Rose Garden Sanatorium – Chapter 7

Note: If you’re new to the story please read from the beginning here.

Chapter 7

Officer Jennifer Finley

The young female agent slid through a dark internal door as quiet as a mouse, keeping every one of her senses alert for sounds, sights, smells, strange touches on her body, or maybe even changes in temperature. She stepped silently and slowly through the Sanatorium, but her mind was running one-hundred miles an hour going through the training sessions; move slow, check corners, especially dark ones, don’t trust anyone or anything. She held her P90 out before her, her grip tight on it, her focus through the infrared scope, the torch illuminating the way, and felt that little bit safer knowing that it had been modified specifically for these sorts of situations.

But she still felt defenceless, even with her specially modified gear and her extensive training. She had been told about the horrors of the enemy she faced; some were able to inhabit your body, take control of it, some were large, strong and ruthless. But there were those who were just so clever, stronger, quicker, able to take most living shapes, able to control fire, make things move with just their minds, knock people unconscious with just a flick of their hands, that Finley doubted her average intelligence and physical fitness along with all her modified equipment was enough to beat them.

She slowly kept her breathing under control in an attempt to steady her heartbeat as she looked around a corner. The only way she was able to keep herself from panicking was to continue with her job, to keep moving. She just hoped no one, or nothing, could hear the panic swelling in her chest. Part of her training was to regulate her heartbeat, to keep it steady; her instructor told her that the panic was a reaction from high levels of cortisol running through her body; the fight or flight syndrome, and it affected concentration, but she always had trouble keeping it down.

Ahead of her, she noticed a wall had fallen, opening up the next room. Slowly she moved, carefully avoiding the rubble on the floor as she did, to investigate the next room.

As she made her way towards the opening, however, she heard a noise. Her skin prickled at the sound; something was shuffling. She stopped dead in her tracks and listened out. Her heartbeat thumped in her ears, and she felt a roll of sweat run down her face. She doubted it had anything to do with the amount of gear she had on, keeping her safe but unavoidably warm. The sound continued as if what ever was making it didn’t know she was there. The shuffling was also complimented with what sounded like heavy breathing and rubble being moved. Suddenly her body felt heavy with fear.

She put her eye through the scope, not picking up any heat signatures yet—not that she could pick up anything through the thick walls of the Sanatorium. She didn’t have a visual. It could be anything. It could be the wind. She willed herself to continue towards the gap in the wall.

But as she moved again, the shuffling sound stopped. She stopped herself. She pursed her lips together to stop her from breathing heavily, not even noticing the grip on her gun had tightened, her knuckles going white. The sound started again only a few seconds later, as if what ever was making it had stopped to listen out but hadn’t noticed her. She moved her hand slowly up to the gun and turn off the torch accessory, then up to her smock and turned off those lights, her sole visual was now through the infrared scope—although she still saw various shades of blue, no oranges or reds to indicate a living being.

She continued to move slowly towards the break in the wall, keeping tight to the remainder of the wall that was still left standing, using it as a guide with the use of her elbow and being careful not to accidentally knock something on the floor, either resulting in her making a noise or tripping over. She shuffled her body towards the hole and stopped for a few seconds to listen out.

There certainly was something just there, only a few feet away. All she had to do was to take one large step to her right and she could swing herself round to see her enemy. Within a split second before changing her mind, she committed to her manoeuvre. She stepped and span her whole body round and saw the classic oranges and reds in her scope.

Something barked and the orange and red blob ran off. She turned on the light attachment on her gun just in time to catch sight of a red bushy tail flapping as it ran out of the door.

Finley sighed, relaxed slightly and let out a small laugh. It was just a fox. Although she was told to be vigilant of all living things, she was sure if it was anything but sinister, it would have just attacked her, and it didn’t.

Rubbing her face with a hand and letting her gun drop a little from her grip, she steadied her breathing to slow her heart and relaxed her tight muscles. She snorted suddenly in amusement at the situation, the fact she got so wound up over a fox.

