’t sure if I should laugh at how absurd this seemed.  I decided that a huge grin and an autograph might help my chances of getting out of here sooner than later.
            “Not a problem at all.  It’s always nice to meet someone who enjoys my work.”  I flashed him my best smile.
            “Fantastic.”  He beamed as he took the books back from me.  “I’m looking forward to our session after supper.  I promised Dr. Longoria I’d sit in personally.  I can’t wait to pick at that incredible mind of yours.”
            My heart dropped and I lost my appetite.  “Session?”
            He waved away my worry.  “Nothing too formal, but we do have to show that we worked with you before you can be released, you understand.”
            The sound of someone throwing the entire weight of their body against their door pounded a few feet to my left and this time I did jump.  We entered the main room which consisted of a large white room filled with rows of white tables.  At the tables sat men and women all dressed in white scrub pants and tank tops.  A small whimper to my right made me look in that direction.  Sitting curled in the corner was a young man.  He hugged his arms around his knees, the front of his white tank top damp with the spit he couldn’t seem to hold in his slack mouth.  I stopped short which caused Dr. Jordan to run into me.  I ignored her.
            My friend turned his head slightly at the sound of his name.  He blinked his blue eyes slowly and a tear rolled down his cheek.  I turned on Dr. Amo.
            “What’s he doing here?  He’s supposed to be on a book tour promoting his latest novel!”
            Dr. Amo held his hands up.  “I had nothing to do with admitting Mister Merrick.  It seems that at some point during the tour, he contacted Dr. Longoria and told him he needed help and wanted to be admitted.”
            A groan started low in Matthew’s throat and progressively got louder until everyone stopped what they were doing.  His scream tore through the room and only got louder as I knelt beside him to try and comfort him.
            “Matty… Matty… Hun, what’s wrong?”
            He answered my question by banging his head against the wall.  BOOM!  BOOM!  His head smacked against the concrete wall in a steady rhythm.
            “Oh, my god!  Is it the music?  Do you hear a beat?”
            He stopped hitting his head just as two orderlies hauled him to his feet.  He seemed to get a sudden burst of energy and managed to wrestle away from them.  He sprinted toward the hallway that led out of the building.
            “Matty!  Look out!”  I drove my shoulder into the man getting ready to shoot my friend.  I heard the horrible popping noise of the gun and felt the dart enter my leg just as a second pop sounded out.  I turned my head and saw Matthew fall to the ground just as my vision blurred and went black.

            I took a deep breath and fought the nausea that overwhelmed me.
            “Here you go, sweetie.  The doctors said you might feel sick when you woke up.”  I looked up at Taneesha’s concerned face and took the glass of water from her.
            “What happened?”
            “Something happened at the pub.  I’m not sure what it was, but you sort of lost it.  You went outside and when Tym offered to drive you home you stormed back into the bar.  You started throwing chairs around!  It was nuts!  You kept screaming that it was all Allie’s fault…”  She took the glass of water from me and set it on the table.  “Tym tried to take you back outside, but you struggled to get away from him and he lost his grip on your arm.  You fell and hit your head on the corner of the bar.”
            I reached up and cringed as my fingers touched the bandages and the large bump under it.  “Good god, Tee, I had the worst dream.”
            “I dreamt that Tymothy admitted me to the asylum where he works.  They had me roomed with a guy who was a writer too and he could hear the music like I was hearing.  They took me out to the lunch area and Matty was there and he was all drugged up.”  My throat tightened at the image of one of my dearest friends in such an awful state.
            A groan to my right cut off my thoughts.  I turned to see who my roommate was.
            “Dennis?”  My heart started to pound and I looked at Tee who had tears in her eyes.  “It wasn’t a dream?”
            “They got you, too.”  Dennis’ voice was a cracked whisper.  He waited until I looked at him again before touching his head which was now wrapped in a bandage.  He motioned for me to do the same.  I reached up reluctantly and jerked my hands away as they felt the bandage I knew was identical to his.  I quickly unwrapped the material and carefully touched the six places around my head I knew the needle marks would be.
            Tee carefully lifted my hair and gasped at what she saw.  “Matty’s here?”
            I nodded, trying to wrap my head around the idea that Tymothy had admitted me into this place and that he most likely knew what was happening to us.
            “What did they do to you?”  Tee’s whisper quivered as she tried to hold in her tears.
            I closed my eyes, trying to remember.  “After they shot me...”  I frowned.  “I woke up.  Where was I?”
            “It was the extraction room.”  Dennis had rolled over and his voice was muffled in his pillow.
