Chapter 1: Sitting In
All he had to do was stay there and help them along as they talked. That was what Bob kept telling himself as he walked down the perfectly white hall of the sanitarium.
Smith's Grove. That was the place where one of his former college friends now worked as a psychiatrist to the clinically insane. Today though, he had to help his sister move into a new place and he wanted Bob to just simply sit in and babysit a group that was scheduled to have a session. He wasn't even supposed to actually interfere with their conversation, just sit back and monitor them to make sure that they didn't do anything to either themselves or each other.
Bob himself, had never wanted to work with these type of people. He enjoyed helping those who were still able to function out in the world. These people though, were completely unstable and unfit to even step out into the real world and be able to take care of themselves. These were the people that depressed him, and even the people that scared him at times.
He stopped at the door that was marked Conference Rm. 2210. Looking at the door, he sighed. Those few seconds before he opened the door and walked in were all he had to prepare himself for what he was about to hear about here. It wasn't so much that he wouldn't be able to listen to these people, but more of the helplessness that came with it, the fact that all he was allowed to do was just sit there and listen.
"Hey look! It's the babysitter that Doctor Cromley promised!" a man announced as Bob stepped in and closed the door behind him.
"Yes, I'm uh," he stopped and scanned the room a brief moment. "I'm Doctor Hartley."
There just wasn't much here. A group of chairs placed in a circle containing six people. The floor was tile, the white walls containing windows with light blue curtains. It wasn't as bad as one would expect to see, but it still bothered him.
A woman, she looked about Emily's age, sat directly before the chair set aside for Bob. Her eyes followed him with intense interest, a smirk forming on her lips. Her hand nervously twitched as she reached up and brushed her fine, light brown hair back behind her ear. "Is this all really necessary? I already know why I'm here, and I know better than to mutilate anyone or anything," she curtly explained.
Bob sat down and looked to her, wishing that he could know what was going on in her mind right now. "Well, uh, well why don't you go ahead and tell us all why?" he requested, hoping that this wasn't how the rest of the hour was going to continue.
"Erin! You're making him nervous," stated a young girl who sat next to her. She looked like she could only be about twenty years old. A face that always looked like she was on the verge of tears.
"It's okay," he quickly assured her, wanting to keep everyone calm.
Erin rolled her eyes and then focused her attention on Bob. "This kid, Jeremy. Never spoke. All he did was watch us and then a few times invited us up to his shed. There, we got to watch him do creepy and messed up things," she bluntly stated.
"Just because he didn't use to talk doesn't mean that he was bad. I used to never speak," a young man informed her. He looked as if he hadn't slept in a few days.
Erin looked to him, offended. "He would hurt us," she flatly responded. "He hurts me overtime I see him in my dreams, and every fucking time that I think of him. That's every fucking day Tyler!" she cried out, starting to get hysterical. Her chair fell back as she stood up, towering over Tyler.
"Miss!" Bob called to her. "Please, please just sty calm," he politely requested. The last thing he wanted to do was to have to go get a nurse to take care of her.
Erin stopped and looked to him. "What? No shot?" she asked, calming herself.
Bob shook his head. "No, I don't, I don't like to use sedatives and all of that," he answered.
Erin took a moment and sighed as she picked her chair back up and sat back down on it.
"A regular Doctor Zeller," Tyler remarked, crossing his arms and looking in the opposite direction from Bob.
Bob slightly smiled and looked over to the man. "Who?" he questioned. He had briefly studied a Doctor by the name of George Zeller, but figured that anyone who didn't have to know who was, wouldn't bother researching him.
Tyler turned and looked to him, studying him as if he were trying to figure out whether or not he could trust him. "He was the first doctor to actually talk to his patients and not restrain and abuse them. One of his successful patients include Rhoda Derry. A girl who before seeing him, had gauged her own eyes out because of the hallucinations she was experiencing," he quietly stated.
"That's impressive," Bob replied.
"I did a paper on him when I was in pre-med to become a psychiatrist," Tyler informed him and then turned his head back to the wall.
For some reason, the fact that this man was going to become a psychiatrist before ending up here, struck something in Bob. It made him uneasy feeling, making him wonder what it was that pushed him over the edge.
Erin looked down and shoved her hand into her pocket. "Doctor Hartley? I know we're not really supposed to be talking to you right now, but I have something that I need you to take. I need you to take it far away from me and never let me see it again. Ever," she told him.
"What is it?" he implored, knowing that he was most likely, about to regret it.
Erin pulled a picture out and handed it to him. It was a class picture from when she was a little girl. "He's in that picture."
Bob accepted the photo and nodded. He didn't pay attention as he folded it up and slid it into his pocket. The names were written on the back of it. The bottom line read J. Cotton, R. Reynolds, G. Perry, J. Peters, E. Collins, and E. Harrison.