9. BRAD

As many of you might wonder… No… Lavinia wasn’t in love with Ian. Or maybe she was but hated herself for that. One thing was sure, she could not let her principles and beliefs be washed away by the charm of a murderer.

The reason Lavinia left was that she had discovered Ian’s big secret. Everything and everyone at this point were part of her plan except form one thing, Jane. She never thought that Jane would fall in love with Ian and certainly not that Ian would make her a co-murderer – or at least make her believe that she was. Sometimes people are too concentrated or obsessed with something that they cannot see further than that. Although Lavinia was a very smart woman, she chose an opponent that was smarter. Except from smart, she was also a very attractive woman…

Ian was heading to Lavinia’s office, a rainy Sunday morning, with a pile of papers in his hands. He was in a rush when something peculiar to his view made him stop abruptly. A tall, handsome man coming out of Lavinia’s office, kissing her goodbye on the cheek, and left. Lavinia kept watching him until he disappears in the big stairway and got inside with a smile. Ian stood with no expression on his face. He cracked his neck right and left, bit his upper lip, and continued walking slowly. He knocked at the door with his shoe.

“Come in,” shouted Lavinia from the inside.

“Good morning,” said Ian concentrating his look on her eyes.

“How come every Sunday we got so much paperwork than any other day?”

“Since the day you have been in charge, we have a lot of new patients.”

“Well, that’s good to hear. Okay, fill me in on the dirt. What do we have?”

Ian left ten seconds pass with talking.

“Ian?” repeated Lavinia.

“Oh, yes. Sorry, I’m a bit tired. So, here is the list of the newcomers, 6 new patients. They are all in sector D. All with heavy depression, one with suicide attempt. They brought him directly from the hospital. Emma Jemm had allergic reaction to the new medication, so her doctor suggested another, which I think will start giving her hallucinations…”

“Who is her doctor?”

“Lawrence.”

“Oh, right.”

“And Jane has an outstanding improvement and I think she’s almost ready for her release.”

“Says who?”

“Well… me. After you started the sessions with her, she had improved on all levels so fast that…”

“I think she needs to stay a few more weeks, even months. I’m not done with her yet.”

“But if you look at the…” Ian tried to show her all the tests and assessments on the file and the word PASS was written on all the evaluation forms.

“I still need a bit more time. She needs more time.”

“Well, of course you know better, but I just think that it’s unfair to keep her in here. I mean we can discharge her, and she can have regular sessions once a week in your office.

“No,” shouted Lavinia with anger. “She needs to stay in the hospital. Now give me her file and, please, let me concern and decide about Jane. Agree?”

“Okay,” said Ian and looked at her suspiciously.

“Anything else?” said Lavinia in a cold tone while checking at the rest of the files.

“Yes. Hmm… Who has this man?”

“What man?”

“The man who came out of your office a few minutes ago. Before I came in.”

Lavinia froze and avoided any eye contact.

“Oh, that was just an old friend visiting.”

“Old friend? And his name?”

“Why do you want to know his name?” asked Lavinia.

“Is it weird that I want to know his name? He’s a part of your life; your past life and I am a part of your present…”

“Fine. It’s Brad.”

“Brad…?”

“You now want his last name as well?”

“Are you afraid of something?”

“Why would I be afraid, Ian? I just don’t think that it’s any of your business. I have nothing to hide, otherwise I would meet him in my own privacy somewhere faraway from here or you. Brad is just an old friend who finished his degree in Psychology and he’s looking for a job. That’s all.”

“So, it was like an interview?”

“No… well, yes. I don’t know.” Lavinia was getting frustrated and started losing her words.

“Well calm down. All cool. I just wanted to know who was the man who was kissing my girlfriend and touching her waist with such… craving.”

“That’s enough. If you suggest something other than…”

Ian raised his hand in front of her in a way that he was asking her to stop. He then left the office, so as to avoid any more confrontation. He knew that something was going on, and he was sure that Lavinia was afraid of him. He still thought of him as a… murderer.

Over the weekend Ian had prepared a romantic dinner at his house – a way to apologize to Lavinia and make her see that he was a human. Ian was sitting on a chair drinking the fifth glass of red wine he bought especially for her – she would only drink red wine, nothing else. He looked at the clock. Lavinia was 50 minutes late and she hadn’t called. That was not like her. Ian decided to call her and see what was going on. Of course, there was no answer. He started to worry. He called the hospital and a new receptionist named Magda answered the phone.

