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Subject 16

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Patient#: 1003629

Name: Salazar

Age: 19

Gender: Unknown

Diagnosis: Schizophrenia

Comments: Quiet, is constantly speaking in an inaudible voice. No word on whether this started before or after incident in Showers. Unaware of reality and is likely to remain in this state.

My Story

Honestly I thought this was going to be just as usual protocol. I was twenty-nine and straight out of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. Now when I think of my options, I should have stayed in college for a better degree or for the experience, but instead I went job hunting.

Most places wouldn’t take me without a full medical degree, but then I found New Mexico South Eagle Mountain Psychiatric Ward or SEMPW for short. I applied, interviewed, and accepted. I got on a plane and arrived in Houston and then took a bus to Los Alamos, New Mexico. The land was indeed an enchantment, but the Ward was another matter. If I knew what would happen to me in this place I would have turned around and went back home.

I was greeted with a mundane atmosphere and settled in quickly. I was in charge of a group of five. There was Lucky, a short thin boy with raven black hair about fourteen, Lei, a tall and very aggressive sixteen-year-old boy, Hannah, a bulimic anorexic seventeen-year-old, and the other two I’m unsure of but their names went something like David and Julie. I remember they were like twins and about sixteen. Within a week though, I knew the rundown of each kid or at least what the main causes were of their problem. We got along as long as I didn’t go too deeply into some way too personal topics.

I enjoyed work around these times. The kids were happy and I was happy. I felt like I was making a difference.

It was around week nine when I was assigned an extra patient into the group. I remember it being quite a buzz for the kids and there was a reason too. Lei was the first to burst with the news, “The new guy is like so insane that I heard he has to be wheeled around by four guards.” Hannah shook her head and disagreed, “You mean SHE!” The kids went back and forth for the longest time until Lucky spoke up. “Salazar’s here.” Everyone got quiet and I watched as a young person was escorted in.

Salazar was covered in shackles and was wrapped with a straight jacket that included a face mask that covered the entire head, two guards accompanied, not four. I watched as they sat Salazar down and stepped back, while checking the shackles and tightness of the jacket. They nodded before retreating and locking us in the room with… the young boy or girl. I thought this had to be some type of joke… I mean why in the world would they let someone with so many restraints into a group session. The kids crowded closer to me and stared at the being before them. I was first to speak, looking down at my clip board, “So your name is just Salazar?”

There was no voice or even gesture to acknowledge the question. It was quiet, too quiet. As if all noise had left the room with Salazar. The session went on though, but my eyes never trailed off of Salazar. As for the rest of the group, they ignored Salazar, except for Lucky. His eyes never left Salazar. As the session drew to an end, the guards returned and began to retrieve the mute being.

Then it happened, Salazar sprung and managed to wrap a chain around Hannah’s neck. She looked around at everyone desperately trying to pry the chains off. Then there was a voice, it was a complete neutral tone that could have come from anyone, but all eyes settled on Salazar. “There’s a game they like to play here.” Everyone got quiet and settled far away as Salazar began to talk.

Salazar began to chuckle and tightened down more on Hannah’s windpipe. “The Doctors here would observe us and at night they’d visit our rooms. They would wake us up and play sadistic tricks on us and if one of us would try and get help or tell… most were sent to spend a night in the showers.”

Suddenly Lei yelled, “No one cares about what happens here!” Salazar shook Hannah wildly and I swear I could hear the cracking of Salazar’s own bones and Hannah’s neck vertebra beginning to crush. It stopped and looked at the group. “You do, we all do. Playing tricks isn’t up to them anymore though.” Salazar began to laugh again, while Lei looked away. I stared at him, “What is he talking about?” No one spoke up, but the atmosphere began to shift darker. I stared at the guards helplessly.

Suddenly Hannah gasped, “He’s talking about what happened in the showers!” With a twist and a loud snap the guards pulled Salazar away. Hannah fell with a small thud. The twins spoke up with unison, “Someone was going to tell and now they must wash the sin away.” Then they all walked out, leaving her there as if she were a mere doll.

I threw up and heaved for almost the entire night. The complicated ways Salazar would have had to break bones in order to even get to Hannah should have been ultimately painful for any human being, let alone a teenager.

I wasn’t sure if I could return back to work until I got a call. It was my boss, or Dr. Riche, who explained that the situation had been taken care of and that Salazar had once more been returned to solitary confinement with several different bone fractures. As she paused, the words “Psycho” and “The Showers” just came running out of my mouth.

Dr. Riche was quiet for the longest time, and then spoke slowly, “That game harmed so many children and drove Salazar to what it is today.” “I’m sorry to interrupt, but is Salazar a male or female?” Dr. Riche paused for a while and seemed to be shifting though records. Then there was a sigh, “The Examiner reports never mention the matter. But Salazar was brought to SEMPW in dire medical attention.” “So what happened to her during ‘The Showers’?”

