A tear ran through the five year old’s mind as she heard her brother’s cries of anguish.
“You can’t do this! She’s only a little girl! She’s your own flesh and blood!”
A gruff, angry voice slurred back, “That small abomination is not my daughter. That’s a hell spawn. A freak!”
Adeline pulled the doll closer to her chest as she heard those words. Her father always frightened her, especially when he was drunk. Always yelling, always cursing, always beating her. She sniffled, it wasn’t her fault that voices told her things.
She could hear her brother, Johnathan pleading with her father to calm down.
“Dad, please! She’s not-” Johnathan’s voice was suddenly cut off with a yelp.
“That’ll teach you to argue with me, boy.” Her father said quietly before stomping to her bedroom door.
The door flung open to reveal her father’s angry, drunken visage.
He was still wearing his mining outfit and covered in soot from the coal mine he worked at. His dark brown hair was completely black now because of it. He glared at her with his brown drunken eyes.
Adeline couldn’t help but cower even more in the corner. She could see the drunken rage in his eyes.
“Are you still hearing your “friends” talk to you?” He asked with mock curiosity. Adeline stayed quiet, she’d learned long ago not to talk about the voices she heard. It wasn’t her fault that they were the only friends she had. Besides Johnathan, they were the only things that seem to care for her. Then again, some weren’t always friendly.
“I said, are your “friends” talking to you? He asked for a second time. Again, Adeline chose not to answer. She continued to sit in the corner with her head down, trying her best to look anywhere but at her father’s face.
He didn’t like it. Without warning he swept forward and slapped her face, causing her to tumble to the floor. He then grabbed her by the neck and yanked her up while yelling, “ANSWER ME!” He held her up to his face, so close that she could see the few drops of whiskey in his mustache and smell it on his breath.
Adeline was terrified by this point, she’d been beaten countless times before by her father, but never had he done something like this.
What are you waiting for? Hit him. He has no right to question you like that. Said one of the darker voices in her head. But Adeline was too afraid to listen.
With her lips trembling, “No...no…no…daddy…They’re not.” She lied.
“Oh, they’re not are they?” He said, not believing her for a second. “How many times have I told you, not to lie to me…or call me your daddy?” He raised a hand to slap her, “You are no daughter of mine!” Adeline closed her eyes and waited for the inevitable, but it never came. Her father, Mr. Abendroth continued to glare at her for a moment longer, then without warning dropped her.
Adeline fell on her rump, confused. She slowly looked up at her father who leaned down and whispered in a harsh voice, “You know, I won’t need to hit you anymore, because after tomorrow your wretched existence will be gone from our lives.” With that he stood tall, giving her one last meaningful glare and headed out the door, but stopped short. He stood quietly for a moment before looking over his shoulder, “I’m sending you to a place where all hell’s little abominations belong. You and your “friends” should feel right at home there!” He left slamming the door.
Silent tears came from Adeline’s blue eyes as she backed into the corner of her room. She picked up her doll, cradling it in her arms. Sending her away? What was he talking about? Send her where?
Before she could ponder it more her door opened once again. Adeline instinctively backed up even further then relaxed once she saw who it was. Her elder brother, Johnathan, quietly hobbled in. He was eleven years senior to Adeline. His hair was brown, like Adeline’s, but short. His usual pale ivory skin was now red in some places from the beating their father had given him, and his left eye was now swollen.
“Are you alright?” He asked her. Adeline silently nodded her head even though she wasn’t, but compared to how he looked, she was lucky. He gave her a sad smile before walking over to her, crouching he looked into her eyes, “Are you sure? He didn’t do anything to you?”
“I’m fine,” She silently whispered, although the voices in her head were saying something very different.
He looked into her eyes a moment longer, “Okay,” he stood up and glanced back at the doorway, “But I think you should stay in my room for tonight. Okay?”
“What did he mean?” Adeline asked suddenly.
Jonathan looked back at her, surprised, “What?”