“Faber Clinic, how can I help you?”

“Oh, hey Magda. It’s Ian.”

“Hello, Ian.”

“Do you know if Dr. Kull is still there?”

“She left an hour ago.”

“Oh… you saw her?”

“Yes. She left with a man an hour ago.”

“What man?”

“Well, I don’t like to gossip but he was waiting for her in the hall and she came down with a big smile, she handed me over some files and left with him in a hurry.”

“Did you recognize this man?”

“Yes, he was also here a couple of days ago.”

“On Monday, perhaps?”

“Hmm… Possible, yeah. Do you want me to check? Cause he had signed like all visitors.”

“Yes, please. Can you also give me his full name?”

Ian hang up the phone, took his car keys and stormed out.

… …

“My name is Ian Hurts, and this is how I killed Brad Orwell.

I arrived at Lavinia’s place an hour later. I saw the light on, so I knew that they were both there. Now many of you may think that this was breaking and entering but we’re talking about my integrity here. You can’t blame a man for acting crazy and jealous when he suspects that his woman is cheating on him, right? …”

I looked around at the courtroom. People were smiling condescendingly. They were feeling for him. They could not see that this man was about to describe a murder, but they were smiling because they understood the jealousy part. They were still seeing Ian like a human being.

“… So, I broke into the apartment and heard noises coming out of her bedroom. I was furious. I didn’t really think… I just did. I took a sharp knife from the kitchen and headed into the bedroom. I was like a robot. I couldn’t think. I opened the half-closed door and saw him on top of her. It was dark, only a candle was lit up. Like the candles I had for her in our romantic dinner…”

Ian took a big breath and continued…

“… I stabbed him four times and I remember his dead body falling on Lavinia’s naked one. I remember her screaming, but I can’t remember what she was saying. She grabbed the knife and tried to take it off his back. I was about to leave when she said something about calling the police or something…

Good luck, explaining how the knife is in your hands. Call me if you need help to get rid of the body.

I think this is what I said and left. She never called me of course but she managed to get rid of him and pretty successfully if you ask me. I was proud of her.”

At this point I would like to add something that for the first time is not a part of Ian’s confessions to me but Jane’s.

“Yes, I remember that night. It was past midnight, when someone has entered into my room when I was still at the Clinic. I was fast asleep and scared to death. It was her. Lavinia. She was pale and quite frightened.

“Lavinia? Is that you?” asked Jane.

“We don’t have any more time. We need to kill him. Now,” said Lavinia and fainted in front of Jane.

8. TWIST

Ian ran as fast as he could to the entrance of the Faber Clinic. He felt his heart pounding so fast. All he needed was to see Lavinia’s eyes, to feel safe again.

It was the perfect timing, after all he had been through.

He arrived at the big hall at the reception and looked around. No one was there, not even the receptionist. He climbed the stairs on the right side and headed to Webb’s office. Lavinia couldn’t have known that Benjamin was dead, so that must be the first place she would go. To his surprise the door to Webb’s office, formerly Rita’s office was locked. Ian stood still for a moment to think. It was past midnight. Why would Lavinia return without contacting him and why in the middle of the night? What was going on? He searched the entire floor and almost all places in the Clinic that Lavinia could possibly be, but in vain. She was nowhere to be found.

Have I been dreaming? he thought to himself.

He headed back to his office, thinking that all he needed was a good sleep. When he opened the door, a woman was sitting on his chair. He closed the door quietly.

“Hello, Ian,” said Lavinia with a big smile.

“I… I… can’t believe it’s you. I thought… How are you? What are you doing here?”

“I work here now.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m the new Head of the Faber Clinic, Ian. I’m your new boss.”

Ian rolled his eyes.

“You mean… You know about Benjamin? It was you? But how? Why?”
“Benjamin is… was my cousin.”

“And Rita your aunt?”

“Exactly.”

“You never told me… I mean… I’m glad that you’re here and…” he suddenly stopped. Something wasn’t quite right.

“I’m sure you’ve got a lot of questions. Let us grab a cup of coffee because we’ve got a lot of catching up to do, okay?”

Ian smiled and followed her to the cafeteria.

… …

“I do not wish to talk about that particular night. But all you need to know is that Lavinia wanted me to kill both of them. She actually planned it all along,” said Ian at the judges.

“What do you mean planned it?” asked the judge.

