Violent obscurity, p.1
Viole[n]t Obscurity, page 1part #1 of Violent Series
A Dark Romance
Violent, Book One
By Megan D. Martin
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Viole[n]t Obscurity, Violent Book One
Copyright © 2018 Megan D. Martin
Edited by Alexis Durbin
Cover by Najla Qamber Designs
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
First Printing, 2018
Aaron Whitman is my patient. That's all.
The murky words in his skin don't call to me.
His twitchy gray eyes don't make me desire more than I should.
He's my patient.
I'm his psychiatrist, Dr. Adeline Violet.
I'm in control.
Why are you worried?
I can help him. I can cleanse his sadistic tendencies.
He's my patient. Don't you know?
Maximum security Ward Z at Silent River Psychiatric Hospital for Violent Criminals is our home.
He's just my patient.
Thank you for loving me
Flaws, obscurities, darkness and all.
There's an obscurity in us all
A tiny corner for some
A gaping wound for others
A darkness that won't be silenced
A relief, right? If I didn't blink my eyes would dry out. Their corneal surface would become irritated. Debris would get inside them. The pain would be terrible, unbearable. The desire to blink would be horrendous. It would eat away at me until I gave in, which wouldn't be long. But if my eyes were forced open, eventually they would dry out completely. Wouldn't they?
Could you imagine closing your eyelids against crusted sandpaper? Your skin snagging on the jagged craters of what used to be your vision after days, months, years of exposure to the outside world? The eyeball was not meant for the outside world. It was meant to be tucked away safely inside our bodies, taking quick peeks into reality before hiding away, lubricating itself in layers of protection. The pigments of the iris, a myriad of colors protected from the things that wish to destroy it.
The eye dwells in darkness. It finds its solace in just enough light, not too much. But it finds its home in the darkness where it's safe. And isn't that the opposite of where most people find their safety?
Safety is light. Security is sight.
The very thing that allows the human form to see the light, desires exactly the opposite. The eye finds its sanctuary in the shadows of our insides.
Personified, the eye is happiest in sleep, locked away in its own private dungeon. When the eye grows weary, it's hard for the person to focus, no matter how much the brain may want to. The eyes demand relief regardless of anything else. They demand their reprieve, their dues. They must be paid.
But I was no optometrist or eye expert.
I was a psychiatrist, employed at the Silent River Hospital, an all-male, maximum-security psychiatric hospital that houses mentally ill violent criminals, unwanted by the state.
I blinked again, the surface of my eyes, smooth as glass and glanced at Dr. Ranier. "I'm sorry?"
"Are you okay?" His forehead furrowed.
"Of course. Why wouldn't I be?"
"Well, I've been talking to you and you've been staring off into space for longer than normal." I watched as he slipped a hand into the pocket of his white lab coat. It was a large hand. A hand that had touched me intimately before.
I let a bland smile cover my face. "I'm fine, Dr. Ranier."
"I don't know why you don't call me Brian. You know, it's okay to be familiar with your coworkers." He gave me an easy, charming smile. He had a small scar above his eyebrow. From the moment I met him, I'd itched to touch it. To learn the grooves of it, to understand it with my hands.
"I know that. Dr. Ranier."
He shook his head, pulled the hand out of his pocket and ran it over his dark hair. It was graying near the temples, successfully giving him that George Clooney sex appeal, and yet it had been the urge to touch that tiny scar that had lured me into bed with him. He looked disappointed. "I was just asking how you felt about the move?"
"The move?" I walked several steps and leaned against the nurses' station on my left.
"Yes, downstairs, to Ward Z".
"Ah, sure. It's okay. It's a promotion so I can't complain much, can I?" I tucked a piece of my blond hair behind my ear.
He nodded, the look on his face flickering somewhere between concern and smugness. "No one lasts down there. Not for long. You were there when they drug out Dr. Smith."
"I was." I wouldn't forget it either. Standing in the hall when the middle-aged doctor with twenty years experience was wheeled out of the downstairs facility, bleeding cuts covering his face. Self-inflicted. He muttered the words "chicken or fish? Chicken or….FISH? CHICKEN OR FISH? Chicken. Chicken. CH-ick-ennnnn. Fish. Fish. Fish. Fish. Fish."
"It was just a week after I started."
