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(C)Copyright 1998 by Ronald Rand
All Rights Reserved.

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II

Afterword

Nurse Patricia Simmons entered the room. Danny was lying in his bed. His limbs were still strapped to the bars on the side of the bed so he wouldn't hurt himself anymore. With the full moon and the fog, Lindsay Chatham psychiatic center was hopping tonight. There were already three attempted suicides. A young boy tried to hang himself on the first floor, and a girl in the east wing managed to cut her wrists with a pair of safety scissors. A male orderly was clawed in the face and was sitting in the med nursing his eyes with an icepack.

"Where's Lisa?" the nurse asked Danny.

"She went over there, Ma'am," Danny told her. "O'er by the window. Can I go pee now?"

Nurse Simmons looked down at his sheets and saw that they were already soaked.

Lisa's bed was empty. Her sheets were strewn around the floor and Lisa's slippers were missing from next to the bed. The window was wide open and the night was seeping into the room. Nurse Simmons moved toward the window. A noise came from below the window in the night. She paused and her heart was beating rapidly. She wondered if she should get some help.

"Lisa," she called out. And the noise came again. She ran and poked her head over the window ledge and she looked down.

The tiny face slipped away.

But she still remembers what she saw down there in the gloom and the fog. She can still remember Lisa's face. But what's worse is the memory of the other one, the face that wasn't Lisa's. That's the face that she wishes she could forget. That is why Patricia Simmons sought comfort and was admitted on the third floor of the Lindsay Chatham psychiatric center. That is why she's only calm when they keep her in a windowless room, and why the lights are always on in room 309 of the Lindsay Chatham psychiatric center. And that is why Patricia Simmons never smiles.

 
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