The Deal: Muirmill Asylum Part 1

Friday, 15 January 2016


Through the night the snow had given way to rain. When I woke up that morning and looked out of my bedroom window I could see all the streets where covered in grey slush, which seemed to add an extra element to the oppressive feel the city already had for me.
   Turning my attention away from the world outside I padded across the room to the small bathroom where I knew I would find the small pile of clothes I had been wearing for the last day or so. My desire to keep myself presentable had slowly been slipping away as the deep feeling of depression ate away at me.
   That morning though, the normal black cloud I felt hanging over my head, did not feel quite as heavy as it usually did. My visit to the city archives had given me a new lead to follow as I tried to trace how my wife, a kindergarten teacher, had ended up in league with the devil.
   Slipping on my crumpled jeans, which still had a couple of blood splatters on them, I gave myself a quick going over in the mirror. I had never been one for vanity, but under the bright light in the small bathroom, I could see more lines under my eyes. The ancient symbols sprawled across my forehead, a permanent reminder of the favour I had done for the monk Pertilius, scarred an otherwise unremarkable face.
   I knew I was not the most handsome man on planet, but I wasn’t the ugliest either. My average looks had been a great asset during my career as a hitman. They made it easy for me to blend into crowds and I was equally easy to forget when the cops started asking questions.
   As I pulled on the grey t-shirt I had left on the floor, my mind began to process what I needed to get done. Satan, my new boss and master, had not called on me to carry out another one of his odd jobs, so for now I had the day free to try and find out about Lisa’s past.
   Deep inside my heart there was a part of me that felt certain it was best to leave it all well alone, but the other part of me, probably the part that had loved her for five years needed to know the whole truth.
   Heading back out into the bedroom I sat on the edge of the bed and began to pull my boots on. Occasionally I would glance up at the photograph leaning against my alarm clock as if it was demanding my attention. The picture of Lisa and the seven smiling kids, one of which was Satan’s own spawn, was a solid reminder that I wasn’t chasing after shadows.
   Lisa really had been a kindergarten teacher. That part of her seemed to be solid, it was just the rest of it that needed filling in. The young woman at the archives had seemed certain that my wife had formerly been a guest at Muirmill Asylum, which was located about an hour away from my apartment.
   In my rush to find out what happened to the children in Lisa’s class, or to be blunt, what she had done to those poor kids, it had never crossed my mind that she would have had such a dark past. I most certainly would never have thought of her as a mental patient of any description.
   I tried to recall all the times I had spent with her, looking for any signs that may not have been so obvious then, but in hindsight would show me that there was something unhinged about her.
   In my memories there was no signs of erratic behaviour. Lisa was the most gentle and loving woman I had ever met and she certainly showed no signs that hidden deep within her was a brutal, murdering psychopath.
   It did not add up and as I tied my laces, I could feel my resolve become stronger. I was going to find out who my wife really was, regardless of Satan’s warnings not to go poking around in her past. I simply couldn’t accept that such a wonderful woman deserved to languish in hell, and even if it would mean bringing on my own damnation quicker than I wanted, I was prepared to see it through to the end.
   Once I was back on my feet again, I headed towards the living room. I rarely stayed in any one place for any longer than six months, so most of the apartments I had taken residency of only had the basics as far as furnishings where concerned.
   This apartment had been no different with just a small sofa, a cheap wooden coffee table and a matching TV unit taking up the space in the living room.
   I was certain that I had tossed my keys on to the scratched surface of the coffee table the previous night, but the table held nothing accept a couple of cup coasters. Frowning I turned to the kitchen counter which acted like a separating partition between the two rooms.
   Almost instantly I spotted the bunched keys but as I picked them up and the cold metal touched my skin, a violent shiver shot down my body starting from the top of my head and zooming straight down to my feet.
   It was the kind of sensation that normally preceded a visit from the dark lord himself. I stood on the spot, glancing between the kitchen and the living room, watching and waiting for the cloud of black smoke which would signal his arrival.
   I could feel the creases on my forehead grow deeper as I stood there and waited. Nothing. No Satan. No monk from hell. Just nothing accept me and myself.
   The cold shiver that wracked my body was always a clear warning that I was about to have company of the hellish kind and yet I was still alone. Was it a trick? Would I go to move for the leather jacket which hung limply over the sofa and suddenly be surprised by the eternal trickster?
   I decided to grab my jacket anyway, and as I slid my arms into the sleeves I half expected to turn around and be looking into his freezing cold blue eyes. But no, not this time. My early warning system had failed me and for some strange reason that made me feel uncomfortable.
   Zipping up the tattered brown leather jacket, I still had it in my head that I was about to get a surprise visit. Even as I made my way towards the apartment door I was certain I would hear his voice sound behind me just as I reached for the door handle.
   Feeling very unnerved, I unlocked the door to my apartment and stepped out into the hallway. I glanced back inside my empty apartment for a few seconds before pulling the door closed and locking it with the key.
   As I made my way towards the elevator, I was beginning to feel that something was wrong. There may not have been a visible presence in my tiny apartment, but I felt certain that something had paid me a visit.
   As I waited for the carriage to arrive on my floor I studied the ancient symbols tattooed around my wrists and I had to fight the temptation to trace the symbol of infinity which would render me invisible to any minion from hell.
   Now is not the time for that Sam. I thought and pulled my jacket sleeves back over the symbols. But despite what I thought, I did have a feeling that I was going to have to use that ability to be invisible at some point in the day.

