If you ever find yourself in a town called Happiness, leave. Immediately. That is the best advice anyone will ever give you. Sorry for the length of this, I just hope my details will sway you from ever trying to find such a place, and dissuade you from sticking around should you ever find yourself there.
I was driving cross country a few years ago, and I got what I’m certain was food poisoning somewhere in the midwest. After driving for about an hour, throwing up on the side of the road every 10 minutes, I decided to find the nearest hospital (since I didn’t know what was wrong with me at the time). I found I was nearly two hours away from the nearest town. Figuring I had no other choice, I began driving. After about 40 minutes, I drove into a town called Happiness. Happiness wasn’t marked on any map, or located on any GPS I had, but there were signs directing me to a hospital. I arrived at a place called Happiness General, which was located on the outskirts of the small town. The outside of the building looked very modern, relatively new even, so there was no cause for concern at the sight of the place.
I parked my car in what was a mostly empty lot (which again didn’t surprise me, as it was a very small town I was in), and entered through the emergency room doors after throwing up in a garbage can just outside. When the automatic sliding doors opened, I got a whiff of that familiar hospital smell, only much, much stronger than it would normally be. There was no one at the front desk when I walked in, and there were two people sitting in the waiting area. Both were slumped over, as if they were unconscious.
The inside of the building was a far cry from the pristine outside. The walls were coated in chipping paint, the linoleum floors were peeling, and the whole place had a certain dankness to it. I walked up to the counter, and noticed a small sign reading **BE BACK MOMENTARILY**, which I thought was odd, but the chances of this place having heavy traffic were slim to none, so I went and sat down in the waiting area, in a row of chairs against a far wall, away from the two slumped over people. After vomiting once more about five minutes into waiting, I suddenly got very tired. I must have dozed off for a minute, because I suddenly jolted up when I heard doors slam open. They were the doors to the actual emergency room itself slamming against the walls, and out came two nurses with a bed. They were extremely chipper, and rushed me onto the bed. I tried explaining I wasn’t injured or anything, but they insisted I get on the bed and be checked out, repeatedly assuring me I would be in good hands. They kind of got me flustered, and I ended up getting on the moving bed.
They wheeled me through the double doors and down a hallway, to a bank of elevators. We got into the elevator, and one of the nurses pressed six. The elevator was rickety and old, and felt like it was going to drop at any moment. Eventually, the doors opened and I was wheeled into the area with all the rooms. Once in a room, they took my blood pressure, my temperature, all the regular stuff. It wasn’t until the middle of all this that I notice they hadn’t asked me what was wrong, or any of my personal information. Still feeling tired and out of it, I snapped myself to attention and got a good look at the nurses. They were dressed in 1950’s style nurse’s uniforms, and their eyes had no color to them. They were completely white, with small pupils. No irises. This thoroughly freaked me out, but before I could say anything, they both abruptly left the room.
I heard chatter coming from outside my room, and I just sat there, more confused than anything, for a few minutes. I assumed I was waiting for a doctor. Five minutes went by, then 10, then 20. Around that time, I noticed that I was hearing a conversation I’d heard a few minutes prior. I continued listening, and after a few minutes, I heard it again. I went to the door and slowly opened it. The area I saw when I was being wheeled in was no more. What I saw now was a dark, dingy, decrepit place; the tattered counter at which administrators would normally sit held one thing: an old stereo. I walked out of the room and looked at the stereo, realizing it was playing a tape that was turning over and rewinding very few minutes.
Obviously, this creeped the shit out of me. I didn’t really know what to do next. Another thing weighing on my mind was that I had no idea where those nurses were. They had left the room and never come back. I figured I had to find a way out of this place. Just then, another bout of nausea hit me, and I dry heaved into the sink in my room. When I was finished, I wiped my mouth and walked out of the room. I turned off the stereo, and almost wished that I hadn’t. The silence of the hospital was haunting. It brought upon an almost ear-shattering sense of deafness that made it hard to concentrate. I decided to focus on my breathing, which was shallow from the intense fear I was feeling.