She turned around to go back out of the room she had just recently deemed now clear, but she turned around to face a grotesque and inhuman face mere millimetres away from her face. She screamed and automatically stepped backwards, her heel hit a loose brick and she fell backwards, smashing her head—which was luckily protected in her helmet—on the debris of broken wall.

~~~

Next chapter coming soon!


If you liked this story, please check out my other works!

New Story Idea – “I fell in Love with a Psychopath”

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

New Story idea! – Butterfly House

Check out these other posts about Rose Garden Sanatorium!

New Full Book Trailer! For Rose Garden Sanatorium

Rose Garden Sanatorium Top 10 in the Cryptic Awards 2018!

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Chapter 6

Note: If you’re new to the story please read from the beginning here.

Chapter 6

Henry Blackburn

The sound of Highway to Hell from AC/DC filled the air, filling out into the garage and which was loud enough to hear from the office. It was still quite early so not everyone had arrived yet, but there was just the one person there to appreciate the classic music; the owner of Blackburn Garage.

A man with mousy brown hair, mid-thirties, an unshaven face, navy overalls that looked overused with the patchwork of oil, dirt and rust marks, stared out through the window into his workshop, mouth agape as he was mid-yawn.

He was wondering about when his delivery would arrive. He had gotten to work early that morning, much to the dismay of his wife, to attempt to finish a customer’s car. It was a lovely Mercedes-Benz C220 AMG in a deep blue and he had already delayed the customer as he found the front brake-pads had to be replaced—someone loved their breaks! The customer was quite okay with it, being appreciative that he had checked, but Henry wanted to get there early to make a start anyway.

Blackburn Garage was well known in London, it came highly recommended and specialised in German cars as the owner was a big fan of them. A lot of Audi, BMW and Mercedes drivers preferred to go to Blackburn Garage, it was cheaper than going to the dealership and it was actually guaranteed not to get ripped off. Even if you sold the car, local people would prefer to buy a car that had been serviced at Blackburn Garage over the dealership. Of course, they got a lot of other cars; Fords, Jaguars, Toyotas, Hondas, they even had a lovely 1967 Chevrolet Impala once, a local guy had moved over from the States and brought a few from his collection over from America.

Henry Blackburn loved his business. Ever since he was a small boy, he loved cars and loved learning how they worked. He was adamant from a young age he wanted to be a mechanic. Dreaming of owning his own company, hiring staff, ordering tools, having a large house and his own private collection of interesting cars, teaching his own son mechanics. He spent ages one night looking through a catalogue of tools with his brother listing out all the tools he would get.

Part of his dream came true, he now owned his own business; Blackburn Garage, but he didn’t own any of the cars in it, they were all customer’s cars. He personally only owned two; his own E90 BMW M3—which he was sure the clutch was on its way out—and his wife’s Fiat 500 which he wouldn’t admit to her, but he hated. He also didn’t have a son, he didn’t have any children, mostly because his wife decided she didn’t want children and he was talked out of the idea of having them too, made to think it was his idea. Although a part of him felt he was missing out. But she was right, it wasn’t a good idea bringing children into this world.

Henry’s daydream of the time before was broken when he heard his mobile phone go off, he dug it out of his overall’s pocket, ignoring the large crack on the screen and opened the message. It was his younger brother, who had no concept of time, and laughed at the childish and crude picture he had decided to forward to him. He sent a quick reply back before pocketing his phone and remembered he was making a cup of coffee.

Henry’s brother, Dean, had gone a completely separate way to him. Dean wasn’t really interested in cars and mechanics like Henry. In fact, Henry couldn’t really remember Dean being enthusiastic about much when he was young. He had a troubled life, struggling to fit in. Both the boys had been home-schooled, their family deciding it was for the best. This didn’t really bother Henry, he easily made friends, always outgoing and bubbly, but Dean wasn’t so lucky. Although Dean seemed to have figured out his calling in the end.

Henry finished making his strong cup of coffee; a dark mess in a questionable hygienic mug with a Ford Capri on the side and headed back into his workshop. He placed the coffee on top of his big black toolbox and got back to taking the wheel off the deep blue Mercedes.

~~~

Click here to read the next chapter


If you liked this story, please check out my other works!

New Story Idea – “I fell in Love with a Psychopath”

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

New Story idea! – Butterfly House

Check out these other posts about Rose Garden Sanatorium!

New Full Book Trailer! For Rose Garden Sanatorium

Rose Garden Sanatorium Top 10 in the Cryptic Awards 2018!

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Chapter 5

Note: If you’re new to the story please read the Prologue here!

Chapter 5

Officer Jennifer Finley

Finley stared into the darkness of the van, trying to concentrate on the noises she could hear. She listened to the hum of the engine, the tires rolling along the tarmac, the occasional squeak from the van’s suspension, the traffic noise outside which she unfortunately couldn’t see and the sound of the pedestrian crossings after the van had come to a stop at a set of lights. It was an attempt to ground herself, to overcome her fears and to slow her beating heart, but it wasn’t really working. There might have been noises outside, even the occasional noise inside from one of her colleagues giving a cough, but they were unsettling her even more. The silence inside the van was eating away at the inside of her head, the world outside was going about its daily business not knowing the potential storm that may eventually hit them.

She had started to consider the option of bolting for the van door to her right, deciding that she wasn’t cut out for the job after all. But she had a feeling Director General Ryan wouldn’t even let her get that far. She wouldn’t put it past him shooting her right in the face to contain her.

“As you may already be aware by now,” started Captain Stroud, his accent a deep Scottish from within the dark confined space of the van. “This is not a drill.”

Finley could feel the ripple of silent panic within the metal cage. The van had come to a stop, possibly at a set of traffic lights, she wasn’t sure. She was glad for Captain Stroud to break the silence but was also dreading what would come.

“This is a Code 139,” he continued. Someone let out a small gasp somewhere in the van, she wasn’t sure who it was, and neither would Captain Stroud and the Director General, but she knew they wouldn’t be happy.

“This is indeed the real thing!” beamed a voice next to her; the Director General had started to take over, a hint of annoyance in his voice. “This is…” he paused as the van lurched forwards again, a rather unfortunate time to move. “This is what you are trained to do!” If it was even humanly possible for it get even more nervously silent in the van, it had. “We are headed to a site of a possible Code 139. We do not know how many we may face or what type. But this is why we have drills! Remember the Rules!”

There was silence in the van again, the silence that Finley now welcomed more than the Director General speaking.

“Is that clear!?” The Director General made Finley and the man sat next to her jump.

“Yes, sir!” everyone spoke in unison.

“Just like every Code 139 drill, the mission is to secure the site,” continued Director General Ryan. “The road has been cordoned off by police, both civilians and the police have been told it’s a gas leak. No one except us are allowed in or out. The shops and flats above have been evacuated. It is my responsibility and my responsibility alone to close it, you all will sweep the area. Is that clear?”

“Yes, sir!” everyone said with a little more confidence.

Finley wasn’t sure what she was expecting after that little speech, words of encouragement maybe, but the sudden silence afterwards felt even worse than before. She resisted the urge to speak out or hum to fill the silence. She instead went over the Rules in her head and mentally recalling every item that was on her person.

***

A black unmarked van stopped outside an old building. A building that appeared to have been boarded up and unused for years. The sign that ran the length of the front door read ‘Rose Garden Sanatorium’.

The group hidden inside filed out of the back of the van one by one. Director General Duncan Ryan was first out of the van, who looked up at the building while waiting for his team, followed by his Captain. Each of them dug into their utility pouches to dig out a small air-tight plastic box, took out a pair of two specially designed ear-plugs and put them in their ears.

