Middlebury sanitarium mo.., p.1
Middlebury Sanitarium (Moving In Series Book 3), page 1
Copyright © 2016 by Scare Street.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Middlebury Sanitarium
Chapter 2: A Job Proposition
Chapter 3: Ken Buckingham on the Graveyard Shift
Chapter 4: Getting Ready to Work
Chapter 5: Ken, Middlebury Sanitarium, September 2nd, 1969
Chapter 6: At Middlebury Sanitarium
Chapter 7: Ken, First Night, 1969
Chapter 8: In the Head Nurse’s House
Chapter 9: Introductions are Made
Chapter 10: Ken, October 12th, 1970
Chapter 11: In Ken’s House
Chapter 12: Ken, May 13th, 1975
Chapter 13: Heading to the Crematorium
Chapter 14: Smokes
Chapter 15: Ashes to Ashes
Chapter 16: The Residents of Middlebury Sanitarium
Chapter 17: Ken, May 11th, 1980
Chapter 18: In Ken’s House
Chapter 19: Building Three, Middlebury Sanitarium, November 2nd, 1982
Chapter 20: Meeting the New Hand
Chapter 21: Anne Goes to Work
Chapter 22: Ken, the Library at Middlebury, June 22nd, 1976
Chapter 23: Talking with Ken
Chapter 24: Ken, February 15th, 1970 before Ike's Death
Chapter 25: Difficulty Listening
Chapter 26: The Library
Chapter 27: Ian at Middlebury
Chapter 28: A Silence Broken
Chapter 29: The Children
Chapter 30: An Unwanted Interview
Chapter 31: Running
Chapter 32: Into Hiding
Chapter 33: Ken Goes Under, July 1st, 1977
Chapter 34: Seeking Shelter
Chapter 35: The Girl with the Dog, June 6, 1989
Chapter 36: Denied Access
Chapter 37: Ken, May 6th, 1986
Chapter 38: Making a Call
Chapter 39: Alone in the House
Chapter 40: Ken and an Old Friend
Chapter 41: Ken, September 2nd, 1998
Chapter 42: In the House
Chapter 43: At the Guardhouse
Chapter 44: Ken, August 27th, 1973
Chapter 45: An Explanation...of Sorts
Chapter 46: Better Times Have Been Forgotten
Chapter 47: When Will the King Arrive?
Chapter 48: With the Watchman
Chapter 49: Embracing Destiny
Chapter 50: Fear is Motivation
Chapter 51: Septimus Rex Forces the Issue
Chapter 52: Will the Morning Come
Chapter 53: Back in Business
Chapter 54: Finding the Way
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Chapter 1: Middlebury Sanitarium
The King waited patiently.
He had learned the difficult practice over decades.
Now he stood on the widow’s walk of the house and looked down upon his domain. He could see the small light in the guardhouse glowing. The old man would be there, the King knew, with a pipe in his mouth and a book in his hand.
Yet the old man was a good watchman. He patrolled the King’s land and protected his houses. He was perhaps gentler than the King would prefer, but the guard was a man who maintained the peace.
A loud creak followed by a thump, shattered the silence of the King’s quarters.
He turned away from the window and made his way down a flight of stairs to the main hall. He paused and listened.
Footsteps on the floor.
The King retreated into his study and went to stand by the fireplace. He rested a hand on the marble mantle but kept his eyes on the doorway.
A red light played across the hallway’s parquet floor, and the King heard voices.
“...don’t have to worry,” a man said.
“Why don’t we have to worry, Ben?” another man snapped. “You didn’t tell me there was going to be a guard! Christ, if we get caught, I’ll lose my chance at making partner!”
“Calm down, Chad,” Ben replied. “You know, for a big brother you’re a pansy sometimes.”
“Shut up, you’re not the one risking anything.”
Ben laughed. “Yeah, I am. Another trespassing charge and I go away for a while. And not to Valley Street Jail, either. The men’s prison in Concord. World of difference from what I hear.”
Chad sighed, and the two men appeared in the doorway.
They stopped, and the King examined them. Tall young men clad in identical clothing of all black. They had even rubbed some sort of coloring onto their faces, for while they had the rich coloring of Africans, they had none of the features one could attribute to Americans of the race. Nor did they enjoy the fine, beautiful facial structures of the Masai or the Zulu.
Common crooks, the King decided.
“Look at this detail work,” said Ben.
“Wow,” Chad said in a low voice. “Will it be safe to take pictures in here?”
“Of course,” Ben said, slipping his phone from a pocket.
“What about the security guard?”
“Chad, did you see him? The guy’s got to be at least seventy. Besides, when I scoped the place out last night the majority of the time he’s in there puffing away at a pipe and reading.”
“What if he walks around?” Chad said nervously. “I mean, what if he does some sort of patrol?”
“Gimpy as hell I bet,” Ben answered with a chuckle as he put his flashlight away. “Anyway, my scaredy cat big brother, let’s get some pictures.”
