Chapter Eight: Mentally Unstable

They're never going to let me go home. I'll never see my baby again. They think I don't know they're watching, but there's a mirror that takes up half a wall that's adjacent to the one window in my room. I worked at this hospital for years. Behind that mirror is a room where Dr. Jenkins and his people are sitting, watching me slowly deteriorate.

Michael came yesterday, but he only stayed for a few minutes. I knew he'd been told I was too dangerous to be around. My plan to find the truth was put on hold, because there were too many people watching me. I'm not worried about it, though. I'm going to be here for a long time.

"How are you today, Whytnee?" said Maggie Bryce, the nurse I've had since I came here. She might be the only one who doesn't see me as a threat. In many ways, she reminds me of myself, because I was never afraid of the patients, no matter what their chart said about them. Maggie walked into the room confidently and handed me a small plastic cup. Inside were the pills that would could me compliant and drowsy, so I couldn't hurt anyone.

"I'm great," I told her, even though it was a big fat lie. I needed a way to get some freedom, or else I would never be able to get down to Nick's old room. Maybe I could lie my way out.

"Wonderful," she said in that sweet tone. It was apparently the only tone she had. She took the cup back and I obediently showed that I'd swallowed my pills, and then she left the room. I curled back up on my bed and waited for something to happen. A few minutes later, there was a knock at the door.

"Hello, Whytnee," Casey Ryder said, walking in.

"Sheriff," I said, sitting up. She came over and sat down in the chair next to me. "What brings you here today?"

"I want to talk," she said, and I knew immediately that something was up. If I told her the wrong thing, I'd be locked up forever.

"Okay," I told her. "What about?"

"How you ended up a patient at the mental hospital," Casey said. "And might I add, the same mental hospital you were a nurse at for many years."

"There's not much to say," I told her carefully. "I had what you might call, a mental lapse?"

"I'm sure you want answers just a badly as I do," she said. "Speaking of which, was the information helpful at all?"

"Not really," I admitted. "It didn't jog my memory like I'd hoped it would." I got up from the bed and began pacing around the room. I watched myself in the mirror for a few seconds, and then I had to look down. I walked over to the window and placed a hand on the glass. "I hate this."

"I understand," she told me, and I had to squeeze my fist. I turned to look at her.

"No, you don't," I said, pressing my back up against the wall. "You have no idea what it's like to lose an entire year's worth of memories."

"I understand how you feel, Whytnee," she told me again. "I'm not saying I've been through it, but I know people who have."

"That's not the same," I said. "My best friend killed everyone I loved. And I can't even remember it."

"Whytnee"-

"And then, after I managed to move on and find a new family of friends, he killed them all again. Don't tell me you know what's it like."

"I think we can stop for now," she said, and I saw it in her eyes. She was afraid of me, too. Just like everyone else. I turned away from her and caught my expression in the mirror. I looked like a savage. My eyes were wild, like I might attack at any moment. Was this how I'd looked the entire time? I heard a scraping noise, and I looked back at Casey. She was standing up now, and heading for the door. I didn't say anything as she left the room.

"You're trying to scare them now, aren't you?"

I jerked my head around to look at Nick. He was lying in my bed, arms behind his head. "I don't see you helping."

He sat up and said, "If you really want them to think you're not insane, you're going to have to stop giving them that death glare."

"Any other helpful hints?"

"Nope." He left then, and my bed was suddenly empty. It was almost painful having this kind of relationship with Nick. He was right, though. I had to do something to get away from the constant guarding.

I walked over to the door and tried the knob. It was locked, as always. Even if it wasn't, there were two large men standing on the other side, waiting for me to try and escape. I went back to my bed and waited.

. . .

"I have faith in you, Whytnee," Dr. Jenkins told me, "I really do. But you're not going to go home any time soon if you keep insisting that these things are true."

"Then keep me forever," I said. "I'm sick of hiding it from everyone."

"Nick Carson is dead," Dr. Jenkins insisted for the tenth time today. "He's not coming back." As if to mimic my sickness, Nick stood right behind the idiotic doctor and waved at me. I looked away.

"I know I'm crazy, doctor," I said, still looking away. "I know it's not real. But it's still there."

"That's a start, I suppose," he sighed, and stood up. "You've been seeing me for nearly three years now. Why are we just now talking about it, if it's been happening all this time?"

"I knew this would happen," I said simply, gesturing around us. "I was trying to avoid the inevitable, obviously." He made his way to the door, and ushered in the two guards. This was one of the rare times I was allowed out of my room. But I was always sent right back. I almost wished they'd just do therapy in my room. "I can walk just fine on my own," I told them when they each took an arm. They looked to Dr. Jenkins, and he nodded. I walked down the hall to my room without their hands cutting off my circulation.

"Thanks," I spit at them once I was safely locked up again. I wasn't even made at them, or Dr. Jenkins. I was mad at myself, for allowing him to get inside my head and do this to me. I was going crazy, and it was all his fault. I was alone for a good five minutes before I realized he was in here, singing.

"Once a cheater, twice a bitch, better hope nobody decides to snitch."

I looked around, and finally saw him by the window, watching outside like he did when he was alive. It was easy to imagine him that way, if not for the wavering of his body every so often. I ignored him and sat down on the edge of the bed.

"Once a cheater, twice a bitch," he sang again, louder, when I didn't respond. I looked up and he was standing closer to me. "Better hope nobody decides to snitch."

"Go away," I said simply, lying down.

"Can't," he told me, coming even closer. "There's still too much to do."

"I don't even know what that means," I sighed.

"It means, we're going to have a lot of fun in the next few days," He told me, standing right next to me. The worst part about it was that I couldn't even slap him. I rolled over, still trying to ignore him, but I knew he wouldn't leave. Not until he was ready.

"On the bright side," he continued, as expected, "you're going to find what you're looking for here. I'll even help you get out of this dump."

"I don't want your help," I moaned. "I want you to go the hell away."

"I told you, I can't do that," he said. "If I leave now, I'll miss the show." He came over and sat down in the chair that was always beside my bed, and crossed his arms over his chest.

"What will it take to make you go away?" I asked. "For good?"

"As soon as you find out what you so desperately want to know, I'm gone," he said, and got up again. "And I'll never come back."

"I don't believe that, but okay." I paused and then thought of something. "If you know, why can't you just tell me?"

"Well, for one, you wouldn't believe me." He was right about that. I wouldn't. "And two, that ruins the fun." He disappeared before I could protest, but I knew he'd be back. He always came back.

. . .

"Whytnee," a voice calls out. I look around, searching for the owner. Claire's old friend walks toward me: Todd. I start to ask where Claire is, and then she's there beside me, and I realize that's why they're coming over here. I watch as they greet each other, but ignore me completely. And then I see the black figure sneaking toward them.

"Watch out!" I cry, but they evidently can't hear me. I run after the stranger, but it feels like I'm running in place. The figure comes steadily closer, and he pulls a knife out of his jacket. I feel certain that it's Nick, and I prepare to call out again, when I see him.

Standing off to the side, watching. Not stalking.

I look back to the masked stranger, and they stop suddenly, looking back at me. I can't see their face, but somehow I know that they're smiling at me. And then the hand holding the knife flies out and takes Todd down.

Nick watches approvingly, even applauding lightly. When he looks back in my direction, he gives me a chilling smiling.