24 HOURS IN HELL

Photo: dbmonkey.com

BY: Isobel Harrison

“Are you coming?” Saphy yelled back to Cameron, her best friend, who was leaning against the car, eying the old building with mistrust. He was right to; the building had once been an asylum for the insane, but was abandoned a hundred years before. Nobody knew why. Nobody had been brave enough to investigate the asylum, and the only contact made from inside the grounds was an old, tattered sign outside that read:

“KEEP OUT.
DO NOT ENTER, EVER.”

The two teenagers were too curious to take warnings from silly old signs. The best thrills are in abandoned buildings at night.

Cameron looked at Saphy, then the house, then the sign, and back to Saphy.
“Fine,” he said “But not for long.”
Saphy grinned and ducked under the barbed wire fence.
This is a really stupid idea, Cameron thought to himself, but followed Saphy towards the asylum.
The building was huge-at least twice as big as the new asylum in the city-and made of brick, the corners had been worn down with age and most of the roof tiles had fallen off.
Saphy and Cameron walked up to the door. The building creaked and the old wooden door opened.
“Brick buildings shouldn’t creak,” Cameron pointed out, “and doors don’t open by themselves.” Saphy gave him a look.
“You’re being paranoid,” she said. “A draft must have opened the door, and the creaking… was just creaking.”
Saphy walked in, with Cameron close behind. The room was large and eerie, with dust and spider webs everywhere. The door shut with a bang, and Cameron looked behind him.
Just wind, he thought to himself, but he didn’t believe it.
“Cameron,” Saphy whispered, “Look!”
Cameron turned around again, and in huge letters on the back wall, there was writing.

“GOOD LUCK”

“That wasn’t there before,” Cameron said. “We should leave. Come on, Saphy.”
He walked back to the door, but the door handle was gone and there was more writing on the door.

“NO TURNING BACK”

Saphy gasped. On every wall of the room there was writing, writing that wasn’t there before. It looked like it had been scratched in by fingernails; blood was smeared around each letter. The writing was the same two words, repeated over and over again:

“BEHIND YOU BEHIND YOU BEHIND YOU BEHIND YOU”

The two of them turned around. There, by the door, there was a small child, staring at them. Cameron started backing away and the little girl giggled, showing all of her black, rotten teeth. She started walking towards Saphy and pointed at her. Saphy turned around quickly to get away from the girl, but saw that more people were coming towards them. One was wearing a straight jacket, and another holding a knife. There were roughly fifty of them, all moving very slowly.
“Well,” Cameron said, “There’s always the back door,” He grabbed Saphy’s hand and ran around the crowd of people and through to the next room, slamming the door behind him.
“What the hell is going on?!” Saphy yelled, panting. There was scratching noises coming from the other side of the door. There was a strange, pungent smell in the room.
“Ever wonder why this asylum was abandoned?” Cameron asked her, keeping a close eye on the door.
“Not really. Why?”
Cameron let his eyes drift across the room. There was a table in the center, a chair behind it, a psychiatrists’ couch by the wall and several bookcases in different places. There was a large window at the back. On the table, Cameron saw what appeared to be a tattered old book.
“Let’s find out.”
He walked to the table and picked up the book. Dust coated the thick leather cover, but other than that the book was in quite good condition.
Cameron blew off the dust in a huge cloud. Saphy coughed.
“Open it,” Saphy said.
“What do you think I’m doing?”
“Alright, keep your socks on.”
Cameron unclipped the old, rusty buckle, then opened the book. The first page fell out, so Cameron picked it up and read out loud:

“Doctor E.C.Hare, PhD.

2nd February, 1910.

Strange sickness has hit the patients. Miss Challet fainted on the way to her annual haircut. Her eyes were pink, but it wasn’t just her pupils. The entire eye was a deep, rich pink. Then she started crying blood. We put Challet into quarantine. I’ve been looking in all of the medical records; nothing like this has ever occurred. I’ve tried to stop the staff from panicking, but they are thinking of leaving. They are too frightened. I don’t blame them; it’s a complete mystery how this ever happened. I am worried that they will leave, because if more people fall sick to this unexplained virus then we will need all the staff we can get.”

Cameron turned the page and continued reading.

“ 5th February, 1910.

Miss Challet dead. Cause of death unknown. She just fell down, just like that. Staff more worried than ever. Two more patients have pink eyes. Put them into quarantine, as if that would help.

7th February, 1910.

