Serial Saturday: The Stolen Man Episode 1-5

The Beginning: Episode 1-5

(Missed an episode? S.M. Table of Contents)

So either you are completely crazy and hearing things now, or Dr Sexton just called himself “Six.” Right now you figure the odds are about 50/50 either way.

In any case, you are in the right place. Either this is a mental health facility dedicated to regaining your sanity, or it’s some kind of terrible conspiracy dedicated to destroying your sanity. Again, you figure 50/50.

You are standing just outside Dr Six’s office in a short hallway. You hear voices off to the left and follow the sound into a large room. A ping pong table is the centerpiece but there are numerous tables, chairs and sofas, and people mingling, playing and sitting. Patients probably.

Do you know these people? Did you play cards and ping pong with them?

A broadly (maniacally?) smiling man approaches you. He’s about your height, lean and fidgety.

He sticks out his had for a shake while still a good 10 feet away.

“I’m Dan…give me your hand.”

You awkwardly shake his hand, “Um, hi I’m…” Oh this is good. Now who sounds crazy, you can’t even introduce yourself.

“Troy?”

It’s Six’s voice; he’s looking for you. You turn, but he hasn’t entered the rec room yet and as you watch the door, a whisper comes from behind you.

“You’re not Troy.”

You whip around to face Dan again, “What? What did you say?”

Dan is just smiling, looking slightly puzzled, but not like a man who just whispered conspiratorially to you. You shake your head and turn back again. Six still hasn’t entered.

“You’re not Troy and I’m not Dan.” (Whispered again.)

“What?” you demand as you whirl around again.

Dan smiles even more broadly if possible. He grabs the coat from your hand and begins to dance around with it, saying,

“I’ll take your coat. We’ll make a boat and float the moat.”

“What’s wrong with you? Give me back my coat!”

“I’m Diamond Dan, the stolen man. I likes to roam wherever I can. I had a wife and a child too and one day they lost me out of the blue.” Dan’s words chill you but not half as much as the strange uncontrollable giggling he does after this bizarre song.

“Ready, Troy?” Six’s voice behind you makes you jump slightly, “Sorry about the phone call. Now then, down here, you’ve already seen the office and the rec room. The kitchens are that way. We can see them later if you’d like, but…”

Dan interrupts him, handing you your coat back, “Don’t forget your coat. It might look good on a goat but he might eat the locket which you carry in your pocket.”

You take your coat quickly. You want to ask him about some of the things he said, but you also definitely don’t. He’s giving you the willies, frankly. You move off quickly after Six who’s heading down the hallway away from the office and the rec room.

“What’s wrong with him?” you ask.

“Who? Dan?”

You nod, casting a worried glance back toward Dan who winks at you.

“Nothing. Why?”

“I mean, what his, you know, diagnosis?”

Six looks surprised and then laughs, “Oh! He’s not a patient.”

“Diamond Dan is not a patient?”

“Diamond? Well I’ve never heard him referred to that way. But no, Dan’s not a patient. He’s not crazy, he just likes to rhyme.”

“He just…”

“He cleans up around here.”

“Cleans up?”

“Cleans up. People make a mess, he cleans it up.”

“He’s the janitor?”

You’ve arrived at a stairwell. There is a door in front cold steel with a frosted window. Under the window it says, L1.

“See, level one. There are nine of these hallways, labeled L1-L9. No 76. Come on.”

You’ve been here before.

A door; cool steel, small square frosted window. You look below the window but your eyes don’t seem to be tracking well. The number 76 below the window.

Six’s hand reaches out just covering the number as he pushes open the door.

A hand reaches just covering the number as it pushes open the door.

But Dr. Sexton’s hand is coming out of the sleeve of an impeccably maintained suit, not a lab coat.

As the door swings in, you try to tell him to stop. Something is wrong; you can’t really breathe and your heart is beating way too fast! Your chest is feeling very tight, as if it’s pushing your heart up into your throat.

It’s blindingly lit and you struggle to see, but you can barely make out doors, three on one side, four on the other. There are numbers and symbols on the doors, but you can’t quite make them out. One of them has a blank gray panel.

Just a stairwell. No hallway, no blinding lights, no doors with symbols. Your head is not only hurting but stamping around in protest. It feels as if it’s physically pulsing, swelling and receding with your heartbeat. The air conditioning seems very loud. Dr. Sexton continues to move ahead of you but you can’t hear him. You put your hands on your head, trying to squeeze it back together. You must say something because Dr. Sexton turns back to you and his face assumes a worried look.

The world is collapsing around him, the edges of your vision turning dark and moving in. All you can see is him, as if he’s the center of a long tunnel, everything else receding oddly. You are falling.

Is this a heart attack? You have a vague sense of your knees hitting the floor hard.

Six (or is it Dr. Sexton?) reaches back to support you, grabbing you by the elbow.

Suddenly you are being dragged down the hallway. Again, your eyes are oddly focused on the hand dragging you; a hand coming out of a white loose sleeve, like a lab coat you think vaguely. You don’t resist as you watch this hand pulling you by the elbow forward, but you do try to look up, to see whose pulling you. You can’t.

 Click here for the next episode.

2 Comments

  1. Ok. I was captured by this story at the first episode. I feel like I’m reading a Dr. Who episode. When will this end or at least start to make sense?! David, what are you up to with this story?

    1. I’m very glad you are enjoying it!, Gina Well Dr who is definitely a flattering comparison. When will it end? well so far its just the beginning. What am I up to? Bwa-ha-ha-ha (maniacal laugh).

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