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The Unsound Mind

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All of the issues and tragedies in the world come from someone's crashed train of thought. Maybe I'm just the crazy one and everyone else is normal. But I've seen more than what I can take. You can call me a psychopath, you can say whatever the hell you want, but it won't change the fact that all of this happened. But maybe it was just a vivid dream. To tell you the truth, I don't know what's what. I don't know what's reality, what's not. I can't even tell anymore if this was all just a hallucination.

I don't even know if any of this really happened.

When I turned 26, I retired from my job as an inspector at the city police department. I'd started the job straight out of high school since a good friend of mine, Jen Braddock, was able to get me in. She and I became partners; we investigated every case together, worked out in the fitness room from time to time, and went out to lunch. We were good friends.

But she wasn't the reason why I quit the job, though.

I'll tell you, with every single case I've worked, none of them have been normal. All of them, every last one, have been the strangest experiences I've ever had. It felt like I would lose all of my sanity if I kept going, so...I gave up.

After retirement, I spent my time at home for a while. I wasn't working, but on a pretty rainy day, I got a call from Jen. She told me that they'd located some wanted criminal and that they needed backup from an inspector. I wanted to decline, I really did, but curiosity got the best of me.

Jen picked me up in a police car. She seemed quieter than usual. She looked as though she was daydreaming as she drove, almost like she was in some sort of trance. When I got in the car, she simply said, "Good to see you, Robins."

It felt like we were driving forever down some never ending road. It was completely silent. "Braddock," I finally said. "Who exactly are we after? What did he do?"

Jen seemed to be thinking on the subject for a while. Then she said, "He's a wanted serial killer. He's been living in a tunnel on the west side of town. We don't know much about his background, but we do know that he's been abducting and murdering people from all over the city. We've been trying to pinpoint him for months."

I only nodded. I couldn't be sure of anything. I was just an ex-inspector, tagging along on a case with a detective more skilled in these kinds of cases than I ever was. I couldn't understand why Jen ever wanted me to come as backup in the first place. I was almost sure that she would just have me stay outside and watch the doors to make sure no one came in.

Then she gave me a gun.

When she put the gun in my hand, I was almost startled. "What do you want me to do with this?" I asked. "You don't want me to come in with you, do you?"

Jen smirked and looked me in the eye. "Come on, Robins. We were partners. You really think I'm gonna bring you on a case and not let you investigate with me?"

I sighed. "Fine. But just know that I'm staying behind you."

When we got to the tunnel, I started to get a bad feeling. With all of the other police cars surrounding the area, you would think I'd feel safe, but I really didn't. In all honesty, it felt like the gun I had wasn't going to be enough to protect me.

Jen and I approached the entrance to the tunnel, me being the only one alert. The entrance was a small trapdoor that was rusted and splattered with blood. Jen lifted the door and immediately gave me a look of pure disgust. "It smells awful down there," she said. "It smells like flesh."

I could honestly smell the same damn thing. Jen looked at me, sighing. "Let me tell you something," she said. "With all the cases I've worked, I truly thought this would be the one case that we would get to have a logical encounter. I suppose I was wrong, wasn't I?"

I laughed. That was the fucking truth. Every single case I've ever been on has been almost surreal. I would be surprised if this case had any bit of normality in it.

I looked at Jen and nodded. We opened the door and jumped down into the tunnel, taking out our guns and staying alert with every movement. The halls of the tunnel were covered with blood, feces, and corpses. The smell was indescribable. It felt like the stench alone would be enough to kill me.

Jen ran ahead of me as I looked around at the corpses that practically crowded the hall. I walked in splattered blood and flesh, and hearing the slushing sound beneath my feet made me want to vomit. The only though running through my head at that moment was, who would do something like this?

All of a sudden, as I was wandering through the tunnel, I lost sight of Jen. I called out her name, but she didn't answer. I'd only seen her go into one room, but she wasn't there when I checked it. I started to think this was a sick joke.

