Candy Bar

Candy Bar

A Story by Rawhide
"

Working alone late at night can be unsettling. It's even more unsettling when you discover that you're not alone.

"

St. Ignatius Hospice was the final resting place for old and young alike. It was a place where the dying came to die. Their residents were the soon to be departed, and for brief periods, the recently departed. The living had their suffering minimized as much as possible. The dead were escorted into the next world with as much dignity and respect as the living could provide.

.

Harvey entered St. Ignatius through the front entrance. There was a desk just inside the door with a cheerful, hand-made sign that said "Information." The desk was deserted and the lights were off in that area. To the left of the desk was a doorway with light spilling out of it. Through the doorway, Harvey could see a counter in a hallway that led up to a set of double doors.

.

A nurse was standing at the counter reading something on a clipboard. He walked to the counter trying to look confident but not smug. The nurse looked up from her clipboard. It surprised Harvey how pretty the nurse was despite not wearing any makeup. He had never gone for the natural look before. He liked a woman who got dolled up. "Fufu girls" as his sister liked to call them.

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The nurse saw the blue uniform and with a puzzled look asked, "Can I help you officer?"

.

He told her that he's off-duty and asked her to call him Harvey . "I'm here to work a little off-duty security. They hired me to do the night shift for a few days until they can find a permanent replacement," he explained.

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"Well then, you'll want the security office," she said and pointed to a door just past the end of the counter. "It's right there."

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He thanked her as he headed toward the security office. Low voices were coming from inside the office. He knocked on the door and the voices stopped with a clicking sound followed by a man's voice, "Come on in."

.

A man in his early 60's in a security uniform smiled and gave his head one quick nod in Harvey's direction. "Glad to have you here, buddy. Both of our night shift guys quit this week and if it wasn't for you, I'd be pulling doubles all week. My name's Jackson, but everyone just calls me Jack," he said and put out his hand.

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Harvey shook the extended hand and replied, "Thanks, I'm Harvey."

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Before he could say any more, Jackson butted in, "Okay, I'm off duty in fifteen minutes so I don't have much time to orientate you to everything."

.

Jackson filled him in on where the cameras were located and how to determine the camera's number and placement on the map he gave him. He told him to write anything odd that he saw on the cameras in the book and then go check it out. "That way if something happens to you, we at least know where you were headed and why," he said and then paused to make sure Harvey was paying attention. He told him to do a walk-through at least once every two hours. Lastly, he pointed to an old portable television and said, "That helps if it gets too mind numbing in here. It only gets two channels, but it helps to have some background noise sometimes."

.

Jackson left and Harvey sat down in front of the screens. He caught occasional glimpses of the pretty nurse and the two other nurses as they attended to the occasional late night needs of the patients. On his first walk-through, He saw the pretty nurse go into a room with the unmistakable beeping noise of an I.V. drip that has nearly run dry. He kept walking and returned to the security office without incident.

.

Two more hours passed, and he stood up and stretched. He grabbed the map and turned towards the door. As he was turning, he caught the flash of a person on one of the screens in his peripheral vision. He turned back hoping to see the pretty nurse, but the screens were all empty. He left the office and started his walk-through.

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As he passed one of the rooms, he could see the shadow of someone walking around tending to a patient behind a curtain in one of the rooms. He didn't hear any voices, but he wondered if it was the pretty nurse. As he headed back to the office, he heard a couple of voices giggling in the room across the hall from the security office. The door was cracked open and he peeked in.

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The three nurses were sitting in the employee lounge drinking coffee. He spotted the coffee vending machine and asked if it was okay for him to use it. The young nurse smiled widely and told him to make himself at home.

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He bought a cup of coffee and thanked them. Then he bought a candy bar out of the other vending machine and put it in his shirt pocket for later. He stopped at the door, turned around, and inquired, "So how many nurses are there working tonight?"

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The pretty nurse stated, "Just us three. There's three nurses every night."

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Harvey replied, "Then who was in the room up the hall tending to the patient?"

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The pretty nurse hurried out of the room demanding, "Which room?," while the other two nurses sat wide-eyed. He followed the pretty nurse and directed her to the room where he saw the shadows. The shadows were gone, and we rushed in. No one was in the room. This room was vacant.

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Feeling foolish about having seen moving shadows in an empty room, he returned directly to the security office. When he looked at the screens, he remembered seeing the flash of a person on the screens just before he left. He checked out the controls and rolled back both camera screens in the hallway with the room where he had seen the shadows to a couple of minutes before he left for his walk-through. He watched both screens carefully, but he didn't see anyone in the hallway.

