- Author: L.A. Detwiler
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The Redwood Asylum
A Paranormal Horror
The Redwood Asylum
A Paranormal Horror
By L.A. Detwiler
Copyright © 2020 by L.A. Detwiler
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof
may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
without the express written permission of the publisher
except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Printed in the United States of America
First Printing, 2020
Cover by Cover Collection.
For ordering questions, please direct your emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ladetwiler.com
Other books by L.A. Detwiler
The Widow Next Door
The Diary of a Serial Killer’s Daughter
The One Who Got Away
A Tortured Soul
The Christmas Bell
Her Darkest Hour
To my husband,
I love you forever.
“It’s no use going back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”
~Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
On a winding road, concealed in a dark forest of overpowering trees and forgotten memories, sits a seemingly ancient building. The town it belongs to, Oakwood, likes to forget its existence, but the prisoners harbored behind the decaying stone walls know very much what the place is. Not many places like it have subsisted in its form, but since 1834, the Redwood Asylum has stood proud and tall, welcoming its patients in and feasting on whatever remains of their mental states.
It began with good intentions in 1834, if misguided by the cruel realities of medicine at the time. Francis Weathergate’s sister, Claudette, was struggling with what medical doctors deemed nervous conditions due to her melancholic behaviors, tantrums, and risk-taking penchants. In modern times, medical doctors would deem her a teenager, but the era was different. We cannot always fault people for being who they are in the time they are born into.
The son of a wealthy mine owner, Francis did what he knew to do—he threw money at the problem, building the most state-of-the-art, five-story facility dedicated to asylum medicine of the time. And for a while, Redwood, from the exterior, was a picturesque building one could smile at, a sort of vacation home quality permeating every facet of its existence. The wealthy felt good about locking up the members of their families labeled inferior. The outside was glossy, picture-worthy, and stunning.
But as with all facilities of this nature, the interior was a horror that couldn’t be so readily masked. Some said if you got too close, you could hear the screams of not only the living. The deceased inhabitants supposedly strolled aimlessly through the thick forest at night, stuck in Redwood’s claws even after death. Some said their minds were too far gone to even know when to die. Others still thought maybe something was amiss at Redwood but of course didn’t worry enough to investigate. After all, they were ten miles away in the town center, drinking coffee and chasing dollars and feeling the warm sunshine on their pale faces. Thus, the town went quiet, leaving the asylum to its dark devices in the midst of its forest island so far on the outskirts of town, it was practically its very own.
Today, Redwood Asylum would be a tourist attraction, a place for the photographer to visit, to smile in front of, to garnish attention. But Oakwood already has plenty of money, so it prefers to keep Redwood somewhat of a secret, a forgotten relic of the past that is still functioning. In fact, if you were to visit Oakwood, you would not hear a whisper about the building with a maniacal interior. And even if you stumbled upon the building, you may not even realize that the prisoners still remain—both living and dead.
Certainly, the sign out front has been transformed from The Redwood Asylum to The Redwood Psychiatric Center, a play on words that sounds more pleasing to the ear of the mentally stable. But make no mistake—the residents, as they’re now called formally, know exactly what the sign out front should say. And the residents of the past know exactly what the current residents should expect.
The nurses and staff at Redwood aren’t evil monsters. No, most are simply desperate for work or desperate to disappear from the world in a sense. Some are eager to remind themselves that they are of the mentally sound side, and there’s nothing like working with the most intense mentally disturbed cases to do just that.
Still, this living artifact carries with it an evil past and an equally as frightening future. For once inside, the criminally insane, the darkly disturbed, and the eternally confused residents learn one thing very quickly: they are now at the mercy of others.
If you know anything about human nature, you know that mercy rarely overstays its welcome.
Ifirst met the demented man of 5B on a gray Wednesday. The dismal weather heightened by the darkness of the impenetrably thick forest surrounding Redwood Asylum pounded into my already frayed nerves. I’d survived the first day at my new job—barely. I’d met the tortured soul of room 4A who was terrorized by imaginary demons sitting on his shoulders. I’d helped the floor nurse, Anna, administer medicines to wildly violent criminals and to a woman who shrieked at unimaginable decibels nonstop. I walked by shadows of people, perhaps the most haunting of all, who seemed dead, body and soul, but were still breathing. I’d gone home to my tiny apartment just on the outskirts of the grounds feeling completely worn, wondering what the hell I was doing coming to the decrepit place. Beggars can’t be choosers, however, and Redwood was perfect in many regards. Just not for the psyche.
It’s true, I thought about not returning after my first day. It was like I’d walked inside a time warp, and the Psychiatric Hospital label wasn’t fooling me. I saw Redwood for what it was—a damned