Adeline looked at him intently, “What did he mean, he was sending me somewhere?”
Jonathan looked down for a moment, not sure what to say. He knew exactly where his father wanted to send her and he hated it. He’d even tried to talk him out of it, but that had resulted with his now swollen eye. “You’re not going anywhere.” He stated firmly, “The only place you belong is here. Dad’s drunk, he never means what he says.” He opened the door for her, “Now come on, let’s get to bed.”
Adeline stood up to follow but hesitated. There was something in her brother’s voice that worried her, but as to what it was she couldn’t say. Reluctantly, she nodded and followed.
“Everything will be alright in the morning,” she whispered to herself.
The voices didn’t agree.
Adeline awoke to the sound of her brother’s cries, “NO! YOU CAN’T TAKE HER!”
“Mr. Abendroth, will you please control your son!?” Said a voice, Adeline didn’t recognize.
“Certainly, Doctor. Jonathan! Stop! NOW!” She could hear her father shout.
What was going on? Why was there a doctor? Before she could think it about it more, the door swung open to reveal two men being led by a man in a white coat, she could only assume this was the doctor. The man wore spectacles, had white hair and a bushy white mustache. He looked at Adeline before saying, “Is this her, Mr. Abendroth?”
Holding a resistant and ever complaining Jonathan, Mr. Abendroth came into view behind the doctor. “That’s the filth.” He said with disgust, nodding in her direction.
“Very well,” The doctor nodded to the men, “Take her.”
The two men quickly moved to restrain her. “NO!” Johnathan yelled.
“Quiet you little-!” Mr. Abendroth raised a hand to strike his son, but Johnathan acted first. Before his father could fully raise his arm, he slammed his shoulder into father’s stomach, causing Mr. Abendroth to reel and let go in pain. As soon as he was free, Johnathan swooped forward slamming his shoulder into the nearest man grabbing ahold of Adeline. “Keep your hands off her!” He yelled.
The man was knocked aside. Before the other man could react, Johnathan tackled him, “Run Adeline! Run!”
Adeline immediately obeyed. Whatever these men wanted from her, it was not good. She ran straight for the door, but the doctor grabbed her by the collar of her shirt. “No, you don’t!”
“Let go!” She cried and began to bang her hands against the doctor but it was no use.
Meanwhile, Mr. Abendroth had recovered and moved to assist in the restraining of his son who was still pummeling away at one of the men.
“That’s it boy! I have had enough with you!” He yelled and swung his fist into the back of Johnathan’s head. He collapsed to the floor with a grunt and was out, cold.
“No!” screamed Adeline, she tried to break free of the doctor’s hold, but his grasp was too tight. The doctor, now annoyed, snapped to the two assistants to hold the girl. As they grabbed hold of her, Adeline cried, kicked and struggled the whole time yelling, “Let me go! Let me go!”
“Hush now!” The doctor demanded as he withdrew a syringe from his coat pocket. “Hold her arm steady.” He commanded. The two men grabbed her left arm and held it up for the doctor. Adeline tried to free her arm but was cut short by the sudden icy prick and sting of the cold needle.
“There, that should make you a little more compliant.” The doctor stated satisfied. Slowly the world around Adeline began to slow down, everything started to become blurry. And energy began to leave her arms and legs. She slumped forward, but the two men held her up.
She tried to move her arms, but they refused to obey her. It took all of her strength to keep her head up and her eyes open.
She saw the doctors lips move as if he were saying something, but she couldn’t quite hear.
He’s telling them to take you to your new home, stated the dark voice within her mind.
She felt herself being dragged out of the room, out of the house and slowly towards an enclosed black wagon. On its sides were printed the words, “Black Forest Mental Institution”. She had heard of that place before but it was often referred to by a different name, The Black Forest Asylum.
They reached the wagon and Adeline felt herself being hoisted inside. She saw the doctor get in beside her and the two men climb onto the front of it.
Suddenly, yells of defiance and anger came from the inside of Adeline’s home.
