Read Asylum - 13 Tales of Terror Online

Authors: Matt Drabble

Tags: #Horror, #(v5)

Asylum - 13 Tales of Terror

BOOK: Asylum - 13 Tales of Terror
13.11Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

ASYLUM

13 Tales of Terror

 

MATT DRABBLE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2014 Matt Drabble

All rights reserved.

ISBN-13: 978-1490972558

ISBN-10: 1490972552

BOOKS BY MATT DRABBLE

See end of
this
book for details

GATED

 

GATED II
:
Ravenhill Academy

 

ASYLUM

13 Tales of Terror

 

AFTER DARKNESS FALLS
:
Volume One

 

AFTER DARKNESS FALLS
:
Volume Two

 

THE TRAVELLING MAN

 

THE MONTAGUE PORTRAIT

1.

BLACKWATER HEIGHTS

 

Martin Parcell looked up at the foreboding building and his heart sank deeply within his reedy chest. Blackwater Heights loomed over the horizon like a ravenous beast; tower turrets spiked the dark night sky, illuminated by a vibrant moon.
All we need is the stormy lightning and we’re all set,
he thought to himself morbidly.

The large, gothic building was imposing; its dark stone face was harsh and seemingly impervious to the saltwater elements. Blackwater Heights sat in an elevated position high on a hilltop looking down over its domain. The small coastal village of Ermsby was held captive under the ominous shadow cast by the private hospital.

Martin wound his way along the narrow lanes that cut a swath through the open fields and countryside. The sun had barely set before the cold fingers of the dark night gripped the air with foolish pride. The car hitched and stuttered as though feeling the ominous portent of the surroundings and Martin prayed silently that the car would manage the last mile or so.

He glanced down at his watch; it was only 5.45pm but this was winter and she held her own timescale for when the darkness fell.

Martin was only twenty six but he felt about eighty six. His sore back whined with displeasure at the drop in temperature combined with the damp air. His knee also ached and throbbed painfully within the confines of the less than luxurious automobile. He had suffered several serious injuries during a car accident a little over fourteen months ago and had been left with two ruptured disks, one herniated, a broken arm and a dislocated kneecap. The accident had been another driver’s fault but the other driver had never been apprehended. Martin had simply been left with aches and pains, a lost job as a promising reporter and a whole heap of bad feelings and self pity. Martin’s dreams of a career in journalism, leading to a successful transition into becoming a novelist were severely dented, if not destroyed completely. Due to the austerity measures currently employed by the government’s benefit system, he had now been passed fit for work once again. The only job he had been able to find - and subsequently forced to take however - was as a janitor at a private mental health clinic, stuck out in the middle of nowhere.

He checked that the heater was all the way up and turned the fan up to the last notch. The warm air pumped out furiously and noisily, but seemingly to no avail.

He stared up towards the grand building perched on the top of the hill and shivered again violently. Whether it was the damp cold or Blackwater itself he did not know.

He checked the blackened sky again for lightning and storm clouds gathering but the sky was clear. The stars sparkled along their merry way, seemingly oblivious to his current predicament.

Yet again he had to consciously push down on the accelerator as his foot had its own mind and had eased off. His mind apparently was none too keen on arriving either on time, or indeed at all.

The approaching job was a simple one and although he had hoped that his days of menial, minimum wage were long behind him, he had never been too proud to work for a living. It was a straightforward cleaning job on the night shift hours, but at least it would leave part of his days free to write, if only he had a story to tell.

Eventually he reached the outer gates; massive iron monsters that stood guard over admittance to the house and grounds. A stone hut that looked new and thus out of place was located outside of the walls. Martin pulled up alongside the window and a face peered out inquisitively at him. The window pane slid to one side and the pale face leaned out. Martin felt the pleasant blast of warm air from the heater within and tickled his face.

“Help you?” The guard asked lazily.

Martin looked at the man; he was around sixty. His face was creased and lined, and his hair was wispy white and receding. His expression was nervous and haunted. He had pale skin and his uniform was a deep blue, but looked old and worn.

“Martin Parcell. I start work tonight, janitor crew,” he said in a forced friendly manner. The ghost before him wasn’t helping his mood or his general impression of the hospital.

The guard looked down at a clipboard; his mind seemed to tick slowly, “Parcell, ah, yes, here we go, welcome.”

Martin jumped involuntarily as the massive iron gates cranked into life.
Welcome
, he thought,
yeah right
.

He drove through the parting and into the grounds; the lawns were large and well manicured. Even in the dim illumination of the exterior security lights they looked a deep and lush green.

