‘Signaled’ & Chrys Fey’s Book Release – #atozchallenge
“Inside, Mr. Harken,” the orderly ordered as he pushed the man in through the doors. When they closed, he pushed a button, securing the room.
Harry Harken stood to the side with his palms pressed against his ears. The ringing had been going on for a solid month. His doctor didn’t believe him. Neither had his wife. His psychiatrist diagnosed him as schizophrenic and sent him here – The Wesleyan Institute, a fancy name for a psych hospital.
The orderly walked down the hall to the nurses’ station. Harry trudge along behind him. He looked at the other patients standing in the hall, all of them with their palms pressed against their ears.
“Another one?” the nurse said through a small hole from behind the glass.
“Yep, this makes twenty now,” the orderly said as he sat Harry’s suitcase down and signed a clipboard. “Take a seat, Mr. Harken.”
Harry sat down, but didn’t move his hands. He didn’t know why he held them there. It didn’t stop the ringing. One of the other patients walked over to him. Stood in front of him and stared.
“Go away!” Harry yelled. He didn’t know how loud he sounded because of the ringing.
The man scuttled away and gathered with a few others. They yelled at one another too as they discussed the situation.
“He’s one of us!”
“Do you think he will join our group?”
“Hell if I know!”
Harry sighed and turned his head. He stared at the wall in front of him. He’d been a mild-mannered account just a short month prior and now look at him. Here he sat in a psych ward with his hands plastered to the side of his face.
The nurse came out from behind her glass enclosure and took Harry’s vitals. She assigned him a room and the orderly took Harry down the hall to it. Once Harry was settled in, the orderly handed him a piece of paper.
“The daily schedule,” the orderly told him.
“Daily schedule!” the orderly yelled this time and left the room.
Harry nodded his head and looked over the schedule. He glanced up at the wall clock. 9 am. Free time. Harry unpacked his suitcase and then walked down the hall toward the common room. He noticed a group of men and women sitting off to the side by themselves. They motioned for Harry to join them. Three of them were the ones Harry had seen before. He sighed heavily. He wasn’t there to join any groups, but walked toward them anyway.
“Do you hear the ringing too?” One of them asked Harry in a loud voice.
Harry nodded, but didn’t say anything. He just took a seat at the long table.
“Told you he was one of us!”
A woman with glasses seated beside Harry leaned in and shouted, “It’s a signal!”
Harry turned his head and stared at her. “A signal?”
Another one yelled, “From aliens!”
Harry laughed. Good lord, these people are more insane than I am, he thought to himself.
“It’s true! Just wait until tonight when she comes!” another one of the group shouted.
Harry shook his head and stood up. Without speaking, he just walked away. He avoided the group for the remainder of the day and just went through the motions. He attended the group sessions, but sat across the room from the others. He ate lunch and dinner, but sat by himself. When it was finally time for bed, he huddled under his covers and held his ears until he fell asleep.
Sometime in the middle of the night, he woke up, startled by a bright light shinning in his room. He squinted his eyes and shielded them with his hand. a hand reached out and grasped Harry’s other hand. It was cold. Harry tried to pull his hand away, but the grip tightened. Whatever it was, it pulled him off of the bed and dragged him down the hall. Harry suddenly noticed that the ringing had stopped.
In the center of the common room stood the other nineteen patients who had the ringing problem too. The grip on his hand loosened and Harry tried to bolt from the room. The ringing began again. This time louder than any time before. Harry collapsed onto the floor.
“You may as well stay, Harry,” one of the other patients informed him.
The ringing stopped and a voice entered Harry’s mind. “We have all we need now. Ten pairs will suit us well. You will come with the rest of us.”
Harry suddenly realized that there was an equal number of men and women. Were they a Genesis project? He looked up and the light faded. Standing in the center of the group was a tall being in a white flowing gown. She had blond hair and her face was radiant. Her lips moved as she tilted her head upward toward the ceiling. In a flash of blue light, they all disappeared.
©2016 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved.
Bonus S: SEISMIC CRIMES
Today is the release of Chrys Fey’s first novel!
An Internal Affairs Investigator was murdered and his brother, Donovan Goldwyn, was framed. Now Donovan is desperate to prove his innocence. And the one person who can do that is the woman who saved him from a deadly hurricane—Beth Kennedy. From the moment their fates intertwined, passion consumed him. He wants her in his arms. More, he wants her by his side in his darkest moments.
Beth Kennedy may not know everything about Donovan, but she can’t deny what she feels for him. It’s her love for him that pushes her to do whatever she has to do to help him get justice, including putting herself in a criminal’s crosshairs.
When a tip reveals the killer’s location, they travel to California, but then an earthquake of catastrophic proportions separates them. As aftershocks roll the land, Beth and Donovan have to endure dangerous conditions while trying to find their way back to one another. Will they reunite and find the killer, or will they lose everything?
ALSO AVAILABLE IN PRINT!
The Prompt via Mandy Wallace: A man driven mad by a ringing in his ears discovers it’s an alien signal. And he isn’t the only one who can hear it.
Each day for the A to Z Challenge I will be writing a 500-1000 word Science Fiction story. I hope you will enjoy them.