The wagon picked up speed and Johnathan’s form to begin to grow smaller with each passing moment. Adeline’s vision darkened even more, she was very tired. Her eyes began to close and reality began to slip from her consciousness but before it fully left her, she heard brother yell one last time, “Adeline! I swear I’ll find you! I promise to God! I’ll find you!”
She closed her eyes.
It wasn’t long after her departure that Adeline arrived at the Black Forest Asylum, a place where the insane and deranged inhabited and the cruelest of doctors and staff ruled.
They immediately treated her as they would do with all new patients, giving her patient clothing, a cell, and a schedule to follow, which Adeline soon discovered to her dismay that she hated. It was always wake up, get dressed, go to the cafeteria, eat for thirty minutes, and go to a certain activity/session that usually ended with her doing work (although they claimed they were trying to cure her). She always had to do what was instructed of her, and had to always obey or face the consequence, which she soon found out the second day of her arrival.
On that particular day, she’d been instructed to clean the toilets, as it was in their words “an effort to help restore your place in society” which she flatly refused. The head of the staff, Matron Howel a slightly stout and heavy built woman that Adeline always thought looked rather like a bulldog than a person, given her facial features and messy black hair, hounded on her immediately for her refusal.
“How dare you go against us?” She exclaimed as she hit Adeline with a wooden paddle repeatedly. “Don’t you understand that we’re trying to help you?”
Adeline didn’t believe her for a second and the voices in her head didn’t either.
Why don’t you take that paddle and show her how it feels? Tell her how much you’re trying to help her as you do, that one sinister voice told her.
But instead, Adeline simply nodded and went back to work, doing as she was told. She didn’t want to make that woman any angrier. She’d seen the matron’s eyes, they were a muddy brown that seemed to mask the evil lurking beneath them. She never wanted to face Matron Howel’s full wrath.
This was the style of life forced upon Adeline now. A sad, painful, mournful life of an asylum patient. Days would drag on with more sorrow for her as they were filled with the early days’ versions of “cures” that the doctors performed on mental patients. These “cures” and treatments were more barbaric than they were scientific. Adeline would’ve fallen and never made it through the first week of this painful life if weren’t for the one small beacon of light she discovered amongst the staff, Nurse Annelie Grünewald.
Nurse Annelie was one of the few staff members that seemed to care for her. She never shouted, never laid a hand on her, unlike most of the other staff members and always spoke kindly to her. Not only that, she was also the head of Adeline’s favorite activity, sewing. Adeline was a natural seamstress it seemed and thanks to the quick talking of the nurse, Adeline was able to have that activity placed permanently onto her schedule.
Until everything changed.
September 8th, 1895
Adeline was already awake before she heard the matron’s yelling, “Up now! All of you!” She sighed and rolled her eyes. She hated that woman, even from the first day, fiver year prior.
“I won’t tell you again. Up! Or else.” Howel’s voice bellowed down the cell block. Adeline heard several moans as the patients from the neighboring cells reluctantly got up. For them, sleep was the only reprieve from this hellish nightmare they lived in, this asylum. Adeline continued to stay in bed though, staring at the ceiling. She wanted to stay a moment longer, to continue talking to one of the new “friends” she’d met at this God-forsaken place.
“Adeline!” The matron’s voice screamed. Matron Howel stood at the entrance of her cell with a wooden paddle in her right hand. “Up!” She commanded.
Ignore her, if she goes to hit you, just take that stick from her and show her how “up” you can be. Said the dark voice in her head. Adeline, hesitated. She had tried her best to ignore this voice ever since its first offering of advice, but every once in a while, it sounded really tempting.
Rise child, another voice commanded, a voice almost as dark as the last but spoke with wiser words, there is no need to anger this woman further, not unless you wish to be harmed. Adeline liked this new “friend” more than any other, it seemed to know so much and unlike the other “friends,” she’d seen this voice’s owner through the window, lurking along the tree line.
