That’s all I could hear, all day and all night. I can’t seem to recall how or why they started, but they keep getting faster.
When they began, it was maybe once every twelve hours. I would hear a high-pitched beep and look around, but no one in my classes seemed to notice. I was the only one hearing this. I thought my mind was playing tricks on me, but… It began to get worse. Every day, the time between the beeps would cut in half. I noticed this after the third day, when it hit every three hours. My mind began to actively search for answers. I looked on the internet, even considered asking for help.
I couldn’t really go to anyone. Anybody hearing this would definitely think that I was crazy. So I decided to keep it to myself for the past couple of weeks.
On the seventh day, it stopped making me jump. Instead, I would count the minutes in between beeps. About eleven minutes, give or take twenty or so seconds.
Was this all a ploy?
Was this even real?
Was I going crazy?
See, this was the first time that I truly pondered that question. I didn’t know what to think on that, as every eleven minutes I was jarred by the sound. The damn sounds had me awake all night. I hadn’t slept in three days at that point, and I was really doubting my sanity as well. I let it go another week. Another week of sleepless nights and self-evaluation. The beeps were mere seconds apart at that point.
And so it went. I began skipping class. I couldn’t pay attention, nor did I care to deal with people. I locked myself in my room and began a way of counting the beeps. Every time a beep happened, I would mark a tally on a piece of paper.
It got to 10.
It got to 20, easily.
On to 30…
I lost track and lost myself in tallying.
After one more painstakingly loud night, I had counted hundreds.
I began tallying on the walls, on the floor. On my desk, hell, even writing them on myself. Hours passed, precious hours that I was losing.
Was it hours?
The number eventually passed 1000, and I fell to my side. I was covered in tally marks, my walls and floors a mess of smeared pen. I laughed. I was laughing so hard, my sides were hurting. Delirious and sleep-deprived, I passed out on the floor laughing.
I woke up in a white room, in which a set of bright lights hanging from the ceiling were blinding me. I looked around, and realized I was in a hospital bed, with tubes in my arms and a heart monitor to my side. Then it started again.
Now it seemed like twice or more a second. I must have been out for days. A tall man in a white coat walked in, and introduced himself as Dr. Hurst. He explained that I had been out for 3 days. One of my friends had gotten worried about me after not seeing me in class for a week, and called my parents about it. They had tried to reach me, but couldn’t get ahold of me. They decided to call the police, where they found me passed out in a fetal position on the floor of my bedroom, covered in tally marks made by a black pen. He also explained to me that I had originally been placed in a hospital, but after examination of my apartment, had been moved to a mental hospital.
He asked me about the tally marks, and I slowly explained. I could hardly sound out my words in between the constant beeping. Words sounded weird, especially when they were coming from my mouth. I went through everything. The sound, the speed, and how long it had been going on. He took notes, and promptly left after my explanation.
He left me to my devices for hours, and I writhed about the bed, trying to escape. I wanted to go back to my apartment, where I could stay safely and count in peace. I wanted to leave.
I had to leave.
I needed to leave.
I needed to be out of here.
A mental hospital? What the hell were they thinking? I was counting the beeps and keeping to myself. Who the hell were they to take me here?
I had to leave.
I needed to leave.
My desire became stronger and stronger with the passing hours, or were they minutes? Seconds? I couldn’t tell anymore. My vision became blurred. My head had already been aching, and now it hurt more than ever. My fingers tapped the bed. Faster. Faster. With the beeps, even. Every passing minute drew me closer to escape. Every passing second was a sign of coming relief. I couldn’t take it anymore. This time, the urge overcame me and I sat up in the bed. I ripped the I.V. from my arm and swung my legs over the edge of the bed. I stood up.
At a time like this, would a “Free at last!” be fitting? I suppose so. That was the relief that had overcome me at that moment. I sprinted, no, I charged at the door and knocked it wide open.
I needed to tally the beeps.
They demanded to be counted.
They seemed to have a will.
Count them. Count them.
My only desire was to count the beeps. I needed to tally them.
I dashed through the hall, and blacked out.
Case No. XXXXXXXX Date: [REDACTED]
Reporting Officer: [REDACTED] Prepared by: [REDACTED]
Incident: Mental hospital patient stabbing.
Detail of Event:
Patient [REDACTED], aged 17, at [REDACTED] Mental Hospital in [REDACTED] stabbed 12 people in a rampage after breaking free from his room. He entered the hallway adjacent to the room, and stopped a nurse walking through the hallway. He proceeded to assault her and steal a needle that she was holding. He then stabbed her with it, and broke into multiple patient rooms. He stabbed 8 patients, 3 nurses, and 1 doctor. He marked himself in their blood in what appeared to be tally marks, and marked the walls with their blood with tallies as well. Officers [REDACTED] arrived promptly, and proceeded to use deadly force on [REDACTED] after multiple attempts at sedation. He was reported to be screaming “Make them stop!” when he was apprehended.
Deadly force was used on patient [REDACTED]. Officers [REDACTED] will not be punished for this. [REDACTED] Mental Hospital will be liable for all damage done to its employees.
After this stabbing, new precautions will be taken against future attacks. All 12 families of the victims have been notified and informed of the situation. Future investigation into patient [REDACTED] will be conducted promptly. Further notes have been taken of the mental state of patient [REDACTED], and will continue to be taken.