The car’s wheels crunched the gravel underfoot as he drove slowly. The looming gothic building appeared larger and more daunting the closer he got. The skyline above him as he pulled into a staff parking space was dominated by the spikes and turrets that pierced the black sky. The front of the hospital was a wall of dark stone and glass. High windows were blocked with black bars giving a close up indication of the building’s current usage.

Martin checked his watch again; 5.57 pm. He sighed deeply and steeled himself against the night ahead. He knew he was a man with a propensity for always making life more difficult than it had to be. He couldn’t help it; he was a thinker by nature. He was a man who lived almost exclusively within his own thoughts. Most people simply drifted through their respective days. Work and life intermingling without much notice taken. Martin was a clock watcher, a dreamer. He was a man who couldn’t help but live in the constant moment, always self-aware and always resentful.

Knowing that he had no more time to spare he followed the small immaculate white wooden signs that read “STAFF” and headed in through the entrance door. Because of the haunted castle exterior he went through the door dreading the other side. His imagination pictured long empty corridors, peeling paint and echoing cracked tile floors. He could picture the abandoned gurneys lying rusting, desolate, and abandoned. He could see the mass of spider webs and hear the soft continuous dripping of leaking pipes.

He entered the hospital and even though the hallway was dimly lit his imagination retreated, embarrassed and ashamed. Inside, the hospital was modern and pristine; it was all perfect tiles and shiny chrome with not a leaky pipe or cobweb in sight.

There was a small staff reception area immediately in front of him; a gleaming oak countertop smelling of a gentle lavender polish. The office behind was immaculate, everything with a place and everything in its place. Staff rotas hung on the walls along with a myriad of other factual offerings. There was a small white button on the counter and Martin pressed it for attention. As if by magic the door behind sprung open and a woman dressed in a nurse’s uniform appeared.

The woman looked in her late fifties with hair bound tightly beneath her crisp white hat. Her face was friendly but her expression officious. Her eyes sparkled a deep blue but her mouth was tight.

“Mr. Parcell, I’m Jemima Blake” she greeted him, “Nice to see that you are punctual, that
is
one of our main asks here.”

“Pleased to meet you Ms Blake” Martin forced, wishing that he was pretty much anywhere else.

“Well let’s get started shall we?” the nurse said, not offering an alternative title for herself. “This way,” she said, lifting the countertop and motioning for him to follow her through the rear door.

Martin trudged grumpily in her wake.
Not even a “call me Jemima”
, he thought tetchily; she was no Nurse Ratched but she was close enough to foul his mood further. He followed her through the door and along a narrow corridor.

“You clock in at 6pm sharp,” she said pointing to the machine on the wall. “Changing rooms are there” she motioned towards two doors clearly marked with male and female signs. “And James will take you through your nightly duties.”

Just then a man shuffled around the corner. He looked like he must be in his late sixties and walked slightly awkwardly, his feet rasping on the linoleum floor.

Ms Blake looked down at her watch with a curt nod, “Here are your rules and regulations” she said handing Martin a thick booklet, “I suggest that you study them closely and obey them even closer.”

With that she turned on a crisp white shoe squeak and was gone, leaving Martin and the elderly janitor alone.

“Hi James, I’m Martin,” Martin said offering his hand in ritual.

“Shit son, its Jimmy,” the man replied “and don’t mind missus tight britches, we’re not all like her here.”

Martin felt the rough calloused hand as they shook, hoping that this wouldn’t be his own fate.
Just temporary
, he thought, looking at the shuffling, sniffing janitor.
Just temporary
, he prayed to himself.

“You know anything about this place?” Jimmy asked after Martin had changed into a provided blue jumpsuit and they were heading downwards into the bowels of the hospital.

“Not really” Martin answered, sensing that the older man had little company and liked to spin a tale whenever he did, as seemed to be the fashion of the elderly.

“Ermsby itself is an old fishing port that’s better days are so far behind it; only the oldest residents hold vague memories of prosperous times,” Jimmy started. “It’s been decades since the port was a working one that the salt sea air is now merely a sarcastic, insulting taunt. The fishing boats have long since been beached and abandoned to the rusting weather. The once bountiful fish shoals had forsaken these waters and taken all hope with them.”

Martin rebuked himself for his preconceptions as the old janitor spoke with poetry and intelligence.

“Blackwater Heights is a private secure hospital; it’s housed within a massive once residential house built in 1869 by Horace Whisker,” Jimmy continued as they walked. “He was an industrialist who once owned large tracts of land on the bleak North East coast of England. He was a hard and ruddy man; iron of will and deaf to compromise and he ran his business empire with the same stern hand he ruled his family with. He was a squat man with a belly that was round and bulbous. His face was broken veined through exposure to the harsh weather and his appetite for whisky. He stood at only five feet five and carried a distain for his own height that would often turn to outward hatred. He came to this area when he was forty two years of age, bringing an air of mystery and a fat wallet with him. He soon bought up most of the property around Ermsby, including the mine and the harbor. And there were many stories about his haggling techniques which consisted mainly of browbeating individuals until they saw his point of view.”