            “I was tied to the bed; my arms, my legs, and my chest.  There was a strap that held my head still.”  I remembered the feel of the needles piercing my skin and imbedding themselves in my skull.  “There were lots of lights.  I opened my eyes and all I could see was the ceiling.  Every once in a while, someone would check my vitals… I could hear machines beeping.”  A tear slid down my cheek as I remembered Tym’s face as he peered into my eyes and watched their reaction to the little light he was flashing in them.
            Dr. Amo’s voice seemed to resonate in my memory.  “You were right, Dr. Longoria.  She’ll be a fine addition to the others.  I think she’ll do quite well for Anne McCaffrey, or maybe Margaret Weis.”
            Dr. Jordan piped in.  “That reminds me, Stephen King phoned.  He’s wondering if any new ideas are on storage for him.”
            “We did get a new one!”  Tym sounded ecstatic.  “We pulled a brilliant idea from Dennis Sharpe just a few days ago.”
            I snapped back to the present.  “Dennis Sharpe.  Author of ‘Blood and Spirits’, Dennis Sharpe?”
            Dennis looked at me from under his arm.  “Yeah.”
            “They’re stealing our ideas!”  I couldn’t decide if I terrified or pissed right off.  “How long have you been here?”
            “Weeks, months… I have no idea.  Most of the time, I’m too drugged to remember anything.”
            We all jumped as the door opened.  Dr. Jordan’s heels announced her progress into the room.
            “Time for your medicine, Mister Sharpe.”
            He only had a chance to turn over before she stuck a needle in his thigh.  His arms went limp and dangled over the side of his bed.  She turned to me and Taneesha, her smile as warm as the summer sun.
            “How are you feeling, dear?  You had us a bit worried for a minute.  Do you remember what happened?”  She watched me carefully.
            “I…”  I looked at Tee and back to her.  “No.  I remember walking into the main area to have supper and then everything is a blank.”
            The doctor’s grin widened.  “Well, we gave you something to make you sleep a bit.  It’s common for these things to happen when you overwork yourself.  A few more days of rest and you’ll be back to normal.”  She looked pointedly at Tee who took the hint.
            “Is it alright if I come back tomorrow?  I was going to bring her a few more books.”
            Dr. Jordan smiled.  “Of course.”
            Tee hugged me tightly.  “I’ll get you out of here,” she whispered in my ear.  I nodded and fought the urge to scream and yell at her not to leave me as she walked out of the door.  One of the orderlies pulled a syringe out of his pocket, tapped it to get the bubbles to the top, and squirted a bit of the dark green liquid into the air before walking towards me.
            “Time for your medicine, Miss Chester.”
            I debated my options as he approached.  I could kick and scream, in which case, I would be shot, or I could let them give me the needle like a good little girl.  The orderly relaxed as he swabbed my arm and I made no move to fight.
            “I was wondering if I could read for a bit.”
            He paused and looked at Dr. Jordan who bit her lip while she considered the idea.  “I don’t see why not.”
            I relaxed as the needle moved away from me.  If I could keep them from putting me to sleep, I could start trying to find out what the hell was happening here and most importantly, how I was going to figure out where they were keeping Matty.
            The rest of the evening was uneventful.  Dennis stayed in his drug induced coma until I fell asleep.  Sometime during the middle of the night, I awoke with a start at the feel of a needle being jammed into my butt cheek.  The drugs quickly put me back to sleep.

            “That’s an interesting theory, Dr. Jordan.”  I could hear Tym through the haze the drugs had me wrapped in.  “So you’re proposing that the pounding these authors are hearing is an overload of ideas?”
            “Well, not so much an overload of ideas… these authors are always full of ideas.  What I’m beginning to think is that the pounding is brought on when they decide to work on too many projects at once.  Take Dennis Sharpe; two separate series, not to mention his poetry, and a number of short stories.  Matthew Merrick; one series as well as numerous blogging, his book tour, and three books he’d agreed to review.  Mireille Chester was editing the last installment of one series, working on two new series, and also reviewing, interviewing, and blogging.  I think the pounding is all of their ideas and stress reaching a breaking point.”
            “So if we go with your theory, it’s only a matter of time before a few more authors I know start to hear it.”  There was no regret or worry in his voice and had I been able to, I would have hit him.  “We’d better get her back to her room.  I spoke with Taneesha last night and she said she was coming by around three to bring her some more books.”
            I felt the bed I was on being wheeled away and I let myself sink back into the fog.  I could feel the drugs lifting when I heard the door open and Dennis’ bed being wheeled out.  My heart sank.  I had no idea how Tee was planning on getting me out of here, but if he was in the extraction room, it was going to be damn near impossible to bring him along.
            The sound of Tee’s voice cut through my hazy thoughts.
            “Mi, sweetie, we have to go now.  Wake up.”