The front of the Sanatorium sported a very Victorian style front; with its large front arched door and large arched windows boarded up, the exterior mainly a red mason brick, the window frames painted white, parts of them were falling apart due to the years of neglect, ivy climbed up the side of the building, right next to where there was a black mesh fence that hid the back garden from the street and snaked its way up until it hit the moss covered slate tiled roof.

Officer Finley had read about this Sanatorium in old secret government files. It was a typical Sanatorium really, but with a bit of a dark history. A dark history that resulted in its early demise. Most derelict buildings gave her the creeps, but this one in particular raised the hairs on the back of her neck. Standing in front of the Rose Garden Sanatorium now, seeing it in person, she felt an unusual disgust for the old abandoned building. It might just look like an ordinary building, with an unfortunate history, but it was the current situation that made her nervous.

She looked back at her superior and noticed he was just standing outside looking like he was composing and preparing himself for what may lie on the other side.

Or did he know something they didn’t?

Click here to read the next chapter!


If you liked this story, please check out my other works!

New Story Idea – “I fell in Love with a Psychopath”

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

New Story idea! – Butterfly House

Check out these other posts about Rose Garden Sanatorium!

New Full Book Trailer! For Rose Garden Sanatorium

Rose Garden Sanatorium Top 10 in the Cryptic Awards 2018!

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Chapter 2

Note: If you’re new to the story please read the Prologue here!

Chapter 2

Taylor

Taylor gasped and woke bolt upright in a panic, sweat dripping down her face and back. She stared wide-eyed out into the darkness of her room trying to gather her bearings and calm her erratic heartbeat.

“What…?” she muttered to herself in the middle of the darkness. Of course, she was alone. She was always alone. No one was there to hear her.

She rubbed her clammy face nervously and peeled her reddish-brown hair off her forehead. She then span round to pick up her phone, which was sat untouched on her dark brown and cheap bedside table, resting next to the half-empty bottle of whisky. She pressed the button on the front of it and the room lit up from the screen. 22:11 flashed at her from the dark. With a groan of frustration, she threw herself back onto the bed. It was still Thursday night, it wasn’t even the morning yet.

She draped her thin arm over her forehead for a few minutes, going over the strange dream that had evidently woken her up; a strange red creature was laughing at her. It had large horns protruding angrily from his head, sharp yellowing teeth behind an evil grin, black leathery wings spread intimidatingly wide and a sharp tail wiping back and forth as if mocking her.

Along with a strange burning smell that she could almost still feel lingering in her nostrils, she heard voices; shouting, yelling, crying and screaming. The sounds pierced through her as if they weren’t coming through her ears but through her soul—

Suddenly her head came alive with voices and she gasped, bolting upright again. They got louder and louder the more she thought of them, until she closed her eyes instinctively and they suddenly vanished.

She opened her eyes again, carefully looking out into the darkness in fear. She was very much alone. Pushing the crazy thoughts back, she grabbed the bottle of whisky from the bedside table with a slight grumble and took a large swig. Clearly she was imagining things, she hadn’t slept properly in days, and it was obviously starting to take its toll. She had work in the morning too and she already wasn’t looking forward to it. At least the whisky would make it easier to bear for now.

She took another large swig of the liquor, replaced it on the bedside table and collapsed back on her bed. She closed her eyes while trying desperately not to think about the strange dream but instead focus on trying to sleep.

***

The next morning, Taylor stood in her compact kitchen trying desperately to ignore a raging headache. She managed to drink the remainder of her whisky last night, just to get to sleep. She regretted it of course… she had no alcohol left.

She grabbed a cereal box from the cupboard above her sink and poured the contents into a bowl that was already sat on top of the kitchen counter top. The news was playing in the background on her small cheap TV, which was sat lonely in the living-room. She watched it while shoving large spoonfuls of cereal into her mouth and lent against the divide between the kitchen and her living-room.

She had luckily managed to find some clothes after having a shower, changing out of yesterday’s shirt that she fell asleep in, and was now dressed in yesterday’s simple black work trousers and a plain white—yet thankfully clean—t-shirt. It wasn’t a work t-shirt, it was actually an unused gym t-shirt, although it was plain enough. But just in case, she wore a black jacket over the top of it anyway. The jacket was well-worn, the colour was fading on the outside, the reminisce of the old dark black was seen around the breast pocket and the sleeves were starting to fray where they were slightly too long—which she liked, as it kept her wrists warm. She always seemed to get cold, especially at work when the air-conditioning was always on, even during the winter.

She watched the news play while a frown steadily creeped onto her face. Something had caught her attention.

“A young man by the name of Samuel Chaudhary has been reported missing, his mother last saw him at six o’clock yesterday. He is reported to have gone out with friends after having dinner with his parents but has not returned home since. Samuel is twelve years old and may have been out with friends of the same age…” explained a news reporter with a tight blonde bun. The woman wore a sympathetic face that appeared to be just the right level of professionalism without looking upset at the report or too happy. Taylor hated that, seeing a news reporter that looked too happy when reporting bad news.

Taylor wondered what it would be like for that poor mother, knowing that her son didn’t come home that evening. She wished she had a mother who would be worried about her own whereabouts if she went missing. What if she were to just pack a bag of essentials and disappear? Not show up at work. Not tell anyone she was leaving. Would anyone care? Her own mother had died a long time ago, a particular time of her life that she wasn’t too keen on remembering. She had no other family. No father, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, not even grandparents. It was always just her and her mother. It wasn’t until recently that she started to wonder why there was no other family, it never occurred to her before that it was a little odd. Her hand automatically went up to the small scar on her cheekbone, a habit that she had only recently gotten into.

