Dark Deity: Asylum Series Book 3
Dark Deity: Asylum Series Book 3
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Some spirits never rest in peace…
Paul Mahan escaped the terrifying evil that dwelled in the Rookwood Apartments. But others have not been so lucky. Young Ella Cotter, an innocent child, finds herself tormented by a ghost Paul unwittingly freed when he escaped the building's haunted grounds.
As Paul attempts to use hypnosis to separate the child from the tortured entity that clings to her soul, blood runs in the streets. A series of mysterious killings rocks the nearby city of Tynecastle. And Paul is convinced the violent incidents are linked to Dr. Palmer, a sadistic wraith, who once turned Rookwood into an asylum of horrors.
Working with the local police, and a rare book dealer with an interest in the occult, Paul and his allies soon find themselves face to face with an enemy unlike anything they have ever imagined. This terrifying evil force grows more powerful with each victim it kills.
And the only way to stop it may cost Paul his mortal soul…
Judy turned off her electric toothbrush, placed it in its recharger. The sudden absence of the loud, insect-like buzz let the silence rush in, or so it seemed. She turned on the radio in the kitchen, letting mindless DJ chatter and familiar classic rock banish the silence. It suddenly occurred to her that she could take the radio into her bedroom. It was just the sort of thing she would advise her insomniac patients to avoid. Free your place of sleep from all distractions, that was the standard approach.
This is no time for petty consistency, she told herself as she picked up the radio. I need to hear human voices.
Judy walked through the flat, turning off the lights one by one. She could not sleep in bright light, she was sure, but after a moment's hesitation, she left on the hall light, allowing a wedge of illumination to spill through her half-open bedroom door. The compromise seemed about right. She put the radio on her bedside cabinet and climbed into bed. Soon she was dozing, the sounds of the music channel proving surprisingly soothing.
"And now," announced the DJ, "a special number for Judy Blume, who's celebrating a really big occasion today."
She jerked upright, stared at the radio set. Its digital readout glowed balefully. The song playing was an old standard, a bit of inoffensive country-rock. Judy concluded that she had simply dozed off and dreamed the announcement. It was a classic rationalization. She tried to settle down again, wishing sleep would come.
The hall light flickered, then died. The radio, however, continued to play. The anodyne music changed in character, though, the beat slowing down, the singer's voice becoming harsher, mocking. She sat up, staring at the radio as it sneered at her.
Judy's in the dark, feeling so forlorn Wonders if she's gonna make it through 'til dawn Judy's in the dark, scared and all alone, Wants to call for help, there's nobody on the phone...
Judy knocked the radio to the floor, where it continued to emit its mocking refrain. She snatched up her phone, woke it, only for the screen to erupt in a mass of random pixels. She got out of bed, ran barefoot to the hallway and the old landline phone. It buzzed and crackled but offered her no dial tone. She continued along to the front door, feeling her way now, determined to get outside and hammer on the door of her neighbor.
Her questing hands, stretched out ahead of her, failed to find her front door. For a mad moment, she thought she had gone the wrong way and was heading for the bathroom, but that made no sense. No, the hallstand with the phone had been on her right, so that meant the door was in front. But she had already walked a dozen or more paces, and that meant she had traversed the entire length of her hallway.
"Don't worry, Doctor Blume, you're in safe hands."
The voice came from all around her. It was a man's voice, cold and refined, somewhat high-pitched.
"Who is that?" she shouted, struggling to quell her panic. "What do you want?"
"You know that already."
The lights came on, but they were not the warm, friendly lights of her home. Judy blinked in the glare of old-fashioned incandescent bulbs blazing down from a high-ceilinged corridor. The walls were painted a sickly pale green. There were cold tiles under her feet. Ahead of her was a pair of swing doors with small, round windows. A sign above them read East Wing.
She spun around to flee in the opposite direction, found herself facing a group of people in green, old-style surgical gowns. Their faces were masked, their hands gloved. The figure in the lead was shorter than the rest. Over the top of his mask, he regarded her with cold gray eyes behind quaint, round-lensed spectacles. Judy retreated, shaking her head, desperate to deny what she was seeing, but unable to banish the sight. Nor could she ignore the distant cries of pain and fury echoing along the stark corridors, and the powerful smell of disinfectant.
"Welcome to Rookwood Psychiatric Hospital, Judy," said Miles Rugeley Palmer. "I hope you will find your stay with us helpful."
"You're not real!" she shouted, colliding with the swing doors. "The asylum burned down! You're dead!"
The doctor pulled down his mask, revealing his pencil-thin mustache, his smug, purse-lipped mouth. He shook his head and started to walk toward her, leading his throng of anonymous followers.
"Tut, tut, we don't use terms like 'asylum,' Judy! As a doctor, you should know better. This is the twentieth century, after all. And it's also the twenty-first, at the same time. Such are the wonders of my new approach to therapy! It can be both then and now."
The doors behind Judy suddenly swung back, and she felt strong hands grasp her by the arms. She screamed, struggled, kicked out, but her captors easily lifted her into a high, wheeled trolley and strapped her down.
"This is what you feared the most, isn't it?" said Palmer, standing over her. One of his assistants handed him a hypodermic that was half-full of clear, yellowish liquid. "It's not an uncommon weakness in our profession--the psychiatrist afraid they are going mad. Not that we should use that word, either."
"I'm not going insane, you're not real, this is a nightmare!" Judy shouted.
Even as she tried to deny the experience, however, the leather straps holding her down chafed her skin as she struggled. And, when Palmer stuck the needle into the side of her neck, the sting of it was all too real.
"Now," he said. "It's time to start your induction process."
They rolled her along the corridor into the East Wing, where the cries of the tormented grew louder, and the odor of disinfectant no longer hid the smell of sweat and excrement. The trolley crashed through another set of swing doors and she saw bulky, old-fashioned equipment lining one corner of the room.
"This," said Palmer, rubbing his hands in anticipation. "This is where we helped our patients discover their psychic abilities. Now it's the place where we bring new recruits into the fold, so to speak."
Judy began to struggle again as a padded bar was inserted between her teeth, and cold steel electrodes placed against her temples.
"Why?" she shouted, her words garbled from the bar in her mouth. "Why are you doing this?"
"Because I can, of course," replied Palmer. "And because you seem to be helping someone who has caused us a bit of bother in the past. Not too much of a nuisance, Mr. Mahan and his friends. But one must be aware of potential troubles ahead, and without allies, he is no threat. So..."
Palmer nodded at someone out of sight behind Judy's head. A blinding light seemed to blot out the room, the onlookers, the machines. Then she was at one with the Palmer entity, utterly subsumed into the doctor's ego, her knowledge and memories plundered.
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