I walked down a hallway to the elevators I had taken up to this floor, and pressed the down button. While standing there waiting, I heard whispering coming from somewhere, but I couldn’t tell where. I rapidly pressed the down button repeatedly, as if it would speed the car up. Luckily, the doors parted before whatever was whispering made its way to me. I entered the elevator and pressed one. It started descending, but stopped at the fifth floor. The doors opened, and I prepared for whoever was waiting on the other side. To my surprise and relief, no one was there. I pressed one again, but the doors didn’t close. I pressed the door close button, nothing still. I figured I had to go find the stairs, so I ventured to the fifth floor.
Floor number five had the same dark aura as the previous floors I’d been on. Everything was still eerily quiet, more so now without the whispers. As I walked down a hallway looking for a stairwell, I got the feeling I was being watched. With every closed door I passed, that feeling intensified. I picked up the pace as I traversed the barely lit fifth floor. From somewhere I couldn’t discern, a noise broke the silence. It was the sound of something dragging. It would slide a bit, then stop, then slide, then stop, and continue in that fashion, getting closer every time.
I attempted to walk away from the sound, but I turned a corner and was confronted by its source. It was a... man, dressed in a doctor’s coat, carrying a burlap sack behind him. I obviously couldn’t tell what was in the bag, but whatever it was, it was moving. Struggling even. Like it was trying to get out. The “doctor” had been walking with his head down, but when I turned the corner, he looked up, and had the same iris-less eyes as the nurses had. I didn’t wait to find out what he was doing or what was in the bag, I just turned around and ran.
I ran until I knew I was a safe distance away from the doctor I’d seen. The only problem was, I wasn’t paying attention to where I was running. I was lost on the fifth floor. Before I knew it, I found myself in an operating room. Something was off about it, but I couldn’t immediately tell. The room was empty, and in surprisingly pristine condition compared to the rest of the floor. Then all of the sudden I realized what was wrong. There was a buzzing. It was so uniform that I hadn’t even noticed it in contrast to the silence outside the room.
The buzzing proved to be as disorienting as the sheer silence from the floor above. I started looking around. I don’t really know what for, but I thought maybe I could find something to help me. As I was looking, the disorientation got the best of me and a brand new wave of nausea hit me. Only this time, I didn’t dry heave. I puked up a thick, black sludge-type substance. It wasn’t a whole lot of it, but enough. I noticed it had a horrid stench to it, like burning hair mixed with dead fish, if that makes any sense. Needless to say, I got out of the room quickly, after putting a surgical mask on to cover the smell.
I left out the other side of the operating room, and for some reason I was compelled to look back into it. I don't know how it happened, but in the four seconds it took me to get out of the room and turn around, a full team of doctors and nurses were operating on a patient that was laying in the operating table, her chest cut wide open. The worst part about it was that as they were working inside her body, her head was turned towards me, eyes locked on to mine. They were the same as the others, no irises, only I found myself lost in them.
I don't know how long I stood there, staring into her eyes. It felt like an eternity, but in reality it was probably only a few seconds. Either way, when I finally snapped out of it, my heart sank to my stomach. Each of the three nurses and the doctor (the one who was dragging the bag) were facing me, standing motionless, staring directly at me, covered in blood. As quickly as they had turned towards me without me noticing, they all rushed towards the door, towards me.
I turned around and ran, only this time paying attention to where I was going. I recognized that I was in the hallway with the elevators, and was going to go in the opposite direction I had gone upon reaching this floor. Only now, both doors were open. The one I knew that wasn't working was only one of two elevators. I jumped into the second one and pressed one. I heard the nurses and doctor turn the corner, so I pressed whatever buttons there were, and thankfully the doors closed before I saw them again.
Inside the elevator I threw up more of the black sludge as it crept downwards, seemingly moving slower by the second. Finally it stopped, but at the fourth floor. The door opened, and it was dark. Not so dark that I couldn’t see, but dark nonetheless. There was also a thick fog rolling through the entirety of the level. From what I could tell, this floor was nothing but open space. I couldn’t see to confirm that, but I just had the feeling that I was in a large open area. This was confirmed when a dim light came on, that made it possible to see through the fog somewhat.
I jumped backwards to the back of the elevator car when I saw what was in front of me. Hundreds of skeletons. Skeletons like they have in medical schools, all hanging up on a hook, that can be wheeled around. I didn’t know what to do, I was frozen in fear. I pressed more of the buttons on the elevator again like I had on the last one, but the same thing happened. Nothing at all. There had to be stairs somewhere. I felt that there were, even though nothing about this place screamed normalcy.