She followed this voice’s advice, “Yes, matron.” She murmured begrudgingly as she rose to get dressed.
“Adeline,” the matron stared at the girl, crossing her arms with hatred, “I’m being lenient with you, the next time I have to call for you twice to get up, will be the last.” She turned and resumed her march down the hall issuing all the new patients commands as to who would be going to their treatments that day, and who would not.
Will be your last? Adeline didn’t want to know what the matron meant by that, she’d heard of some horrible treatments given to other patients who didn’t act or obey quickly enough. She shivered in remembrance as she recalled the fate of one of the other girls she’d met the day she first arrived. She’d disappeared two days before, after refusing the matron’s command to head to her therapy session. She’d heard the girl’s cries of pain from her cell which was nearly four blocks over.
When Adeline was finally ready, she took one last glance out her cell window. The grounds were brown and devoid of vegetation up unto the forest line. There she could see a tall, faceless figure, gazing at her from beneath the tree’s dark shadow.
Go child, and when you have the opportunity, come to me. The voice called to her.
Adeline simply shook her head and turned to leave for the cafeteria. She’d learned the first week that trying to escape from this dreadful place, was impossible. Or at least, that’s what the staff claimed.
The sun was beginning to set as Adeline hurried to her next activity. She couldn’t wait to see Nurse Annelie again, and she certainly couldn’t wait to finish that red dress she’d started nearly two weeks before. Adeline was humming to herself as she stepped into the room, “Oh, hello Nurse Ann-” She stopped.
Nurse Annelie was sitting in her desk in the front of the room, but she looked very different than usual. Her brown hair, which was always tied back in a bun, was now disheveled and unkempt. Her usual warm green eyes were wet with fresh tears. Her nurse’s outfit, which was usually kept straight and tidy, was wrinkled. When she noticed Adeline she stood up straight and took in a long breath to regain some composure. “Adeline,” She said, trying her best to mask her sadness, “I’m glad to see you.” She tried to put on a smile but the most she could muster was a small, grim smile.
Adeline stood there frozen, Nurse Annelie never called her by her real name. She’d always called her Ally since she’d first arrived. What was wrong with Nurse Annelie? She was never like this. What had happened? Adeline continued to stand there quietly, unsure what to say.
“Please go and sit down next to the sewing machine. And I’ll go get that dress we’ve been working on.” Adeline, not sure how to respond, hesitated for a moment before quietly taking her seat next to the machine.
She saw Annelie open the storage closet where they kept all their past and current projects and retrieve the red Victorian dress they’d been working on. She walked back to Adeline’s desk and placed it under the machine. “Alright,” she nodded to Adeline, “Go ahead.”
She waited for Adeline to take it and begin sewing, but she didn’t move. Instead she quietly stared at Annelie. “Nurse Annelie, why were you crying?”
Annelie looked at the girl in front of her with sadness before silently shaking her head. “It’s nothing dear…Go ahead and get started.” She nodded towards the sewing machine, for Adeline to start, but she still didn’t move.
“Ally,” Annelie said pleadingly, “Please.” She gestured at the sewing machine.
Adeline hesitated, but she did what was asked. She grabbed the dress and began to sew.
Nurse Annelie gave another sad smile as she watched Adeline work.
“Nurse Annelie,” said a stern voice from the doorway. Adeline stopped immediately and looked towards the doorway with fright. She knew the voice’s owner.
Matron Howel stood at the doorway with her arms crossed, waiting impatiently for Annelie to come.
“Why, Matron Howel…” Said Annelie surprised by her sudden appearance, “How may I help you?”
Matron Howel gestured for Nurse Annelie to come. “I need to speak to you.”
Nurse Annelie gave Adeline one quick look before heading out the doorway. Matron Howel glanced in Adeline’s direction with a look of disgust before shutting it.
They’re talking about you, you know? Said the dark voice in Adeline’s head. Why don’t you go over there and listen to what they’re saying? Adeline shook her head, “No,” she whispered, “I don’t want to risk angering Matron Howel…I don’t want Nurse Annelie to get in trouble.”