            I groaned and opened my eyes a slit.  The first thing I did was check to see if Dennis was back.  He wasn’t.
            “Do you have a plan?”  I had to clear my throat and take a drink of water to get the scratchy feeling out of my throat.
            “I talked to Tym last night.  He said everyone was going to be busy with one of the patients at three thirty; some kind of a breakthrough.  I grabbed some papers out of his car and found something with his signature on it, made up some discharge papers, and forged them.  We’ll walk to the front desk, hand over the paperwork, and get the hell out of here while the docs are too busy to notice.”
            I grinned.  “Wow…  that’s so simple it just might work.  Impressive.”  I started to  laugh at the scenarios I’d been running through my head; grand schemes involving guns, grappling hooks, and explosives.  I sat up with a groan.  “We have to find Matty.”
            Tee shook her head.  “We can’t.  This will only work if it’s one of you.  We’ll get you out of here then go straight to the cops.  We’ll show them the holes in your head.  They’ll have to come check it out.”  She handed me a baseball hat and green button up shirt she’d stuffed into her purse.  I put them on.
            “Ok, ok, let’s do this.”  I stood and tested my balance.  Here was hoping I didn’t stumble and alert the desk clerk to the fact I was still drugged.  I tried to keep the butterflies in check as we walked through the main room toward the admitting area.  I scanned every face in search of Matthew’s.  I hated the thought of leaving him for an instant longer.
            The young woman working the desk looked up from the book she was reading and smiled.  I smiled back and handed her my fake paperwork, trying not to let the dizziness show on my face.  She skipped to the back of the papers, glanced at Tymothy’s fake signature, and stamped them.
            “Glad to see you’re feeling better, Miss Chester.”
            Taneesha smiled and we started walking toward the exit doors.  A scream sounded through halls and I made up my mind in one quick instant.  Matthew’s wail sounded again and I bolted back into the asylum.
            Most of the patients in the main room were too drugged to notice as I sprinted past them.  There were shouts from the orderlies and soon the sound of footsteps catching up to me sounded in the hallway.
            “Mi! Wait up!”  I gave a wave to show Tee I’d heard her but didn’t slow down.
            Matty’s scream sounded again and I headed down a different corridor.  Hazy memories flashed through my head and I focused on the double doors at the end of the hall.  I pushed them open and threw my shoulder into the first person I saw.  Dr. Jordan grunted with the impact, the sound almost drowning out the smacking noise her head made as it hit the floor.  I scrambled to my feet in time to see that Tee had managed to do the same to the orderly that had been in the room.  Matthew lay strapped to the bed.  I let out a sigh of relief when I saw the needles hadn’t yet been inserted into his skull.
            Taneesha and I each took a side and started to rip the straps off.  Matthew groaned something that sounded like my name.
            “Hang on, Matty.  We’ll get you out of here.”  I grabbed the tranquilizer gun from the orderly’s belt and checked it.
            “How many shots does it hold?” asked Tee.
            “Five.  It’s full.”
            We both grunted as we sat Matthew up and hooked our arms around his waist.  Maybe it was the self-preservation kicking in, or maybe the drugs were starting to wear off, but suddenly, our friend was standing and helping support most of his weight.  Tee poked her head out the door.
            We started to run as fast as we could down the hall.  I held the gun up, ready to take out anyone who stood in my way.  Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was hoping Tym would be one of those people.  A man wearing dark blue scrubs rushed around the corner and I fired.  Hours upon hours of playing Duck Hunt on Nintendo when I was younger paid off and the man fell to the ground.
            “What do we do when we get to the main area?” asked Tee as she bent to grab the gun the man had dropped.
            “Just run.  Run and shoot anything that’s not white.”  I looked at Matthew and brushed the hair out of his eyes.  “How are you doing, Matty?”
            He raised an eyebrow at me then cringed at the pain.  “Just get me out of here and I promise to do the Matty Dance.”
            I laughed despite the situation.  “Deal.”  I took a deep breath.  “Ready?”
            I got two grim nods in return.
            The three of us turned the corner and ran toward the exit doors.  I fired twice and hit two orderlies.  Taneesha’s gun popped three times before her surprised cry reached my ear.  She fell, causing Matthew to stumble, which landed all three of us on the ground in a heap.
            “Mireille, go!”  Matthew gave me a shove and grabbed the gun Taneesha had dropped.  I shot over his shoulder and watched a woman wearing pink scrubs fall to the ground.  A dart flew by my ear.  I scrambled over him and tipped the table over.  Matthew’s gun went off as he shot someone coming at us from in the hallway.  He pulled himself up in a sitting position and leaned back against the table.
            I tipped a second table and adopted the same position as him.  “What do you figure?”  I tried to remember how many times I’d shot the gun.
