The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Sheri White
Danny and Chrissy made sure nobody was around to catch them entering the crumbling abandoned asylum. After several years of destination exploring, they had finally made it to one of their bucket list items – The Eyler-Vann Institute of Learning, a teaching hospital for doctors treating the criminally insane and supposedly the most haunted asylum on the East Coast.
Satisfied they were alone, they walked through high grass to the front entrance. The double doors opened easily; it looked like the lock had broken for years.
Glass from shattered windows littered the dirty tiled floor. Graffiti and crude drawings covered the curved counter that once served as the receptionist’s desk. The receiver from an old push-button business phone dangled from the edge.
Chrissy picked it up. “Hello? Yes, you have reached the looney bin. How may I help you?”
They both laughed. Danny snapped a few pictures of her silliness. “You just need glasses and your hair in a tight bun. Come on, let’s look around.”
The first floor mostly consisted of services for the patients—cafeteria, TV and game room, and a barber shop, as well as the employee lounge and cafeteria. Danny and Chrissy looked in all the rooms, taking pictures of things they found interesting: broken dishes, a drawer of rusty utensils, the stainless steel fridge in the kitchen (“Hey wouldn’t it be wild if we found a human head in there?”), a broken TV with bent antennas, checker pieces, and other detritus from an earlier time.
They found the barber shop after deciding not to open the refrigerator. (“Chicken!” “Yeah, so are you!”)
Chrissy hesitated in the doorway, looking at the barber chair in the middle of the room. “This room is creepy, Danny. I don’t like it. Let’s check out another floor.”
“I’m sure it’s fine.” Danny took a picture with his flash, illuminating the dark room. Chrissy gasped.
“Did you see that?”
“I saw a couple of people in the room. One was in the chair.”
Danny laughed and let go of the camera hanging from a strap. He put his hands together in the air, then brought them down. “Imaginaaaationnnnn,” he said in a Spongebob voice.
Chrissy rolled her eyes. “Whatever.”
They headed for the stairs, but Chrissy turned around to look at the room again. She saw a flicker of something. She blinked and that’s when she saw the figure in the chair again—but this time there was someone behind him. Then they were gone.
The second floor held many bedrooms, and remnants of lives lived there were left behind—rusted metal cots, thin moldy mattresses, torn pictures. Danny snapped pictures of almost every room, finding little details that pleased him enough to capture them on film.
Chrissy kept back, out of the rooms, just following Danny around. She took no pictures and didn’t talk much.
Danny finally noticed Chrissy wasn’t her usual self. “Hey, what’s up? We’ve been waiting years for this, and you’re acting like you don’t want to be here.”
“I don’t. There is something wrong here, and I want to leave.”
“Are you still freaked out about what you thought you saw? I mean, this place is definitely creepy, but you usually love creepy.”
“Yeah, creepy I like. But I’m scared right now. I know you’re going to laugh at me, but I think this place is really haunted.”
“I won’t laugh, but seriously? Haunted? You’ve never thought that with any other place.”
“Which is why you should believe me. Look, we read about this place and the awful things that happened to the inmates. The shock treatments, ice baths, experimental drugs. Then some of them finally fought back, which is why it closed. I mean, true evil did happen here; it was all documented. Evil lingers.”
“We can start heading back, but I’m not rushing out of here. I’ve never photographed in such a cool place before. We got lucky getting in today; I don’t want to waste this opportunity.”
Chrissy sighed. “Fiiiiinnnne.”
“I could’ve sworn the stairs were over here,” Danny said.
“Maybe you got turned around in the dark.”
“It’s not that dark; there’s still sunlight coming through the windows.” He shined his flashlight around the corridor. “Well, let’s go back that way.”
Finally, they found a door to the stairwell. As they walked down the stairs, the window they passed showed they were over the front entrance.
“I guess it’s a different stairway,” said Danny. “This should take us right into the lobby by the front doors.”
“There was only one stairwell on that floor, and it wasn’t over the front entrance, Danny. This isn’t right.”
“Seriously, Chrissy—your imagination is running wild.”
But when they reached the bottom and opened the door, they were in the barber shop.
“What the hell?”
“I told you! I told you something was wrong here, Danny!”
“This is crazy.” Danny shined his light around the room, the barber chair still in the middle of the room. “Come on, let’s go back upstairs and find the other stairs.”
They ran up the stairs and opened the door, only to find themselves back in the barber shop.
The old light hanging above the chair flickered, although there was no electricity in the building. The figures Chrissy had seen earlier appeared in the strobe effect.
A man sat in the chair, tied by his wrists to it so he couldn’t move. His head was held back by another man standing behind him, wearing white pajama-like clothes covered with blood. The light flashed faster, illuminating the blood spatters on the walls and floors.
The blood-covered man held a straight-razor in his hand, ready to slash the throat of his victim. Chrissy screamed, and reached for Danny. “We need to run!”
He was gone.
“Danny, where are you?” She looked around for him, getting light-headed from the flickering light. She turned to run for the stairs when she heard him scream.
She had her hand on the door. She didn’t want to turn back. She didn’t want to see. But she had to.
Danny was now in the chair, his head held back by one hand, a straight razor at his throat in the killer’s other hand. He screamed again, but only for a second before the razor whipped across his neck, sending a fountain of blood into the air.
Chrissy shrieked. The killer looked at her and shrieked back, his mouth impossibly wide. He let go of Danny, letting him slide onto the floor. “HERE I COME, READY OR NOT!” he screamed, waving the dripping razor above his head.
She ran up the stairs, bursting out of the door. This time she was back in the corridor. She bent over, hands on her knees, trying to catch her breath when she heard the killer laugh and scream. Terrified he was in the stairwell, Chrissy tore down the hall. Every door to every room was closed now. From the corners of her eyes, she could see screaming, dead, bloody faces in the door windows.
She could see a door at the end of the hallway. The faster she ran, the further away it got. Screams and laughter throughout the entire floor filled her ears. “HERE I COME, HERE I COME!”
“No, please! Let me go!” Chrissy looked behind her. The killer stood at the end of the hallway by the stairwell door, his grin a demented rictus. “Oh, god!”
“NO GOD! NO GOD!” The killer giggled.
Chrissy wanted to believe he was a ghost and couldn’t hurt her, but she knew he could. She saw what happened to Danny. She turned away from the maniac, hoping this door would lead her outside to safety.
It was gone.
She heard slow steps approaching her. She closed her eyes and clenched her fists, knowing her fate. She shivered at a whisper of breath on her neck.
“Here I am.”
Fiction © Copyright Sheri White
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Author Sheri White:
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When the Clock Strikes 13 is a collection of thirteen short horror stories by some of the best horror and dark fiction authors writing today. Inside, you will find stories to frighten, shock and gnaw at your inner fears, and take you places that belong only in the dark recesses of your mind. There are monsters on these pages; some are human, some are not.