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The Ghost and the Darkness

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As he came to, pain was the first thing that registered in George's mind. Pain and heat. No, ”pain” was the goddamned understatement of the century. This was pure agony, and finding out that he had been securely tied to one of those steel cabinets in the kitchen certainly didn't help. His vision was blurry, but he could still vaguely make out the rubbery wires that had been wrapped tightly around his arms, wrists and ankles, effectively eliminating his blood flow and means of escape.

What the hell had happened anyway? Him, Will and – to a certain degree – Max had been on their way to freedom and suddenly, he'd ended up here; tied to this fucking cabinet with all the pain he'd managed to ignore earlier suddenly wracking his body all at once.

He briefly recalled having seen the guards at the reception; all of them dead, the receptionist woman just barely alive. The inmates had gotten to them sometime during the blackout, maybe even at the very beginning. George himself hadn't even known half of the guards at this place except J.B., but that didn't make the discovery any less gruesome.

He must've lost himself somewhere along the line, because almost as soon as he and Will had entered the room, he couldn't help but to be somewhat entranced by the carnage; by the utter insanity and lack of order. There'd been a sudden blow to his head and–

Well, now he was here. God only knows what could've happened to Max and Will while he had been spasming on the grimy floor in his own drool. George didn't even want to consider the possibilities (they were endless, after all), but he hoped the pair had made it out okay. Or that they had, at the very least, found a good, safe hiding spot in case they weren't able to exit the building. He'd seen too many people he knew die today, he didn't need the last two to go the same way.

It was just then that he discovered the next big thing about his predicament; he was stark naked. As that realization dawned on him, another fresh wave of dread hit him. He had been afraid ever since he woke up, sure, but now the fear increased tenfold. What discernible reason could anyone possibly have for wanting him naked and tied up in the kitchen?
Naturally, it wasn't all that hard to figure out the eventual reason, but George didn't like the ideas his panicked brain provided for him. To make matters worse, he happened to be stuck in an asylum where the deranged inmates had run amuck. Some fucking situation.

Fighting against the restraints proved to be useless; both his body and mind were weak but he couldn't find it in himself to just give up. They'd called the cops already, if he could just hold on a little bit longer–

Footsteps. He heard them clear as day. Part of his brain felt relief at not being alone anymore; maybe Will had come looking for him? Maybe the cops were already here?
The relief didn't last long, though. After all, it was much more likely that the single pair of footsteps slowly and calmly coming closer to the kitchen belonged to one of the inmates. And if that was the case, George had no means to defend himself. One of those crazy fuckers could just waltz in here and gut him like a fish, do to him what they had done to Ricky, and he'd be unable to prevent it from happening.

His breath caught in his throat and once again, he resumed the feeble struggle against the wires that held him in place. He'd never felt this scared before; never felt as helpless as he did now. Naked, bruised, bleeding and tied to a cabinet while possible death was literally walking closer to him with each second. J.B. never mentioned this to be part of the job. That fucker. And now he was dead. The one person in this dump who instilled some form of respect in the crazy ones was dead.
We're so fucked.

George's own rapid heartbeat practically drowned out the sound of the footsteps, but he still noticed when they stopped. Still tugging at the wires as best as he could, he tried to calm down and listen. Had the footsteps really stopped? He could barely even tell the difference between his own heartbeats and those footsteps anymore, so how was he supposed to know? Why was he talking to himself? Goddamn it.

After a while of listening for further movement, he was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. The footsteps really were gone. It had probably just been an inmate scanning the area for God knows what. A small laugh erupted from his throat before he could stop it. Mentally slapping himself for making any kind of noise, he kept on pulling against the wires that held him. At least now, he could work in peace. Finally, something seemed to go his way for a change. But that's when he heard it; the sound of what could only be shoes scraping across concrete floors. The worst part was that they were practically right in front of him.

As he slowly looked up, his heart sank to stomach-level and his breathing hitched. How could he not have noticed before? He'd been so relieved when the footsteps seemingly disappeared that he'd become careless, and now, he felt like throwing up and crying at the same time.

Harry Green was towering over him. How long had the fucker been standing there, just watching him? The man's face was shrouded in shadows but George knew it was him. That lanky body, those far too long arms and that overall presence about him was unmistakable.
His brain screamed at him to run just fucking run you moron, but as he tried to pull at his restraints, the man before him took one step closer and George ceased all movement.
How nice of J.B. to teach them how to act around the inmates before they were plunged right into the deepest shit.
But really, none of this was J.B.'s fault. They'd only been taught the simple necessities on how to behave in the inmates' presence, because if things had gone according to plan, they wouldn't even have needed to face them without the safety glass between their two different worlds. However, not only had things not gone according to plan, but above and beyond. This was no ordinary blackout, which the asylum must've had countless times through the years. Not even the back-up generators were working, and despite the obvious chaos, everything about this just felt wrong; like it was orchestrated somehow. But how was that even possible? It couldn't be right, but with Harry Green standing in front of him again, without any safety glass this time, George couldn't help but abandon logic. Green was just another man, but something about him defied all reason.

The man strode over to where George sat and while he hardly dared to take his eyes off him, he noticed how the man's cheap sneakers (part of the inmate “uniform”, most likely) left a dark and slippery trail after them. He didn't have to think all that hard on it to realize that it was blood coating Green's shoes; so much so that he might has well have been dragging a body behind him by the looks of those trails. And really, who's to say he hadn't, at some point.
George ransacked his entire mind for some sort of hint as on what to do now, as Green slowly bent down to him. He could stay completely still and let that fucking nutjob do whatever he came here to do, or he could try to fight back and risk getting killed even faster. The inexplicable heat of the room didn't exactly do wonders for his thought capacity.
None of those options sounded very inviting, and both of them would probably end up with him being killed either way. If there was one thing he'd learned while working at Sans Asylum, it was that the inmates lacked rhyme and reason. Especially when they were off their meds.

George struggled for words, perhaps so he'd feel somewhat in control of the situation, but found none other than;

“What the fuck do you want, man?”

His voice shook, a stark contrast to what he'd hoped it would sound like, but Harry Green didn't seem to acknowledge it. Not that he ever seemed to acknowledge when people talked to him.
The man's eyes had a far-off look, but still seemed to be present in the moment; piercing through everything in its way.
His eyes didn't meet George's and he was grateful, because he honestly wouldn't have known what his reaction might be if their eyes did meet. Pissing himself sounded most probable. In fact, just being in Green's presence like this would be enough to make George piss himself.

The older man leaned in closer to him, and George found it impossible to keep averting his eyes any longer; their gazes locked and still, Green's eyes had that distant look. How did he do that? He looked right at George but right through him at the same time. What's this guy's deal? By now, George almost wished that he'd just go ahead and kill him instead of having him deal with this awkward and unbearable stillness.
George had averted his gaze, but decided to dare another look at the inmate, just to make sure this was really happening. Sure enough, Harry Green was still crouched in front of him, staring at him with dull blue eyes. However this time, something was different; Green was touching him. He was being touched and yet, George's body wasn't able to register the feeling. He almost thought that he'd been paralyzed somehow until he felt the sensation of a hand ghosting over his abdomen. He looked down, noting that Green was still fucking staring at him, and saw the man's hand trailing down... Down towards–

He began thrashing where he sat, momentarily unable to consider the consequences. The only thought processing in George's mind was that he did not want this to go on any longer.
He jerked his legs, hoping that he'd manage to land a hit and possibly incapacitate Green for a little while. He didn't have a plan beyond that, but he could think of something if Green would just stop touching him.
George kept on thrashing about, his eyes squeezed shut while hoping for the best, for what felt like an eternity. When a reasonable amount of time had passed without so much as a reaction, George decided to open his eyes and look at whatever there was to see. He doubted that he'd done anything to help himself, but he couldn't afford any doubt right now.

As George cracked one eye open, he realized, to his dismay, that he had been right; Green wasn't lying unconscious on the floor after being knocked out by one of his greatly coordinated kicks, no, he was still staring right into his eyes. The only difference now was that Green's gaunt face was mere inches away from his own.
So he did make it worse, then. Strangely enough, he found some confidence as well. It's not like his life hadn't already gone to shit, so why not try to regain some form of dignity before his inevitable death?

“Look here, you fucking psycho-- We've called the police and they'll be here any minute now. They're gonna come in here and as soon as they see you, they're gonna shoot you, you piece of shit!”

While he tried to think up some more threats, George quieted down momentarily, and the thought struck him that he'd been looking straight into Green's eyes all through his sudden rant; those ice cold eyes that bore into and through him, but instead of cowering away in fear, George wasn't deterred this time.
What was that look on Green's face, though? While George had expected him to be angry at him for speaking up, possibly even killing him for it, this hadn't turned out to be the case. The older man was seemingly calm; whether he was listening intently to what George was saying or not paying attention at all, there was no way to know. But for a moment, a split second, George made out another look in the insane man's eyes; expectancy.
He concluded that Green's demeanor wasn't “calm” but rather, anticipative; as if he was challenging George to try to push just the right buttons to gain control over the situation. And in his current, riled up state of mind, George was oh-so-glad to deliver.

“You want to die, is that it? You wanna die because that means you wouldn't be stuck in here anymore, right?”

Green's mouth opened a little bit, but he didn't speak. As if he even could.

“In that case, I hope they'll catch you alive and put you in another crazy house, far worse than this one, and that they'll keep you locked up there with no means of escaping or killing yourself.”

George was running out of ideas on what to say. Sans Asylum wasn't actually all that bad when it came to taking care of its inmates and staff, and he also didn't feel like being this audacious when he noticed Green's mouth widening little by little. Still, he kept the words coming; they were all he had.

“You know what happens in those kinda places? This place is goddamn Disneyland in comparison; they'll keep you alive for as long as it takes, they'll make sure you never forget whatever crazy fucking shit you've done to put you in there, they'll beat you up each and every day and you know what?”

He paused, for emphasis. Green still hadn't moved, but his smile had faltered just a little bit. Time to deliver the blow.

“Every single time they beat you up, I'm gonna be there watching, and I'm gonna laugh at you, motherfucker.”

George lowered his voice at the last sentence, hoping (but not really believing) that he'd come off as somewhat intimidating. His little fit of confidence was over, and he was able to think more clearly now that the rage didn't blur out everything else. Green was still staring at him, smile slowly subsiding, and George remembered that purposely trying to make such a dangerous man angry wasn't a good idea.
However, Green still didn't look angry, and it was so frustrating; like nothing he said would make a difference or draw out some kind of response. George's temper almost flared up again at the thought, and had perhaps evolved into a full-out raging fit if Green hadn't suddenly grabbed onto both of George's legs, pushed them down until his joints ached, and straddled them. He felt the weight of the older man on him and if the wires around his ankles hadn't cut off the blood flow in his legs already, this certainly did the trick.

“Wh-what the fuck...?”, George stammered, unsure if this development was good or not. Still, Green was perhaps just making himself comfortable before he snapped his neck, which was probably the real case scenario here. But right now, a snapping of the neck followed by some nice oblivion sounded just about perfect.

It's not like he'd expected a response to his question, and it wasn't what he got either. But even so, hearing Green just make noise snapped him back from his fantasies of escape. Suddenly, he was intrigued. Terrified sure, but intrigued all the same.

Green's face was just a few inches away from George's own, and while it certainly made him all kinds of uncomfortable, he still found himself straining his ears in order to specify the low rasp of breath that came out of the madman's mouth; see if there was any meaning to it.
The man did move his lips as if to form syllables, but all it produced was just that faint, raspy sigh. Maybe he'd forgotten how to speak, or maybe he'd never been able to? Whatever the case, George's discomfort came raging back to him and once again, he attempted to push Green off of him. Amazingly, trying to push someone off after your whole body had been rendered immobile didn't work out very well, and he quickly realized there was no point in struggling.
He was exhausted and as he felt the fatigue hit him tenfold, so did the acceptance; his life was in Green's spindly fingers now, and all he could do was wait out the inevitable.

Still, death wouldn't come, wouldn't take him away from this hellhole. Instead he was left in his compromising position, a psychopath sitting on his lap, just looking at him. Staring him through. George couldn't help it any longer; his temper flared once again, as did the helplessness.

“Just tell me what the fuck you want! Fucking– just do something!”, he yelled, past the point of caring whether this would catch the interest of the other inmates. Hell, if they came over, he'd welcome them with open arms if he hadn't been tied up.

Green still just looked at him, ever unflinching like some fucking flesh-statue and George wanted nothing more than to kill him right then and there. He was being challenged, he was sure of it, but there was no way he'd be able to follow-through with his violent fantasies in this state.

He couldn't take it anymore. Anything was better than having to look at that taut, sickly face that was before him. Before he could stop himself, George let out a faint sob, but not faint enough to slip past the attention of Harry-motherfucking-Green. Of course not.

Before he knew it, he felt Green's hands start roaming over his torso again, as if George's final display of distress had been some sort of cue for the madman to resume what he'd been doing earlier.
It hadn't even occurred to him before then that Green might just be getting a kick out of seeing him helpless like this; riled up.
(“Fuckin' genius conclusion there, man”, is what Max would've said. “Just fuckin' finish burning that porkchop so we can leave already.” God, he hoped Max was alright.)
But Max wasn't alright. Far from it. No use in kidding himself when he'd been there to see it happen; all of their screams, maniacal laughing and hollering in the distance, a sickening crunch, their screams increasing in volume more than they thought possible. But Max's scream had ultimately been the loudest, most ear-piercing of them all.
George felt what little bile left in his stomach rise up again at the memory of pure white nasal bone and sinew shining through the torn up mess of skin and blood where Max's nose used to be. No, Max wasn't alright, but at least, he was right; Green was an inmate at a goddamn asylum. Of course he'd get his kicks from something like this. Who knows what all these other fuckers got off to in order to land them here.

He could feel those calloused, cold hands continue to make their way down, down, down until they stopped at the place they'd been just a few minutes earlier, before George had put up his pathetic attempt at a fight.
He dared a look at Green's face then, Lord knows he'd rather look at his face than in the direction his hands were going, and felt a scream build up in his chest for the thousandth time that day.
Green had that smile again. That stupid fucking I-know-something-you-don't-smile that had bothered George ever since he first saw it.

He would've loved to scream then, put up a fight that might just help him out, but that was what Green wanted, wasn't it? To get George all riled up again so he could relish in it. Not this time.

George willed himself to keep his gaze locked at Green's face and not move a muscle, not even as he felt those hands creep just a little bit lower. Even if he wanted to, he didn't cry out when he felt one of those hands wrap around his exposed dick, a little too hard for comfort – then again, there was nothing comfortable about this situation – and starting to pump it languidly, erratically.
This guy wasn't a pro in the slightest, but what else was to be expected from someone who'd most likely spent his entire adult life in some kind of institution?

He winced at the contact. No, this couldn't be right. Couldn't be happening. He was not being touched so intimately by a fucking lunatic that he was trapped together with inside of an asylum. The fucking lunatic that started all of this and was probably responsible for killing most of George's acquaintances and friends, no less.
That lunatic's hand was on his goddamned dick.

By instinct, George almost asked Green what the hell he thought he was doing, but bit his lip just in time. He was going to keep pretending none of this fazed him and maybe, just maybe, Green would tire of him and either kill him or leave him be. George didn't care which.

Despite all this humiliation, fear (disgust), George tried to act stoic, but with each stroke of the older man's hand, he found it harder and harder to keep that wall from crumbling. His body better not betray him now, or he'd never forgive himself.
He opened his eyes slightly – not even aware that he'd closed them at some point – grinding his teeth together in case he'd make some involuntary noise, and looked up at Green's face.
He was still staring at him, of course; studying George and his reactions to his vile touching. He felt like spitting at the older man, but knew he wouldn't do it. Why was that? This man was the cause of this hell, the cause of all their pain. George hated him for it and had nothing to lose anymore, so why couldn't he bring himself to at least show some contempt, put up some kind of fight? It was too late to salvage the situation by now, but the least he could do was to spit this monster in his fucking face... He owed it to Ricky and J.B. and Max, to everybody who hadn't made it this far, but his mouth was dry and he was more tired than humanly possible. Why wouldn't Green just kill him? Why couldn't it all just end? George could apologize to his friends in the afterlife or something, just– he couldn't stand this any longer.

Why me...?”, he wheezed out, snapped back to reality when he felt Green tug at his dick again. And really, why him? What was this weird fixation Green seemed to have with him, and why god fuck it why did it have to be him–

He didn't care about the answer at this point, didn't give a shit if Green held his peace forever, he just... needed to say something. His eyes were half-lidded and his vision swimming, but Green's toothy smile still stood out in the haze (it always seemed to do that, huh?).
He felt a feather-light touch to his face, and he realized that Green was stroking his cheek “comfortingly”. That sudden gentleness didn't halt him on his fucking mission, however... He was still grinning at George, seemingly coming closer to his face, still stroking his cock, and George's body was going numb and as his surroundings faded to black, as he distantly felt Green lowering himself onto his regrettably hard cock, George couldn't help but look at Green's teeth and wonder whether they would chew him apart. Blessedly, he passed out before he could find out.


As he came to, pain was the first thing that registered in George's mind. Pain and heat, choking and clawing at him. His head was still swimming, barely holding any recollection of this night at the moment, but he already started to miss being unconscious. Blinking a few times and checking his surroundings proved he had a good reason for that. There were puddles of blood here and there, kitchen-ware and chairs strewn about and an odor of what could only be piss. The safety glass that usually separated them from the inmates lay on the floor, cracked. Oh, he remembered now. And with that realization came...

He sneaked his tired eyes down to look at himself; stark naked (not even that part had been a fever dream, apparently). He'd at least gotten the mercy of falling unconscious just as Harry Green was about to sit on his– … on his dick– Please don't let him have done it just fucking please do me this one favor if nothing else– and while he thankfully wasn't hard anymore (how could he have let that even happen?), there was no way to know if Green had gone through with his assault. There were no traces of it; no semen, no nothing. Maybe he'd be able to forget it, in due time, since Green hadn't left any marks on him. Something told him he would never forget this incident, however, and he almost sobbed again at the thought of such a depressing future. He wondered if Lynn would be mad at him for letting Green do what he'd done. Could it still be considered cheating even if George didn't want any part in it? Damn it all...

There was no semen, or saliva, or much of anything around him, but what puzzled him the most was the blood trail left behind by Green's shoes when the man had first found him here, or rather; the absolute lack of one.
He craned his neck around, despite being sure that he'd somehow accidentally break it simply by moving, searching for the trail, but it was nowhere to be found. Had he imagined it? Was it even possible to imagine such a clear-cut image? Green had left blood behind him as he walked closer, but where was it now? Had he cleaned it up before he left him here again? Why would someone like him do that? What the fuck is happening!?

Either way, it didn't really matter if there had been a blood trail or not. George could at least be thankful that Harry Green wasn't here anymore either; that he'd tired of toying with him (for now) and walked off into the darkness. Once again, he was left all alone and vulnerable, but honestly, he couldn't care less about escaping anymore. At least that's what he told himself until there was sudden commotion and two inmates stepped into view. They were carrying something, no... someone, along between them, hauling the limp and bound body up onto the stovetop while chatting and grinning amongst themselves. George felt their eyes on him, but for some reason, that was all. They just smiled their jaw-splitting grins at him before continuing their ministrations with the body on the stove.
Despite his bafflement, he inspected the body closer and realized, with horror, that he recognized that plaid shirt it was wearing. But most of all, he recognized the figure's complete lack of a nose.


They'd gotten to him too... Then that had to mean that they'd gotten to Will as well, right? No no no no NO!

“Max!”, he bellowed again, a strength he didn't know he had left filling his voice. “Come on, man, wake up! You have to wake up!”

And he did wake up, somewhat. Through the mixture of darkness and beginning glow of fire, George saw his friend stir on the stove, murmuring his name before he seemed to realize where he was and he started full on thrashing, but to no avail. Even if he had been able to get himself free, he'd still be outnumbered, with nowhere to escape from this 10th level of Hell.
The two inmates just smiled impossibly wider and pressed down on Max, pinning him to the spot as they cranked up the stove to full-capacity.

Just like that, there was no more coherency from either of them; the tiny flicker of hope in George's chest died down just as rapidly as the flames rose and started licking Max's face and body. He screamed, high-pitched and perhaps even more blood-curdling than when he'd had his nose bit off. Distantly, George kicked himself as he realized that perhaps he shouldn't have woken Max up. Maybe he'd have been spared some of the pain then? George couldn't help but feel that through his help, he'd actually made it all worse.
And so he screamed now too, in anguish more than anything, his stomach dropping lower than what must've been physically possible as he had no choice but to take in the sight of his best friend burning alive a few feet away. The inmates responsible snickered, giggled, cackled through it all, and even as Max's screams eventually died down, George's persisted. It seemed the nightmare was still only just beginning.