She’s already in trouble…didn’t you see her crying? She’s hiding something and Matron Howel is no doubt talking about it now.
Adeline shook her head, “No, I’m not going.” She turned back to the dress and continued sewing.
Well, suit yourself then. The voice murmured. After all, if you wanted to find out how to help Nurse Annelie, knowing what’s wrong would be the first step.
Adeline, stopped sewing. The voice had a point there. She wouldn’t be able to help Nurse Annelie if she didn’t know what was wrong. After making a quick decision, she put down the dress and hurried to the door. She pressed her ear against it and listened.
“You can’t do this!” Adeline heard Nurse Annelie say horrified, “You can’t have that done to her!”
“It’s already done.” The matron said coolly, “She goes first thing in the morning.”
“But she’s only ten! Ten years old! You can’t decide she’s incurable! Not like that other patient who-”
“We can and have decided she is. I only came down here to ask if she’s made any progress since being placed in your care.”
“She’s had lots of progress! She’s done wonderfully with her projects, and -”
“Does she still hear voices?” The matron cut her off.
“Does the girl still hear voices?”
“Why, yes but-” Annelie stuttered.
“Then no progress has been made.”
“No, ‘buts’ Miss Annelie. As a nurse, you’re supposed to be detached from the patients. Yet, every day I see you happy to talk and play with the girl like she were your very own daughter. She’s not. She’s a patient, an incurable patient.”
There was a moment of silence.
“I…I…” Nurse Annelie trailed off.
“You may continue your session with the girl. But know, it will be her last.”
The matron’s footsteps could be heard as she traveled down the hall. Knowing that Nurse Annelie would soon come back in, Adeline quickly ran and got back in her seat, just as the nurse stepped back into the room.
If Adeline hadn’t thought Nurse Annelie looked sad before, she certainly did now. Tears were practically pouring down her face and she had never looked so shocked. Nurse Annelie closed the door and leaned on it for a long while. When she noticed Adeline staring at her she straightened her posture and tried to act professional, but failed. She walked back to Adeline and sat in the seat across from her.
“Alright, Ally…how much progress have you made with the dres-”
“What did she mean?” Adeline quietly asked.
Nurse Annelie’s mouth snapped shut in shock, “What, dear?”
“What did Matron Howel mean….this would be our last session?”
Annelie’s jaw slowly opened in shock, she hadn’t realized the girl had been listening.
“It’s…it’s nothing, Ally. The head matron, simply made a decision that it was time for you to leave my care.” She said with much difficulty.
“Was it something I did?” Adeline asked. “Did I do something wrong?”
“No…No! Why would you think that?” Annelie asked in shock.
“Because she said I hadn’t made any progress.”
“No, no, no dear…You’ve made lots of progress. It’s just that they think that-”
The nurse’s eye widen. She was speechless, she’d never thought she’d hear Adeline ask this.
“Y-yes…they think…that you’re…that you’re…” She closed her eyes in pain. She couldn’t take this. What they were planning to do to her was wrong. They couldn’t decide to kill her because they didn’t think she could be cured! It was at this moment she made a decision. Immediately she stood up, shocking Adeline who got out of her chair and took a few frighten steps back.
“You’re curable, and you’re not a patient. You’re a human being, a person.” She said firmly. She quickly glanced at the door then the window. The sun had just finished sinking beyond the horizon. “Ally?” She said quietly.
“Y-yes,” sputtered Adeline, she’d never seen Nurse Annelie look so angry before.
The nurse looked at her intently, “How would you like to see your brother again?”
It was now Adeline’s turn to look shocked, “I’d love to…why?”
“Because you’re leaving the Asylum, tonight.”
Nurse Annelie observed the two doctors chatting and smoking from the hallway’s corner. Adeline’s only chance to escape was to leave via the side door where the gardener’s shed was stationed, which also happened to be the place where staff members liked to take smoking breaks.
