A/N- This is sort of a companion story to Where Time Stands Still. Rating is for, well, unpleasant things.

Garden of Madness Case Studies

1- The Mantrap

Cody lit up another cigarette. His friends slid out of the old station wagon and headed towards the asylum ruins. He threw the cigarette to the ground, stomping it out.

"Uh, guys," a frail, nerdy boy with coke bottle glasses asked. "Are you sure we're allowed here?"

Cody scoffed. "And be stuck in class with Mr. Peterson? Yeah, right." One other teenager, a girl, followed them.

"Where do we start?" the girl asked.

"Why of course," Cody said. "The front entrance." The three walked to the oak doors and pushed them open.

Rob and Marissa looked at him once inside. "What next?"

"We split up!" Cody said.

Rob cringed. "Really?"

Cody smiled.

Marissa narrowed her hazel eyes. "Okay, but if you get lost, don't come crying to me." She and Rob walked off.

Cody walked down the hall. Thirst gnawed at him. Why did he forget his water in the car? He looked around and found what in the dim light resembled a large stone pitcher of water.

He ran towards it and dipped his hands in the pitcher. He raised his hands to his mouth and drank. This wasn't water, it was nectar.

Cody reached again into the pitcher, but stumbled. The sun peeked through the clouds, revealing what exactly he had fell into. This was no stone pitcher; the interior felt like wax paper. A lid had slammed shut, trapping Cody inside the pitcher. He screamed, banging on the walls, but to no avail. The walls of the pitcher did not yield.

"I'll show you what we do to intruders here!" a deep, gruff voice whispered in his ear. The pitcher quickly filled up with a foul-smelling liquid. Cody felt some of the liquid splash him on the arm. He shrieked. The liquid had burned some of the skin off.

"Struggling won't do you any good," the voice taunted. "You're mine."

"Cody! Where are you?" Marissa called out. She shone the flashlight beam down the hall.

Rob pointed down the hall. A scream echoed down the hall.

"He better not have found a dead body," Marissa groaned. She and Rob walked in the direction. Her flashlight beam fell on something. A green humanoid figure stood with his back against the wall. In his hands was a large brightly-colored pitcher. The lid was clamped on tight.

The pitcher shook slightly, accompanied by muffled screams.

"Someone's in there!" Rob and Marissa said in near unison. They rushed to the pitcher and attempted to lift the lid.

The figure opened his eyes. "Go ahead," the voice sneered. "See what good it does you!"

The teenagers struggled. The lid felt glued on.

The figure just laughed. Two vines wrapped around the teenagers' waists and tossed them aside. A smile crossed the creature's face. He lifted the pitcher lid, revealing Cody's skeleton. Clothing still clung to the skinless remains.