“This is a dark game; understand that most times not even the government has had enough power to end this sort of abuse.” I was utterly shocked with what she told me next.

Dr. Riche: "What happened to Salazar and fifteen others will forever go down as the most heinous act ever committed while playing “Psycho. Three doctors set forth the gathering of “Psycho” players and paid off most the staff to allow late “testing.” These games usually were held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, leaving the rest of the week for rest and other typical procedures.

"The first subject was your very own Lei, Subject One. He was forced to watch several hours of peer war and POW stories. Every hour ticked by was a reprogramming of his mind, which would soon be immune to any type of violence. It wasn’t until he snapped one day and literally snapped Subject Two’s neck, who was a calm girl, that they were forced to move ahead.

"Subject Three has recently become deceased. Hannah was a patient of the very doctor that majored in war victim recovery and PTSD. This doctor was fascinated in the Concentration Camp treatment and forced such torture upon her, creating her alternating bulimic and anorexic tendencies.

"Subjects Four through Eight have all been terminated by the one and only Salazar. Each method of death has mimicked the Doctors’ “Tests.” This included, fear of being burnt alive, drowning, trapped and buried alive. The others were more on the schizophrenic side, gaining the diagnosis of serial killer. Honestly with these cases, we are unsure of the patients agreed to it in order to prove their lack of fear or if Salazar truly forced them to do these acts.

"Subject Nine, known as Martinez, is well alive and tucked away in a small cell away from all of this. He is a calm boy. We had to lock him away because of his split personality which helped Salazar commit most of the crimes.

"Subjects Ten and Eleven were trained to believe that they were sewn together. They have become to believe they are forever stuck together and will die if one or the other is separated. We tried to pry them apart in several instances, but either one would either become suicidal or go into a large hysterical fit.

"Subjects Twelve, Fourteen, and Fifteen were murdered with an unsure link to Salazar, but in all occurrences, Salazar was in solitary confinement. It is also possible that these three went on with the games while Salazar was away.

"Subject Thirteen is a tortured soul, who brought Salazar to become what it is today. On the night of “The Showers”, Thirteen was chained like an animal to the ground. He was badly beaten and bleeding profusely. He was one of the ones who had mustered some courage and tried to get help."

“Wait, explain to me what ‘The Showers’ are?” Dr. Riche took a breather and then spoke again. “We call the old operation corridor that because of what the three doctors did to the children in those rooms. They would lash them, starve them, or drive them insane with mere sounds, such as the White Noise. A low pitch ringing that can slowly make any adult go hysterical in less than an hour. Picture this, but all night.” I was silent on my end of the phone. How could doctors do this to children? Then another question bubbled up, but before I could ask, Dr. Riche spoke up again.

"Starting where I left off, Thirteen was in a state of death. He was reaching his final level into winning the game. Trying to survive the night, but as he lay like the animal the Doctors had created, Salazar wandered in. Walking through each corridor like a ghost, Salazar had watched each doctor and had studied each of the methods. Salazar had paused when Thirteen whimpered and ushered to help him.

"That is when one of the doctors found them. There was a struggle and then a loud crash. The other two doctors ran in to find a corpse covered in blood. Upon the walls, written in a black liquid were the words, “They play a game here.”

"The doctors proceeded to split up and go after what they thought was Thirteen. Through the entire night, Salazar played cat and mouse with those doctors until there was no more blood to shed. In all Salazar wrote, “They call it Psycho” and “Someone was going to tell, we must wash the sin away.”

I was speechless and then the question flourished, “If the doctors never touched Salazar, how did she become Subject Sixteen?”

“Salazar passed the last level… surviving the night. The thing that bugs me is how inhuman Salazar became after.”

“A case of split personality?”

“No, Salazar became more of a beast… a monster.”

“And what about Subject Thirteen?”

“He escaped with his life, but he will not speak about his incident. Instead, he proclaims himself as a very lucky boy…who met a sanity willing to take his place.”

Suddenly there was a crash in the background and then screaming.

“Dr. Riche!” I yelled into the phone. A struggle had begun and just like before I heard the bone popping and snapping. Then all was quiet. I whispered the doctor’s name into the phone. There was no answer, except for a low humming.

Then there was a familiar voice, “Someone told miss…”

My mind clicked and words quickly began to run. “Lucky, listen to me, is the doctor alright?”

There was silence, “Lucky, please talk back.” A neutral toned voice spoke instead, “We needed to wash the sin away…”

The line went dead and the next day I was on a plane back to Carolina. In time I found out the asylum was shut down, but in the paper it mentioned that five patients had managed to escape before the place closed. Martinez was happily sent to a new asylum. Though I pray every night that they never find me. But at night when there seems to be no sound and all is silent, I curl into the corner and try to survive the night.

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