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From the East camera, he has a nice shot at the doorway of the room. He watched the room carefully. There was a slight flicker in the screen at the moment he entered the hallway and then he saw the shadows coming through the doorway start moving around. Two shadows were moving left to right and then right to left. And back again. Like someone walking back and forth in the room.

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He watched himself on the screen stop briefly at the door and then continue. As he turned the corner of the hallway, there was another flicker on the screen and the shadows were gone. He kept watching until he saw the pretty nurse come down the hallway with him in tow right behind her. He switched back to the live feed and wondered if he should write that in the log book.

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He sat down and started to write in the log. He caught some movement out of the corner of his eye and looked quickly to the screens. He saw the pretty nurse head down the hallway to the room where he saw the shadows. She looked into the room, closed the door, and locked it. She turned and walked back toward the end of the hallway.

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As she got about half way down the hallway, the screen flickered again. The door to the room slowly glided open and the shadows started moving around again. The nurse started to run down the hallway. Harvey ran out of the office and met her as she got to the counter. She tried to tell him something, but she was out of breath and shaking.

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Harvey interrupted her, "I know, I saw it on the camera. I'm going down there to check it out. Get the other nurses and go into the security office and lock the door. Watch for me on the screens. If anything happens to me, call for help."

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He ran down the hallway. As he got to the room, the door slammed with enough force to crack the door jamb. The glass window in the door shattered, and he instinctively covered his face with his arm to protect it from flying glass.

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He tried to open the door, but it was locked. He put his shoulder into it hard, but it wouldn't budge, not even with a cracked jamb. He shined his flashlight through the busted window and nearly dropped it when he saw what was on the other side of the door.

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A young boy was wearing a hospital gown in there. His hair was shaved like a buzz cut. Something was not quite right about his eyes, but Harvey couldn't figure out what it was. His round face was smiling at Harvey. The tip of one of his right pointer fingers was touching his cheek, and he was twisting his hand back and forth. He seemed to be signaling for something.

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Harvey tried the door again, and it opened. It was unlocked now. The boy was still twisting his finger on his cheek. He looked down at the boy's bare feet and noted that they were slightly ape-like. The toes were spread apart a little with the big toe a fair distance further apart from the others. He walked straight-legged without bending his knees, sort of shifted his weight from side to side.

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The boy stopped right in front of him, and Harvey realized that his eyes were not quite round. They were slightly oval shaped with no eyebrows. He reached his other hand up to Harvey's pocket and took out the candy bar. Harvey flinched when the boy touched him because his hand felt as cold as ice in his pocket. The boy stopped twisting his other hand. He faded into the shadows as he walked away. Harvey heard something hit the floor and the candy bar was lying unopened on the floor. He picked it up and set it on a table in the room in case the boy came back. He closed the door and checked it to make sure it was still locked.

.

When he return to the office, he told the nurses what h saw. The pretty nurse told him that based on the physical description, the boy must have had Down's Syndrome. She got a book from the administrator's office with the history of the center in it. "This place was a high priced private care unit for developmentally disabled children. The parents would put them here to keep them out of sight so they could forget about them. They would often tell their family and friends that their baby had been still-born. Most families never visited. The few that did only did so out of guilt.

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The people that ran the place weren't in it for the money. They put every bit of the money into the place. They made sure that the children received proper care and training. All of the children were taught sign language. The little boy you saw was making the sign for candy.

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Most of the children who lived here, stayed until they died. Some died old and some young. By the 1960's it was no longer considered socially acceptable to hide away your disabled children. The last inhabitant died in 1983. The place was donated to St. Ignatius charities and was turned into a hospice care center."

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After several seconds of silence, Harvey remarked, "But I thought that ghosts were created after an act of violence."

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The nurse replied, "I don't know. Maybe he just doesn't know that it's time to go."

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The next night when Harvey came in, he went to the boy's room. The door was locked and a the window had already been replaced in the door. He placed a candy bar on the floor in front of the door with the end sticking under the door through to the other side.

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About four hours later, Harvey did his second walk-through. He was pleased to see that this time the candy bar was gone.


© 2009 Rawhide



Author's Note

Rawhide
I had originally written this a long time ago in first person, present tense. I rewrote it in second person, past tense before posting it on here. I hope I didn't miss any changes needed for that.

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Reviews

This one made me cry Rawhide. In fact, I'm so ever happy to have read this piece of yours
My little nephew has Downsyndrom and he is really a cute little boy. Like all my nephews and nieces, I love him very much, ----mishel great write!

Posted 8 Years Ago



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Added on March 8, 2009

Author

Rawhide
Rawhide

Maple Valley, WA



About
He puts his quill to parchment to preserve his story. Eons from now, no one will be able to fathom the depths of the suffering he felt nor the expanse of the suffering he caused. He will be villified,.. more..

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