The news reporter moved on to the next piece of news; explaining a strange sighting of a flying animal seen in the early hours of the morning. But Taylor snorted at the media hype of what was probably just an escaped parrot or something and turned off the TV. She remembered there was something like that that happened before, and it turned out to be a large African Grey parrot, someone’s pet that had accidentally escaped and caused a bit of a stir.

After eating the last spoonful of cereal, she placed the bowl lazily in the sink unwashed with the rest of the unwashed plates, bowls, cutlery and even a discarded pizza box from two nights ago and grabbed her work ID from the side. She had to leave early anyway, she needed something from the shop. Something which she was supposed to have left of last night if she didn’t drink the whole bottle. It was Friday today, she would need it after she got home… it was going to be a busy day.

***

Taylor sat slouched on her usual bus in a daze, the number 277, which she caught from her usual bus stop at 07:15. She stared out of the window, her face resting lazily in her right hand, while her arm was resting on the side of the bus’s window frame uncomfortably, watching the pitiful world go by while the sun made an appearance for another day, creating deep oranges and yellows against the dark gloomy clouds.

She watched a young woman attempting to walk down the road in the opposite direction the bus was travelling, a red-faced screaming toddler squirming in his pushchair as the young mother apparently still half-asleep spoke into her mobile phone. Taylor wondered who she was talking to. A boyfriend? A friend? A work-colleague to explain she was going to be late for work yet again because her son didn’t want to put on his shoes again?

This led Taylor to wonder what everyone else in the world was up to. She wondered if maybe there were others out there that had lives more interesting than hers. Or at least lives they liked. Or did everyone else in the world get up every weekday, to go to a boring job, only to come home to eat and sleep, drowning their sorrows into a bottle of whisky at the weekends? Although those days were starting to seep into the weekdays now. She wondered what her life would be like if things changed? What if she didn’t have to drink? What if… her life had more meaning?

Before she had chance to daydream about what her life would be like if she didn’t have to work, didn’t rely on alcohol anymore and that she had a bigger greater purpose in the world, she felt a strange feeling resurface in her chest. She re-focused her eyes out of the window and glimpsed someone walking unsteadily from a road. There was something unusual about him that caught her attention.

Luckily the bus slowed down for a set of works traffic lights which had moved from amber to a rather definitive and resounding red and thus giving Taylor a direct view of the road on her right. The road was more like a side street that followed up the side of the bridge that the bus had just emerged from. There was a black BMW sat on the pavement facing up the road on guard, a large blue gate which was open to allow people to explore, but the street only seemed to hold some sort of shops or buildings that were utilizing the space under the bridge, their graffiti-riddled shutters down and looking unused for years. On the other side, tucked in a corner, was an overflowing dumpster with litter of soggy paper and carboard left abandoned around it.

The man she saw walking out from the street was now holding himself up against the blue gate, slightly silhouetted against the rising sun behind him. He was wrapped up in some sort of fabric to keep himself warm, his slightly dark yet young face looked sunken and in pain, dark circles framed his strange eyes. She would have just thought the poor guy was just a homeless person out on his luck looking like he had just resurfaced from a safe place to squat for the night. But those eyes didn’t sit well with her. She wasn’t sure if it was a trick of the light or something, because of the sunrise behind him and the typically British cloudy day.

The bus jerked forward again to continue past the now green traffic lights, knocking Taylor’s elbow off the window edge and breaking her eye contact. But not before the man managed to look right at Taylor. His face furrowed into a curious frown as if he somehow knew she had been there watching him.

But those dark eyes weren’t just dark… they were completely pitch black.

When she looked back out of the window to the exact spot the man was, he had somehow vanished. She attempted to press her face to the window in order to look down the road behind the bus and even looked across to the opposite side of the road where another street ran up the other side of the bridge, but there was no sign of the strange man.

What also made her blood run cold was not only those pitch-black eyes, reminding her of the creature in her dream, but she realised she experienced the same feeling she had in her dream too. A feeling she couldn’t quite explain, it was just there in the depths of her being. It was like trying to explain that she heard voices, but they didn’t come to her ears, but from within… so was that strange feeling.

Suddenly a mixture of voices came into her head again, just like they did last night. She gasped and closed her eyes tightly and pointlessly shut as the inside of her head came alive with a mumbling and muffling mess of sounds. She knew it was talking, but she couldn’t make out words let alone sentences. She held her hands to her temples and groaned, the more she thought of them, the louder they got.

“SHUT UP!” she yelled suddenly, her voice reverberating in her ears. The voices stopped. Only the hum of the bus’s engine and the surrounding traffic was heard. No talking.

She blinked and looked up, seeing a few faces nervously staring at her from their seats around her. Of course, the voices were in her head, no one else could hear them.

Am I going mad? she thought to herself, as she deliberately diverted her attention to the outside world once again. Even the bus driver was looking in his rear-view mirror to see what the fuss was about.            

She sighed and took the bottle of alcohol that she had bought from the shop that morning from her backpack, she had told herself she wasn’t going to take even a sip until she was home and could finally relax. But it didn’t take her a lot to convince herself she needed a sip. Ignoring the strange look she was getting from a young girl in the seat on the opposite side of the bus, Taylor unscrewed the cap and took a large swig of the calming liquid.

