-Twisted Hallways-

A Psychonauts Drabble by Digitaldreamer

Yes, yes, by now I'm sure you're all sick of seeing my writing. But eh, I have nothing better to do in Photography class and the partially written next chapter of CP was at home, so I decided I'd type up a quick drabble.

When I first played through the game, like most people I found the upper floors of the asylum to be exceedingly creepy. Of course, playing through them at night didn't help. I wanted to try and capture some of that in this. I probably didn't succeed, but eh, I tried.

Right, so…onward! Be warned, this hasn't been beta-ed.

Reviews are, as always, greatly appreciated.

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It might have been fine if it weren't for the rats.

Raz could handle most of it. The soft, lonely howls of the wind as it made its way through the aged cracks and crevices of the run down, plain concrete walls, the occasional flickers from light bulbs that should have burnt out ages ago. He could handle the constant dripping from leaking, rusted pipes, he could handle the fact that the fact that the twisted hallways felt like a freezer, his breath coming out in short, visible puffs as he made his way through them. He could handle the dark, the way the shadows seemed to form into monsters on the checkered tile floors, the way the light filtered over rusted, long forgotten wheelchairs and barred windows.

But the rats. Oh God, the rats.

There has to have been some sort of mistake! I'm not crazy, I'm not! No, no, this was all supposed to just be a big joke, I'm not crazy!

But no, they aren't listening, they have me strapped down to the table as they wheel me through the twisting hallways. "Going to shock therapy", they say, "don't worry hun, you'll be right in the head soon." But I know that won't help because I'm already right in the head, but when I say that they won't believe me!

Damn it all, I'm not--

He could hear their tiny little feet as they scrabbled over the rubble-strewn floors, heard them in the walls, squeaking, he could see their little red eyes as they stared at him from the shadows. He would catch them out of the corner of his eye, blurs of dirty, matted fur and hairless tails and oh God they were HUGE!

Most people would say "Oh don't worry, they're just rats and they're more scared of you than you are of them."

Yeah, sure they were. And that was why they kept running at him in packs, murderous intent shining in their beady little eyes just before their scrawny little bodies bubbled and they exploded in his face! And all Raz could do was stumble back and clamp his gloved hands over his mouth, trying not to breath in the terrible yellow gas they left behind, but no matter what he did he always inhaled it! And then he'd be left stumbling around in the dark for minutes, confused and disoriented with no idea where he was or who he was and oh God his stomach…

He didn't understand why the little buggers were acting this way. Perhaps they were just as insane as the inmates who used to frequent this place.

They left him here to die. They said "Oh don't worry Tim, they're sending you to a nice place to get better. We'll see you in a few days, don't worry!" and he never saw them again. How long had it been now? Days? Weeks? Months? There was no sense of time here, just endless white walls and checkered floors, empty and quiet save for his shuddering laughter.

They say he's insane but he's not insane, he knows he's not insane because--

It was no wonder that Oleander and that dentist had chosen this place as a base of operations for kidnapping psychics. Not that Loboto could have known it, but for a wanna-be rescuer psychic to make their way through these twisted halls would be absolute torture. Traces of the former inmates of this place were everywhere, the thoughts and emotions so strong the barest step would result in an onslaught of deranged insanity long since past.

And of course, in order to find his way through, Raz had to lower his mental defenses so he could feel Lili's signature in the mess and follow her trail. So, regardless of how powerful his mental blocks were, they were insignificant in this case.

The voices won't leave and they're sayin' things about that woman who keeps coming in, she says you're crazy but you know you're not and God the voices say to open the window but you shouldn't, you know you shouldn't. You've been good, that's why they let you in the rec room, but they aren't watching you as closely here and the voices say jump but you won't, you won't, you—

Well, didn't he just have all the luck?

So the place was cold, dark, and creepy. And there were the stupid rats and the water dripping and oh man those thoughts weren't his and—

A misshapen something popped around the corner for a moment, it's twisted mass of hair writhing in the shadows like snakes, wide eyes staring at him.

