Thirty minutes later they arrived at Weston State Hospital, Zoe’s insides knotted. Spending the rest of her life in an insane asylum was not something she had anticipated. Her parents’ neighbor was schizophrenic and scared the crap out of her. Most of the time the woman looked right through her; other times she looked as though nothing would bring her more pleasure than killing someone. Her eyes were always dilated and darting from side to side wildly. She reminded Zoe of someone who was possessed by the devil. Nothing good ever came from an insane person, and in Zoe’s opinion, nothing ever would.
The car finally stopped at a giant iron gate. A man came out from a little shack and looked in the car then gave a quick nod and opened the gate.
Zoe twisted her body around and placed her cuffed hands on the door handle trying to pull it, but the handle slipped out of her hand. The handsome man beside her pulled her across the seat easily, and the look on his face told her to stay put or the consequences would be worse than what she already faced. Zoe knew when to pick her battles, and this was not one of them. If she managed to get out of the car, she knew the black suits would quickly catch her.
She cowered at the sight of the enormous stone structure that looked like a Gothic castle. The building stretched so far in either direction she couldn’t see where it ended. She thought of asking the suits why she was being taken to the state mental hospital, but thought better of it. They won’t answer me anyway—do they even talk? The front doors, constructed of thick wood, screeched open across the tile floor as they reached the threshold.
Waiting just inside the doors were two other people. One, obviously a nurse, the other dressed in a cream colored suit His gray hair clung to his head in a bad comb-over, and his mustache came down to points at the bottom of his upper lip, then curled back up to complete his nineteen thirties carnival look.
“We can handle young Zoe from here, boys. Thank you,” he said, smiling. His voice didn’t match his appearance. He spoke as though he had smoked one too many cigarettes.
Zoe stood in silence, waiting for them to introduce themselves and tell her what she was doing here. “Zoe, I’m Dr. Lancaster, and this is Head Nurse Watkins,” he said, gesturing to himself then to the nurse.
“I’d say nice to meet you, but that would be a lie.” Zoe smiled defiantly.
The doctor cleared his throat uncomfortably. He even went to the extent of rubbing his throat as if some kind of irritation flared up. “That’s a little unnecessary, my dear,” he said looking in Zoe’s eyes.
What on earth is he talking about?
“Well now, let’s get off on a better foot. Welcome to Weston State Hospital. We take great pride in being a leader in top of the line care.” The doctor gestured with his hand.
“Am I missing something or are we on The Price Is Right? You don’t make a very good Barker’s girl. You’re a bit on the ugly side for that job.” Zoe stared the doctor down.
The doctor asked the nurse to remove Zoe’s handcuffs.
Being rather portly and having too much facial hair, Zoe decided to call the nurse Battle-Axe. She wondered what the doctor’s motivations were. Did he do this out of the kindness of his heart? She hadn’t realized how tight the cuffs were until they were gone. She rubbed the discomfort out of her wrists.
“You must be hungry,” the doctor said in an overly cheerful voice. “Nurse Watkins will take you to the showers then you can come down for a bite to eat.”
Zoe couldn’t figure out why this guy insisted on talking to her like a guest at a party. She also knew what happened when you showered at a mental hospital.
“Come with me,” the nurse said in a gruff voice, as the doctor walked away.
“No, I’m twenty-five and I know my rights. You’ll tell me why I’m here. You can’t hold me without my consent. I’m not going anywhere until you tell me what’s going on,” Zoe said in a stern voice.
“All your questions will be answered, but not by me. Now you can come along quietly, or I can force you.”
Zoe had no intention of being drugged in this strange place. Sitting like a zombie with drool running out her mouth in a wicker chair wasn’t an option. As they made their way up the large center staircase, she could hear screaming coming from the halls above. Under different circumstances, the building would be quite beautiful, but considering why she was here it had a very dark atmosphere.
In a world governed by fear and corruption, a baby was born and immediately targeted for death. Hidden away in the rural West Virginia town of Tanner, Zoe Masterson grows up feeling like an outsider—just a little different from everyone around her. As bad becomes worse, she is arrested for arson and...