"He worked down there for three years. The longest anyone has lasted since Silent River opened in the 1950s." He stepped closer. "There have been four different psychiatrists assigned to that floor since they wheeled him out. Four. In just six months. They all left, sprinting out of here. Never looking back. Leaving their life work behind for good. I heard Dr. Brightman works at a gas station now and Dr. Hoover is homeless somewhere."
I chuckled. I honestly couldn't help it. "I know the history of the heads of psychiatry down there. Did you also know that twelve of the psychiatric doctors who ran Ward Z committed suicide?"
"That job isn't some sort of joke." Dr. Ranier narrowed his eyes at me. They were brown eyes, flat in color. Lifeless, yet alive.
"You're right about that Dr. Ranier. Which is why they didn't offer you the job." A smug smile covered my face. He'd been at Silent River for two years, which put him above my six months on the job, fresh out of medical school.
"Oh, they did." It was his turn to wear a smug smile. "They offered it to me and every other psychiatrist in this place. Everyone turned the job down. You were the board's last chance to hire someone on staff before trying to look
"The same way I care for all my patients." I stepped back. "Professionally." I smiled. "Now I have my last day of group on this floor, and I need to get to it." I picked up the chart off the nurses' station.
"You won't last a week down there, Adeline," he called after me, but I didn't look back.
Dr. Ranier wasn't the first man in my life or career who tried to scare me into submission. One didn't become a psychiatrist at a place like this without some sort of struggle to reach the top. The Silent River facility was the highest security psychiatric hospital in the United States. Its location was hidden from the general population, from its patients, and even from the staff. The most violent and psychologically damaged criminals from all across the world were brought here to serve out their life sentences. This was not some sort of in between, some sort of rehabilitation center where people came to get better. The people who came here were beyond help—at least that's what the national government believed.
It's what the thousand some-odd employees of the facility believed. They worked and lived here for the pay. Some five times more than we would all receive in our respective positions in the real world. Everyone got in their ten years and moved on, retired and lived the rest of their lives pretending this portion of their life never existed.
It paid a ridiculous amount of money. More money in one year than I had hoped to make in my career. That's what drove doctors down to the belly of the beast, if they could last a year, they would be set for life, but as Dr. Ranier pointed out, rarely did anyone last that long. If they did, they stayed too long, becoming a patient themselves. Dr. Smith lived on the second floor now, still muttering about chicken or fish, day and night six months later.
No one here wanted to help these people – that became shockingly clear within hours of my first day - especially those who took the job in Ward Z.
But I was different. I was Dr. Adeline Violet. I'd graduated from Johns Hopkins University with honors and my life's work was to help people. I hadn't spent ten years in medical school to do anything less. I was going to Ward Z and I was going to help whoever waited for me – if it was the last thing I ever did.
The morning air chilled my skin as I walked to Silent River's main hospital building. The temperature was somewhere between the humid heat of summer and frost of winter. The leaves on the trees were starting to turn, the fall months creeping in. I hadn't experienced fall at Silent River yet. When I first arrived, it had been mid-April, the full throes of spring had encapsulated Silent River in a haze of succulent honeyed blossoms. For such a tragic place, Silent River boasted cheer. Fall was no different now. The Aspen trees towered overhead, the white of their bark almost translucent against the rising sun.
This was my first time walking this path to the main hospital. I'd bunked in one of the three apartment buildings with the rest of the staff, previously – it was where I assumed I would stay, in spite of my promotion. Yet, after work yesterday evening, I'd trudged up to my room, exhausted, to find a maintenance supervisor standing outside the hallway to my tiny apartment, informing me to gather my things – that my new position came with an upgrade in housing.
He led me to my new home, it was some distance off from the main hospital, north of the building - the apartments were on the south side. I'd never done much exploring of the grounds – there was always too much work to be done, I didn't even know there were buildings on the other side of Silent River's looming fortress. I stood corrected.
I'd followed Hank outside the apartments, carrying my one box of meager belongings to a small golf cart, in which he escorted me to my new home. It stood alone in the midst of the woods. A light fog had settled over the dark bricks. It looked more foreboding than any other place at Silent River.
"I'll live here alone?" I'd asked Hank. It turned out the house was at least three times I couldn't imagine all this space for just little old me. I'd never had more than a thousand square feet of space to myself ever in my adult life.
Hank had given me a look that seemed to border somewhere between pity and agitation. "For now," he replied.
I intended to ask what he meant, but he was already on the golf cart driving back the way we came.