Ian smiled. “Well… Lavinia as you know had figured it all out. Of course, she would, she was so smart. He wanted these people dead, but she couldn’t do it herself. So, by sending me there and making me find out everything about what was going on in the Clinic, she knew that I would end this once for all. And then she would be back to be the Head of the Faber Clinic, the way that it is supposed to be.”

“Did she actually say those words?”

“What words?”

“That she wanted you to kill them?”

“Yes,” replied Ian.

“And what else did you two talk about?”

“Nothing important. That’s all you need to know,” said Ian and couldn’t help but laugh.

… …

The first day of Lavinia’s new position in the Clinic was a new beginning for everyone. As promised, Lavinia changed everything for the benefit of everyone. The staff, the patients, the doctors, Ian, everyone was satisfied with the way everything was working except from one person; Jane.

Jane was completely in love and depended upon Ian, and like a woman in love, she could not help but feel the monster of jealousy every time she saw the way Ian and Lavinia were acting around each other, in front of her.

She decided to confront Ian in one of their sessions on a quiet afternoon.

“Do you still have nightmares, Jane?”

“Not like before. Ian? Can I ask you something?”

“Of course, Jane, anything.”

“Do you love her?”

“Excuse me?”

Jane looked at him intensely. She didn’t repeat the question. She knew that Ian understood and after what they have experienced and shared together, there was no reason why Ian would pretend.

“I do, Jane. I’m sorry.”

Jane covered her face and huffed under a heavy load.

“I don’t understand, Ian. After all I’ve done for you. What has she done…? I mean… I almost killed someone for you. I took the blame.”

“This is completely different. This is our secret, something we both decided to do for your sake. But what I feel about her…”
“Do not talk to me about feeling. Don’t you dare.”

“We can’t control the person we fall in love with.”

“Oh my God, stop this bullshit. Don’t go all psychiatrist on me. You know that I have a lot of power over you Ian, don’t you? I can’t tell everything. I can accuse you for everything.”

Ian did not reply.

“I think that’s enough for today. Please sleep on it, and we’ll talk again on Friday.”

“I want another doctor.”

“That’s not possible.”

Ian left the room, while Jane was yelling at him, like a cheated wife. He needed to figure it out.

There was a way out of it and Lavinia would understand but this is not what he’s doing.

As he said to me that night in my apartment the day, he came to kill me,

“I could kill her. Get rid of her once and for all. But I’m not a killer. I do not … kill those who do not deserve it. She had done nothing wrong.”

Ian told everything to Lavinia and she suggested the exact same thing.

“Well, kill her then. That’s what you do right? We can’t let her destroy us. We are finally where we want to be.”

“Lavinia, I don’t… I do not just kill people. I thought you understood.”

“Yes, of course Ian, I’m sorry. I’m in over my head. Do you want me to deal with it?”

“No, it’s ok. I can handle her. I just wanted to tell you.”

Ian left contemplating. After a very long time he finally had two days off his work, but it was the first time that he hadn’t wanted it. For some reason, he didn’t trust Lavinia. Although he loved her more than he could handle, he didn’t trust her. Especially around Jane.

However, he managed to get some rest and not return to the Clinic. In the meantime, he had found his next victim without saying anything to Lavinia.

And now for this point, Ian did not mention anything. For him, it wasn’t as significant as the rest to mention. For him people’s lives do not matter the same. Therefore, I cannot inform you about one more unfair death. Parents, relatives, and loved ones of that person will never know how and why he or she died. They will forever think it was an accident or a suicide or whatever Ian had planned for that person.

And I wonder to myself, at this point is there someone who reads all these and has the slightest doubt about Ian’s guilt? I hadn’t missed a day to Ian’s court days, and it was around that time that I saw it in the jury’s eyes… doubt – sympathy – understanding for Ian’s face. And that was when I knew I had to do something. I had to change their opinion and remind them who we’re dealing with. A murderer! Regardless the reason, regardless the victim. He is a murderer. But my day until I appeared to the stand and gave my own statement was still far away…

Friday morning Ian returned to the Clinic and his first session was with Jane, but instead he was called to Lavinia’s office.

“This is your new patient. Greg McCain. He was admitted yesterday. You’ll know how to deal with him. Trust me. He is waiting for you,” said Lavinia and passed him the new file.

“Hmm… okay… but what time do I have my session with Jane?”

“You no longer have Jane.”

“Excuse me?”