“Alright,” she whispered quietly to Adeline, “Do you remember what I told you?”
Adeline nodded her head, “Yes, wait for you to distract them, go outside into the woods and follow the tree line to the front where the road is.”
“And to hide and wait for me to come and get you.” The nurse added. “The only chance I’ll be able to get you to your brother’s is when I leave for home tonight.” Annelie glanced back at the two doctors. She took in a deep breath, “Are you ready?”
Adeline nodded in response.
“Good.” She smiled at her then headed towards the doctors. Adeline waited and watched quietly as Nurse Annelie said something to the two men. They were annoyed at first, having their private smoke interrupted. They began to speak fast and to argue with the nurse until she mention something about Matron Howel causing the men to go quiet. Annelie said something else then headed back inside down another hallway, the men followed.
This was her chance. Taking in one last breath she quietly ran out the side door and into the night. Once she was outside, she hunched down and quickly moved towards the trees past the gardener’s shed.
I’m going to see Johnathan again, she thought with a smile. Just then, the garden shed’s door opened and the gardener stepped out.
He was holding a hatchet and was about to go gather wood when he spotted Adeline. “What the…?” He dropped the hatchet in surprise, “What are you doing out here?!”
Adeline stood frozen. “I…I…Was...” She stuttered in fear.
The gardener’s eyes narrowed, “You were running away weren’t you!?” He said raising his voice.
“No! No, no, no, no, I wasn’t-!”
“Don’t you dare lie!” He shouted before stepping forward and grabbing her by the wrist. Adeline tried to jump back and break the man’s grip, but he was too strong, “When Matron Howel finds out about this, she’ll have a reckoning with you!” He shouted. She continued to struggle on the man’s grip then noticed a few a doctors run out, who’d obviously heard the gardener’s shouting.
She couldn’t let them take her. She bit the man’s hand causing him to let go and yelp in pain. “Why you little piece of-!” The words fell deaf to Adeline as she took off into the woods. The gardener cursed and shouted to raise the alarm.
Adeline ran as fast as she could, never once looking back.
“What is going on here?” The matron yelled as she came outside.
“One of the patients, a young girl, just ran into the woods!”
“What!?” The matron said in horror then in anger, “You imbecile! If she finds her way back to the city and tells them what we’re doing, we’re finished!”
She turned to the rest of the doctors, “Come on! Now! She couldn’t have gotten far! After her!”
Several staff members ran into the woods after the girl. The matron turned back to the gardener, “How did she get out here in the first place?”
The gardener shrugged, “I don’t know…I’d just come out of the shed to go gather firewood when I noticed her…I don’t how the two doctors and that nurse I heard a few minutes before missed her but-”
“Nurse?” The matron cut him off, “What nurse?”
“Um…” the man scratched his head, “I think it was…Nurse Annelie…I think that’s her name anyway. She came out here and-” Matron Howel raised a hand to cut him off, “That’s all I needed to hear.” She growled then turned to two other staff, “Go inside and lock Nurse Annelie in one of the cells.” They nodded their heads and scurried off inside, Howel turned back to the gardener, “Get a torch, and hand me that hatchet. I have feeling I know exactly which girl it is who ran.”
Adeline stopped and lean back against one of the trees for breath. She knew she was lost. She’d been so frighten of the gardener’s outburst that she’d hadn’t taken the time to look where she was going, for all she knew she was in the center of the forest!
She looked around hoping to find a path or something that pointed to a way out. But there was nothing but a cold lingering fog in all directions.
Which way should she go?
This way, child, she heard the voice of her new “friend” say. She looked up to see a tall figure several yards away. It was a tall pale man, with a black business-like suit, his facial features were hidden.
Adeline felt entranced by the figure’s appearance and without thinking stepped forward in his direction.
“There!” A voice behind her suddenly screamed, breaking the trance. Adeline spun to see one of the staff members pointing in her direction. She could see a group of several more behind him, running to catch up. She gulped in fear as she spotted Matron Howel tagging along with the group. When the matron spotted her, she glared daggers and gripped the hatchet firmly in her hand.