“Don’t call me a scaredy cat,” Chad grumbled, shutting off his own light. “I don’t like it.”
“I know,” Ben laughed. “Why do you think I do it?”
“You’re a pain.”
They were taking pictures of his house.
Anger boiled up within him, and the King stepped away from the hearth.
Chad paused and lowered his camera. “Did you hear anything?”
“No,” Ben replied as he took a picture of the tin ceiling. “What do you think you heard?”
“Naw,” Ben replied, moving to take a picture of the wainscoting. “I didn’t hear anything, Bro.”
The King made his way between them.
Ben lowered his camera. “I felt something, though.”
“Cold?” Chad asked.
“Yeah,” Ben started, but the King interrupted him when he slammed the door closed.
“Jesus!” Chad yelled, spinning around.
“Oh my God,” Ben whispered.
The King took a step towards them.
“What?” Chad asked, turning to look at his brother.
“I snapped a picture just as the door was closing. Look.”
Ben held his camera out to Chad.
“Oh Sweet Mary Mother of God,” Chad said, crossing himself. “Is it a person?”
“I think so,” Ben said.
The King moved closer.
“It’s cold in here,” Chad said.
“Okay,” Chad said. “Alright.”
Ben tried to open the door, but it wouldn’t budge.
“Come on, Ben,” Chad said nervously, “let’s go.”
“It is no use,” the King said. “I do not wish you to leave.”
And the King unleashed his wrath.
Chapter 2: A Job Proposition
Brian sat in the waiting room of Kerouac Realty and fidgeted with the rings on his index fingers. He sat in a leather chair and fought the desire to fall asleep. He was tired from a long night of research, and the exquisite comfort of the seat was not helping him stay focused.
He stifled a yawn and straightened up. Soft music drifted down from hidden speakers promising sweet dreams and relaxation.
The young woman behind the front desk looked up at him and smiled. A large, dark wooden door to the left of her desk opened and a man in his late forties waved at Brian.
“Mr. Roy,” the man said. “I’m Joe Kerouac. Come in, please.”
Brian stood up, nodded to the receptionist and walked into the office. He took a seat in a short, dark blue club chair as the real estate agent closed the door behind him.
“Coffee, Mr. Roy?” he asked, pausing by a long sideboard to pour himself a cup.
“No thank you,” Brian said. “And you can call me Brian.”
“Well, a pleasure, Brian,” he said as he sat down at his desk. He reached over and offered his hand, which Brian shook. “You can call me Joe. I appreciate you coming to see me. It’s not often I have to call someone into my office like this.”
Brian nodded. “So, Joe, tell me what it is you need the Leonidas Group for. This is just as different for me. Usually, I have a homeowner, or a tenant call us. Occasionally we’ll get a landlord. This is a first, though.”
“Good,” Joe smiled. “We’re both starting from the same place, then.”
Brian chuckled. “I guess we are. Alright, tell me what’s going on.”
“It’s fairly straightforward,” Joe said, leaning back in his chair. “I represent a client who is interested in purchasing the old Middlebury Sanitarium. Do you know anything about the facility?”
“No,” Brian said, shaking his head. “I can’t say I do.”
“Fair enough. Middlebury Sanitarium is located right outside of Stark, New Hampshire. It is a large campus, seven main buildings, a dozen smaller residences, and tunnels connecting them all. It’s located on roughly four hundred acres of land, and it’s pretty damned isolated. Originally it was a tuberculosis ward, then afterward, it served as a mental health facility and poor house up until the late nineties. For the past twenty years, it’s been empty. Not abandoned, mind you, just empty. All of the buildings were winterized, and there is a security firm which patrols the property.”
“So we’ve got a big old place up in the middle of nowhere?” Brian grinned.
Joe smiled. “Exactly right, Brian. Exactly right. Now my client is interested in the property. They haven’t told me why, and I don’t really care. I like my commission, and if this goes through, I’ll be just about set to retire. That being said, my client is a little, well, they’re a little strange.”
“How so?” Brian asked.
“They’re concerned the property might be haunted.”
“And if the sanitarium happens to have a few residential spooks?”
“The deal may well be off the table,” Joe said with a sigh. “Now normally I would slip you a couple of hundred and a wink and get some hustler to say it’s not haunted. In this instance, my client could well ruin my life if I tried to brush anything under the table.”
“At least you’re honest about it,” Brian said.
“When I have to be,” Joe said. “Anyway. My client has authorized me to pay you whatever you want for a thorough investigation of the property. And what they mean by thorough, is finding out first if there are any ghosts. Second. If there are, how many? Third. Why are they there? And finally, how to get rid of them. My client is motivated. They want the property. But they are not going to move forward on the deal if there are ‘ghosts’ there.”
Joe leaned forward and smiled. “So, Brian, there’s my basic question. Can you get rid of ghosts?”