Martin was enthralled by Jimmy’s voice and tale; his imagination could easily picture the land owner. His mind drifted towards thoughts of a possible story under his nose; perhaps even a book, or at least the beginnings of one.

“Horace took a local girl as a wife. There was no courtship or romance involved. The girl was selected on purely breeding grounds,” Jimmy continued. “Emily Avery was a pale, shy eighteen year old that was ordered by her father to marry Horace, and she obeyed her father and then her husband. She bore Horace two miscarriages followed by three sickly sons; two of which died before they reached their teens and a third who limped along despite his weak disposition. Horace was never one for hiding his feelings or disappointments and Emily would often feel the weight of the back of Horace’s hand, as would Thomas, his only surviving son and unworthy heir.”

By this point Martin had surreptitiously plucked a small note book and short pencil from his pocket that he always carried. He never knew just when story ideas would float through the air and land on his shoulder. He began making shorthand notes as Jimmy spun his tale. Perhaps this job wouldn’t be such a waste of his time after all.

“Once he owned the harbor; every boat that fished his waters did so at a price, and a steep price at that,” Jimmy chuckled. “Inland, Horace also bought out the only other industry in the area; a coal mine that employed the majority of the people from Ermsby and the other surrounding villages. The mine workers were hard faced men whose expressions were as granite hard as the stone they dug. The wages were slight and the days long and dark. Horace Whisker was a man who believed completely in his ascension above the common man; his was an elevated position ordained by God himself. He was a hated figure amongst the villagers, as his soul was a cruel one. As he grew older he took to using a silver plated cane topped with a golden wolf head to combat his limping frame.”

Martin made a mental note to remember the gold wolf head atop a silver cane; it was a nice detail that added character to a character.

“The cold, damp air permeated his bones and arthritis took a deep and painful grip on his body.” Jimmy sighed and Martin knew that the old janitor must suffer the same fate. “And his usual foul demeanor was only worsened by his condition,” Jimmy went on, “his quick temper and quicker fists were often employed as he lashed out at powerless employees in the days long before even the concept of workers’ rights. Horace left many a bloody and battered fisherman or miner along the way, and after he took to using the cane, a swish of his arm came armed with a dangerous weapon that inflicted many a grievous wound. Horace drew the architectural plans for Blackwater Heights himself; the large sprawling mansion was a testament to his power and achievements. The house was designed specifically to sit high above the village and to be worshipped. Sixteen men died during construction and the word is that Horace deemed it a price well worth paying. The blood mixed perfectly with the concrete and the foundations were buried into the earth with pain and loss. The house took over twenty two years to complete, and more than one generation of villagers slaved tirelessly on the project.”

There were several questions that Martin wanted to ask as they walked, but he feared that interrupting Jimmy’s flow would be detrimental to the story that was growing more and more interesting.

“As the years passed, Horace’s fortunes faded. The ocean’s yield began to dwindle and the mine’s bounty began to slow. Horace’s temper began to reach new levels of explosive spite as he blamed his ailing businesses on his workers. Eventually the mine was forced to close its doors and the harbor was shut. Horace retreated to his now completed mansion and closed its mighty doors to the starving villagers beyond. It’s said that he began to drown himself in a vat of aged whisky, failing at times to find the energy to even beat his pale, silent wife. Over the next 10 years Blackwater Heights began to show signs of aging; the upkeep drifted into neglect as Horace faded into ill health and sleepless nights. He took to roaming the great halls of his mansion during the wee hours; his silver cane harshly tap- tap- tapping against the hardwood floor. The noise echoed throughout the building’s high ceilings. Emily would shiver alone in the separate bedroom that she kept with their son Thomas, praying that her husband would pass by without entering. The tapping cane would approach slowly and she would hold her breath in terror until the cane had passed and continued its journey for another circuit of the house.”

BOOK: Asylum - 13 Tales of Terror
13.11Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Positively Mine by Christine Duval
Playing Dirty by Susan Andersen
The Demon Soul by Richard A. Knaak
Operation Revenge by Hopkins, Kate
Unmarked by Kami Garcia
Weavers (The Frost Chronicles) by Ellison, Kate Avery
Mate Claimed by Jennifer Ashley
Rock Bottom (Bullet) by Jamison, Jade C.