Frightened, Adeline turned and bolted deeper into the woods, forgetting altogether about her tall friend.
“Don’t let her get away!” The matron bellowed as they gave chase.
As the group passed the figure, one of the staff members in the back spotted the figure and grounded to a halt, causing the staff member behind him to slam into him. The man put a hand against is head in pain and annoyance before glaring at the first yelling, “Son of…what in God’s name are you doing? You oaf!”
The other staff member started whimpering to himself stuttering, “Oh, God…Oh God…”
“What is it?” He followed the man’s gaze then froze, “Oh…”
The tall figure peered at them in a menacing way, showing its face…or to be more accurate, its lack of a face. “Der Großmann!” The staff silently whimpered in fear. The figure suddenly vanished then reappeared behind the two of them.
Their screams could be heard as far as the asylum itself.
Adeline, began to slow down, she was tired…too tired to keep on like this. “She’s getting weaker!” Matron Howel called out with triumphant.
Adeline glanced back to see the head matron leading three men, including the gardener, after her. The sight of Matron Howel’s blood curdling grin was enough to have fear temporally override her fatigue; Adeline sprinted even faster.
She could hear the matron curse as they gave chase. She had to get away, she had to get away!
She began to cry, she didn’t want to get caught. She didn’t want to go back to that horrible place.
She looked over her shoulder one more time, at that moment her foot snagged on a tree root. Her ankle twisted and she fell forward in pain. She tried to quickly get back up, but it was too late.
She felt the strong grasp of the head matron grab her by her shirt then heft her up. She was spun around to the matron’s face, “Think you can run away, did you?” The matron growled then shoved her into a nearby tree. Adeline fell against it with a cry. She quickly scrambled back against the tree in fear.
“Please!” She cried and begged, “Don’t take me back! I don’t want to go back!”
The three men got on both sides of Adeline cutting off any chance of escape.
“Why, my dear…You’re not going back to the Asylum.” She grinned evilly, “In fact, you’re not going anywhere at all.”
Adeline slowly stared into the matron’s eyes in fear, “What…what do you mean?” She stammered.
The matron’s grip on the hatchet grew tighter as she raised it, chest level, “You see, dear…You had a special appointment in the morning. We were going to give you a very strong…sedative that would put you to sleep…Permanently.”
She traced the blade of the hatchet with her finger, “But it looks as though we’re going to have to reschedule that to now…using a different manner of treatment.”
Adeline’s eyes widen in shock as she suddenly saw the matron raise the hatchet high.
As she raised the hatchet above her head, she paused and grinned at her, “Good night child.”
Adeline screamed as the hatchet descended once, twice, then multiple more times as Howel continued to hack and cut at the girl.
The three other staff members stepped back in horror as they saw the matron, dismember the girl limb by limb, but they didn’t dare interfere in fear that they would end up with a similar fate as the girl if they did.
A dark shadow suddenly rose above one of the staff members. He turned and froze in horror as a tall faceless being towered above him. Dark tendrils came from its back and withougt warning shot forward, impaling him and the other two staff members before they could even scream. They suddenly vanished, leaving the matron alone, still cutting away at the now dismembered form of a girl.
Finally after two more strokes, the matron halted. She smiled as she observed her handy work and wiped the blood from her brow. Her job was finished, it was time to go back and deal with that treacherous nurse. “Take the hatchet” She said extending it in the direction where one of the staff members had stood. When nothing grabbed it she cursed and turned, “I said to-!” The words died in her throat. The three staff members were no longer standing behind her. They were now hanging, impaled among the branches of a tree directly across from her.
“Oh my…” She breathed, then suddenly paled in fear.
A tall faceless being stepped out from the shadow of the tree. It towered above the matron as she began to tremble in fear. She recognized this terrible fiend before her.
“Der Großmann…” she breathed in terror.
