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I walk silently down the corridor, familiar sounds of screaming patients and the nurses attempting the calm them down.  Over time I’d learned to tune them out, act like they don’t exist, none of them were my concern, as awful as it makes me sound, I care for MY patients with all my being. I can’t care for them if I worried about the ones that I can do nothing for.

I specialized in children and teenagers, nothing out of the ordinary ever comes through my doors they always seem the same. Depressed or twitchy I can help just about any case though despite any difficulties.

The kids that come in through … all had the same look in their eyes. It makes them so recognizable, so connected. I suppose that’s why she stood out.

After a while of sitting in that old chair that reeked of English leather and colon oddly enough, a nurse walked in. I didn’t look up from my Sudoku game until she made a grunt like sound to get my attention. I manage to avert my eyes from my paper to see the thin nurse with her hair tied back in a bun.

“Come on sweetie don’t be shy.” Her voice was soft and kind as she guided a small girl into the room. I tilt my head and push the paper aside, her appearance at first glance seemed the way you’d picture a girl in this kind of place to look like.

White clothing, with several rips and tears in them. Short choppy midnight black hair in a matted mess that covered most of her face.

She hesitantly allowed the nurse to walk her in and sit her down; she kept trembling like a dying leaf fearing the autumn breeze. I couldn’t see any aspect of her face, which did bug me a tad bit. She took a seat and right away pulled her knees to her chest hugging herself tightly. I smile and start asking questions.

“So what’s your name?” She looked at me with worried eyes, as if begging for help. She then looked over her shoulders and around the room.

“Is it-“” Yes it’s safe, now how about a name.” She nodded and gulped loudly.

“S-Samantha … but most people call me Sammy … you can choose either one.” She moved her hair out of her face enough to let me get a good look.  It was astonishing to me how she kept her face hidden.

She had pale, nearly paper white skin, a tiny nose thin eye browns rosy cheeks, and the feature that really caught my eye her eyes. They were bright yellow, or maybe gold it was hard to tell, but they were so interesting.

“Can you tell me why you’re here?” I asked clicking my pen. She shudders as if recalling a horrific night-mare, her skin drained of what little color it had. I sigh knowing it’d be a lost cause trying to get her to talk about whatever she encountered.

“Ok how about an easier question … what are you so scared of?” I tried to keep my voice calm and soothing, to keep the girl from worrying. She eyed the window behind me cautiously, making a whimper like sound.

“Th-that!” She lifted a trembling boney finger and pointed. I spin around in my chair, expecting something to be gazing in at me. To my surprise I find that there’s nothing but the trees, and a few nurses walking about. I turn back to her and smile.

“You can’t see him, he won’t let you … he wouldn’t let Mommy or Daddy see either … that must be why I’m here. They want me to stop seeing the man … but I can’t!” Her voice cracked, and tears began to form in her eyes. Her hands balled up into tiny quivering fist as she began to sniffle.

“What does the man look like?” I pull out my pad and click my pen. She took a deep breath before attempting to speak again.

“He’s … tall, abnormally tall … pale as the snow … and … “She stopped talking and hide her face in her knees beginning to sob. I wrote down what little information she gave me and set my material down. She shook her head back and forth repeating one word.

“No.”

Her condition seemed like nothing out of the ordinary. Just a hallucination and slight paranoia, I’ve dealt with many cases like hers before.

“What, no what?” I asked pushing my blacked rimmed glasses to the bridge of my nose. She never looked up; she just kept saying the same word, slowly raising her voice.

“Is the man here?” She nodded looking up, her hair once again masking her face. I tap my pen on my desk making a humming sound.

“Y-Yes! He’s … behind you …” She choked the words out. I knew there was nobody there but I knew it’d make her feel slightly better if I turned to look and make sure. To my surprise I see that the three nurses that once stood outside had vanished, it was odd seeing as they were three moments ago talking. I shake it off and look for any ‘tall man’

“Sammy there’s nobody out here.” I turn back to see she had hidden under her chair, her face hidden completely. I sigh in frustration making it sound like a sigh of defeat.

“Sammy … why do you hide your face like that?” She stayed under the chair curled in a ball but managed to choke out a faint answer.

“Mommy doesn’t like my eyes … she says they’re the devils eyes.” I shake my head in disapproval. My mom was never perfect but she would never say something so terrible, though it happens to many children.  Parents aren’t always the perfect image that the modern day media makes them out to be, many are stone cold.