Click here to read the next chapter!

~~~

If you liked this story, please check out my other works!

New Story Idea – “I fell in Love with a Psychopath”

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

New Story idea! – Butterfly House

Check out these other posts about Rose Garden Sanatorium!

New Full Book Trailer! For Rose Garden Sanatorium

Rose Garden Sanatorium Top 10 in the Cryptic Awards 2018!

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Chapter 1

If you’re new to the story, please read the prologue here!

Chapter 1

Parliamentary Private Secretary Martha Dunn

The doors swung open suddenly making Martha jump. Her cup of tea splashed all over her white blouse and dull grey skirt. She was standing in a room off the White Drawing Room, one of the nineteen State Rooms in the building, when he bounded in; a tall, dark haired and magnificently handsome man.

She had never seen such confidence in anyone before, the man strode in with such authority that she wasn’t sure if he had more right to be there than the man she worked for; the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom himself. Accompanied with his confidence, came a sense of power and intrigue that sent shivers down Martha’s spine.

She realised that she had never seen this man before, normally she was good at recognising people who come through Number Ten. He wore a black peacoat with the collar up, a simple grey scarf tucked underneath to hide his neck from a cold that Martha wasn’t sure currently existed this time of year, supplemented with a pair of simple dark blue jeans and black shoes to match his look. Although Martha wasn’t sure what look he was going for, if he was indeed going for a look. People who walked through the office usually had either the; I’m an important person you must respect me or the I’m a rich person with a large bank balance look. The newcomer was hard to read.

Aside from his attire, he appeared younger than most of the people that walked through the hall. He had short black stubble framing his sharp masculine facial-features handsomely, his dark short hair looked windswept and interesting. Martha certainly thought he was interesting, but she also had a horrible feeling he was trouble. How did he even get in?

“David in?” he asked, as he waltzed passed her.

 “Y–you can’t g–go in there!” she stuttered, her confidence gone and she started to visibly shake. She held onto her now empty cup of tea in one hand and her work phone in the other, both currently forgotten about as she watched in shock.

He stopped, turned and gave her a smile, finding her reaction amusing. The double doors were only a foot behind him.

She suddenly looked around for the security guards. Where are they? she thought, ignoring the wetness on her chest as the tea soaked through her clothes.

“No?” he tested. He raised an eyebrow at her, holding his handsome yet devilish smile.

“No,” she said with a little more confidence, but then added; “un–unless you h–have an appointment?” She doubted he did, it was late at night. The only reason she was there was because a meeting was overrunning.

The man walked up to Martha and stared into her brown tired eyes. She felt suddenly inferior to him, he was much taller than she was and towered above her. Plus, her simple loosely fitted grey suit, greying brown hair with natural fuzzy curls and her slightly wrinkly round face was no match to him.

“And what if I don’t have an appointment?” he breathed.

The woman wobbled on her feet and silently wished there were more seats at Number Ten. She swallowed nervously and stared back into his piercing blue eyes. “Then I w–will have t–to call security.”

“You could try, but they’re all unconscious.” He smirked, then walked away. Without another moment’s hesitation he bounded through the big double doors to where the Prime Minister was holding a meeting.

The secretary stood wordlessly, her mouth slightly agape in awe. After a few seconds, she rushed out of the room towards the main staircase and peered over the ornate black and dark wooden banister to see one of the security team was led face down next to the large world globe at the bottom and gasped in horror.

***

Belphegor

David!” Belphegor bellowed, his arms wide open as he bounded into the extravagant White Drawing Room.

The room was too elaborate for his taste, white walls with gold decorations, gold trims on the high ceiling, gold frames around the paintings, even the sofas near the fireplace and the pointless chandeliers hanging heavily from the ceiling had some unnecessary gold. The only thing not gold was the large rug in the middle of the floor which was red with a few splashes of blue in the fleur de-lis. There was probably more money in this building than there had gone into running the whole of London.

The Prime Minister, who was standing and talking to a balding man in a chair opposite him, span round to see Belphegor stride into the room. Belphegor even heard the Parliamentary Private Secretary, Martha, rush in behind him.

David Stewart was a young Prime Minister, taking up the position confidently only last year—much to the dismay of many of the Members of Parliament in the opposing parties who disagreed that Stewart was fit for the position. Stewart was in his late thirties, described to be a ‘young hip Prime Minister’ by a local newspaper recently, a short man with a square face, although attractive in a boyish way. He was in the process of holding a private meeting with his Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; MP John Didcot.

John Didcot was a balding middle-aged man, with a heart-shaped face. He had little bags under his grey-blue eyes, which sat underneath a mess of unruly eyebrows that were currently furrowed into a frown. Unlike the Prime Minister, who was wearing a sharp black suit, Didcot was wearing a navy-blue suit which looked a size too big for him and a rather long red tie that appeared to curl slightly at the end.

“Who are you?” the Prime Minister asked, his face visibly falling and shifting into an unfamiliar nervous stare. “And how did you get in?”

Belphegor wasn’t surprised that the guy didn’t know him, they hadn’t formally met. But Belphegor had suspected Stewart had been given a file all about him when he first made it to office, there were bound to be pictures of him in there over the years. Of course, humans weren’t too good with remembering faces from pictures and some pictures were probably very old.

Didcot moved slowly to perch on the edge of his seat as if waiting to get up at an opportune moment if he needed to run for the exit. Belphegor walked further into the room, grabbed an apple from a fruit bowl on top of a rather elaborate oak dresser and leaned against it.

“I’m sure you’re aware of who I am,” Belphegor replied finally, as he carefully inspected the apple in his hand before looking up at Stewart. “My friends call me Bel.”

He was teasing them slightly; he doubted anyone in the room would recognise the name ‘Bel’, even if it was an unusual name. It was just a nickname. One of his more favourable nicknames. But he wanted to drag out this situation as long as possible. He wasn’t going to make it that easy for them. Call it punishment for the last seventy years he had to endure. Sure, this meeting was pressing, but it was pointless, the proverbial cat was already out of the bag. He was just doing his bit.

He also ignored the last question about how he got in. Although he could have told the truth, he didn’t do anything too out of the ordinary, the security practically let him in. Even if he did knock them unconscious to avoid interrupting his unscheduled meeting. But it was the wrong question Stewart needed to ask, so he wasn’t going to answer it.

“Bel?” the balding man spoke nervously. “What do you want? Are you going to kill us?”

Belphegor looked at Didcot and smiled at him. “Don’t be silly, John. If I wanted to kill you, I would have done so years ago!”

Belphegor had walked passed Didcot once as he made his way home. He knew Didcot, he made sure he knew all the Members of Parliament. He knew all the world leaders and important figures. In fact, he kept up to date with the news all around the world. He recognised Didcot easily when he passed him. He even made sure Didcot saw him as he walked deliberately close by and smiled playfully at him. Didcot wasn’t too pleased with this, giving him a rather rude comment and mentioned ‘the youth of today’. Belphegor thought it was highly amusing since there was a large age gap, but not the way Didcot had thought.

But Didcot not only wouldn’t know who Belphegor was by meeting him on the street, he would never remember as well as Belphegor that they had actually met briefly. His memory was naturally less superior than Belphegor’s.

Didcot suddenly stood up and made a run for the door, nearly tripping over his own feet before disappearing noisily out the doors towards the staircase. Belphegor just watched him and lazily took a bite from the apple in his hand. He had no intention of running after him. He wasn’t here to speak to Didcot. It was, in fact, better Didcot wasn’t in the room.

The Prime Minister stood staring at Belphegor for a few seconds before he looked over at his Parliamentary Private Secretary, Martha, who had now broken a nervous sweat. She must have seen the body of the security guard currently lying unconscious on the floor downstairs. He was alive, but Martha didn’t know that. She looked at the Prime Minister and then down at the mobile phone in her hand, and then back up at the Prime Minister.

“Shall I call the police?” she whispered slightly, trying to talk only to David, but Belphegor could hear her, he had better hearing than all of them.

“The police?” Belphegor snorted. “Not a wise idea!” He folded his arms across his chest, looking from Martha to Stewart, enjoying their discomfort.

“Are you going to explain who you are and what you want?” The Prime Minister tore his face away from his personal secretary and looked back at the strange man interrupting his meeting. His voice had risen angrily and authoritatively.

Belphegor looked at the Prime Minister, his smile faded and was now looking serious. “My name is Belphegor and it might be in your best interest to listen to me.” He then calmly and deliberately took another bite from the apple. At this the Prime Minister’s face fell. Belphegor knew he would at least recognise his birth name, he would have been undoubtedly told about him the day he became Prime Minister. It was all in that file; Belphegor’s personal file the government had on him. He’d seen it before, it was pretty big. Stewart probably even had a debriefing with Duncan himself, the Director General of the most secret government service there was. Belphegor wondered if he would have taken up the position if he knew about him before running for Prime Minister, his whole world would have been turned upside down upon learning about the secret world that had been hidden for decades. And one of the most fearful beings from that secret world was currently standing right in the middle of Ten Downing Street, right in front of him, looking very human.

Click here to read the next chapter!