            “I think we’re fucked.”
            I snorted.
            “Look, you can run.  I can’t.  I’ll cover the right side, you shoot left.  Just get the hell out of here.”
            I looked down at Taneesha who lay drugged on the ground then met Matty’s still slightly unsteady blue gaze.  “I’ll get help.”
            He nodded.  I took a deep breath and heaved myself over the table.  Matthew’s gun popped once then clicked.  I ran as fast as I could, aimed at the man in light blue scrubs, and fired.  My gun popped.  I took aim at another man, this one in purple scrubs.  My gun clicked.  I ran into the admitting area and headed for the doors.  The sun was shining brightly through them; my heart soared.  I was still at a dead run when I hit the doors and pushed the handle to open them.  I grunted as my body hit the glass and my head connected with a sickening crack.  I found myself crumbled on the floor.
            Tymothy’s deep chuckle mocked me.  “You didn’t think we would just leave the doors unlocked for your escaping pleasure, did you?”
            I looked up into his dark eyes.  “Why, Tym?”
            He flashed me a lopsided grin and shrugged.  “We’re funded by some of the biggest publishing houses in the world.  Big publishers have big authors to flash around.  Unfortunately, some of these big names are running out of ideas.  This is where small indie authors fit into the picture.  We get your ideas and sell them to the big authors.”
            The anger was starting to swell in my chest.  “Those are our ideas!”
            “Mireille, dear, you know how it works.  No one wants to sign small names anymore.  It’s a miracle you got a publisher at all and most authors never will.  Just think of this as a way to get your stories famous.”
            “Under someone else’s name… I don’t think so.”  I pushed myself up off of the floor.
            Tymothy raised his gun and smiled.  “I’m afraid you don’t have much choice in the matter.”
            I grunted as the first dart hit me.  When the second one hit, I had a brief moment to think that two darts was overkill… that was just being mean; then the darkness flooded in.

            I felt the darkness start to lift and I let my eyes open a crack.  The light hurt them and I closed them again.
            “Dennis?”  My voice broke and I swallowed hard.  “Dennis?”  I tried to move and found I was still strapped to my bed.  “Tee?  Matty?”  I strained against my restraints but the effort to move drained me.  I heard some movement to my left.
            “She’s coming to.”  Dr. Jordan sounded analytical.
            “That was five hours.  I think it’s safe to say that we need to medicate her every four and a half.”  I could hear Tymothy’s pen as he wrote this down.  “Let’s give her her next dose and put her back in the room with the other three.”  He shut his binder.  “Dr. Amo said that under no circumstances are they to become lucid.”
            “Ever?”  I was surprised to hear the disapproval in her voice.
            “Ever.”  He took a deep breath.  “I’m sorry, my friend.”  I felt Tym’s lips touch my forehead just as a needle jabbed into my arm.

            “Mireille.”  The voice filtered through the darkness.  “Mi, wake up.”
            I lifted my head up with a groan and looked into Allie’s smiling face.  My heart leapt in my throat and I stood abruptly enough to send my chair tipping to the ground.
            She raised an eyebrow at me.
            “Oh my god, I’m home!”  I reached up and felt for the needle holes I was sure would find there.  “Where’s my cell phone?”  There was one more thing I needed to do before I was completely sure that I’d just been dreaming.  “Come on, come on, pick up.”
            Allie was looking at me like I’d gone crazy… and maybe I had.
            “Matty!  Where are you?”
            “Calgary, why?”
            “And you’re alright?”
            I could hear the smile in his voice.  “I’m thirty seconds away from being introduced at a book signing and the place is packed.  I am more than alright.”
            “Awesome!  K, well, that’s all I wanted to know.  Have fun!”
            “I will.  Hey, are you ok?”
            I grinned.  “I am more than ok.  I am fantastic.”  I started to hang up then put the phone back to my ear.  “Hey, Matty, when you get home, can you do something for me?”
            “What’s that?”
            “Do the Matty Dance?”
            He started to laugh.  “Anytime.”
            “K.  Knock em dead.”  I hung up and surprised Allie with a hug.  “You know what, hun?  I think I need a day off.  Want to round everybody up and convince them we all deserve a day at the beach?”
            She smiled.  “Sounds good to me.”
            We each got on our cells and started to round up our friends.
            And the moral of the story is… if one of your friends works at an asylum, don’t have your breakdown in front of him.   Lmfao!   Or… Be sure to work hard to achieve your goals, but remember to take a break and have some fun as well. 

            This story was inspired by a Facebook status that told me to copy and paste the fact that I woke up in an asylum… and the six people on my profile’s friends list, had designated roles.  I threw in a couple of extras to help the story along.  Hope you enjoyed!

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