Tendrils came from its back and suddenly swept forward towards the matron.
She let out a shrill scream as the darkness of the appendages wrapped around her.
Der Großmann, stood over the girl’s remains. He could barely recognize this as the little girl he’d been observing for five years, ever since her arrival at the Black Forest Asylum. He’d planned to lure her to forest like so many others victims before her, but now….
He stooped down and placed a hand on what remained of the girl’s head.
He felt different now, he felt pity. No child deserved a fate like this and yet he realized it was happening all the time. Every day he could hear screams come from the so many patients of the Black Forest Asylum. He stood and looked back into the direction of the asylum. Perhaps it was time to teach the world, that the only thing that would resided in the Black Forest would be him.
Screams of terror and pain filled the forest that night as the many staff and patients were destroyed by Der Großmann. He tore, impaled, and decimated the staff members, but was lenient with the patients, opting to give them a quick death. He could not allow anyone to survive here. He had to be sure that after this, no one would ever wish to return to these woods.
Finally, as he snapped the neck of the last patient, he turned to leave but stopped. He could hear crying coming from one of the nearby cells. Without thinking he grabbed the door and tore it off its hinges expecting to deal with one last patient. But instead, something else greeted him. Before him, hunched in a corner, was the nurse he’d seen the girl often accompanied with. The one person who had always treated the child fairly.
The nurse looked up and scrambled back in shocked horror as she saw him. Her mouth opened and closed several times, but no sound left her lips. She was too afraid to speak.
Der Großmann stepped closer to examine her. Perhaps….perhaps not everyone needed to die after all. But, he couldn’t allow word of what exactly happened here spread. What to do with her, what to do wither her, he pondered.
“Please…just kill me and get it over with.” The nurse suddenly whispered lowering her head, “I have nothing and no one left to live for anyway.”
Der Großmann stepped forward and crouched in front her. He placed a hand under her chin and raised her head so he was face to face with her. It was then he made the decision, a decision that would change the life of both Annelie and his, forever.
You do have someone left to live for. He said to her. I will make sure of that.
December 6th, 1895
Annelie stared at the paling corpse of Adeline. She couldn’t understand how Der Großmann would ever bring her back…so far all he’d done was vanish with what was left of her body for four months, then suddenly come back with the body sewn back together. Time had also taken its toll on the corpse.
The pigment had left Adeline’s skin, leaving her completely pale, although not rotten. She could only assume Der Großmann had something to do with that but the child’s hair and backside, they had changed too, unnaturally. And her size…she looked like she was nearly seventeen now. Adeline’s hair was now snow white and on her back there were several brass wires connected in her spine that all joined in its center.
Annelie sighed and took another quick look at Der Großmann who was holding a small wind up key, similar to the ones you would often find on a doll, in his hand.
Are you ready? He asked her.
She looked at the body of Adeline once more, “No, there’s one last thing.” She stepped out of the room for a few minutes and then came back with a red Victorian dress. “Let me put this on her first.”
Der Großmann simply nodded and observed while Annelie put the dress on Adeline.
When she was finished, she turned back to him and nodded, “Now I’m ready.”
Der Großmann approached the girl and turned over so her back was now facing up. Holding tightly onto the key, he inserted it into her spine where all the wires met, then began to wind the key.
After several turns it stopped, and he turned her back onto her backside.
It is done. He told her.
Annelie, not sure what to make of it stepped closer to Adeline and waited.
The girl’s eyes were still closed, and her body was barren of life.
After a few minutes of nothing, she began to shake her head, “Nothing’s happening. It’s not working!” Tears began to form in her eyes, this had been her only hope to see this child alive again, now it was gone.
She turned angrily to Der Großmann, “I thought you said, you could bring her back! You said that you-!”
A sudden gasp escaped from the body of Adeline. Annelie spun around in amazement and dashed back to the bedside. “Ally?” She whispered.
Ally, slowly opened her bright blue eyes, “Mommy? Daddy?” She whispered.