~~~

If you liked this story, please check out my other works!

New Story Idea – “I fell in Love with a Psychopath”

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

New Story idea! – Butterfly House

Check out these other posts about Rose Garden Sanatorium!

New Full Book Trailer! For Rose Garden Sanatorium

Rose Garden Sanatorium Top 10 in the Cryptic Awards 2018!

Rose Garden Sanatorium – Prologue

Copyright © Penny Hooper 2019

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without prior permission in writing from the author.

Penny Hooper has asserted her right under Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

This book is a work of fiction and, except in the case of historical fact, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

***

Prologue

Sam Chaudhary

A large swarm of pigeons suddenly flew up in a panic, disturbing the long since settled dust. Their wings echoed as they clapped in the vastness, as if they were applauding the perpetrator that spooked them. Most vanished out through the large hole in the roof, a few others nestled atop of an old door or the other side of the room bobbing along the floor in fear.

They were originally hiding safely in a derelict building. A building that many years ago once held many people; doctors once walked around in white coats, holding patient records while stethoscopes hung from their necks, looking important. Nurses would have rushed around with bed pans and other equally rudimentary items, wearing aprons with large red crosses on them and with their hair pinned back into tight buns. Patients would be seen in straitjackets screaming at the top of their lungs when they were due for more sedatives.

The building now, however, was eerily silent—yet if you listened close enough you would swear you could hear a distance ghostly scream. There were scattered red bricks from the broken walls, broken windows boarded up from the outside and graffiti clinging helplessly to the peeling walls. It was obvious the building was no longer in use.

The pigeons made the boy jump as he walked into the open hall. He had accidentally spooked them while he side stepped past a weed, a bit of nature that had decided to reclaim the building, his foot knocked a loose brick which had caused a loud noise to echo. He stopped to regain his breath and slow his beating heart.

The boy was young, his round slightly tanned Asian face still had a hint of baby fat lingering in his cheeks and his short dark hair complimented his dark brown eyes. He stood holding the zipper on his jacket, close to where his beating heart sat pounding in his chest. His jacket was slightly dirty from months of use and not seeing the inside of a washing machine. It was his favourite and deemed lucky jacket. It was dark red with black trim around the collar and cuffs, contrasting with the blue in his jeans. His jeans were slightly too long for his legs, evident from the fraying at the bottom, where his brand-new Nike trainers would catch them when he walked.

It’s just an old building, he thought to himself, hoping to calm his painfully beating heart as he looked nervously around himself. There are no monsters! he added, sighing deeply.

He remembered what his mother would say to him every night when she would tuck him into bed. That was when he was younger, of course, he was far too big now to be tucked in at night. He was twelve and a half, thank you very much. But his mother’s sweet voice automatically filled his head; ‘Monsters aren’t real, beta,’ she would say. ‘Beta’ being the Hindi word for ‘son’. She would do that occasionally, adding in Hindi words into sentences, she didn’t want him to lose his Indian roots.