“That’s not true, I think they look lovely you should show them more.” I try to encourage her. She pokes her head out from underneath the chair and smiles. Her face looks sweet and kind, as if she’s a totally different person.

“Thank you … the man isn’t here anymore … “She sits back in her chair. I look behind me out the window at the yard, of course nobody was there, though there was a piece of paper tacked to the large oak tree in the center of the yard that wasn’t there a moment ago.

“Are you sure he was there in the first place Sammy?” I ask. She nods kicking her feet back in forth, biting one of her finger nails.

“He’s always close by … but now I can’t see him … that means he’s busy with someone else.” She looks out the window once more before never returning her gaze to the outside … during that session that is. We talked a while longer until her ride came and her mother picked her up.

“Alright you take care Sammy. Same time next week okay.” She looked back at me and smiled, I notice how her hair was back in her face. My assumption was she feared making direct eye contact with her mother.

Her mother walked up to me, the smell of cheap perfume engulfing her completely in a cloud of nauseating fumes, a gallon of make-up coating her face, which was pulled into a strange look, most likely the result of Botox.

“I trust you’ve made progress with her.” She scowled at me head to toe. I crossed my arms and return a glare.

“I paid you to FIX my daughter Mr. Adams I’ll take you to court if she d-“” With all due respect Ms. She isn’t a car, she can’t be fixed in a few hours … it’ll take time … now she kept speaking of a man … a tall man.” The mother grunted and grabbed a chunk of her hair in frustration.  I knew I’d struck some kind of nerve with the woman.

“She never shuts up about that damned thing! God, you make her stop talking about it or else!” Before I had a chance to debate once again the woman turned and stormed down the hall leave a trace of the toxic cloud behind. I cough and step back into my office murmuring the most foul of words under my breath.

Later that day I began packing my things, the days grown old so quickly when you have interesting patients, I yawned and scratched the back of my neck walking away.

“Yeah they said they just vanished! Then … my god …” I heard sobbing outside the door. Feeling a bit nosey I open it only slightly. I saw a nurse, the same one that had brought Samantha to me; she was facing a man in a deep blue police uniform. She kept murmuring strange things.

“I know its hard Madame but can you tell me what you saw?” She nodded her head and managed to stop sobbing.

“I was strolling through the woods with Mary Anne, m-my friend, when we smelt something putrid, we investigated to see where it was  … when we stepped through the brush … we saw them …” She hugged her self-tight as if being constricted by a straitjacket. The officer began writing down on his pad, keeping an empty gaze the whole time.

“Three other nurses … all nailed to the trees. One lady was crucified her stomach was ripped open and several of her organs were lying before her, the other two her stakes driven through their skulls and throat, also mutilated. There was so much blood …” She began weeping once again.

I push the door all the way open looking at the two of them timorously. They looked to me, both empty gazes.

“What’s going on …?” I ask a hint of fear in my voice. He tucks his note pad back into his pocket and looked me dead through the lens of my glasses. The nurses hide her face in her hands her shoulders bobbing up and down as she sniveled.

“Three nurses were found dead in the forest … Linda Carp, Julian Fisher, and Kristen Gates I trust you know them?” I nod in response to his question. He looked to the nurse and dismissed her. She wasted no time and dashed down the corridor weeping.

“There were no finger prints what so ever … “

Years passed and the case went unsolved. Nobody ever figured out whom or what killed those women. It baffled the whole town … then the state, pretty soon everybody was talking about the cold case, and rumor circulated. All nonsense, I knew it was nothing more than an escaped patient … at least that’s what I forced myself to think.

I continued working with Samantha, getting a little closer each day. She told me her condition was getting better and the man appeared only in her dreams. It made me happy that I could watch her grow up. Our time started when she was young, nothing but a child, and all to her late teens.

I was sitting in my office once more with Samantha sat across from me; a look of melancholy masked what small a portion of her face I could see. It struck me as odd seeing as she had been coming in happy for the past weeks.

“I …. I’ve been seeing him again … the man.”  I sigh and set my palms flat on my desk. I thought I had made such good progress. She hung her head in shame, biting her lower lip, her hair falling back over her face.

