Hollow Moon Part 20
- Hollow Moon Part 1
- Hollow Moon Part 2
- Hollow Moon Part 3
- Hollow Moon Part 4
- Hollow Moon Part 5
- Hollow Moon Part 6
- Hollow Moon Part 7
- Hollow Moon Part 8
- Hollow Moon Part 9
- Hollow Moon Part 10
- Hollow Moon Part 11
- Hollow Moon Part 12
- Hollow Moon Part 13
- Hollow Moon Part 14
- Hollow Moon Part 15
- Hollow Moon Part 16
- Hollow Moon Part 17
- Hollow Moon Part 18
- Hollow Moon Part 19
- Hollow Moon Part 20
- Hollow Moon Part 21
- Hollow Moon Part 22
- Hollow Moon Part 23
- Hollow Moon Part 24
- Hollow Moon Part 25
- Hollow Moon Part 26
- Hollow Moon Part 27
- Hollow Moon Part 28
- Hollow Moon Part 29
- Hollow Moon Part 30
- Hollow Moon Part 31
- Hollow Moon Part 32
- Hollow Moon Part 33
- Hollow Moon Part 34
- Hollow Moon Part 35
The secure ward of St. Sebastian Medical Center’s inpatient psychiatric unit, where suicidal patients were placed for observation and safety, was sequestered behind a separate door on the inpatient floor of the hospital. A large sign with red block letters reading “Elopement Risk” was screwed to the solid oak door that had a heavy magnetic lock at the top. Two hospital security guards had brought a newly sedated suicidal patient by the name of “Esk” in from the emergency department a few minutes ago.
Now, as Esk was waking up, the nurses saw the Reverend from the next town over joining their population of potentially suicidal patrons. The county deputies removed the handcuffs, and the hospital staff did a safety search of the Reverend, issuing him light blue scrubs to wear. Esk would soon be conscious enough to do the same.
“Wow, this is going to be quite a day,” said the charge nurse.
“Yeah. Two high-risk secure unit suicide watches in one morning. I hear the Reverend from Fletcher shot at a guy who was foolin’ around with his wife,” said another nurse.
“I don’t know much about it. This other guy Esk tried to commit suicide with psychotropics, from what the ED report says. I don’t know how he got ahold of the stuff he took, but he’ll be ready to do a safety search and issue scrubs to in a minute. He’s a weird one. Kind of seems to glow a bit or something. Skin condition, maybe.”
“The psychiatrist is going to evaluate them both before shift change, isn’t he?” asked the second nurse.
“You really ought to stop being so eager to gossip. You know it’s against the law and protocol and everything else. Yes, the doctor will evaluate both of them this morning, but don’t go talking about it outside of report. You’ll get us all sanctioned and fired. I like my job. Do you?”
Esk was now fully awake. Looking around, he could see that he had been transported somehow to a different place. The walls were painted-over white cinderblock. They had been painted over many, many times from the looks of it. The room had no door and was an open bay-style design. Only one wide hallway existed, and Esk sat on a steel-frame bed that was bolted to the floor. He ventured as far as the edge of the doorway to look out. There were only six “rooms”, presumably with beds like his own, and a bathroom, which was locked from the outside.
“I’m the charge nurse,” a woman in a patterned scrub top told Esk, “and these two men are mental health workers. The guards will stand outside, but these men need to do a safety search before anything else happens.”
Esk had not even noticed the guards, but they were watching him like predators watch prey. It made Esk uncomfortable. The safety search consisted of making sure that Esk did not have any prohibited items or means to harm himself. After that was finished, Esk was issued his light blue scrubs to put on and the charge nurse stepped back in.
“Where am I?” asked Esk.
“You’re in the secure unit of the inpatient psychiatric unit at St. Sebastian’s.”
“Secure unit? Does that mean that I am safe?”
“Yes, you’re safe, Esk. You were brought here to be safe.”