After composing himself a little, feeling a little more confident no monsters were going to jump out and eat him, he decided to continue moving onwards and through the vastness of the open hall.

The quicker I get it, the quicker I can get out, he thought to himself as he climbed over a fallen wall, the broken red bricks threatening to pierce the skin on his legs.

He walked as quietly and quickly as possible to the other side of the hall to another corridor, the smell of urine potent in this part of the building, making him a little queasy. As he neared a door separating the hall from the corridor ahead, he also noticed another smell lingering in the air, yet he didn’t think much of it; he had a job to do.

The door, mould threatening to consume it from the bottom upwards, was leaning awkwardly against the corridor wall, only one hinge still attached. He was sure his friend told him he’d have to open a door at the other end of the hall. Maybe it just fell since his friend had been there?

The boy looked down the corridor to another door at the far end. The street light that was originally illuminating his way wasn’t reaching this far, but he could see the last door he needed to go through… he was nearly there. He walked slowly, side-stepping past an old chair left discarded and lonely in the corridor, while feeling proud of himself for getting this far.

But something made him stop. He could hear someone muttering, and it was coming from that room beyond the door. He realised that strange smell was stronger here too. He certainly wasn’t imagining it. He couldn’t place what the smell was, but it reminded him of his Aunt Mysha.

He stood still for a few seconds, in panic. He knew if he ran away now, he’d have his friend telling him he was a wimp for not getting the item he was supposed to get; that damn brick. But if he stayed where he was, and whoever was on the other side of the door was a murderer or something, he’d be dead.

The muttering started to get louder as he stood there, the person was talking louder now, and the boy realised it was a woman’s voice. His panic subsided slightly and was instead replaced with curiosity, he couldn’t help but walk towards the door slowly and quietly. Maybe, if he got close enough, he could hear what she was saying.

The closer he got, the louder the voice got, but not just because he was getting nearer, she was getting louder. Now able to hear her, he started to realise that she was repeating something. Although he could not work out what she was saying, as she was speaking a foreign language. The only word he picked up was ‘mammon’.

What is she doing? he thought. And what language is that?

He crept closer, his curiosity getting the better of him. He was now right by the door, if he just peaked through the gap, he’d be able to see into the room. He could already see shadows dancing across the walls and floor. There was some kind of light and a waft of that strange incense smell too.

The boy shifted his weight slightly on one leg, so that he could peer around the corner of the door, and the room slowly came into focus. There was indeed a woman; she was dressed in all black, she had one hand up in the air waving something burning. She was now shouting, which the boy was grateful for as he was worried she would have heard him by now.

He saw a brick laying in the middle of the room on the floor, it had a very delicate carving of a strange symbol on its side. It was the brick he was tasked to get. It was right next to a strange criss-cross of white lines and circle markings on the floor, directly in front of the woman. He knew there was no chance he was going to be able to go in the room and get it without being noticed. But before he could turn around and leave the building empty-handed, a strange cloud like object started to form before the woman.

Transfixed on the sight, he watched as it swirled and swirled, getting bigger and bigger, until suddenly it somehow imploded and vanished. But it didn’t vanish into thin air, it vanished into a crack, a crack that had formed in thin air. The woman stopped shouting now and the room fell eerily silent. The boy found himself going rigid, not just out of terror, but worried about making a sound.

Suddenly, the crack started to open, ripping like fabric, it was as if something was trying to come through. But he could see the other side, where the room was beyond it, there was no one or nothing there. The crack started to get wider and wider before suddenly a terrifying clawed red hand reached through. The boy’s eyes went wide. He held his breath instinctively as he watched a red hand tear the crack open in one swift movement. He watched in horror as a whole red body attached to the hand climbed through, horns, tail and black leathery wings included.

The boy accidentally let out a squeak of terror and covered his mouth with his hand. But it was too late, the monster and the woman turned around, both staring right at the boy, both with the same horrifying pitch-black eyes. Monsters were real.

Click here to read the next chapter!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you liked this story, please check out my other works!

New Story Idea – “I fell in Love with a Psychopath”

It’s My Mistake – Chapter 1

Ender’s Love – Chapter 1

New Story idea! – Butterfly House

Check out these other posts about Rose Garden Sanatorium!

New Full Book Trailer! For Rose Garden Sanatorium

Rose Garden Sanatorium Top 10 in the Cryptic Awards 2018!

Using constructive critism… and not throwing in the towel!

I’m feeling 100% well lately, but I’m still going to attempt this blog post!

A couple of days ago I decided to reach out on a Facebook Group called ‘We love reading books.’ What better way to get advice on your writing but from book fans!?

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So I wrote a post asking if there would be anyone who’d be interested in reading a few chapters of my ‘Rose Garden Sanatorium’ so that I could get feedback. I was actually surprised that a LOT of people commented back jumping at the opportunity! So after sending out a load of personal emails with a PDF of the first few chapters, I’m starting to get a little bit of feedback.

Of course, my skin isn’t that thick to deal with negative feedback, not because I was shocked to hear my work isn’t perfect! But because I have low self-esteem in general.

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But after getting the feedback, I realised that- okay, so THAT person didn’t like it – Well, not the story, but the writing style, he did say he’d like to read more! I have had some ideas on how to improve it!

I also got a lovely reply back from another reader and she was very nice. She was a lot more supportive in the sense that she told me she loved the story and did give me some feedback on how to improve it a little too.

And what is interesting, is that, I actually feel all the more happier now that I have used that feedback and done a few alterations. It’s that little bit better than it was before I sent it out. 🙂

I did also, get some lovely comments on Twitter from some other authors, so if you are reading this and you were one who encouraged me, thank you for your kind words!

