The Asylum in the Woods

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Estimated reading time — 8 minutes

3 True Forest Encounters
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The town I grew up in sits next to the Myles Standish State Forest in Massachusetts. Growing up, my friends would all tell me ghost stories about the area. A woman in a white dress following your car as you drive through, creepy laughter out by the ponds deep in the woods, and hitchhikers killing those who tried to help them. It wasn’t until after I graduated that I heard the story of the mysterious asylum in the woods.

I had met with my friends, Chris, Liz, and Ryan at a cemetery that sat about a mile outside of the wooded area. We had planned to venture on a ghost hunt that evening. As the sun got low and the air grew colder, Chris decided to tell us another ghost tale about the forest. He started off by telling us that the other stories we had heard were all fake, but he knew of one that was indeed true. A story that stemmed from his own personal experience.

“Out in the woods,” he began, “is the last remaining, fully operational asylum in America. It sits on a road that starts in the middle of nowhere. Only accessible by foot. A friend and I had read about this supposed asylum online, only finding one mention of it at all. We decided, one day, to go look for it ourselves. When we went searching and finally found the road in question, it was almost midnight. We walked along the path for what seemed like hours. Eventually, we spotted it around a bend in the road, partially blocked by the trees.”

Chris took a moment to think back over the experience, then continued, “As we got closer, we spotted what we thought was a guard roaming the perimeter. We rushed to hide behind some nearby bushes. After waiting a moment, making sure we hadn’t been discovered, I peeked my head out for a better view. I pulled out my phone, went to my camera, and zoomed in on the guard to get a closer look. It was as if the man felt himself being watched, because he suddenly stopped walking, and slowly turned, looking directly at the camera. His face was grotesque. It looked as though he had suffered many severe deformities. As I stared upon the face of death, the building’s lights went out, and a high pitched sound caused my friend and I to cover our ears. After recovering from the noise, we lifted our heads and noticed that the asylum was gone. Freaked out, we ran back to the car as fast as we could.”

Chris took a moment to settle himself, clearly rattled by his own memories. After a moment of silence, he looked to us. Ryan was the first to speak.

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“I don’t know about the rest of you, but I want to find this mystery building.” He looked to Liz and I, seeing if we would join him on his adventure. We both nodded in unison.

“Chris, if you don’t want to, I completely understand, but at least tell us where it is.” Ryan continued.

Chris took a moment to think. He reluctantly agreed to join us, probably knowing we would go with or without his help. He made us swear not to tell anyone else where to find the asylum, not wishing to burden the unprepared with what he considered to be a dangerous quest. It wasn’t something he wished on anyone. He tried to deter us, but his attempts to curb our ambitions only made us want to go more. There was no stopping us.

Excited (save for Chris), we hopped into Liz’s car and headed up the road towards the forest. After passing the welcome sign and driving past the rest stop, Chris began guiding Liz down various roads that snaked throughout the woods. After a half hour or so, Chris pointed to a patch of dirt just off the main road and told Liz to park there. Once stopped, Chris unbuckled, turned around in his seat, and sat with his back to the front windshield.

“Before we go any further,” Chris started, “I’m going to make one thing very clear to all of you. We are not getting too close when we find it, and we aren’t going to do anything stupid. Got it?”

We all agreed to Chris’s terms. The rest of us unbuckled and stepped out of the car. Chris pulled out a few flashlights from his sweatshirt pocket, handed us each one, and then led the way into the brush. It was the middle of the summer, so plants, bushes, and vines were plentiful and overgrown. There was no clear path along the forest floor to wherever it was we were heading. I remember wondering how anyone could have ever found the mystery road in the first place.

After about an hour of wandering, Chris pointed up ahead, signaling to us that he had found the road. We quickly made our way forward. Surely enough, there it was; the beginning of a paved road in the middle of the woods. But how? Better yet, why?

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We walked side by side, following the road to its end. Liz started complaining about needing to use a bathroom. Ryan was going on about dying for some pizza. The whole time, Chris remained silent, his eyes locked dead ahead, refusing to take his eyes away from the road. He was clearly dreading our destination, probably hoping the asylum wouldn’t show itself this time.

Another fifteen minutes passed, we walked around a slight bend in the road, and there it was. A giant building, sitting in the middle of the woods. There were lights all around the place. How did we not see them through the trees? We took it all in for a moment before Ryan pointed out someone walking the perimeter. We quickly scuttled off to the left of the road and crouched down behind some bushes.

“How do you know this place is an asylum, anyway?” Asked Liz.

Chris simply replied, “The screams.”

No one dared to ask further. Instead, we peeked over the bushes and watched as the guard walked by. Ryan moved to the side of the bush to see better and stepped on a fallen branch. It made a loud cracking sound. The guard stopped walking. Slowly, he turned to our direction. We huddled together, trying to hide ourselves behind the bush as best we could. For an instant, everything was dead silent. We thought we were safe, but we were wrong. The guard began screaming, sounding almost like a dying pig. Spotlights shone themselves on our precise location. Even if we tried to flee, we would be seen.

