Dave walked slowly behind Johnny, keeping one eye on the other man, while keeping his other eye on his surroundings, looking out for something that could, if the need arose, be used as a weapon. Whether or not he got the chance to use the weapon would be a whole other matter. Johnny was quick when he needed to be, and Dave wasn't completely sure he trusted him. One of their friends was dead, a second one was missing, and there was Johnny, as cool as a cucumber. It just wasn't natural. He should have been feeling something, but he was going on as if the whole thing was business as usual, and nothing to get all worked up about. It wasn't natural. Dave, however, felt quite out of his league after having seen what was left of Jack, and wished he was anywhere, even back inside Thompson would have been better than where he was now. In Thompson, murderers were locked up behind bars, not roaming around inside abandoned insane asylums.

'Why isn't he giving Chris an occasional holler?' Dave thought to himself as he plodded along in Johnny's wake, trying to catch the sound of Chris' insane cackling out there somewhere. That would at least satisfy him that Chris was still alive, even if the sound would creep him out as it had done before, and it had to be better, much better, than creeping around in the darkness, the only sound being their own footsteps, echoing horribly all around them. The hadn't heard the sounds of the storm for quite some time now, and the giggler, whoever that had been, was obviously keeping his chuckles to himself, which was actually quite a relief, since that had been almost as unsettling as Chris' mumblings.

"Chris! Hey, Chr…" Dave had decided that if Johnny wasn't going to give their friend a shout, then he would do it himself, although he wasn't expecting the response he got.

"Shut up! Christ, do you want to let 'him' know where we are?" Johnny removed his hand from Dave's mouth, and stared at him as if daring him to complain about it.

"Yeah, that's the whole point! If Chris hears us, he might come out from wherever the hell he's hiding!"

"I didn't mean Chris, you fool! I mean whoever the hell is watching us!" That stopped Dave's protests quite effectively. He Hadn't realized they were being watched, and wasn't sure he really believed Johnny about that, anyway. He could have been making it up. He could have hidden Chris away, for whatever reason, and, of course he wouldn't want Dave hollering out, in case Chris hollered back, and then the game would be up, wouldn't it? The game would be up, and Johnny would have to get rid of Dave, just like he had gotten rid of Jack. Just like he was going to get rid of Chris when the time was right.

'That's crazy,' Dave thought as they plodded along once again, 'that's crazy! Why would Johnny want to get rid of any of us? We were all going to go our separate ways when we were a good distance away from the prison, and we didn't tell each other where we would be going when we parted. The only reason Johnny would have to kill us all would be that he's crazy, and I don't believe that. He's too 'there' to be crazy.' No, Johnny wasn't a lunatic, that just didn't make any sense. If Johnny really was crazier than a cockroach in a cocaine factory, he would have gotten them all when they were sleeping.

'Ah,' another voice in Dave's mind spoke up, 'maybe he tried. And maybe Jack woke up and saw what was going on. That's why timid Jack was the first to die. Why else? He would have been no threat at all to Johnny otherwise, and that's why he was killed.' Dave didn't like that voice very much. It sounded like his, and was stating his ideas, but there was something about it that was so unfamiliar, so alien, that it couldn't possibly belong to him. It was an oily voice, full of contempt, full of malice, a voice that would lead him to ruin if he let it. No, it would lead them both to destruction.

Johnny was still leading, not looking for Chris, only looking for a way out of the old, brooding asylum, a place that seemed to be all doors and odd echoes bouncing off the walls. Echoes that were nothing more than their own footsteps, magnified and turned into something that was almost terrible. It always sounded like there were more footsteps than their own, coming sometimes from the front, and sometimes from the back. The footsteps always stopped when Dave and Johnny stopped, and started up again when they did, past doorways that looked like dirty blind eyes, and walls that were shedding the skins they had been given when the asylum was built.



"Why do you think they closed this place down?"

"Jesus Christ, Dave, I don't know! They were probably starved for money, or were cruel to the patients. That's usually why they shut these places down."

"Do you think the guards picked up our trail?" Dave hoped, although he knew it would have been pretty much impossible, that maybe they had. The thought of being relatively safe inside Thompson Prison, with Jack still alive, and Chris back with them, was almost childishly overpowering, but he couldn't stop wishing for it anyway. It would be better, much better, than being lost inside an old asylum.

"Jesus, why didn't the pull this place down?" Johnny exclaimed, not bothering to answer Dave's question, running his fingers along a wall, only to pull them back covered with something sticky. Neither could see exactly what it was in what little light they had, but it gave off an oddly metallic smell. Dave was about to add a comment of his own, when Johnny held up his hand for silence. He appeared to be listening intently for something.

"Johnny, what…"

"Shhh! Can't you hear that?"

"What?" Johnny placed a finger to his lips, and began to move quietly towards a door a little way down the hall, although Dave couldn't hear anything at all.

Johnny paused at the doorway, grabbed hold of the handle, and slowly began to turn it, trying to be as quiet as possible, waving Dave to the side as he did so, both of them getting ready to run if the situation called for it. The door hinges began to protest loudly, as they were awoken from their long slumber as Johnny gently pushed at it, gritting his teeth at the sound, and trying to see what was waiting for them in the decades-old gloom.

The smell came rolling out in a giant, stinking wave, sending both men reeling back against the wall on the opposite side of the hallway, hands over their noses, both fighting to keep from gagging. Johnny's head was swimming, and Dave looked rather green as each putrid smell hit them hard and fast, but it didn't stop Johnny from going towards the door once more. He was determined to see whatever was in that room, sure he had heard something from behind that door. Something that needed to be checked out, just in case.

"C'mon, Dave."

"No, man, I'll wait here, by the door." Dave took up his position, and refused to move again, but Johnny didn't seem all that surprised. He marched straight through the door, looked back once, and then was swallowed by the gloom, leaving Dave standing by himself in the hallway.

It took his eyes a little while to adjust to the darkness, but once they did, Johnny was able to take in his surroundings. It was a large room that might have once been a Day Room, but someone had turned it into something else. The sound of something dripping was coming from all around the walls, and a single candle, placed in the middle of the floor, provided the only light. It was not enough to chase away all the darkness, and shadows danced and played as the flame flickered in the slight draft. The air, now that the earlier smells had escaped, had a stale, musty odor that seemed to coat the mostly dust-covered floor. Any furniture that had once inhabited the room was long gone now, leaving the room mostly bare. There were no windows at all.

Now that he was here, Johnny didn't seem to want to move very far from the only door that he could see, his only exit, should he need it, but something about the way the shadows played on one of the walls made him incredibly curious. He made his way slowly over to it, being as quiet as possible, and looking back very few seconds to make sure Dave hadn't run off