"Braddock, come out. This really isn't funny." I kept calling out, but I didn't get an answer. Then I started to get worried.

"I said this isn't funny!"

That was when I realized that I was completely alone.

I started to run down the hall that seemed to never end. I thought I was going crazy. Where was Jen? Why was I alone? I was so distracted by my own spinning thoughts that I didn't pay attention to the fact that there was a trapdoor coming up ahead of me. I felt myself tumble down a hill of bodies, hitting the bloody floor with a thud. I saw the room getting darker and darker until my eyes completely came to a close.

I awoke on a soft, comforting surface, like a hospital bed. I couldn't move my arms, and when I looked down, I realized that I was in a straitjacket. The lights in the room flickered, and the room was incredibly large. I tried to roll from side to side until I fell off of the bed and hit the floor. Looking in front of me, I saw a knife plunged into the floor. I rolled my way over to it, putting my back against it and taking forever to cut the straps that held the straitjacket together. I stood up for only a moment to tear the jacket from my arms before I heard pounding footsteps getting closer and closer to the room I was in. Hastily, I lied back down on the floor and shuffled under the bed to hide. All I could hear were the pounding footsteps and my own rushing heartbeat.

I saw the rusty door being broken down, a large man storming in with a machete in his hand. He was breathing heavily with rage, stomping around the room as if he were looking for something.

Me.

He suddenly started to swing the machete around, breaking every object in his field of view. I was terrified, wondering if he would look under the bed where I was hiding. When he finally stopped breaking things, he left the room for a moment and returned with a corpse that he dragged behind him. He threw the body on the floor in front of him and lifted his machete. I watched as he began to cut the body into several pieces, shredding the skin off of each piece of flesh and putting them into separate piles. When he finished, he put the several piles in garbage bags and left the room.

I pulled myself out from under the bed, vomiting on my hands and knees. I just watched someone get butchered. The animal that did it was doing it as if it were his fucking job. I knew one thing for sure--I needed to get the fuck out of this tunnel. I was sure the bastard would come back for me, so I knew I had to find a way to get around him.

I crawled out of the room on my hands and knees, knowing that he was in the room beside me and he might see me through the window. When I heard him coming, I dodged into a nearby room and hid behind the wall. Strangely, he ran right past me, almost like he wasn't even bothering to acknowledge the room. When he had his back turned, I made my way to the end of the hall and went through the door as quietly as I could.

When I went through the door, I realized that I was back in the main hallway of the tunnel. Suddenly, I heard the door behind me open and close. I turned to see the barbaric man, still holding the bloody machete. He let out a bellowing roar that didn't even sound human. It didn't sound like any sort of animal, either.

This was a fucking monster.

I started to run as fast as I could, trying not to look behind me. When it felt like my lungs were going to burst, I wanted to keep running, but I found myself with my hands on my knees trying to catch my breath. He was still catching up to me, so I pushed myself to keep running. I got to a door at the end of the hall, but I couldn't open it. It was jammed. I kicked the door as hard as I possibly could, finally getting the damn thing to open. But I was too late. The moment I was through the door, I felt the machete cut a clear slash across my back. I suddenly fell to the floor, blood spurting from the wound. I tried to pull myself up, but I couldn't move with my back practically paralyzing me. I struggled to get to my feet and ran rather slowly to the next door.

The next room was a dead end. Upon entering, I was completely surrounded by walls. I finally heard the door close and the man stomping in with his machete, and I realized that this was the end. I'd been hopelessly running from this guy just to meet a dead end. I should've known that this was the end of it all. I knew that I wouldn't have a chance against this guy, even if I did have my gun.

I waited for him to finally kill me, but he stopped all of a sudden. Then he collapsed. When I looked, I saw a large, bloody hole going through his chest. Looking up, I saw Jen.

Her hand was covered in blood, her clothes were torn, and her eyes were bloodshot. She hardly looked like herself. She stared at her hand, slowly beginning to laugh maniacally. Then she just stared at me, a psychotic smile stretching across her face.

