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 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!

Coming up with Character names…

I’m quite new to being an indie author, so I’m still learning, I do read a few blog posts from others or do a LOT of researching on the internet into best ways to do it, but most of the time I learn along the way.

But one thing I do find that irritates me is coming up with new character names! I wonder how other authors do it, so I figured I’d write about how I personally come up with new character names.

Well, first off, I have a few ‘names’ that are my favourites, don’t ask me why, as some are just random and just stuck with me for no reason, others there are a deeper story that I cannot go into depth about in a simple blog post!

But some names that stuck with me are ‘Alex’ – I love the idea it can be used as either a female character or a male character and I also love the idea of the character being thought of as male and then, whoops, no she’s female! My mistake!
‘Jason’ stuck with me, that’s a long story! But that name probably features a lot in my work – he’s a main character in my book “It’s My Mistake” and he’s also a small character in my upcoming “Rose Garden Sanatorium”. Different people though of course.

Maybe. 😉

Other names that stuck are ‘Taylor’, ‘Hensley’, ‘Morgan’ and ‘Alyssa’.

Don’t ask about the Hensley, I just came across it and it stuck with me.

But of course, stories usually involve a lot more characters and not every book can have the SAME names! So how do I come up with names?

Well, there are four things I do.

  1. I make up a name, think of a name that’s common, or maybe not so common, and as long as I don’t know someone that doesn’t like me, by that name, that they might think ‘hey, she’s used my name!’ – So, some generic ones I’ve used, ‘Dan’ (I know lots of Dan’s, but I figured Dan is too much of a common name so it doesn’t worry me), ‘Sam’, ‘Rebecca’, ‘Olivia’ to name a few.
  2. I research names! My novel ‘It’s My Mistake’ I used names from disney books/films for two of the female characters! Alice being one, I wonder if you can figure out the other?
    Rose Garden Sanatorium has a LOT more research into names, one of the main characters ‘Belphegor’ is a name from Peter Binsfeld who created a list in the 1500s, based on the seven deadly sins, Belphegor is one of the Seven Princes. There are other demons too that I’ve ‘borrowed’ their names and used the information supplied to shape their characters. Even demon species (Legion for example).
  3. I use names that mean something to me, for example, the main character ‘Taylor Brown’, I ‘borrowed’ her last name because I am a big fan of Dan Brown’s books. Another character ‘Mr Cox’ because I am a fan of Prof. Brian Cox (and physics/astronomy of course!), and I’ve also used names from close friends!
  4. Random name generator! They’re ace! Want a common name – no problem. Here’s a list! Want an uncommon name – no problem! Here’s a list! Want a sci-fi name – no problem! Here’s a list! Want a vampire name – I think you get the point!

Regardless of this though, I still find it difficult to come up with names. I feel that I don’t want to be too boring with selecting names (i.e. Dan is such a common name) but I don’t want to go over-board and use such wild and crazy names that the story isn’t believable!

It also depends on the type of story – using common names in a sci-fi book might not be very clever, but using them in a story that is more real-world might be okay.

I also try to use names that aren’t typically British – e.g. Tiffany is more an American name, so I deliberately used that in ‘It’s My Mistake’ to give that character more of an American background. Although I tend to avoid any discriptions that label the character as American other than the name because I don’t like the idea of singling out people based on their background! There is one character in ‘It’s My Mistake’ that is actually African but I’ve not once mentioned they are black. Not because I was worried about discrimination, but because I didn’t see the need.

Anyway! So, that’s how I come up with character names!

It works for me!

And to be honest, sometimes if I haven’t quite figured out what the character should be called, I just add little [name] tags in, continue writing the story and fill in the gaps afterwards! (e.g. [name] walked in to the dank dark bar and was instantly struck by a rancid smell…)

If you’re interested in my books, ‘It’s My Mistake’ is now out on Amazon!
www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0731KDJLZ

Rose Garden Sanatorium to follow soon!

https://www.facebook.com/RoseGardenSanatorium/
https://pennyrosehooper.wixsite.com/pennyhooper
https://twitter.com/penny_hoops
https://www.instagram.com/penny_bones16/