“Jane and I decided that was best if you both spend some time apart. She agreed to another doctor.”

“This is absurd. And how may I ask is the new doctor?”

“I am,” said Lavinia with a smile. Ian stared at her and left a weird sound with his mouth.

“Does Jane know?”

“Of course, she does. We already had our first session yesterday.”

“But I thought you said you would let me deal with it.”

Lavinia smiled. “I know, I know. The thing is, my love, that I quite don’t trust you, yet. No offence.”

Everything in that sentence felt so pretentious and suspicious to Ian. But it wasn’t until the very last statement of his in the court that I found out what he meant when he expressed his suspicion about Lavinia.

…. …. ….

Jane’s second statement in the courtroom.

“I was aware of two more murders that Ian committed at the Faber Clinic. Both of them I know because of Lavinia… I mean Dr. Kull… she told me.”

“What was the relationship between you and Lavinia?” asked the attorney.

“Well… I hated her… at first. But then she made me realize that it wasn’t her that I really hated but Ian. I couldn’t possibly be in love with a murderer. That’s what Lavinia believed. She never really loved him.”

Ian looked at her angrily. He moved uncomfortably in his chair.

“Lavinia told me everything about her plan. Since our very first session. It was a risk if you ask me. I could have told everything to Ian. But of course, she didn’t allow his visit until after she had managed to make me hate him once and for all. It is a pity she’s dead. She is… she was a notable person.”

“Were you still at the hospital when she was murdered?”

“No. After almost a month that we started the sessions, she discharged me. I found out in the newspaper about her tragic and brutal death.”

“And what did you do when you found out?”

“Nothing… I was so scared. If a man that claims to love a person that much, ends up killing that person in the most brutal way he can, what would you do?”

Jane’s question left the whole room in silence.

Damn… I thought to myself. My gaze turned immediately to Ian. He gave a nod to his lawyer.

“Objection, your Honor. Leading question.”

“Overruled.”

The attorney laughed. He turned to Ian’s lawyer, Jake York and said:

“After all this time, after all you have heard at this room, do you really think that there is anything that can be said that can lead to anything else than the guilt of this… man?”

Ian examined the man, attorney Tyler Holland. Shivers ran down Tyler’s spine. He regretted the words coming out of his mouth.

“No further questions,” he quietly said and sat down. He felt safe, however, knowing that Ian could no longer hurt anyone and that he probably never would… Right?

7. SHE DID IT (R.W.)

“This is outrageous. Did you see what she did?”

“How can we follow these rules?”

“It’s the year 2020 and she expects us to perform (speaks quietly) lobotomy?”

People in the Clinic cafeteria were chatting over the new rules implemented by Rita Webb, mother of Benjamin. Ian was sitting all alone in the corner trying to figure out a way to deal with all this madness. It was a busy Saturday with many new patients at the Clinic. Rita’s influence was rather impressive, but Ian wondered if all these patients and relatives were familiar with the twisted mind of hers.

Later that afternoon, Ian had a session with Jane who was recovering rather fast, after the physical assault by the two guards.

“Have you heard what happened to that poor girl earlier?” walking up and down the room. Ian looked at the camera anxiously.

“We’re not talking about that right now. How was your day?” asked Ian.

Jane looked at him in wonder. She approached him and sat on the floor in front of him.

“Don’t tell me you’re scared, Ian? After all that.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Are you scared of her?”

“Jane…” said Ian calmly.

“I thought you were like me, Ian. I thought you were a man.”

“Jane…” he repeated in the same tone.

“I can’t believe that you’ve become a robot, ready to obey to this old bi…”

“JANE!” screamed Ian with anger.

Jane looked at him surprised. She stood up and returned to her bed.

“You may go now,” she said and covered herself under the blanket.

Ian left the room without saying anything. There was nothing to report that day but only this:

“Patient was unwilling to cooperate, probably because of the incident occurred the previous day. Session was over after 5 minutes.”

The only problem was that Ian didn’t know to whom he should give the report to. The Head of the Clinic was nowhere to be found. He heard people talking, guessing who the new Head Chef might be, and everyone was betting to a daughter or someone Rita knew.

Ian stayed at the Clinic until late at midnight exhausted from all the sessions, but luckily, he didn’t have to implement any of the new rules so far. He had a new office and decided to spend the night there, sleeping on the couch, as his first session the next day was at 6 o clock in the morning.

