II

I wasn't very optimistic that the doctor was going to keep his word. After all, I knew what they said about me. Danger to self and others, delusions of persecution, and fantastical imagination were some of my personal favorites.

However, to my utter surprise, an orderly came at promptly 5:00 to take me to the dining hall. He looked none to happy about it. I guess my reputation as a problem is more of an annoyance to those who work at this place.

In the dining hall, they watched me very closely. I don't think the orderlies approved of the doctors decision to let the animal free. The dining hall was nothing special, despite what the doctor might think. Some reward. The walls were still a bright white, aside from the several food spots that dotted the painted concrete. The tables, typical high school cafeteria issue, were also a white color. I was seriously starting to wonder why white was considered so calming?

The people, my own kind as the doctor put it, were just as I imagined. Some were licking the walls, the tables, or even each other while others were talking to their cold food as if it were talking back. My own kind. I was insulted by this perceived hospitality, or rather, gift for good behavior from the good doctor. What did he take me for?

I sat quietly at a table by myself with two very large orderlies watching me from a distance. I shook my little cup of juice at them with a grin and they just continued to stare. Though, I'm sure I saw a heavy sigh from the one on the left, Score! Well, dinner wasn't much better then lunch. Cold pizza, juice, and a pudding cup…but no silverware, which was expected. I poked at the pizza, sniffed it, and decided I'd rather go hungry. I turned my attention to the pudding cup, how bad could a sealed plastic cup of chocolate substitute be? I was just about to open it when I sensed someone approach me from behind. Instinctively, I tensed up and prepared myself for whatever was coming toward me.

"I see you're enjoying your dinner." said the sarcastic voice. The person moved from behind me and sat on the bench directly across from me. It was a woman, maybe 20 or so, grinning at me through ratty blond hair.

I glared at her. "And you are?" I asked, a little annoyed that my pudding cup experience had now been interrupted. She picked a piece of cheese off of my pizza and popped it into her mouth. I was more then a little grossed out being that, having sniffed the thing, I was pretty sure it had gone bad.

She leaned in close, "I'm just like you. I'm crazy, psycho, off my rocker insane!" she responded, waving her hands manically on the word insane to emphasize her point.

I rolled my eyes and shook my head, really not interested in talking to this person. I proceeded to open my pudding cup, but could still feel her eyes watching me. I glared up at her again, "What?"

"You gonna eat that?" she asked, watching my hands.

"Uh, yeah. I planned on it." I answered back. Then I placed my pudding cup down and gave her my full, undivided attention, which is what she undoubtedly wanted. "Is there something you want from me? Is that why your pestering me?"

She was unfazed, "Nope. Just wanna talk."

"Maybe I don't wanna talk." I retorted.

"Fine. I'll talk, you listen." She said with a wide grin, "It all started a long time ago in a galaxy far far away…"

I rolled my eyes and held up my hand to silence her before she began reciting Star Wars to me. "Please, leave me alone." I asked, almost begged. Then a thought came to mind. Maybe I could scare her off. "I'm criminally insane and might eat your soul!" I said loudly, this time it was I who waved my arms around wildly for emphasis, "I cannot be responsible for my own actions!"

She was unmoved by my theatrics, looking at me as if I were the crazy one. She leaned in close, really close. "Gotta have a soul before it can be eaten, Sam."

I was shocked. She knew my name! She knew me. But how? I had been in isolation the entire time I had been in this hell hole. I knew she could see she had struck a nerve with me. Suddenly, she didn't seem as crazy as before. In fact, she had suddenly become my new best friend.

"I…How…who…" was all I could manage through my stupor.

"Let me guess," she said calmly and more normally then she had been previously speaking to me. "Who am I and how do I know your name?"

I nodded idiotically. Maybe now the answers were going to come. Maybe now I could get myself out of here and find Dean.

"It's written on your tray." she said. And as quickly as my hopes had been inflated, they had been popped and stomped on by a stupid technicality. She stood and glared down and my own undoubtedly defeated form and smiled. "Well, that and it's a small circle we run in, Sam. Not to hard to miss one of us if you know what your looking for."

I glared at her again, disbelief and confusion fought for dominance in my brain. "Are you a…"

"Hunter?" she said, finishing my question for me. "Well, I guess that's something you'll have to ask me next time we see each other. Dinners over and your bodyguards are on their way over."

"What's your name?" I managed as the two large orderlies grabbed me from my seat and proceeded to drag me out of the dining hall.

"Katie." she called back.

***

"So, How was your first dining hall experience, Sam?" Doctor Michaels said the next afternoon during our therapy session. I was reluctant to mention anything of the girl I had met and of the new found hope I had in getting myself away from this place.

"Fine." I answered with a weak smile. "Haven't had pudding in a while."

"The orderlies mentioned that you made a friend." He added, ignoring my pudding comment. Shit. I had forgotten about the orderlies watching me like hawks. So I simply nodded warily. "Why don't you tell me about her?" he asked, a knowing and smug grin on his face.

I shook my head, trying to come up with the best possible answer. Since he already thought I was nuts, might as well tell the truth. He wouldn't believe it anyway. "She's a hunter, like me."

"Ah, so you met Katie." He said with out a second thought. "I should have guessed as much. It's so rare to have two people with the condition such as yours and I guess you would be drawn to each other. I thought we had moved past her delusions and now she's feeding them right to you. I suppose I'll have to talk to her about that."

"No!" I shouted unexpectedly. I knew what his talks had involved. I know because I still have the scars to prove it.

"No?"

I managed to calm myself down, "I mean, she didn't mean anything by it. She was obviously crazy."

"Uh-huh." the doc said with a cocky raised eyebrow. Then he wrote something quickly in my chart and excused himself. "I have other patients. Stay on your best behavior Sam."

No, he couldn't just leave. Now I had to know I hadn't just screwed up my one chance. "Doc!." I yelled after him. "Please don't hurt her."

He turned with a know-it-all grin and simply said, "This is a place of healing. We do not hurt anyone."

Which was a flat out lie.