The new “Pink Eye” sickness has reached epidemic levels. Every patient here has been infected. After a few days they just drop down dead. The morgue has been overloaded with dead bodies. The other day I was inspecting in there. I heard a bang from number 67, so I went to investigate but there was only the dead body of young Master Connithy. He was too young; only eight years old. Poor thing.
There are 150 patients in quarantine. Funny thing is, it only seems to be infecting the mad, the staff are all perfectly alright. It’s very odd.”

10th February, 1910.

Every patient dead. Lots of paperwork to do.

12th February, 1910.

Everyone is alive again. I have no idea how or why, but they’re just walking again! It’s a miracle! I was inspecting the morgue again, and there was banging coming from inside every cabinet. I looked, and everyone was alive!

13th February 1910

Disaster! Pink eye has affected everyone again, and now they’re worse than ever! They’re like… zombies! They’re trying to get in. I’m hiding under the desk; hopefully I can hide here long enough for them to give up. No chance of help from the staff. They’ve been changed. The patients bit them, and then they transformed. It was horrible to watch, and almost instantaneous. The virus works very quickly. I had nearly found a cure, but I had to abandon the surgery room. There were too many of them for me to stay there.”

“That’s all there is,” Cameron said, and put the diary down.
“Cameron,” Saphy said, “Where’s the Doctor’s body?”
Oh my God, Cameron thought, and nearly threw up. That strange smell.
He looked under the desk, and there was the skeleton of Doctor E.C.Hare, rotten and malodorous. Cameron quickly stood up.
The scratching from the other side of the door stopped.
“Maybe they’ve gone away?” Saphy said, meaning it as more of a suggestion than a question.
“They didn’t leave Doctor Hare alone,” Cameron told her “So what are they doing?”
He looked down on the desk where he left Hare’s diary.

“SHE WILL JOIN THEM”

Cameron looked at Saphy. She was opening the door.
“Don’t!” Cameron yelled, but it was too late. Saphy steeped out into the empty room. She turned around and spread out her arms.
“It’s safe! They’re gone!” Saphy yelled back at Cameron. “We can-” but then she was silenced by a groan and a giggle. The man in the straight jacket and the little girl dropped down from the ceiling onto either side of Saphy. She screamed, and they attacked her. Cameron tried ran out to help her, but the door slammed shut.

“Let me out!” Cameron yelled, tugging the door handle, but it was jammed. He slumped down on the floor by the desk, and saw writing on the ceiling.

“SLEEP.”

Cameron passed out.

When Cameron woke up again it was still dark.
“Why am I lying on the floor?” He asked aloud, and then he remembered.
Saphy, he thought, put then he remembered more: Zombies.
He shot a look at the door. It was open. There was three of them in the door. There was the man in the straight jacket, the little girl, and… Saphy. Her eyes were pink and there was a chunk taken out of her neck. She was one of them now.
Cameron stood up and backed away, grabbing the chair from behind the desk and held it out in front of him. Saphy walked up to him and pushed the chair aside. Cameron dived for the desk and grabbed the thigh bone of Dr. Hare.
Just like in the movies, He thought to himself. Kill the brain, kill the zombie.
He swung the bone at the man and the little girl, killing them. He ran past Saphy and out the door, into the large room that they had first entered into.
Cameron looked around. No zombies. Where were they?
He looked at the far wall. There was an arrow pointing to a hallway.
He followed it.
“So the writing is helping me,” He said to himself.
The hallway was about five meters wide, and shaped like a long arch. There were no zombies to be seen. More arrows covered the walls of the hallway, all heading in the same direction. Cameron followed them all the way to the end of the hall, where they stopped at a door. The door, large and wooden, swung open.
Creepy, Cameron thought. But then again… He walked in.
It was a surgery room, and in the middle was a blood covered table.
A voice made Cameron jump.

“DO WHAT I SAY”

“Yeah, thanks for that. I totally wasn’t doing that before. How come you can talk now?”

“STOP ARGUING. NOW, WALK OVER TO THAT BOOKCASE”

An arrow appeared pointing to an old bookcase in the back left corner. Cameron walked over to it, and a book flew out and hit him in the face.
“Hey, watch it!” He yelled at nothing.

“I’VE BEEN ALONE FOR A HUNDRED YEARS. THE ONLY COMPANY WAS THE ZOMBIES, AND THEY’RE NOT MUCH FUN. GIVE ME A BREAK!”

“Time and place!”

“RIGHT. SORRY. TURN TO PAGE 312.”

Cameron did what he said. “Who are you, anyway?”

“THE GHOST OF E.C.HARE.”

“Well, I guess that makes sense. Any first name?”

“EMERSON. NOW,GET BACK TO WORK.”

“Sorry. What exactly am I doing?”