Suddenly he heard a knock on the door. He could barely stand in his two feet. He opened the door and to his surprise he saw Jane rushing herself in the office.

“Close the door, quickly.”

Ian obeyed without thinking. He locked the door and stood still waiting for an explanation.

“Okay… I don’t have much time. Tell me what I need to do.”

“Jane… I’m really tired. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“I know what you did at Benjamin. I know it was you.”

Ian rolled his eyes.

“The eyes cannot lie, Ian. After committing such a crime, you are never the same. But I see it in your eyes, and I know the feeling. You enjoyed it, didn’t you?”

“Please, leave,” said Ian unlocking the door.

“Are you afraid that it’s too soon?”

He stood silently.

“I’ll do it. Just tell me how.”

“You’re acting…”

“Ian!” Jane touched his arm and turned his body towards her.

“I know what you’re thinking. If you kill her now, everyone will know, will suspect.”

 It was a fact that he was the last person to be seen entering Benjamin’s office the day he died. Although the case closed as suicide, the facts were facts.

“Tell me how and it will be done today. There are more people on our side in this Clinic than you know.”

Ian rolled his eyes. What did she mean by that? Other patients? Other doctors?

He sat on a chair and started making the first mistake of his exceptionally flawless career as a murderer.

Sunday evening…

Ian’s big plan was about to begin.

His session with Jane was starting at 7pm. At exactly 7.03 Ian’s scream was heard echoing in the Clinic. Guards, nurses, doctors, and Rita herself run to Jane’s room. They opened the door and found Ian on the floor, stabbed on this leg with a knife and Jane sitting in a fetal position holding her stomach. The guards restrained Jane with a sedative and the doctors helped Ian to the emergency room.

“Get her downstairs, NOW. I’ll be there in five minutes,” instructed Rita and followed the doctors to the emergency room.

While the nurse was taking care of Ian’s wound, Ian was looking at Rita.

“What happened, Dr. Hurts?”

“I’m fine, thank you, for asking,” complained Ian. Rita as if she didn’t hear him, repeated the question.

“She was like a wild animal. I don’t know. Yesterday she refused the session and I had to leave the minute we started. I thought today was going to be better. She seemed perfectly calm the first few minutes and then… How the hell did she come to the possession of a knife?”

“She must have taken it form the kitchen or the restaurant,” explained the nurse.

“Well, aren’t there your precious guards or cameras supposed to work?”

“Calm down, Ian,” advised Rita.

“No. I was stabbed on my leg. It could have been worse. It will be worse unless we do something. Your rules DON’T work,” screamed Ian to Rita’s face. She remained calm and professional, giving a little smile to Ian.

“I see… Nurse? Is Ian able to walk?”

“Hmm… yes… But I suggest he rests and…”

“Perfect. Then, please Ian, follow me. Let me show you how good my rules are working.”

Ian’s face darkened and he followed pleased Rita to the basement.

There was a big room that Ian had never seen before. The light was exceptionally bright and although there was medical equipment all around, if someone looked closer, they could see a room of torture designed for the modern world.

Jane was tied and gagged in a big chair. The two guards that were beating her to death the other day were waiting for Rita’s instructions.

“You may go.” Rita ordered the two guards and the two women obeyed without saying a word. When the door closed behind them Rita turned to Ian.

“What are you going to do?”

“What is this place?”

“This, Ian, is the place of Reformation, as I like to call it. In this place you will have your very first chance to implement one of my rules upon Jane and see the results on your own. Now you have the liberty to choose whichever one you want. If you need my help, please don’t hesitate to ask.”

“I see…”

Rita sat on a chair, placed her hands on her knees and waited calmly with no expression on her face.

“Are there any cameras, here?” asked Ian.

“I’m the camera, Ian,” replied Rita.

Ian looked at the tray next to Jane. Jane looked at him and a tear run down her face. She started thrashing around like she was having a seizure and was screaming HELP but only a big roar could be heard. Ian gave her another sedative that was going to put her to sleep and then untied her.

“I’m really interested to see what are you going to do,” said Rita.

“Well, unfortunately, what I want to do cannot be done the way I want to. It has to be in the simplest way there is and seem like a self-defense attack.”

“I don’t follow,” said Rita curiously.

“Come closer and you’ll see what I mean.”