Cars of all makes and models zoomed past as I stood at the roadside waiting for a cab. The rain was coming down in sheets by the time I had made my way outside, and despite being soaked, I actually felt good. The feeling of the cold droplets splashing against my face reminded me that I was still human, and still very much alive.
   I stood there being drenched by the heavens for around ten minutes before the old yellow cab pulled up next to where I was standing.
   As I quickly slipped into the back seat, closing the door behind me as I went, I noticed the driver was a tired looking old man, his skin the colour of dark chocolate.
   ‘Where you headed to my friend?’ Asked the driver, his voice deep and cracked from years of smoking.
   ‘Muirmill Asylum.’ I said, glancing out the window. A young couple, shared an umbrella as they made their way past my cab and headed further down the street, but it seemed that the rain had forced everyone else off the streets.
   ‘You do know that place has been closed for quite some time now, don’t you?’ I could see the driver staring back at me from the rear view mirror, his eye’s showing familiar tendrils of red which told me he did not sleep much.
   He put the old taxi into gear and with a sudden lurch we were joining the rest of the city traffic. I guessed it didn’t matter to him if I wanted to change my mind based on his question, he was getting money from me one way or another.
   ‘I’m doing some research for a novel I want to write. Apparently it’s one of the most haunted places in the city.’ I said, trying to keep the conversation as upbeat as possible. Heck I even offered the old man one of my best fake smiles right back at his rear view mirror.
   I expected with the driver being an old hand at the taxi driving business he would probably regal me with tales about the asylum that he had picked up from various passengers through the years. What I got instead was actually quite surprising.
   ‘I don’t believe in all that haunted bullshit. It’s just one of many old buildings that need pulling down.’
   ‘Surely the history of the place must interest you though?’ I had no idea why after years of having to tell cab drivers to shut up that I was now trying to engage this old man in a conversation.
   ‘Nah. I’ve heard a shit load of stories about the place. I’m sure that every one of them was nothing more than a hyped up piece of human imagination.’ I could have been mistaken, but I thought I could detect a note of bitterness in the old man’s voice.
   As the cab came to a stop for a red light about twenty minutes into our journey, I began to realize that I may be sitting behind my own fountain of knowledge. The simple truth was I had no idea what the building looked like. I knew even less about the inside of it.
   The miserly old man behind the wheel though had been told stories about the place which although he may think are all bullshit could in fact help me locate whatever I was hoping to find there, which at the moment I just didn’t know.
   So I decided to try and engage him further. If nothing else it beat sitting in silence listening to the noise of the traffic outside.
   ‘What was the worst story you heard?’ I asked eventually, trying to mentally prepare myself to remember as much as possible.
   ‘Well, one of the most fucked up stories I heard was about a room they had in the loft space of the building. The story goes that two of the top psychiatrist’s they had where secretly devil worshippers or some dumb shit like that. Anyway these two doctors supposedly had been taking patients up to the loft where they would torture them and sometimes kill them to complete whatever bullshit ceremony a devil worshipper does.’
   It was strange listening to the old man because it was like listening to a younger version of myself. Before I had made the deal which put me in the situation I was in now, I too thought things like devil worshipping and haunted buildings was just the work of somebodies overworked imagination.
   I even smiled to myself as I listened and wondered what he would think if I told him my story.
   ‘Sounds a bit far-fetched.’ I said.
   ‘Far-fetched? Fuck me boy, that’s only a small taste of some of the crazy made up shit I’ve heard.’ The driver now had the chat bug. As he popped a cigarette between his lips and lit it from a disposable lighter he had nearby I prepared myself for the next story.



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