Chris panicked. He rolled up into a ball, holding his knees to his chest. He fell on his side, and just began repeating one word over and over, quietly, but loud enough for us to hear.

“Don’t.”

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Just then, the guard ran around the bush. Frightened, Liz tried to blind him with her flashlight. This gave us a good view of what he looked like, or should I say, “it.” In accordance with its outcry, this thing had what looked like a pig-esque mask sewn directly onto its face. It let out a wild squeal and then grabbed Chris. As it tried to pull him away, Ryan jumped up in an attempt to attack the monster, but it easily swung him away with one arm, throwing him against a nearby tree. He fell unconscious to the forest floor. The last thing I remember was seeing three more of those things emerge from the trees and let out bone chilling screams.

When I came to, I found myself strapped to a metal chair in a room with padded walls. In front of me, Chris, Liz, and Ryan were bound in a similar fashion. Chris and Liz were both conscious, but Ryan was still out cold, his head slumped back over the neck of the chair. I heard a door open up from behind me, the hinges squeaking as it swung. A man in a white lab coat walked in and stood in the center of the room. He looked at Liz, Ryan, and myself, and then turned to Chris.

“Ahh, you’re the one who was here last time, aren’t you?” The man began. “Did you miss her? Is that why you came back?”

“What is he talking about, Chris.” I asked. My voice shook as I spoke.

“Oh, he didn’t tell you?” The man asked. “He was here with us for a few days. I’m surprised he didn’t mention it. I wonder if it’s because she didn’t leave with him.”

“Who? Who was with him?” Liz blurted out, her face soaked from tears.

“Her.” Chris said. “This place. You see, I felt awful for a very long time. I was constantly sad for no apparent reason, missing work because I would sleep away the days. I met her in a dream. She said she could help. That’s when she brought me here. I’m sorry I lied. I just wanted to see her again, so badly. I didn’t want to go alone.”

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The man stood up and shoved Chris back. His chair tipped over and he fell to the floor. The loud thud his head made caused Ryan  to wake. Startled, he began screaming. The man turned towards the door and waved someone to come over. One of the pig creatures walked in, picked Chris up, then went over to Ryan. It stuck a large syringe into his arm, injecting him with a green liquid. Ryan quickly fell back asleep.

“What is this place?” I asked the man.

“This place? You mean its name? This place is called the Asterra Asylum. Here, we make people whole again.” He leaned in close, his nose almost touching mine. He continued, “Here, you are home. Well, as long as you pass the scan, that is.”

“Scan?” Liz asked. She started crying again, but held it together enough so as not to become hysterical.

The man once again waved someone in from the door behind me. In came another pig-like creature. In its hands was a device. On it were various buttons, lights, and knobs. He held it in front of Ryan’s face. It made a beeping sound. Seeming content with that, it moved to Liz, who was shaking. She closed her eyes and turned her head away as the monstrosity hovered the device over her face. Again, the device made a satisfactory beeping sound.

As the pig moved over to Chris, the man put his hand out, blocking the way of the creature. “We already know he’s good.” He spoke.

“Can I just go to my room? I miss her.” Chris replied, sternly.

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The man nodded and ordered the creature to undo his binding. Chris stood up, rubbed his wrists, looked at Liz, Ryan, and then at me. He took a deep breath and walked out of the room. That was the last time I ever saw him.

The pig creature made its way over to me. As it held the device in front of my face, the man became curious as he looked intently at the flashing lights. Then, the device made a beeping sound like that of a buzzer. The man’s face turned sour. He pointed to me, and ordered I be removed from the building at once. He called me “Non-compatible.” Before I could react, I too was injected with a green liquid.

When I awoke, it was daytime, and I was laying on the pavement. I looked around, feeling very queasy. I was back on the road, just outside of the asylum. Once I recovered my focus, I looked to where the building should have been, but it was gone. In its place was a large clearing of dirt surrounded by trees.

I searched the area for a bit before heading back in the direction from whence we came. I didn’t have Liz’s car keys, so I walked out of the forest. I went to the police station and tried to report the incident, but no one believed me. No one ever has. To this day, almost eight years later, I still haven’t seen my friends. It’s almost like the world has forgotten that they ever existed.

Over the years, I have gone back to that spot in the forest, but the asylum is never there. I don’t think it will ever come back. I tell my story of that night to some people, not because I think anyone should look for it, not because I have hope that my friends will one day return, not even because, in a twisted way, I think it makes for a good ghost story. I tell my tale of that night because of the sadness I feel. The sadness of missing her.

WRITTEN BY: R.L. Rogers

(click HERE to join R.L. Rogers’ official subreddit)

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