Rita walked towards Ian and stood behind him. He turned and stabbed her with a knife right in the heart. Rita grabbed his hands, but it was too late. She fell on the floor, her eyes wet and red her body shaking. She tried to say something, but it was an incomprehensible moan. A few minutes later Jane woke up and came across to rather confusing scene. Rita was lying dead on the floor and Ian, also on the floor, holding his leg screaming from the pain and the bleeding.

She heard people running down the stairs.

“What have you done? What do I do?”

“Pick up the knife and hold it.”

Jane did as he ordered.

“And then what?”

“Nothing. You are in a shock. Let me do the talking.”

Ian let everyone know about the Reformation Room and what Rita was doing in there with the patients. He explained the Jane was, once again, in a self-defense mode, and after all the psychological trauma inflicted on her it, as was anticipated a reaction as such. Here’s a brief statement of his at the Clinic that night.

“Rita wanted to kill her. She told me so. Is this the Reformation we want? We took the Hippocratic oath for God’s sakes. I don’t see Jane’s action as an attack, but as self-defense, exactly the same thing that happened with her ex-boyfriend. She will need a lot of therapy, which I promise to exclusively take over. Now I called the police. All we can do is be patient and see what the next day will bring.”

No one disagreed or questioned Ian.

The police believed everything that happened so no further investigation needed. Jane was going to stay in the Clinic, under Ian’s protection until his very own capture.

It was midnight again…

The last few hours felt crazy, but Ian felt more alive than ever. He was enjoying a hot cup of chocolate in his office looking outside the window.

Silence…

Everything was going to be okay. In fact, after all that happened, everything seemed to go back to normal and maybe, just maybe, he wouldn’t have to perform an act of justice for a very long time.

And then he saw her…

A good-looking figure was climbing up the stairs of the Faber Psychiatric Clinic in the middle of the night. The cup fell off of Ian’s hands and smashed into pieces on the red carpet. He stood up shocked.

“Lavinia?” he whispered…

… ….

Now at this point you may all wonder who am I? How do I know all these things about the murderer Ian Hurts and with such detail and what happened at the end. What I need you to do is be patient and please do not let Ian convince you that what he does is not an act of murder but an act of justice.

He is a murderer. He needs to go to jail or worse. America is a country that gives birth to murderers, raises murderers but also kills them.

It only takes one person, one person in the jury, one of you and Ian will be free again. Do we want that?

I know that some of you may have thought that I might be Mia or Jane or Lavinia!

Well… I’m not.

Proof?

I’m alive, aren’t I?

6. A NON – MURDER

Ian was sitting uncomfortably on his chair next to his defense attorney. There were more than a hundred people in the courtroom including myself. It was a big day. Jane Fields appeared on the stand looking frightened and panicked as if she was secluded in an isolated place away from human contact. She had black circles under her big, hazel eyes and her pale skin betrayed her fatigue.

I discreetly took my recorder out of my purse and placed it under a book I was holding. I pressed REC…

… … …

“Good morning, Dr. Hurts. I’m calling from the Faber Psychiatric Clinic to remind you of our meeting this evening,” said the female voice on the line.

“Yes, I remember. I’ll be there. Can you please tell me who’s hosting this meeting?”

“I’m sorry Dr. but the instructions were very clear. Under no circumstances are we to announce her name. Everyone will find out tonight.”

Ian hung up the phone without saying a word.

It’s a she… He thought to himself. A few days after Webb’s death, Ian had received an anonymous letter, inviting him to a staff meeting at the Faber Clinic. He was suspicious and worried that someone, somehow knew something about him. However, he was never the sort of guy who would just give in to his fears.

6 pm sharp. Ian arrived at the Clinic. Everyone was there waiting outside. He was a bit relieved that he wasn’t alone, and the meeting was real. He stepped away from the crowd and tried to light up a cigarette. He didn’t use to smoke, but after Lavinia left town he started experimented with the alcohol and cigarettes. The lightest side effect of a depression you might say. He struggled but didn’t manage to light it.

“If it won’t spin, it won’t light.” An old lady stood behind him offering her lighter. Ian looked at her. She was dressed in expensive clothes, hair tied up in a bun, pearls, and golden rings. He lit up the cigarette and hastily smoked, making a nod to the lady. He didn’t speak.

“Are you new here?” asked the lady.

“Two months now. You?”

“Me? Oh, young man, I’ve been here forever.”

“That’s strange. I’ve never seen you around before.”

“Oh, you will… From now on…” nodded the lady and left.