The fully stocked kitchen and appliances erased any doubts Hank had given me. I usually had my meals at the cafeteria inside my building, with no active kitchen inside my tiny room. Now I would be able to cook for myself – something I hadn't done in ages.
I'd done just that this morning, burning my eggs and toast.
It's just nerves. First day of a new job. New floor. New patients.
And that dream.
I pushed the thoughts away, my flats crunched on the damp ground as I moved along the well-beaten path, leaving my new home behind. The east side of the hospital, with its sprawling, mossy brick walls, didn't look inviting, even in the morning sun, but I couldn't help the excitement that thrummed under my skin.
"Ah, Dr. Violet, you're early." A middle-age d man waited for me at the end of the path, in front of a set of double doors. Dark green ivy had swallowed up the space around the door, nearly covering the words that read North Entrance. "I'm Gregory Blakelyn, a chairman on the hospital's board. We spoke on the phone."
"Yes." I nodded.
"The board is thrilled you'll be taking on this position. It will be a challenge, but we have no doubt you will do well." He handed me a magnetic card with my name and picture on it. "This will grant you access to the building."
I lifted up the card attached to my lanyard. "I already have one."
"Yes. That is for the main hospital. It does not give you access to Ward Z." He reached out and flipped both cards over. My previous card had a swipeable black strip. The new one didn't. The back of the card was completely blank. "This new card has a special censor encoded and created just for you. You will simply walk up to the door you wish to open and press your palm against the pad." He motioned to the square, off-white slate next to the double doors. "The combination of your hand and your card within the immediate vicinity will allow the door to open. All of the doors inside will work the same way. Does that make sense?"
"The doors will only open for you, with your card. If you forget your card at home one day, you will not be able to gain entrance with someone else's card and your handprint. They work only in tandem."
"Simple enough." I nodded.
"Great." He gave me a weary smile that didn't reach his eyes. "Well, it was nice meeting you. Good luck." He moved to walk away, back toward the front of the hospital not toward the double doors.
"Where are you going?" My voice cracked a bit on the end. The first bit of panic flaring up under my skin.
He isn't going in with me?
"Dr. Violet," he paused, only half turning, "my job is simply to give you access to the building."
I tucked a loose piece of my blond hair behind my ear. "You aren't coming in? Don't I need to be briefed on the specifics of the job? You were very vague on phone with the job offer the other day."
Gregory frowned and I could have sworn I saw uneasiness in the lines of his face. "Dr. Violet, it is not my job to tell you how to do your job. The board and I thought you could handle your own, which is why you were offered the job in the first place."
I tried not to let his condescending tone drag me down into a pool of anger and irritation. Instead I clung onto the last part of his words. I was chosen for this. Me. No one else. Brian's face
No. I pushed it back. I can do this. I'd never been one to shy away from a challenge – not in the second grade when Richie Yates called me fat and slow and told me I couldn't beat him in a race around the playground, not when Tim McDonald, my advisor, said I would never make it through medical school, and not now.
"I'm quite capable, Mr. Blakelyn. I just assumed there would be briefing on the patients, my staff members, and—"
"You'll figure it out." He turned, calling over his shoulder, "Good luck." I wasn't certain, but I could have sworn I heard him mutter under his breath, "You'll need it."
The door worked just as Gregory said, swinging forward with the press of my palm against the pad. To my surprise a stairwell stood just in front of me. Nothing else. Just a path downward.
Uneasiness crept over me. A cracking sound behind me, caused me to jump. I glanced around, hoping to see Gregory again, perhaps he had changed his mind and was going to show me around after all. But I was alone. I moved forward quickly, taking the non-descript white stairs downward into Ward Z, the most top-secret ward in all of Silent River, where I was head of Psychiatry. Me! Those thoughts emboldened me as I moved, taking me down to the bottom step.
My confidence didn't last long. An unattractive gasp left my lips when I barreled into a warm body, standing at the bottom of the steps. I toppled backward onto the last step.
Three people stood there waiting for me. They all wore scrubs of different colors with name tags similar to the one Gregory had just given me.
"Holy shit!" I gasped, running a hand through my hair. "You guys scared me."
"Works every time," The tallest of the three spoke.
"Welcome," an elderly man stepped forward. He smiled revealing a smattering of very crooked teeth, with several missing. "I'm Christopher. I'm the day nurse for Ward Z." He extended his hand, helping me up off the floor.
by Megan D. Martin have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes