The Requiem Red
By: Brynn Chapman
Publication Date: April 5th, 2016
A monster roams the halls of Soothing Hills Asylum. Three girls dead. 29 is endowed with the curse…or gift of perception. She hears messages in music, sees lyrics in paintings. And the corn. A lifetime asylum resident, the orchestral corn music is the only constant in her life.
Mason, a new, kind orderly, sees 29 as a woman, not a lunatic. And as his belief in her grows, so does her self- confidence. That perhaps she might escape, might see the outside world.
But the monster has other plans. The missing girls share one common thread…each was twenty-nine’s cell mate.
Will she be next?
1894, SOOTHING HILLS SANATORIUM
PHILADELPHIA, COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
“Jane! Jane, where are you? There has been an accident!”
Nurse Sally’s tremulous voice echoes down the sanatorium’s hallway, ricocheting off the walls like mad bats in flight. I close my eyes, press my lips tight, and keep silent.
I flinch at the use of my patient number and slide from the hidden window seat, snapping my book closed to bound down the corridor. The nurse’s cry came from the direction of my room.
“Twenty-niiiine … ” a male, sing-song voice calls out through the bars. I swerve and dart out of his way, narrowly missing those yellowed, grasping fingernails. My heartbeat doubles as I spin and run faster.
What has she done now?
My roommate Lily is truly disturbed. I spend most of my time out of the room, out of her way, because of her howling, because of her—
I round the corner and skid to a halt, instantaneously shaking.
Lily’s long blond hair spreads out on her cot like a coquette’s fan. Her eyes are closed. Her chest appears … still.
“Jane, go for help. Now. Run to Ward 4 and fetch Dr. Grayjoy!”
I stand staring, blood frozen in my veins, feet frozen to the floor. Lily’s head gives a violent jerk, and I gasp.
“For the love of heaven, now, you imbecile!”
I run. But not before I see the wall. Not before I see the message scrawled above her bed.
Help me. I know not what I do.
Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Brynn Chapman is the daughter of two teachers. Her writing reflects her passions: science, history and love—not necessarily in that order. In real life, the geek gene runs strong in her family, as does the Asperger’s syndrome. Her writing reflects her experience as a pediatric therapist and her interactions with society’s downtrodden. In fiction, she’s a strong believer in underdogs and happily-ever-afters. She also writes non-fiction and lectures on the subjects of autism and sensory integration and is a medical contributor to online journal The Age of Autism.
She also writes under the pseudonym R.R. Smythe.
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