PART SEVEN: THE GHOST
Maude woke up in a comfortable hospital bed at the Amethyst Affinity Psychiatric Hospital in Wintria after the effects of the sedative that had been administered to her previously, wore off. She smiled even as she stretched out her sore limbs and looked around the room, feeling well rested for the first time in weeks. Deep down, she knew she should have felt resentful after that her own daughter had committed her to the loony bin but once more, her negative emotions were repressed somewhere deep down where they couldn’t consciously reach her.
A solid five minutes passed before a nurse came to Maude’s bed and triaged her, using the technology of the day to increase the accuracy of the process. The nurse smiled warmly at Maude and asked how she was doing. Maude smiled and said that she had just had the best sleep of her life. The nurse was inclined to believe Maude as the latter’s vitals were all indicative that she was indeed calm and happy. She then happily informed Maude that her vitals showed that Maude was in good shape and instructed her to wait a while before the Healer could come see her. Maude nodded and waited patiently until the Healer arrived about 15 minutes later.
He apologized for being late and introduced himself as Healer Kallisto and then he observed Maude keenly and she shook her head and even chuckled as she urged him not to think too much into it. The Healer went through her chart and then asked some standard questions of her to gauge her mental state at the time. He wrote his own observations on his C-Pad and then asked Maude if she would mind being subjected to some physical tests before they continued their discussion in his office.
Maude agreed to the tests and later on sat down with the Healer where they had a session in his private office. She described her woes to him but she always found a positive spin to describe them and at the end of it, she went through the motions even as the Healer contacted Melody and Prince Ismead.
“For all intents and purposes, your mother is not suffering from any form of psychiatric or psychological distress. Her vitals are in great shape and though the tests we ran show that she is at great danger of developing Seratonin Syndrome due to an overproduction of seratonin, we do not have enough to keep her here under the proposed involuntary hold…”
“Though I am working to establish the cause of the overproduction of the seratonin and it is a cause for concern, Lady Maude has indicated that she is not on any medication, psychiatric or otherwise. However, I am certain that if your mother were to demand for her release, we have very little basis to hold her here…”
“What about her erratic behavior, Healer Kallisto? You’ve got to admit that hysterically laughing while your husband is possibly going to have his sentence bumped up to Death Row is not normal,”
“Perhaps that behavior is strange, but I chalk up all the strange behavior to the overproduction of seratonin. From our first session, I have determined that she is still in control of her mental faculties and therefore keeping her in an involuntarily psychiatric hold is highly unethical, at best,”
Melody tried to convince the Healer to reconsider but he quoted sections of Wintrian Mental Health laws that essentially showed that his hands were tied. Healer Kallisto promised to have at least one more session with Maude before releasing her entirely. As the hours passed by, Maude displayed no signs of distress and even helped other patients at the hospital which was greatly appreciated by hospital staff. She enjoyed dinner and even had a second helping of the hospital’s world famous chocolate pudding for dessert before settling in for the night.
As usual, it took her too long to fall asleep because she still felt energetic even as her head hit the pillow. After several restless moments of endless tossing and turning, Maude finally gave in and took a sleeping potion which effectively knocked her out. Maude had the same dreams of the phantom that came out from the Shadow World, flying at the speed of light towards the prison as it usually did but it suddenly stopped halfway and entirely turned around in the opposite direction.
Surprised by the sudden change in direction, Maude observed the dream phantom in awe before realizing that it was coming towards her rather than headed towards the prison. Intrigued by what the strange dream was about, she observed the phantom fly towards her until it was right at the foot of her bed. It encompassed the bed like a predator zeroing in on its prey and then she felt its putrid, hot breath on her face. Her eyelids were still heavy with sleep and thus remained shut as the creature continued stalking her. She then heard a booming voice she never expected she would ever hear again in her ear menacingly stating, “Rise and shine, sister dearest.”
The shock of hearing her deceased Shadow twin’s voice stirred her wide awake and she saw the dream phantom in the shape of a dark, featureless, humanoid shape; a wide, unnatural grin spread across its face with unnaturally stretched hands bearing claws so long that they dragged on the floor. Maude felt the compulsion to scream but her voice was caught in her throat as the creature continued smirking at her before its clawed hands cupped her face with brute force. Suddenly, she could see beady eyes appear on its featureless form where its face should have been and for a few brief moments, Maude saw the face of Maura staring down at her.
“Did you miss me, sis?” it mockingly asked her.
Maude was too terrified to move, her heart rate spiking as she observed the creature.
“Of course you couldn’t have missed me because after all, you were the one who stole everything from me…”
It growled angrily, its claws clamping down on Maude’s face as it stated, “I knew the day would come when I would make you pay for what you did to me. That day has come…”
Maude shook her head as she observed the creature wearily. Why couldn’t she scream? She was terrified beyond belief.
The creature then made lashes at Maude in strategic places along her arms and feet and a black substance began to ooze out of the wounds it inflicted. Maude was soon out of breath and began to have a seizure and hospital staff were soon by her side to help manage the seizure and other consequential symptoms.
Melody then received a phone call from Healer Kallipso who told her that the involuntary psychiatric hold would remain in effect after all.
“Healer, what happened for you to change your mind so drastically?”
“My lady, your mother’s condition suddenly deteriorated,”
“What do you mean? Is she okay?” Melody asked panicking.
“It appears my earlier fears of her developing Seratonin Syndrome have happened. Your mother suddenly had a seizure. Hospital staff have managed to control it but we need to keep her here to monitor for other adverse effects of the Syndrome,”
“You’re saying that my mom had a seizure?”
“Yes, my lady. Furthermore, she developed a high fever and has muscle rigidity- all signs pointing to Seratonin Syndrome. She also had high blood pressure. However, at the moment, we have managed her physical symptoms successfully…”
“I will be there right away!”
“My lady, that is not necessary-“
“She is my mother! I am going to be by her side every second of every day until she gets better,” Melody stated firmly. She arrived at the Psychiatric hospital and stayed by her mother’s side, holding Maude’s hand in hers all through the night as she observed her wearily.
When Maude finally woke up in the afternoon of the following day, she found Melody resting on the bed with Melody’s hand outstretched as if she had fallen asleep holding onto Maude’s hand. Maude gently caressed her daughter’s hair even as she scoped out the area seeking the insidious monster that had attacked her the previous night.
She noticed that the wounds she had incurred from the creature’s vicious attack had been bandaged up and when she realized the creature was nowhere to be seen, she relaxed. Maude was uncertain what the creature she had encountered had been but she was certain that it would not be the last time for her to encounter the vindictive ghost of what her former Shadow Twin had been.
TO BE CONTINUED…
What dastardly plans does the evil monster that attacked Maude have for her? Stay tuned to find out! Links to previous parts are linked below. Enjoy!