I didn’t work on Saturday nights at the treatment center. Almost nobody did. My father was one of the guards on duty there though. He never asked me for help. Not once in my entire life. He had ordered me around a lot during my life but I had never heard the words “I need you” until that night.
“Bryce. You have to come to Crown Hill. Stop what you’re doing and come right now. I need you son. I’m not going to make it through this.”
The line went dead before I could respond. It took me a few moments to get myself together. I wasn’t sure what I had just heard. My father didn’t sound like himself. It all felt wrong. Without thinking it over anymore I was out the door and down to my car. I sped through the late night roads and yellow lights. I was at work in what felt like a few heartbeats. I was outside the Crown Hill Treatment Center.
Treatment was what it was all about. From drug addict in-patients to mentally unstable people unfit to be left alone in the world. Crown Hill handled it all. Doctors and psychiatrists filled the halls during the week. On the weekends though only a few guards and a couple doctors stayed. It was more or less a ghost town, a ghost town with insanity behind most doors.
I got out of my car and walked up to the entrance. My key card gave me access and I was in. My father generally walked the halls checking on everyone. Joseph was the other weekend guard. He should have been at the entrance. He wasn’t.
From there on things became more off. The key card system wasn’t working on some of the doors. The power was still on though and the doors to the patient’s rooms on level 1 were also still locked with the system active on them. I went into the security office but found no one. The camera systems were still up except for level 3. The screens for level 3 were just red. Not even static. It was odd. It was unsettling. It made me want to find my father even more.
I radioed him and got only static back. I tried calling him and got no response. As I listened to the ringing on my phone something moved on one of the security cameras. Something on the ground was moving. It was his phone, vibrating on the ground. His phone was on level 2. I put my phone in my pocket and headed that way hoping he was okay.
The elevator was old and needed a remodel. It worked regardless but always had the ominous look of a death trap. It creaked and moaned and then lifted me up one floor. I got out and headed down the hall. Every room was silent. That wasn’t normal. Patients yelling all night or making weird ticks was normal. Especially on the weekends when there was less staff to tend to all of them. His phone was ahead. Next to it was something I didn’t notice on the security camera. The door to room 27 was open.
I approached with caution and looked into the room. It appeared empty. I knelt down and picked his phone up. One missed call from me. I checked inside the room. It was definitely empty. It was also covered in writing. Scribbled on the walls were endless streams of words. The thing about it was that room 27 had been vacant. Something else took me back as I looked closer. The words on the wall had been written in familiar handwriting. My fathers.
Something fell over behind me and I jumped. I turned with my hands up ready for a fight. On the ground near the wall was a tape recorder. It must have been standing on its side and fallen over. I wanted out of that room. I wanted out of Crown Hill. But something was wrong. My father wasn’t safe. And the tape recorder was the only thing in the room apart from the writing on the wall. I walked over and picked it up. I pressed the play button.