Estimated reading time — 3 minutes
Tom lived alone in West Virginia, and worked a dangerous job at a coal power plant. He was driving back home in his outdated Chevy Malibu. He’d had a rough day at work like always; all he wanted was to go to bed, “the weekend starts tomorrow” Tom said to himself quietly, relieved that he had a two-day break from his dirty job.
The nightly drives back home became all the more familiar to Tom. They were always soothing. Something about passing by peaceful green grassy fields that cut through the mountainous West Virginia terrain provided succor for Tom whenever he was stressed. Most of the drive was breathtaking in his eyes. He enjoyed glancing at the rural farm houses, Northern Red Oaks, and tiny clusters of mountains that decorate the curvy narrow back roads leading to his rural home.
There was only one part of the drive that Tom didn’t like, the closed mental institution near his house. Tom didn’t scare easily; he had experienced many peculiar things at his job and while growing up. He once explored a half burned down house with his friends in Illinois where he grew up. During that exploration a teenage Tom found a homeless man sleeping in the house; Tom and his friends ran out laughing at the discovery. Tom certainly wasn’t scared then. However, something about this hospital in rural West Virginia was ominous to him. Was it the dark broken windows that covered the empty confinement cells? Maybe the overgrown decrepit state of the building was what startled Tom, or possibly the building’s sheer size.
While Tom began to pass by the asylum, he pressed harder on the gas due to his familiar dread. Soon after the dreadful building left Tom’s sight, he passed an evaporating black figure resembling a human who was walking on the side of the road. “Who would be hitchhiking in the middle of nowhere this late at night,” Tom chuckled nervously.
“Only two more miles and I’m home,” Tom said while wiping the sweat from his forehead. The rest of the drive felt uneasy for Tom, he eventually arrived home three long minutes after spotting the person. As Tom parked his car in his driveway, he couldn’t help but question if he actually saw someone on the side of the road a few minutes ago. I may have just imagined that person, that asylum always messes with me after all Tom thought to himself. He hurried inside his home and shut the front door. Tom wasted no time getting into bed, and falling asleep with his dirty work clothes still on.
As Tom’s conscience slipped into a dream, he found himself exploring the corridors of what seemed to be an abandoned hospital. Tom enjoyed looking at what was left of a place that seemed untouched for a half century. The floor was black and white checkered marble. The walls were tan; however, the paint was peeling off. The ceiling was wooden, and had wooden beams crossing it. A few minutes pass with Tom exploring the hallways, when he heard the sound of knocking coming from one of the confinement cells. He slowly walked to the source of the sound. It was coming from behind a wooden-framed glass door that had four stained-glass windows.
All Tom saw was a hand knocking on the glass from the other end of the door, the person was not visible due to opaque white curtains hanging on the opposite side of the door, covering the inside of the room. Tom was standing frozen in fright while he watched the hand pound on the glass.
Tom shot up out of his sleep! “It was just a dream,” Tom said to himself relived. However, the pounding continued. This time it came from outside his bedroom door. Tom came to the frightening realization that he forgot to lock his front door.
Credit : Nolan H
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