Everyone started gathering, going inside the building. Ian finished his cigarette and followed. The “party” was about to begin.

They all entered a big hall, which Ian had never seen before. He sat on the back and waited anxiously. People were whispering around him, laughing, and gossiping. It was only yesterday that they were affectedly crying over Webb’s open casket. Ian knew the quality of people – he knew all about it. However they appear – their false façade, it was the inside that show the true quality. His thoughts were interrupted when he heard a familiar voice. He raised his head and saw the old lady standing on a pedestal. Two guards were standing on her right and left side. The room filled with awkward silence.

“Good evening everyone!” said the old lady on a microphone.

Ian was confused. Who was this lady? What was she doing up there?

“Many of you know me already. I see some familiar faces and some… not… so familiar ones. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Rita Webb, mother of Dr. Benjamin Webb.”

Ian rolled his eyes. The room felt colder than ever, as if the whole rooftop was removed in the middle of December. He felt his hair stand on end.

“I’m the owner of Faber Psychiatric Clinic but not the manager. My son…” her voice trembled for a while. “…In his last will and testament, Benjamin made it crystal clear. His position as Head of the Clinic will be replaced by another… person. The new Manager, the new Head of Faber Clinic, your new Boss, will be here on Monday morning ready to take over. Due to this… unexpected course of events I believe that my being here is mandatory. There will be new rules, which will be discussed with the new Head of the Clinic and be implemented by the end of next week. Before this meeting comes to an end, I would like to ask from every one and each of you, before leaving this hall, to check the long name list on the door. Those whose names are written on the list will be no longer into our team. This is part of the new strict measures that will follow soon, as I… we feel that the safety of Faber Clinic has been compromised.”

Everyone in the room looked terrified including Ian.

“All right. That is it for today. Wait patiently for new information. Thank you for your attendance and your time. See you tomorrow and remember We save lives; we are Gods of the soul.”

Ian stood up and rushed his way to the door. He read the name-list three times. His name wasn’t on it.

… … …

“There was a part of me that didn’t wanna do this. When I killed Tomas, me ex-boyfriend, it was different. It felt different. I wanted to do this. I needed to do this. He was… destroying me. He was killing me. But she… yes, she deserved to die. Yes, she and her son deserve what they got. But it should have been him. Not me.” Jane pointed at Ian crying and shaking. Everyone in the courtroom started talking loudly.

“Order! Order!” shouted the judge as he hit the gavel.

Ian’s defense attorney asked one last question to the accused.

“Miss Fields… Did you kill Rita Webb in cold blood on a Sunday evening in her son’s office?”

“He made me do it, he did it, he…”

“Miss Fields, please answer with a yes or a no? Did you kill Rita Webb?”

“I didn’t want… I didn’t…”

“Miss Fields! Yes or No?”

Jane looked at Ian directly into his eyes, while he was sitting indifferent in his chair. She then let two tears run down her face and answered,

“Yes.”

… … …

On Saturday morning Ian arrived late at the Clinic. His delay wouldn’t go unnoticed if it weren’t for another incident occurring in the backyard at the same time. Two new female guards were beating the shit out of Jane Fields. Ian ran and pushed the two guards away.

“What the fuck are you doing?”

“Who the hell are you?”

“I’m a doctor here. Who the hell are you?”

“We’re Ms. Webb’s new guards.”

“I don’t give a fuck of who you are. What gives you the right to beat a patient?”

The two women looked at each other smiling. Jane was trying to stand up with Ian’s help. Blood was running down her face.

“It’s the first day Doctor, so we let this one pass by. You need to go and do some studying. Hahaha…”

“What are you saying?”

“New rules man. New rules applied from today,” said the second guard.

Jane held Ian’s hand and squeezed it. He took her inside on his arms leaving the two guards laughing in the backyard.

He entered the Clinic and came across with two big signs made of stone, one on the right and on the left.

          10 NEW RULES APPLIED IN F.P.C.

By Rita Webb

  1. All guards will be females.
  2. Final decisions on any matter are made by R.W. (in partnership with L.K. if necessary)
  3. Staff is allowed to use physical violence to patients as a way to conform when line is crossed.
  4. Cameras are legally allowed in every space and room in and out of the Clinic.
  5. DBS and ECT can be legally used under R.W.’s supervision. ***
  6. All doctors will be evaluated every week. If they do not meet the requirements, they will be fired.
  7. Patients from other ethnicities are not allowed in the Clinic.
  8. Seriously mentally ill that cannot be treated can be incarcerated than hospitalized.
  9. Depression and Anxiety are not considered important mental illnesses therefore we do not treat them-accept patients.
  10. Binding contract forced to everyone working or hospitalized here that states: What Happens in F.P.C. Stays in F.P.C. If someone violates this contract, we have the right to act accordingly.

