Wayfaring Writer

Driven by a violent desire to write.

The Battle Nobody Knows About

Another Joby Walker story. This one takes place shortly after his adventure in Lousiana, and has significantly less action than his stories usually do. I stumbled upon the quote and picture somewhere on the the Internet and it inspired me to write a little about Joby’s backstory and life outside blowing up monsters in the woods. Enjoy!

The Battles No One See

I walked through the main entrance of Silent Hills Sanitarium and up to the front desk. The woman sitting there gave me an icy glare over her glasses and pointedly ignored me, continuing to type whatever it was she was working on. I stood in front of the desk for a few more moments then walked over to one of the uncomfortable looking steel chairs to the side of the waiting area. Grabbing the chair I dragged it slowly back over to the desk. The steel legs bounced and chattered a horrible cacophony that echoed through the room. Slamming the chair on the floor in front of the desk I sat and put my elbows on my knees, holding my head at what I thought was a quite rakish angle and stared at her.

Sheila and I never did get along. She must be immune to my charm.

Sheila sighed and lifted her face towards me once again, taking off her glasses. “Why, Mr. Walker, do you insist on being so obtuse every time you come here?” Sheila was a thin, severe woman in her thirties and seemed to be inflicted with a rather fatal lack of humor.

Smiling, I replied, “Sheila, whatever do you mean? I am the very picture of grace and good manner.” I belched and wiped my mouth on my sleeve to illustrate my point.

Shaking her head she handed me the sign-in sheet. “You know the procedure, Mr. Walker,” she replied, “Sign your name, date, time of day, patient you’re visiting, and your relationship with the patient. An orderly will then frisk you for contraband and escort you to the patient.”

“Sheila, I really wish you would quit trying to hide your obvious attraction to me behind all the red tape and procedure of your job. I could take you to Burger King and maybe a nice slasher movie and we could have a grand old time together.”

She pushed the paper towards me and turned back to her computer. I filled in the requisite information, filling my name with “Thom Croose” and crossed the room to the orderly, offering him my hand.

“How you doing today William?” I holding my hand out to greet him. The orderly was built like a refrigerator, wide and solid. He takes my offered hand and squeezes it like a vice, though I know from experience that it was about as gentle as he could muster. “Doin’ good today Joe. I’ll just assume you’re here to see Kayla. How’s work?” William thought I was a regular exterminator, taking care of raccoon’s and pesky squirrels to make my living. What he didn’t know is that just last night I flew back home from Louisiana after exploding a feisty voodoo tree monster and setting the children it had captured free. I suppose ignorance is bliss.

“Works just fine, William” I replied. “Just the usual pests like stray dogs and zombies.” William laughed and it rumbled over me like a living thing. William has a laugh that is both comforting and terrifying. It could be made by a kindly grandfather or a Dark Lord of the Sith without seeming out of place in either role.

After giving me a quick pat down he used his key card to open the door, and we entered the main hall of the sanitarium. We walked briskly down the hall and I had to quicken my steps to keep up with William’s long strides. Arriving at door 313 William stopped and turned to me.

“Officially,” he rumbled, “I’m supposed to go in with you to observe all interactions. But I know you never upset her, so I’ll just be waiting outside the door.”

“Did she have an incident again,” I questioned.

William nodded, “Yea, something upset her and she bit an orderly. He’ll be fine, just a few stitches and a lesson learned.”

“I’m sorry William,” I said sliding him a folded up hundred dollar bill in a closed hand. “Buy him a beer and send him my regards.” William took my hand and the money. Officially they weren’t allowed to take money from the patient’s families, but he and I had an understanding.

He unlocked the steel door and let me into the room, locking it quickly behind me. The room was small, stark white, and completely padded. There wasn’t a stick of furniture in the room, only her.

Kayla was tiny, just over five feet tall. Her skin was a pale, almost translucent, white. So clear you could see the veins in her arms and throat. She sat in the far corner of the room holding her knees to her chest with her head down. Her black hair hung like a curtain over her body, nearly as long as she was tall. The straight jacket she was supposed to be wearing was in a pile next to her, neatly folded as if it was just bought.

I walked over and sat down next to her, draping my arm over her shoulders. She was still for a moment and then slowly leaned into my embrace, laying her head on my shoulder.

“They took a piece of me Joby.” she whispered,” They took a piece of me and now the nightmares never stop.” Tears came unbidden to my eyes, “I know Kitten, I’m still looking for them so we can get it back.”

She turned her head and I could see a single, ice blue eye staring from behind her hair. “You don’t need to search hard Joby, they live in my head,” Tears began streaming from both our eyes. “They live in my head and they talk to me, they tell me things. Most of the time they tell me lies, but only when the truth can’t hurt me more.”

My chest felt like someone dumped burning coals in it. Sadness and rage washed through me with equal fervor. I grasped her tighter and her tears wet my shirt as mine wet her hair. “I love you Kitten,” I sobbed. “I’ll make them pay for what they’ve done to us.”

I just sat there holding her for a long time, letting her cry softly into my shoulder. Sometimes there were no words you can say to help anymore. All I could do was sit there and let my sister cry.

The door opened and I heard William’s voice, “I’m sorry Joe, but times up.” Choking back tears I replied, “Just a few more seconds, I promise.” He said nothing but closed the door in acknowledgment. I held onto Kayla a few moments longer before kissing her head and standing up. She had already fled back to whatever mental safe house she had constructed and stared unblinking at the walls of her cell. I knocked on the door and left.

William and I walked back to the front desk without speaking. As he dropped me off at the front desk he offered me his hand and I shook it hard. I knew he took good care of Kayla, and I respected the hell out of the man. I just wish I could figure out a way to tell him that she wasn’t really crazy without being put in here myself. As I walked by the desk Sheila stopped me.

“While I don’t care for you myself Mr. Walker, I do want you to know that no matter how much I dislike you I will always look out for Kayla’s best interests. With that being said, you’re not the only visitor she had this week.” My eyes met hers as she showed me a sign-in sheet from this past Monday. The name on the sheet said “Liza Bathory”.

“The woman had an odd presence, so I checked the security tapes. But she wasn’t on any of them.” she stated.

“No, she wouldn’t be.” I replied. “I don’t know if you’ll be able to, but as her brother and guardian I don’t want anyone to be allowed to see her but me, unless it’s for medical purposes.” She nodded, “I’ll make a note in her file and see it done.”

After thanking her I left the sanitarium. I sat in my car for a moment, not sure what to do next. All I really knew is that vampires were back for my sister, and I wasn’t going to let them get her. Our family has endured fire and death, and we are strong because of it. We are soldiers in a war of shadows that most never experience. It didn’t matter whether it was a battle of the mind like Kayla was fighting, or blowing up monsters in the woods,

We fight the battle nobody knows about and, hopefully, so no one else has too.

About Luke Geldmacher

I grew living on an island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Currently, I live in a 40 acre farm in Cookville, TX. I sometime write about life issues, but my passion is sci-fi and fantasy storytelling.

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