And no, I’m not giving up. I’ve spent ten months so far writing this damn book (well a series), I for sure am NOT giving up on it! And I do want it to be the best it can be. I’m proud of the story line and I love the characters (well, most of them).

determination

Moral of the story, take negative feedback with a pinch of salt. Not everyone is going to love it, but use the critism to your advantage, use it to make it better!

Plus, even famous authors have negative feedback! Just look at Dan Brown! Now his works are getting put into films! (I love his books!)

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My Normal – A Short Story by Penny Hooper

“What’s your name?” said a voice, slightly distant. I wasn’t even sure if I could see the speaker’s mouth move, but I knew that’s what he said.

“Um-, Lucy,” I replied confidently. It didn’t matter what the intentions of the speaker were, he couldn’t hurt me even if he tried.

“Why Lucy?” he asked, as if knowing that wasn’t my real name. Of course it wasn’t, but here I could be anyone I wanted.

“Because-, it’s a name that reminds me of something,” I smiled, just about making out the shape of this person in front of me now. He was coming into view a bit. He was tall and dark. Not dark as in dark hair or dark skin colour. He was dark, like a silhouette. I still couldn’t make out his features. No matter how hard I tried to focus on them. In fact, the more I focused, the more distorted he became.

It didn’t bother me though, it didn’t matter what he looked like. He wasn’t important. Nothing was really important here.

“Come with me, Lucy,” the figure said and a long arm shot out from no-where to try to grab me. I dodged it quickly, avoiding the contact. I didn’t like to be touched. It felt- like I wasn’t in control if I let this person touch me.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” I said, my voice changing slightly. I sounded more menacing.

The figure of a man in front of me didn’t say anything, he just frowned, or at least I think he frowned. I could sense he wasn’t happy. I knew I had to get away.

I turned around and came face-to-face with a wall. Normal people probably would have panicked if they saw a wall. Not me, I love them. And there is a reason for that, which I am about to show.

I smiled, gave the man-figure a quick glance as he looked confused and I just stepped back towards the wall. And suddenly, as if by magic I just- slipped right through it. As if the wall wasn’t there.

The only thing that I regret was not knowing what happened to that man-figure, but I felt happy knowing he was probably standing the other side of that wall and wondering what on earth was going on. Or, he might not be there anymore, no longer existing. It was hard to tell in this world.

I suddenly found myself walking down a corridor. It was light and airy. It reminded me of somewhere I used to work. It was on a second floor. A metal banister on either side, stopping me from falling to the second floor. It was high. It made me feel a little weak. I don’t like heights. Even here, where things were- different.

I saw someone walk towards me from the other side of the corridor, the person came into view. A woman I used to work with. I do work with. I think I work with. She had her hair tied back like she normally does into a tight ponytail. I’ve forgotten her name. How can I forget her name?

“Morning,” she said.

What was her name?

“Morning… Alice,” I said. Making up a name.

“How are you today?” she said, apparently I got her name right?

“I’m fine,” I said. Short and sweet. That’s how I kept the conversation as I dodged around the woman whose name was apparently Alice. She wasn’t important, I had somewhere to be. I felt a sense of urgency. Maybe that man was still after me, I wasn’t sure.

I got to the end of the corridor and got to another door. I could open it, but I instead I smiled and just walked through it. This was fun!

The other side of the room, it suddenly changed. I was outside. I felt the need to run, to get away from the building behind me. Although I had somehow gone from a second story in a building to somewhere outside.

I ran. I wasn’t sure what I was running from, but I ran. Until, I couldn’t. Suddenly somehow I wasn’t able to run. My legs were moving but I wasn’t getting anywhere!

I turned around and saw the man-figure walking towards me, he had found me. I let out a scream. No sound came out. I tried to move away, I couldn’t.

The man-figure got closer, except it was no longer a man-figure, it was a large dark wolf. Its teeth were bared and drool was hanging from the side of his mouth. I felt panicky again. There were no walls to go through.

No, but maybe I could do something else!

I crouched to the floor, my hand only a mere millimetre away from the floor and I sprang up and into the air. But I didn’t come back down again. I just hovered there. I was in the air, but I was only two feet above the ground.

It wasn’t high enough to get away from the wolf. I willed myself up, I went up higher. But only by another foot.

It still wasn’t high enough.

So I decided to move away instead, before the wolf got me. Gliding away, in mid-air, three feet off the ground. I managed to avoid the wolf.

But it was still coming for me, I moved faster, so did the wolf. I tried to climb higher, only getting so far and not any further.

I got as far as the sea. Somehow I had managed to get far away from where I originally was, where ever that was, and got to the coast.

But I had a fear of open water. The deep dark murky unknown scared me, even here. Even though I was three feet above the ground, hovering unnaturally. With the ability to pass through solid walls. And probably other superpowers here in the world. Yet, water still scared me.

I got over the water, but I didn’t go far. Hovering there and watching the wolf, which had turned into my childhood dog.

I watched as his fluffy tail just swung left and right, panting as if he had been running to keep up with me. But looking happy to see me.

I smiled and glided back over to the side where dry land luckily was. And I set my feet back on the earth.

“Hello boy,” I greeted my dog and I bent down to stroke him.

But just before my hand touched the soft and warm coat of my childhood dog, he lunged for me.

The jolt woke me up.

I stared up at the ceiling and blinked into the darkness. And then sighed.

“What a strange dream,” I muttered to myself and rolled over.

I had another lucid dream.

~~~

Check out my other works:

Read Chapter 1 of ‘It’s My Mistake’ here.
Or buy on e-book here or paperback here.

Read Chapter 1 of ‘I Fell in Love with a Psychopath’ here.
Or buy on e-book here or paperback here.

Check out my Prologue for Rose Garden Sanatorium here.

Read how I come up with character names, here.