I cautiously stepped out of the elevator and made my way through a small path between the hanging skeletons, looking for a wall. My plan was to follow the wall all the way around until I found something. Anything. It seemed as if there was a maze in between all of these hanging skeletons. Luckily I have a good sense of direction and made my way towards the left wall. I was about halfway to it, towards the middle of it when I saw a huge opening to the wall on the left, and a path going the opposite direction through the skeletons. I looked down the opening and saw a projector on top of a stand. As soon as I saw it, it started playing.
Showing on the wall was an old cartoon, like from the 1920’s, of a bunch of skeletons dancing. [Here’s a link to the video, it took me forever to find it: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h03QBNVwX8Q)]. It was thoroughly fucking creepy, given the circumstances. I didn’t let it bother me, so I kept moving along the wall. I was moving quickly when I heard something behind me. I looked back, and there were four or five hanging skeletons now in the once open path I was walking through, and they were dangling, moving, as if they just been pushed there. I took a few more steps and looked behind me again. More were in the path.
I kept moving until through a thinner area of fog I saw a door with an illuminated sign above it that read **EXIT**. I sprinted towards it as more skeletons inexplicably slid into the path behind me, getting closer with every step. I finally reached the door and pushed it open. The last thing I saw as I turned around, pulling the door closed, was a face of one of the skeletons. It had eyeballs in the sockets, iris-less eyeballs. It was terrifying.
To my surprise, I was actually in a stairwell, only, they only went down, and they only went down one flight. This was alarming, but at the same time, at least I was another level closer to the final exit. I noticed a sign next to the door to floor three that side **STAIRS ON OPPOSITE SIDE OF LEVEL 3**. This gave me hope. At least I had a destination now. I just didn’t know what was between me and it. And nothing could have prepared me.
Level three was different than the previous floors I’d been on. It was in great condition, and it was well-lit, meaning I could finally see where I was going. Still weary, I made my way down a hallway. Unlike the previous floor, this one wasn’t wide open. There were rooms, counters, corridors, everything you would expect to see in a normal hospital.
I was walking past a counter when all of the sudden, a woman popped up. Not even popped up. It was like one second she was there, the next she wasn’t. She had the same eyes as the rest of the hospital staff, and she spoke in a terrifyingly calm, cliché old lady voice.
”You’re supposed to be in bed, young man. Let’s get you to the operating room and get your procedure done.”
Before I knew it, I had a pair of hands on both of my arms. They were ice cold, and had a death grip on me. I was being led to a room somewhere in the next hallway. We turned left at some point and I was effortlessly lifted by whoever was grabbing me, and set down on a bed. Then, I was strapped down. I finally got a good look at who was handling me, and it turned out to be two male “orderlies”. They didn’t have mouths. They had the white eyes with black pupils, a regular nose, and just skin where the mouth should be. They strapped me down and left the room while I struggled to get free.
Unfortunately, this doctor was much more punctual than the one on the sixth floor. Within seconds he came into the room and had a huge smile on his face. He told me they’d been looking all over for me, because they were finally ready to move forward with the procedure. He wheeled me to an operating room and parked the wheeled bed I was on in the middle. He put an anesthesia mask on me and told me to count back from 100.
I had never been more scared in my entire life. I felt that this was where I was going to die. I was crying, freaking out, screaming, praying, whatever one does while they truly believe they’re meeting their demise, I was doing. The doctor kept his huge grin on his face, and stared at me with his white eyes, his black pupils dilated to their maximum potential. He was waiting for me to pass out. With everything I had, I fought the anesthesia, thinking it might do something. I was wrong.
The doctor looked at me, and simply said, ”Good enough!” and took out the longest needle I’ve ever seen. Next, he grabbed a tiny hammer. He placed the cold steel spike up to my left nostril and aimed his hammer. I don’t know if I passed out coincidentally from fear when it happened, or if I blacked out at the moment he swung the hammer and I heard the clink. But either way, I blacked out. I don’t know how long I was unconscious for, but I woke up. Sort of.