“LOOK AT PAGE 312. SEE ALL OF THOSE CHEMICALS? THEY’RE ON THE TABLE TO YOUR RIGHT. FOLLOW THE RECIPE.”

Cameron walked over to the table, and picked up the first chemical: Putrescine. He sniffed it and cringed. It smelled of the rotting carcass in the Doctor’s study. “What is this stuff?”

“A BREAKDOWN PRODUCT FROM DEAD ANIMALS AND HUMANS. I GATHERED IT FROM THE ZOMBIES”

“That’s just disturbing.”

“GOTTA MAKE A LIVING.”

Cameron used an eye dropper to put some of the chemical into a beaker. Then he picked up the next chemical: Skatole. “I’m not even going to risk sniffing this,” he said.

“NEITHER DID I, IT’S MADE OF FECES, BUT IT CAN BE EASILY FOUND IN TAR OR BEETROOT.”

“I’m never eating beetroot again.” Cameron added the Skatole to the Putrescine. It hissed and smoked slightly. Cameron coughed and took an unused doctor’s mask from a bench on the opposite side of the room. He walked back to the table and added a range of other chemicals to the beaker, and the mixture ended up as a browny, bubbling mixture. It had the worst smell in the world when Cameron sniffed it, so he put the mask back on.
“What now?”

“GREAT TIMING. THEY’RE HERE. WE NEED TO FIND THE FIRST AFFECTED. THAT WAS MISS CHALLET. SHE WAS TWENTY YEARS OLD WHEN SHE WAS INFECTED, WITH SHORT ORANGE HAIR. FIND HER.”

“Okay, Miss Challet. Orange hair. Twenty years old. Gotcha.” Cameron picked up a metal rod off the ground.

“TRY NOT TO HURT THEM. WE’RE TRYING TO REVERSE IT, NOT KILL THEM.”

“Right. Sorry.” Luckily, the zombies weren’t very strong, so Cameron just shoved them back with the long tube of metal. “I can’t see her!”

“SHE’S RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GROUP.”

“Oh, that’s just typical, isn’t it?”

“WELL IT’S NOT MY FAULT, SO DON’T SNAP AT ME.”

“Whatever. How do you know this is going to work?”

“I DON’T.”

“I wish I never asked.” Cameron muttered, and looked around the room for anything helpful. Suddenly he got an idea. The straps on the table extended out a long way; they were at least thirty meters long if you pulled them out to their full length. Cameron cut them at the base, and then tied one end to the window pane of a broken window at the back of the room. The zombies herded in like cattle, and as they came closer, Cameron tied the entire group in one big bundle by circling them with the long strap. In the end they were all in a big huddle, all facing outwards, arms outstretched trying to get away. Cameron tied up the other end after circling the zombies a few times, then jumped up on a high table and looked down. There, in the middle, was Challet.
“What now?”

“POUR IT ON HER EYES.
“Well how am I supposed to do that?!”

“BE CREATIVE!”

“Yeah, right. Creative. Some help you are.”

“I’M A DOCTOR, NOT A STUNT MAN.”

“Whatever.” Cameron looked around again. Attached to the ceiling were old fashioned beams, the kind you would find in old pubs. They didn’t look as if they belonged in a surgery. “What are these doing here?”

“I GOT THE BUILDERS TO PUT THEM IN. NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU NEED A GOOD OLD BEAM AROUND THE PLACE.”

“Hmm,” Cameron picked up the chemical and put it into an old jar, put it in his pocket, then jumped up and grabbed the beam, pulling himself up on top, so he was sitting comfortable there. He crawled across until he was right above the bunch of zombies. He took the jar out of his pocket and opened it. “What now?”

“POUR IT INTO HER EYES.”

“Are you kidding me?”

“JUST DO IT.”

Cameron carefully leaned over and opened the jar. The stench was over-whelming. I’ll just have to trust my luck, he thought, and poured it onto Challet’s face. Amazingly, it hit her right in the eyes. Challet blinked, and then dropped over, followed by every zombie in the room. Cameron climbed down from the beams. “Did we do it?”

“I HOPE SO.”

The zombies stood up. They were back to normal. There eyes were their natural colours and they weren’t hunting for human flesh. Cameron sighed in relief, but then remembered something:
“Saphy!”

He ran out of the surgery and down the hall, through the first room and into the study. Saphy was standing there.
“That was so gross!” She said, and hugged Cameron. “How did you fix it?”
Cameron smiled and picked up the diary from the desk. Saphy let go.
“The ghost of E.C.Hare. The man was a genius.”
“Cameron?”
“Yeah?”
“You smell terrible.”
“Thanks.”
The pair of them left the asylum, and outside the police were waiting for them. They had been gone 24 hours.

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