Author's Note: This story is told through the eyes of a human, with very little focus on the other Cullens, as I was trying to focus more on Jasper. They do make an appearance, eventually, or some of them do. This is the fourth installment of the survival series, so hopefully you've already read those. I'm hoping this one will be a bit longer, and a bit more heartwrenching. We'll see. And now, without further ado...
First day on a new job. I was nervous, though Trish, the next-door neighbor's daughter, had assured me everything would be fine as I walked out the front door of my house and left her in charge of my four year old daughter for the day.
Trish, who had just recently graduated high school, had been baby-sitting the neighborhood kids for about five years now, and everyone I had spoken to had thought very highly of her. In fact, she had been suggested several times, as people welcomed us into their neighborhood, that if I needed a sitter, she was the one to go to. So I had called, and she had agreed to watch my child while I worked. She was trying to earn money for college in the fall, and was almost as grateful for the steady job as I was to have a constant sitter.
I hated leaving Sam alone, though. She was small for her age, quiet, and didn't take to people well. She didn't like to be anywhere near most people, unless in the safety of my arms. She seemed okay with Trish, thankfully, and would be fine as long as Trish didn't touch her, which was more than I could say of the last two baby-sitters I had tried. Sam was well-behaved, however, so the no touching rule was rarely an issue.
And after the sitter who had simple picked Sam up and tried to carry her to the table for supper instead of telling her the meal was ready, I always let the baby-sitters know ahead of time anyway.
Sam was coloring as I left. Trish smiled brightly and made sure she had my work number, just in case. She informed me they would probably have lunch around eleven-thirty and asked if I thought Sam might enjoy going to the park two blocks down. I didn't see that it would be a problem. I reminded her I would probably be home around four, then said goodbye.
I arrived at the lot of the hospital where I would be working and found a place to park. It was a bright and sunny day, I noticed. Sam and Trish would have a good time at the park. I took the weather as a good omen as I went inside to meet with my employer.
Doctor Scott greeted me with a smile as false as the warmth he was trying to project as he greeted me. "Welcome, Miss Thomas." He said with exaggerated cheer as he shook my hand. His palms were sweaty. I forced my grimace into a small smile as he continued. "We are delighted to have you here."
"I'm glad to be here." I returned, hoping I sounded more confident than I felt.
He rubbed his hands together briskly and nodded. "Well, let's show you around, shall we?"
The tour wasn't much, the institution was not as large as my first job had been. This place consisted of two stories, with a little over a hundred patients. We checked in on a few as we went, and he told me about others as we walked.
As we reached the end of the tour, I brought up something that had been of concern to me. "I understand that the person I am to be replacing left because of an injury received while working here." I said uncomfortably. I didn't want to sound ungrateful for the job, but I had a child at home. I needed to be sure the institution had not been at fault.
Doctor Scott frowned. "Miss Stone disregarded proper safety protocol in regards to a patient." He said almost angrily.
"I thought-" He quickly cut me off.
"Most of our patients, with the exception of one, are relatively harmless." He informed me. "Miss Stone disregarded those rules set in place for her safety, and suffered the consequences." He seemed rather callous about the whole affair, and about an injury that had cost the young woman her life.
He interrupted once more. "Let me show you something, Miss Thomas." He led me down the last halway, back and away from the other patients. A chill swept down my spine.
The silence was pierced by an almost inhuman scream, as if someone, or something, were in great anguish. I turned to stare at Doctor Scott, who was watching me intently, a cruel smile playing about his lips.
"What-" My question was cut off by a stream of profanities and threats from inside one of the rooms. The voice was harsh and frenzied, but I thought I had heard an undercurrent of dispair in the scream.
To my alarm, Doctor Scott pulled out a key and began to unlock the door. "What are you doing?" I demanded.
He spared me a smile, one that I was convinced was pure evil. I decided I did not like this man at all. "He is restrained." Was his only response as he opened the door and led me inside.
There was a wall of iron bars splitting the room in half. It was remniscent of a prison cell, and I shuddered involuntarily. The prisoner, or patient, was up against the bars, trying to get out. He had been placed into a restraining jacket at some point in the past. He was pale, with dark circles under eyes that were as black as the darkness, and his blond hair was a mess.
He snarled and cursed and raged, and his struggle increased as we entered the room. I worried that he might harm himself. Doctor Scott seemed unconcerned by the patient's actions, or rather, he seemed amused by them. With an odd light in his eyes, he stepped closer to the patient's side of the room.
It nearly drove the patient into a frenzy as he tried to get to the Doctor.
"What's wrong with him?" I asked, horrified. Never, in the years or the hospitals in which I had worked, had I ever seen anything like this.
Doctor Scott chuckled. "Did you find out what the injury actually was?" He asked, his tone overly casual. When I shook my head, he continued. "He convinced her that he could behave without the straight jacket. She took it off, and he spun around and attacked her. Sank his teeth into her throat, scratched her as she fought to get loose. Took five of us to get him off her, for all the good it did her."
I stared at him in shock. Didn't this bother him? How could he be so cold about it? I turned to look at the patient as he threw himself against the bars yet again, his mouth curled into a snarl. How could that woman have thought-
"Some days he's almost lucid." Doctor Scott commented, as though reading my mind. "Charming even, when he isn't after your blood." He chuckled as if at some private joke. "So be on guard; follow the rules."
I realized then that this would be one of the patients I was in charge of. A shudder ran down my spine, and I swallowed nervously.
Disclaimer: As usual, Twilight does not belong to me.