He pulled on his thick, black jacket over his fresh uniform, straightened his tie, flipped the lights off and walked out the door. Jeff arrived at the psych ward exactly 16 minutes later. He did his usual routine; he checked in, dropped his bag in the workroom, clipped on his shiny name badge, and checked to make sure all of the security cameras were operational. Jeff watched the day shift workers walk past his front desk to leave for the night. He waved at them as they passed by, occasionally striking a conversation.
His timer went off at 10:30 p.m., just like it did every night, “Here they come.” he thought to himself. Not even thirty seconds had passed when the security officers came out of the ward to the right of him, patients walking right beside them. Jeff focused hard as he began reading the thoughts of the psych patients.
“Why do I have to be here? I’m 17 years old, I could be doing so much more with my life.”
Jeff frowned. “Don’t worry Cassie, you’ll be out of here soon,” he said as she walked past. The next person to walk by had been a patient in the ward for three weeks. The patient was a middle-aged man with a scruffy beard and he was looking worse than ever. Jeff felt bad for him, it seemed as though he hadn’t taken a shower in days.
“One more week, don’t know how much more of this I can handle. I need a taco.”
Jeff chuckled. “You and me both, Ian!” Ian waved at Jeff and walked on. Jeff checked his clock which now read 11:00 p.m.. The next person to walk by was a 68 year old man. His wife, Lucille was crying, walking beside him. Jeff focused on her and read.
“Oh, dear. I’m so sorry. I wish I could visit you more.”
Her husband winced as if in pain when his wife touched his shoulder. He snapped back, shook her off and walked away. She walked over to Jeff’s desk, her head buried in her hands, crying. Jeff got up and pulled her into a hug.
“Thank you Jeff,” she sobbed. “It’s alright Lucille, by the time he gets out of here, you’ll both be happy again.”
Jeff hugged her again and she walked back towards the viewing glass. Jeff sat down, but was interrupted by sirens. He covered his ears as a voice rang from the speakers above him.
“Attention! High security patient #224 has escaped and is loose in the build–”
The voice was cut off when the whole facility’s lights went out.
By Lauren Miller