"GAAAAAAAUGH!" Raz stumbled back and let out a cry.

"EEEEEEEK!" So did the thing, and then quite suddenly it was gone.

Raz stood there for a few moments in the dark, shaking, his gloved hand planted over his heart as he panted for breath, staring at the space where the thing had been with wide eyes. He could hear his heart beating quickly in his ears, as if it had leapt into his throat on its own accord, "What was that!?" He sputtered out, his voice echoing through the empty, twisted halls.

He stepped back until he was pressed up against the wall, running his fingers across the concrete for a moment to ensure it was there in the dark.

A flash of a lonely, cold room, a single light bulb flickering overhead and casting shadows over the bare white walls. Where was Marissa? The folks in the coats say she's not real but Kevin knew better, she's here, He knows she is, she—

Raz pulled back his hand as if burned, wincing and shaking his head. Great, the wall was there…but when he turned the corner would that thing be there too?

He slowly made his way along the wall, pressing two fingers to his temple and preparing a Psiblast, just in case. He could hear the rats squeaking out there somewhere, he knew they were watching him but he had to ignore them because there may have been a far bigger threat.

She can't leave. This little white room with its padded walls and its florescent lights is scary, but at least here it's safe, here it's safe. Outside there are the rats and the people say there aren't but she can hear them, she knows they're out there, just like everything else that's out to get her. She hates this room but here it's safe, and she's too scared to leave. She can't leave so she's going to spend forever here, forever and—

Raz finally reached the corner and he swallowed, trying to ignore the way he was shaking. It was okay, he was a Psychonaut, he could handle whatever it was. He could handle it, he could do this.

The ten-year old took a deep breath, then peered over the corner, half-expecting to see some sort of twisted, misshapen monster.

Nothing. Just an empty, dark dead end.

The boy frowned, stepping around the corner and glancing around. Nothing? He closed his eyes for a moment, summoning his bright orange levitation ball, bringing a soft, orange glow to the area and throwing the dead end into focus.

Still nothing. There was nothing there? But he could have sworn he saw something…

"Must've been my imagination…" He muttered with a small, nervous laugh. It was funny how the shadows played tricks on his mind.

Or someone else's, as was quite possible.

God, he hated it here. Why had he come? He was a telepath, for cripes sake! Sending just about any other psychic would have been better than sending a telepath to a place like this, where the thoughts and feelings were written all over this twisted labyrinth. He could feel them all as if they were his own, memories of torments long past, growing despair in sterile white, twisted hallways with no end in sight. This place was never-ending, with stairways that twisted up and sideways and broke off in midair, areas where the ceiling was the floor and the beds were wedged into upside down doors, a terrible maze with no true beginning, no true end, and no sense.

The place was as mad as its former inhabitants, and Raz was starting to feel as if he would go mad as well.

This entire thing wasn't so fun anymore. Did he want to be a Psychonaut? You bet. But God, this place…why couldn't he just leave? He didn't want to wander these halls forever, he didn't—

Where was she going? Who had grabbed her now? She couldn't see anything, couldn't hear anything, and they had that damn helmet on so her powers were gone. She was still cold and slimy for her trip in the mouth of that...that thing, and someone or something had put a blindfold over her eyes. She was helpless in every sense of the word, she couldn't even tell what was up and down anymore!

Where was Raz? Would he follow her? Would he come to her rescue, her knight in shining armor?

Would she—

Jade green eyes shot open. "Lili." Raz gasped out.

She had been here. He was on the right track.

Raz let out a long breath, clenching his shaking hands into fists. "Right…" He muttered, turning back towards the stairs. "I need to find a way out of here…I'm starting to forget what thoughts are mine and what aren't."

And so he made his way through the long-abandoned upper floors of Thorney Towers Home for the Disturbed, shifting through memories long since past and searching for the one that mattered. Because no matter how much he hated this place, no matter how terrible it all was, someone had to do it.

If it meant saving Lili, he didn't really mind.

Raz left one more twisted hallway behind, the only sounds coming from the howl of the wind and the scrabbling feet of the rats that followed.

-The End-