Esk breathed a sigh of relief. The charge nurse told him that he would have to ask to use the bathroom because a staff member had to unlock it and that he would not be able to lock the door from the inside. Also, he was not allowed to go into other patients’ rooms, but he was allowed in his own room and the dayroom. The dayroom was a small lounge-type area where Esk would be able to sit and visit with other secure unit patients if he chose to. There were cameras mounted in the dayroom and next to the main door out of the secure unit.
Esk was taken on a short tour under bright lights set in the high ceilings. He saw that the table and chairs in the dayroom were also bolted to the floor. A door with a tiny square observation window stood next to the outer door. Esk inquired about it. The charge nurse told him that through that door was a small, padded room where patients could go or would be placed as not to be able to harm themselves if necessary. It did not lock from the inside, either—only from the outside, like the bathroom. She assured Esk the patients were not put in that room unless absolutely necessary and were released the moment it was safe to do so. When his orientation was over, Esk decided to return to his own room. As Esk approached the doorway, another patient stepped out of the room across from his. There stood the Reverend Bandersnatch.
Sam parked his truck in Dr. Severius’ reserved parking space and waited. The sun was coming up over the top of the prison. Its rays struck Sam in the eye. Pain erupted in Sam’s head, and he reached for his sunglasses in the glovebox. The long night had not done anything for Sam’s patience with annoyances. A black sedan pulled up behind Sam’s truck and honked. Sam knew who it was. It was Dr. Severius. The car honked again, this time longer. Sam did not move or show any intention of doing so. The dark four-door squealed its tires in reverse and pulled into visitor parking in a separate lot. This was Sam’s opportunity.
As the man cursed and threw his keys on the dash, he saw the door of the truck parked in his spot open. He decided to get his briefcase out of the trunk since he was late and then deal with the intruder. By the time he fumbled his keys into his pocket and walked around to his open trunk, he heard footsteps approaching him—boots, yes, cowboy boots. Sam stepped around the rear driver’s side panel of Severius’ car and made his presence known.
“Dr. Severius, I got a bone ta’ pick with ya’.”
“Why, Sam Wilkins. It is Sam, right, if I remember correctly? You brought the fellow I’m doing research with to the prison that first day, didn’t you?” Severius blurted out.
Dr. Severius knew why Sam was there, and he searched in vain for the tire iron in his trunk with his free hand behind his back. His blind search finally turned up the weapon, and he grasped it tightly.
“What did ya’ do ta’ him, Severius? Huh? You use some a’ that medicine on ‘im like ya’ do the pris’ners? I’ve seen what’cha do ta’ them. There’s no way Esk d’served that.”
Dr. Severius swung the tire iron at Sam’s head. Sam always did have quick reflexes, and he avoided the steel rod’s blow. Now Sam was in a rage. He grabbed Severius by the lapels of his suit jacket and lifted him off the ground, slamming him into the side of his precious status symbol. Dr. Severius dropped the tire iron and his briefcase, spilling papers that twitched lightly in the breeze all over the ground. Sam’s searing breath stung his face.
“Not so tough without yer su’ringes, are ya’? Esk’s in the emergency room ‘cause a’ you. I dunno what they’re gonna do ta’ him next, but you’d better get ‘im outta there. Now. B’fore anybody gets hurt, Severius.”
A dark patch appeared at the crotch and spread down the legs of Dr. Severius’ khaki pants. Sam dropped him and walked back toward his truck, never looking back. The deep rumble of Sam’s engine filled the air and Sam was gone. Dr. Severius finally began breathing again. He struggled on his hands and knees to pick up the papers that had blown around on the grass behind the parking lot, stuffing them haphazardly back into his scuffed briefcase. Severius did not bother moving his vehicle out of visitor parking before rushing up to his office to call St. Sebastian Medical Center’s emergency department.
Sam returned to the hospital, having called in sick to work, only to find out that Esk was admitted to the psych ward for a supposed suicide attempt. Due to Esk being under watch in the secure unit, Sam could not visit him. Hot, angry tears left clean trails down Sam Wilkins’ cheeks as he turned and flopped down in a waiting room chair, sobbing with heaving breaths.
“Poor Esk,” Sam kept whimpering, “my poor l’il buddy…”