“I know I know … but this time … I have proof!” I sprung up and looked into her bright yellow eyes. What she said took me by great surprise, and my face read nothing less than astonishment. He was just something formulated in her mind … right?

She dug around in her back pocket pulling out a folded photograph. I eyed it spuriously as if it were a knife. Sammy set the photo on my desk and sat back in her chair awaiting my response. Slowly I pull it towards me; I take a deep breath and hesitantly open it.

I take a second to focus on it, bright green scenery filled with several trees. Then I saw it … I still don’t know what to make on it. I recall a tall dark figure with skin white as the driven snow and absolutely NO features. Strange tendril like things appeared to be coming from it … or maybe they were limbs … I can’t really say.

“You mean this is … how can this be … “I’d been taught to find a logical reason for any situation, but my mind was blank. This picture was unreal, nothing seemed to click. My brain and words could seem to connect at all, so I just gaped as I slide it back to her.

“He says my time draws near … I wish I could stay and- AH!” She jumps out of her seat grabbing a fist full of her hair. I jolt and begin to panic as she starts coughing horribly. A wave of fear swept through me as I raced to her side and began to pat her back.

“Sammy come on now … Nurse, NURSE!” A woman in a white dress came in and ran off with Samantha. I plop down in my chair not sure what to think. She just started coughing out of nowhere, and the look in her eyes was more than horrified, as if she’d seen Lucifer himself. I hide my face in my hands and groan, too much crazy for one day.

*SMACK* I jump as something hits the window behind me. My heart beats at a pace fast enough to where it could burst from my chest at any given moment. I turn around and look outside the window, The trees seemed darker and the grass was grey though nobody stood outside . I scratch my head and look closer at the glass.

A strange symbol had been drawn onto it, or better put engraved. A large circle with an X through it. I could see traces of rust from whatever object they’d you to do the carving. It looked familiar … but I couldn’t seem to figure out why. Perhaps I’d seen it as a child in some cultist movie. It didn’t look demonic or satanic though I knew it read pure evil. I set my hand to the chilly glass, running it over the symbol even though it was on the other side. It had to have been put there while I was away, that’s the only explanation.

I walk out of my office to see Sammy standing totally still, every nurse in the corridor stood watching her wide eyed with faces of anticipation. She began twitching and making odd humming sounds, nobody moved an inch in fear she’d snap and attack them. I as well stood frozen watching her muscles break into a spasm. Sammy began to grip her hair pulling it harshly.

I break out of my frozen state and jump over to her pulling her hands away from her head. She screamed in resistance and tried biting me more than once, I began to question her sanity at that point. Sammy twisted and squirmed around in a vain attempt to break free. A woman in a white dress rushed towards us hold with a syringe, severely injecting it into her. It took a moment but, as soon as whatever was in the vile kicked in she began to calm down. In no time at all she was completely blacked out, falling back into my arms.

“Sammy …” I hated myself for it but I had to recommend admitting her, to which her mother had no complaints … bitch. Not a day went by that I didn’t visit her. She was now extremely paranoid and jumped at the slightest of sounds, her coughing only got worse an she zoned out a lot as if she was engaged in a different conversation, and the second one must have been more interesting because she’d never reply to me if whatever she saw was talking.

Time passed again and Sammy fell deeper and deeper into whatever madness she’d discovered. It seemed unreal, she was fine just days ago and now she was off her rocker, seeing things hearing a voice not many just one, she told me during one of my visits.

“So Sammy how are we today?” She stared blankly at me, I could tell just how broken she was by that pit in her eyes that void of emotion. She turned her head averting her eyes away from me, it hurt knowing she couldn’t speak so clearly anymore.

“ … fine … he hasn’t spoke to me yet today … make you visit quick please before he shows …” She picks at a scab on her hand while looking me dead in the eyes, dark bags hanging underneath her own. I take out a pad and pencil and start asking her question like my normal visits, everything was seemingly normal as far as I could tell at first. Sammy would give a late reply ever now and again and jump whenever she head a squeaky cart go by her door. I still felt she was holding back other information.

Feeling like I could most likely remember anything important she’d say I closed the pad and dropped it to the floor along with my pencil. Sammy jumped at the sound of the objects hitting the floor as I knew she would, before sitting back down. I smile and push my glasses up the bridge of my nose hoping to establish trust with the poor paranoid girl. She look at the pad the back up to me, a bit confused, as I could tell by her expression.

“Alright Sammy … it’s just you and me now …. No files no records no writing, you can trust me right?” She paused at first not sure rather or not to believe me and trust my approach. After a moment of her empty cold stare she sighed and gave a halfhearted nod.

“Alright, now what can you tell me about this man you’ve been seeing?”  She pulled her knees to her chest shivering. The cold empty void in her eyes became replaced with an odd unexplained glint that I’d see too many times to like!

“He’s coming soon … I can’t do anything for him in here, and that’s simply not going to work NO! No, it’s not …. He he … he’s coming to get me! There’s not a damn thing you can do now doctor!!!” She jumped out of her seat and began to laugh manically her right shoulder would pop up every now and again in a twitch along with her left eye and both legs. I watched as the girl began to spaz uncontrollably breaking into a coughing fit.

“HE’S HERE, DOC!!” She crackled throwing her head against the table. I jump out of my seat and scream for a nurse. Samantha’s coughing got worse along with her twitching, and she let out a blood curdling scream loud enough to send me out of my seat and into the corridor.

“Nurse we need a nurse NOW!” I demand rushing out of the room, Sammy’s laughter still surging through my ears. She screamed bloody murder once more …. before all sound stopped. A few nurses had gathered and were just outside of the room, bewildered looks masked their faces. I swallow the lump that had built up in my throat before sticking my head back in the door way.

… There stood no girl … Sammy had vanished. I walk in fully, beyond awestruck, she was nowhere to be found. The room was small had no windows and one door, there’s no logical explanation as to how she’d got out of that room. The only thing I could think of was … I’m crazy.

“Sammy?” I call out, never to gain a response. I look at all the nurses around me before heading to my office, prepared to forget all about this day, about Sammy, then voice in her head, about everything!

Hours pass by and I’m still unable to shake the day’s events. My head felt like it was full of illogical explanations which it probably was.

I stare at the screen of my computer, the Bing logo just above the search bar. I’d spoken with a few nurses and descried what she showed me in the photo and … oddly enough some of them gave me a response which I truly did not want. I was ready to let this case melt away and never entertain the thought of bringing it back up again. Though … now I had somewhere to start looking.

My fingers begin to tap the keys as my eyes stayed locked on the monitor as the word began to formulate.

‘Operator’

I sit back as it loads my eyes growing weary. The day had taken its toll on me and, only now was I realizing it. I close my eyes, just for a second, sleep felt like a complete bliss. I didn’t even notice that I was resting my head on my desk.

A picture began to form, a very disturbing picture. I saw trees, just endless tree stretching as far as my poor eyes could see.  Corpses were impaled upon the sharp blade like branches, most of which … looked like children. I turn around to see Samantha crackling like a mad man with her back turned to me.

My head pops up sending my glasses off, I looked to see the screen had loaded. Brushing the dream off I begin to scan the monitor for any evidence, and I’m shocked by what I find to say the least. The same man I saw in her photograph was everywhere! Pictures, documents, even videos this was beyond my level of understanding to be truly honest.

I turned my computer off and began to pack up. The events playing over and over again in my head baffling me. Giving up I decide it’s time to head home.

I stand outside my house putting the key into its slot, my eyes begging for a break. I yawn loudly pushing the door open stepping in.

“Hey there Doc…” I spin around expecting to see a nurse. To my surprise, there’s nobody. I shrug it off and deem it my mind playing tricks with me as I walk to my room. An eerie feeling sweeping over me, consuming my entire person. Everybody can tell when their being watched it’s just something all human’s share.

Feeling as if I’m not just paranoid and as if somebody WAS watching me I grab a knife from the kitchen and make my way towards the back door, though … I stopped at the window as something had caught my eye.

Oddly enough there stood a female with nappy black hair, a dark mask draped over her nose concealing all below it bandages covering her forehead and arms she sported, from what I could tell in the dark, a baggy black T-shirt and black jeans … the one thing that truly stood out where her eyes. Glowing  yellow eyes that I could almost swear I’d seen before.

I look closer to see a strange featureless figure behind her. I jump skip and hop to the back door flinging it open only to see neither stood where I’d seen them moments ago. I blink almost certain that I was losing my head at that point.

Then I did the only thing I could think to do …  went to bed and waited for my problems to solve themselves

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