"Am I the one you were looking for?" she asked, her voice raspy and cold. I couldn't believe what I was looking at. It couldn't have been Jen.

"Jen?" I approached her, hoping she would snap out of whatever the hell she was in. "Is that you?"

She only smirked at me, as if to insult me. I knew that it was her. But something had happened, and I didn't know what. She looked deranged, like she had gone completely insane. I was afraid. I wanted to run, but I didn't want to leave her there.

I was afraid of my own partner.

I didn't know what to do. I hate to admit it, but I turned tail and ran like hell. I knew she was chasing after me, because I could hear her laughter behind me. I wanted to keep running until I reached an exit, but a sudden thought came to my mind. What if she got out of here and went into the city? I didn't want anyone to end up like that damned butcher, so I made my choice.

I stopped and turned around to face her psychotic gaze. The last thing I wanted to do was fight her. I had to take her down quickly. As she charged towards me with accelerating speed, I moved past her and back to where the butcher's corpse was still sprawled out on the bloody floor. I hesitantly took the machete from his hand, cursing every single moment I had to come in contact with that man. I swung around to see Jen standing behind me, panting. "It would make things much easier," she hissed, "if you would stop running from me!"

I shakily held up the machete in my hands. I wanted to run away. I didn't even want to face her. I just wanted to get out of this place. But now, this was the only way to leave. I took a deep breath and went forward, shutting my eyes tightly as I plunged the blade into Jen's gut.

Her eyes grew wide as she fell to the floor, blood forming a pool around her. She gasped for air, staring at me with pained eyes. I knelt down next to her, pitifully looking back at her. "Jen," I said softly, "what happened to you?"

Jen tried to take a deep breath and choked out, "He was trying to kill me."

I shook my head, confused. "What are you talking about?"

"That man...he drugged me with something...whatever I did to him or you back there, that wasn't me."

"I don't understand..."

"That butcher made something...some fucking drug that he was gonna release to the city...it's supposed to screw around with people's minds. You have to get rid of it, Robins. You have to get rid of that drug."

I couldn't even begin to understand what all of this meant. I didn't know how to respond. "It's okay, Braddock," I said, although I knew it wasn't. "We're gonna get out of here. Nobody's gonna find out about that drug, okay?"

Jen smiled weakly. "Good...I know nobody will find it, Robins. This tunnel's gonna be history, and...maybe I will be, too."

"No, you won't. We're getting out of here. There's an exit around here somewhere. We should go find it."

She shook her head. "I already said it. I'm history. You and I can leave, but there's nothing you can do for me once we get to the surface."

"Hey," I said, trying to keep her from shutting her eyes. "Listen to me. You're not dying, not here, you understand? I said that there's way out, dammit. And that's exactly what you and I are gonna look for."

"Just get out of here, Robins. Even if you don't want me to die, I'm still going to. I know that you've done what you could, but it's just pointless now. The last thing I want you to do is drag me out of here. All I want you to do is get out. And everything after that is on your head, got it? So go, now."

And I just didn't know what to say. I stood up, leaving her, and ran down the hall. I didn't want to look at her. I didn't want to see the body of my partner that I'd killed. I just wanted to get out. I ran until I caught sight of a ladder, climbed up until I reached the door at the top, and opened it. When I got out...I'd never been happier to see the light of day. I was alone, sitting behind the wall separating the tunnel entrance from the exit. Sitting back, I sighed and spit out the blood that I could taste in my mouth. I took out my lighter and a cigarette, putting the cigarette between my lips and holding up the lighter. It flickered and sparked, but without fire. I slumped against the wall and let out a deep sigh. I'm just glad that I'm still alive.

But she isn't.

After everything I've seen, I can't say I want to go back to the police. I mean, with every case I've investigated, I've never had a logical encounter.

I just don't know how any of this could've been real.

But one thing is clear.

I will never return to that tunnel again.

I will not witness something like that again.

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