“I can tell if the sanitarium is haunted and whether or not and spirits can be convinced to move on. I cannot promise you I can help them pack bags and get on down the road.”
Joe grinned. “Fair enough, Brian. Tell me what you need for a retainer and we’ll get this ball rolling.”
Chapter 3: Ken Buckingham on the Graveyard Shift
Ken sat in his chair in the guardhouse at the gate to the Middlebury Sanitarium.
The chair had been his since 1969.
Officially he had retired in 2010, but he was still doing the same job. Nothing had changed, and Ken was perfectly fine with that.
He opened the top right drawer of his desk and took out his tin of pipe tobacco and his pipe. The clock in front of him clicked from eleven o’clock to one-minute past. A barn owl that had taken up residence in the main building’s bell tower went screeching past.
Ken raised his pipe to the bird, murmuring, “Good hunting.”
He started to pack sweet, cherry tobacco into the four-inch deep wooden bowl of his pipe. The pipe would last him two hours, give or take a few minutes.
Bits of tobacco leaves stuck beneath his thumbnail and stained the calluses on his fingers. Soon he had a pleasant cloud of smoke above his head.
But his back ached, and his knees complained. The old scars on his head itched and his right ear felt smothered.
Everything was normal.
Ken clamped down on the pipe stem before he pulled on his black watchman’s cap and then his gloves. He double checked the buttons and the Velcro flap on his long jacket. His flashlight hung from his belt, the tool powerful enough to light up the face of a building, and warn any trespassers Ken was on his way through.
He let out a long stream of smoke, adjusted his glasses, and opened the door. The cold, January air slapped at his exposed face. He liked the brutal chill of the New England winter. It served to remind him how lucky he was to have made it back from the humid heat of Vietnamese jungles.
Ken locked up the office behind him and started his patrol.
The grounds of the Middlebury Sanitarium were lit only by starlight and the half moon. His own little guardhouse was powered by a set of solar panels and a battery. It was only enough power for his small heater and a light he used for reading.
The jangle of the keys was slightly muffled as he walked, trapped between his jacket and his hip. He could do without the interruption to his normal routine. He was nearly finished with Max Brooks’ World War Z and --
In the Superintendent’s House, a flicker of light danced across the first floor, study window.
Really? Ken sighed. He took a long pull on his pipe and let it out slowly. He slipped the flashlight free from his belt and thumbed the power on. Bill played the beam along the old brick path as it led to the small front porch of the vacant Superintendent’s home.
A sharp, brutal thaw had swept through the state at the start of the month and melted the snow. The cold had returned, of course, but the snow had held off. Saturday, perhaps, they might see a little, but not much.
Ken pushed thoughts of snow out of his mind as he neared the long, worn out stairs leading up to the front door. He moved the flashlight’s beam onto the window where the foreign light shined, and then he brought it back to the porch.
The strange light continued to flicker around the room.
With a frown, Ken climbed the stairs. He winced at the sudden pain in his knees and hips. His heart beat angrily as he reached the door and Ken paused.
The door was ajar.
The doorjamb was splintered around the lock, the wood scraped deeply.
It moved back on quiet hinges, and Ken saw the flicker of light beneath a closed door on the right. He took his pipe out of his mouth and breathed deeply.
“Hello,” Ken called out. “You’re trespassing. You need to come out of there.”
A groan was the only response.
Ken sighed. “Listen, I’m not going to call the cops. I just want you to leave.”
The groan was replaced by a sob and Ken’s heartbeat quickened.
He went to the door, put his pipe back into his mouth, and rapped on the wood with the butt of the flashlight. A low moan joined the sob.
“Aw hell,” Ken said. He twisted the doorknob and pushed the door in.
He stopped and looked, horrified at what he saw.
A pair of men hung suspended in midair. Nothing Ken could see had held them in place. They rotated slowly, their heads down, chins on their chests. Blood dripped from their noses and mouths, from cuts on their faces and leaked from their ears. The dark liquid tapped gently on the floor as it fell and splashed across broken plastic lenses.
Flashlights hung from straps on the men’s wrists to create the flickering light Ken had seen from the road.
A scratching sound suddenly filled the air, drowning out the bestial complaints of the hanging men.
Ken played his own light across the walls until he saw words being scratched into the wall above the hearth.
Protect my Domain. Septimus Rex.
The men crashed to the floor, and one of them screamed as his bones broke with a harsh crack.
Ken’s hand shook as he dug his cell phone out of his inner pocket and dialed 911 while the men writhed on the dust covered floor in agony.
Chapter 4: Getting Ready to Work
“I don’t like it,” Jenny said, handing him a tumbler of Jefferson’s Bourbon.
“Thanks, Babe,” Brian said, taking the drink and adjusting his position in his chair. “What’s not to like about it?”
“What do you think?” she said. Her voice was harsh, and her eyes flashed with anger. “We haven’t done any overnights since Sylvia died, Brian.”
by Ron Ripley / Horror / Fantasy / Paranormal have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes