Do Not Remove

Hey, Ya’ll!

Welcome back to PEP! If ya’ll haven’t looked at yesterday’s post, be sure to do that. I wrote a rare Sunday post since it was the last day of June, rather than post the last of my art challenge on Friday.

Also, check out the newest story on Sunday’s Fabricated Stories, my friend link is below:

You Lost What Now??

It’s one ya’ll haven’t seen before so definitely check it out!

I can’t believe it’s already July. It feels like it was just January. I don’t know about any goals you may have set for yourself for 2019 and how they’re going but mine are a mix of good and bad. Some are going really well, some have barely(or not at all) started and some I’m beginning to question why I thought they’d be a good idea. My language goal is iffy; my weight loss looked good but has now backslid, I don’t have a book published though I’m working on figuring that out; my social media presence has grown but hasn’t done what I was hoping, my businesses are doing well so I’m happy with that goal though one could be doing way better; and I haven’t learned a new skill yet. So, I’ve got six more months, I can do this, right?? Right.

I will be busy this month with writing. Not only am I going to really focus on figuring out publication steps but it’s Camp NaNoWriMo. Add to that, that most of July I’m away at client’s homes and its a good time to focus on writing.

Here’s this week’s Monday Short Story:

Nurse Robbins sighed as she looked at the latest patient brought to the insanity ward of Trinity Frances Hospital.

She looked at the file before asking the doctor on shift, “Why are they bringing him here instead of the local asylum?”

“You’d think that’s where they’d take him considering the condition of his room when the police broke in. However, apparently Evan doesn’t any history of this behavior. So, they’re hoping we can calm him enough to find out why he destroyed his room. If it’s a break in that he’s having a breakdown about, then they could use any clues we can give them. If it’s simply a mental breakdown, then we can proceed accordingly.”

“So you want us to watch him overnight, then. He’s here under hospital observation, light level, restraints if necessary but not a padded room.”


“Very well.”

By then, the orderlies had him settled in his new room and she stepped in to take his first readings to establish his heart-rate, blood pressure and the like.

She kept a wary eye on him, but he certainly seemed calm. If anything, the only signs of a breakdown were his eyes. They were wide and bloodshot, as if he’d seen something he didn’t want to talk about. Certainly lent strength to the theory about a break-in or something similar he’d witnessed.

Indeed, for the rest of the night shift, she never heard a peep out of his room and anytime she peered in, he was laying in bed, staring at the tv. From her angle, she couldn’t tell if he was actually watching anything or not.

The next night, Nurse Robbins was back on shift and she asked about Evan. The lead nurse, Nurse Hearst on the late day shift, shrugged.

“He’s been a model patient. Calm as can be, eats the full tray at every meal. The only odd thing, if you can consider this odd, is that he won’t come out of his room. Honestly, I’m wondering if he was even the one that did the damage they’re blaming on him. He’s so docile. The police were here earlier, apparently his girlfriend did dump him day before yesterday. But she was just as confused as us, he’s never been a violent person.”

Nurse Robbins nodded, absently. If tonight continued the same as the night before she’d take a closer look at his papers.

“Do you know if he slept?”

Nurse Hearst looked at his sheet, “Hmm… Oh dear, it doesn’t look as if any sleep has been logged. If he did, it was between checks and he was awake every time a nurse checked on him.”

Nurse Robbins nodded, “He didn’t sleep last night either. I’m wondering if he’s suffering from nightmares or even night terrors.”

“That would certainly explain the destruction of the room if he got caught up in one such terror.”

“Are there any pictures in his file of the room?”

Nurse Hearst pulled out the only one, “Just this one.”

Nurse Robbins took it and excused herself. She returned shortly, having made a copy of the picture, and returned the original to the file. She wanted to examine the room when she had a chance, see if there were any clues that could help them care for Evan.

Later that night, when all was quiet, Nurse Robbins peered in on Evan, finding him awake as usual, in the same position in the bed she’d seen him the night before. She wondered if he’d even moved.

She sat down at the nurses’ station and pulled out a magnifying glass, examining the copy of the picture she’d made.

It took a while, but she spotted something that had been overlooked by everyone. She wasn’t even sure it was a clue, it was simply an old fable her grandmother had told her as she was growing up.

She circled the spot with a red pen before standing and returning to Evan’s room.

She knocked and entered, finding Evan in the same position, though now his wide and bloodshot blue eyes were focused on her. She stepped closer, though was careful to stay out of range.

“I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions, Evan?”

He shrugged and she took that as assent.

“Have you been having nightmares whenever you’ve slept lately?”

He spoke, voice hoarse and barely discernable, “I can’t sleep. Whenever I do, these eyes watch me. They never go away and if I blink, they come. My dreams are hell.

She nodded, wondering if he’d had a psychotic break and was now suffering from schizophrenia. He was around the right age range.

“After your girlfriend broke up with you yesterday, did you decide to do some redecorating?”

“Not much. Just the bed. I took a knife to that. It was the bed we shared and I wanted to destroy those memories. Anything else the police say I did, I don’t remember.”

“Do you remember tearing off that annoying little tag on the mattress?”

“No but that doesn’t mean I didn’t by accident. I remember ripping into it pretty viciously with my knife and bare hands.”

“Was this mattress new or used?”

“The whole bed was used, we got it at an estate sale.”

Nurse Robbins nodded, looking down at the picture, “When I was growing up, Evan, my grandmother would always tell me these stories from her country. A few have stuck with me even now.”

She paused to ensure she had his attention, otherwise her words wouldn’t have the effect she needed them to.

When she knew she did, she continued with two last lines, “One tale was that the job of a mattress is to soak up all the nightmares a person has and keep them locked away. The lock that keeps them at bay, Evan, that keeps them from tormenting anyone who slept on that mattress forevermore, is that silly little tag that warns all that read it, ‘Do Not Remove’.”

With that, she left the room, leaving a horrified man behind and expecting a new patient shortly. After all, there’s no limit to who the nightmares may torment and he did just say his ex used to share the bed with him.


©Paula Crofoot

Well, if that doesn’t make me want to always buy a new mattress for every bed, I don’t know what would. I always sleep with a dreamcatcher over my bed. I have since I was a child and while I may have odd dreams, true nightmares are few and far between. So there may be something to dream superstitions.

May your dreams be safe and pleasant…

‘Til Next Time, Friends!

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