Dr. Aaron Jones yawned, as another laid-back monday night came to a close. Slowly pacing down the hallway after locking up, he nodded to Betty at the front desk, who gave a dumb smile in return. 'Busy day?' she asked, not really caring what the answer would be. 'Never busy on a monday, Beatrice.' Was his blunt reply. She flicked off the news story on T.V about the latest killings by some strangely-named serial killer. Jones sauntered over to the immaculate filing cabinet behind the front desk, for a last-minute checkup of tomorrow's work. There was all the usual therapy and for his regular patients, a couple needing advancement in their methods, not too difficult. An admittance form sent to Jones by his friend caught his eye.
Brief: Recommended for advanced psychiatric analysis. Due to restrictions on resources, care will be reassigned to Dr. Aaron Jones at Rosethorn Asylum For The Mentally Ill, where patient is expected to receive more intensive care and treatment. Due to the nature and recent rapid development of the patient's illness, a cautious approach is recommended. Symptoms include...
This was sent at the beginning of the year. Jones wondered if the patient was going to appear soon. He trusted the medical opinion of his friend, and held great concern for what seemed to be a deeply disturbed individual. Funds were probably being secured so the patient could make a safe, supervised trip to Roses, Jones thought to himself. No trained professional would send somebody of that mental state to make the trip on their own. Dr. Jones, satisfied with this solution, placed his immaculate paperwork back into the cabinet. With a final stretch and yawn, he started toward the front door to end his day of work.That's when he heard the truck crashing outside.
Sand buffeted the old Vulture's black feathers and worn features. He'd been picking at this old carcass for hours now, making it last the day, last through the dry heat. The Old Vulture would have to find water soon, he was thirsty. And not just for water. A fresh corpse had not passed through his beak in some time. He was past his prime, past being top of the heap. Looking down his gnarled, cracked beak at his rotting feast, a feeling almost passed through his animalistic mind. An almost thought. Is this what I shall become? The sand around his clawed feet started to jump and rumble. Flies scattered, maggots recoiled. A fresh scent of death approached. The first one for what The Old Vulture didn't understand was weeks. The source of the tremors was now in sight of his keen eye, trundling along the black-path, a Red Behemoth. A brightness shone off of it's metallic surface, burning into his vision. Yes. The Old One could feel it now. Renewed vigor. He spread his wings wider than ever before, he was an angel of death. The Red Behemoth whooshed past him, ruffling his feathery guise. The Old Vulture then took to the skies in hot pursuit of his prey, with renewed power, and a twinkle back in his faded eye once more.
Ever since the previous night John had not stopped at all. He was tired, scared, hungry, and busting for a piss. But something kept him going. He was afraid of stopping now. Afraid of hurting somebody.
The tiny bottle of pills was clasped tightly in his hand. They offered a kind of warm serenity. Mainly because of the fact that John knew this was something real. That and his red pickup.
He found that concentrating on the straight, gray road beyond him kept his journey rather worry-free, he did things like count how many of the long-worn road lines would go by, and how many rabbits he could hit. He had a little tally written in the dust on his dashboard. IIII. 4 so far. The rabbits were the only sign of life he'd seen since the trailer. Well that and the black vulture that had been following him for quite awhile now. It felt like death itself was in his wake. It unnerved him slightly.
His tired, red eyes darted to the display in front of the steering wheel for a split-second, then back to the road. Almost a full tank of gas. Smiling to himself, he thought; "I'm gonna make it."
8 Hours Later
"SHIT!!!" A passing car's horn woke him with a start. He jolted upright in his seat, just in time to see the two red lights fade off into the distant fog. John realized his mistake; he'd fallen asleep at the wheel. Idiot! He cursed himself for being so stupid. Why couldn't he just pull over for a nap? But no! He trusted his gut, as always. Angry with himself and fustrated, he drove the truck over to the side of the road just in case any more cars passed. He had no idea where he was (Yet again), so he decided to get out, have a small look around, and stretch his legs a bit.
Clik-clak. The old red door creaked open, begrudgingly so. Strange, everything appeared the same as before, somehow, yet it was... different. John sighed and down at the road map. A smiling face returned his gaze. "What the..."
Before he could exclaim, The Stranger interrupted him.
'That map looks awful useless to me.'
He interrupted yet again; 'I suppose you're wondering why I'm here again,' An evil grin stretched across his whole face, like something from a cartoon. 'I'm here to help, John. Always have been.'John went to speak, but froze up. His mouth was dry. So terribly dry. He was covered in hardened cement, stuck like a fly in a web, twitching, helpless.'HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO SAY IT???' John gurgled through his gritted cement teeth, 'I'M SORRY OKAY??' 'Won't cut it, friend. We've been through this before.' He rushed effortlessly up to John, almost instantaneously, like the laws of physics no longer applied to him. They were face to face, John could see his every twisted feature, feel his cold breath dribbling down his collar. The Stranger moved closer still, pressing his short, stubby nose into John's, who stood as still as a statue, helpless. He reached into John's pocket, retrieving his little bottle of pills.
'I don't think you'll be needing these anymore. Bad habit, drugs are.' John spat in his face,
'GIVE 'EM BACK! YOU BASTARD!!!' The Stranger licked up the saliva with a long, repulsive lizard tongue, and smiled a long grin as he tossed the little bottle into the green mist. He leaned in again,
'I think ya still got it in there.'
'Got WHAT?' The Stranger pushed his head past him, and put his lips up to John's ear. Then he whispered, in his low, rumbling voice...
'You got the will to kill.' John tried to shout out in protest, but his mouth was completely dried out now. He could only make small raspy breathing sounds, and his throat felt like it was closing up.
The Stranger took a step back, inhaled deeply, then outstretched his arm towards John's head.
'I will help you. I will help you become your TRUE self.' His hand then laid upon John's forehead.
And a fire consumed him. Then nothing.