I felt that I had regained consciousness, but I was in complete darkness. Not the kind your eyes can adjust to, but pure, unadulterated darkness. Pitch black. I was laying on something cold. It was so unbelievably cold. I was still laying down, that I could tell. There was a stench in the air, but I couldn’t quite place it. But suddenly, the smell invaded my senses. My eyes welled up with tears, my nose began running, and I vomited off to my side, and I could feel that it was more black sludge.
I tried putting my hand up to my face to see if I could see it in the darkness, but while bringing my hand up to my face, it hit something. A sudden wave of claustrophobia overcame me, as I realized I was in a box of some sort. I didn’t know if it was a casket or what, but I needed to get out of there. I kicked and punched, quickly realizing it was metal. That gave me the idea that I was in a morgue. I kicked as hard as I could and a door behind my head opened. I slid out and fell onto the floor. I was wearing a hospital gown, which is why I could feel the cold on my back when I was on the slab.
I got up off the floor and my eyes adjusted to the dim light, although it was far from the darkness of the cabinet I was just in. I wish my eyes wouldn’t have adjusted. Firstly, as soon as the light hit my eyes, I had the most splitting headache I’d ever experienced in my life. But of more concern, was that there were people in hospital gowns, just like me, standing motionless throughout the room. They were all pale, and all standing as still as statues. Their eyes were all open, and all had the same white eyes that everyone else at Happiness Hospital sported. There must have been 30 of them in the small morgue. I looked around for an exit and one caught my eye. Of course, it was across the room, directly behind the army of seemingly dead people.
I made my way through, trying not to touch any of them. I looked behind me at one point, and I again wish I wouldn’t have. Every one that I passed was now looking directly at me, smiling. It was the most horrifying visage I’ve ever seen. I wanted to cry, I was so scared. I accidentally bumped into one while looking behind me and when I spun around, this particular motionless gentleman was mere inches from my face, with a disgusting grin on his face. I jumped back into another one, who looked at me the same way. I decided to throw caution to the wind and barrelled my way through the rest of the room until I got to the door. Unfortunately for me, it was locked.
I looked behind me and saw that they were all much closer to me now. Only a few feet away. I looked to the lock, and then back again, they were now even closer. Every time I looked away, they moved in on me. I kept my eyes focused on them, as difficult as that was, and felt around for something to break the window with. I found a bench at a desk and used it to smash the glass on the door, then jumped up and through the opening. By the time I got off the floor, the motionless dead people were at the door, reaching through. I sprinted away down a dark hallway, and heard the door slam open behind me. I looked back, and there they were, in the hallway, standing motionless. I walked backwards until I turned a corner, then ran again. I finally came to a door with an **EXIT** sign above it. Praying the stairs would lead down, I entered. Thankfully, they did. I descended the stairs and found myself on the first floor. I exited the stairwell and found myself next to the elevator I had originally been taken up in.
I knew all I had to do was get through the one hallway and out of the emergency room. So that’s exactly what I did. I ran as fast as I could through the floor, passing the nurse that tried to say something to me, and burst into the emergency waiting area. There, the two people that had been unconscious when I first walked in now sat at full alert, smiling at me, waving, with the white eyes. I ran straight towards the door. Actually, I ran straight into the automatic doors. I hit them so hard I nearly fell back. I heard a calm voice from behind me:
”I have to buzz you out, sir.”
I turned around and looked at the receptionist that wasn’t there when I got there. She had the eyes, of course, and a mouth full of crooked, sharp teeth. She smiled and pressed a button, and I heard a buzz. The doors before me slid open. As I ran out to the parking lot, I heard her behind me:
”I hope your experience at Happiness General was a happy one!”
I ran to my car, not even realizing I didn’t have my keys on me, as I had been stripped out of all of my clothes. I panicked for a moment, until I looked in my car and saw all of my clothes nicely folded on my front seat, with my phone and keys sitting on top of the pile. I grabbed my keys and pushed everything else off to the side, got in my car, turned it on, and began driving out of the lot. I took one last look at the hospital as I left.
On every floor were the people that had occupied them when I was on that particular floor, smiling and waving. It was an awful last thing to see as I drove away from a literal nightmare. I drove east, out of the town of Happiness, even passing a sign that read **THANKS FOR VISITING, WE HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY!**
Again, if you ever find yourself in an unmarked town called Happiness, do not stop. I can’t speak for the rest of the establishments there, but my experience in the hospital was enough to dissuade me from ever wanting to be there again.