                  We save lives; we are Gods of the soul.

*** DBS = Deep Brain Stimulation / ECT = ElectroConvulsive Therapy – both refer to lobotomy.

BENJAMIN (part II)

“…The first time I suspected that something wrong was going on, was the day that Jane suggested we have our session in the yard. I thought it was a good idea to take a walk outside the clinic. It’s good for patients to feel free, you know… not like prisoners locked up in a cage and we doctors try to examine the guinea pig…”

While Ian and Jane were walking around the backyard of Faber Psychiatric Clinic, Dr. Webb was in a session with another patient of his.

“Are you okay, Jane? What’s going on?” asked Ian, watching Jane looking suspiciously around her. When in her room, Jane was surprisingly calm and co-operative. Some would say that she was acting like a robot programmed to behave exactly like she was expected to.

“Jane?” he repeated with a louder voice. She stopped and looked at him.

“You need to get me out of here,” sobbed Jane. Suddenly the robot-like face turned into a canvas of emotions that she couldn’t control.

“That’s what I’m trying to do, Jane. Through our sessions…”

“No, you don’t understand,” Jane looked around her once again, “Look, we don’t have much time. You need to save me. To get me away from this place. You have to. I know you care. You’re a good man, Ian.”

“Of course, I care. But… to save you from what, Jane?”

“Webb.”

Ian’s eyes rolled. His ears buzzed. He could barely hear the guard screaming and running towards them.

“What the hell are you two doing here?” the guard screamed out of breath.

“Oh, hello. I’m Dr. Hurts, Jane is my patient, there’s nothing to worry about.”

“I know exactly who you are, and this is exactly what I’m worried about. You need to come with me.” The hefty guard grabbed Jane’s arm and pushed her. Jane resisted, giving Ian a worried look.

“Hey, hey, now calm down.” Ian tried to separate the two and defend Jane. “What’s the big deal. She’s under my supervision. We’re in the middle of a session.”

“She is not allowed to get out of her room during sessions.”

“By cell, you mean room?” said Ian offended.

“Yes, whatever. Now come with me, I said.”

“Ok, buddy I think you need to back off. If you ask Dr. Webb, he’ll reassure you that…”

“This is Dr. Webb’s orders. She’s not allowed to get out of her room during sessions.”

“It’s okay, Ian. I’ll see you back inside,” sighed Jane and followed the guard.

Ian stood in the middle of the yard trying to comprehend everything that happened in the last few minutes. After a while, he returned to Jane’s room, in hope, that he would continue the rest of the session, but he was in for another surprise. Dr. Benjamin Webb and the hefty guard were closing the door to Jane’s room when Ian was getting closer, and he got a fade glimpse of what seemed to be Jane wearing a straitjacket. He rushed his step looking for an explanation.

“Benjamin? What the hell is going on?”

“Oh, hello, Ian. So good to see you. I thought you left.”

“Left? My session with Jane is not over yet.” He took a step forward to open the door, but the guard got in his way.

“I think it’s enough for today,” said Benjamin.

“Why? What happened?” snapped Ian.

“Why don’t we go to my office? Have some privacy? Ha? It’s a bit… unprofessional to yell in the middle of the hallway. Don’t you think, Dr. Hurts?” Benjamin’s fun voice changed into a dark, scary one. Ian looked around him; nurses and patients were passing by. He lowered his head and followed Benjamin to his office.

“Now, Ian, would you like some water? A cup of coffee? A glass of fine bourbon, perhaps?” giggled Benjamin.

“No, thank you,” replied Ian.

“I fancy myself a little bit of this devil every now and then. It keeps me alarmed you know,” He said while filling his glass with the half empty bottle of bourbon. Ian sat on a chair nervously. It was one of the few times in his life that he was overwhelmed by his emotions and could not think straight. Well, at least that’s what he told me. His words, not mine. Personally, I can’t imagine someone killing a human being and not being overwhelmed by whatever it is they’re feeling.

“What happened to Jane?”

“Jane Fields has a quality; an element, you might say. She is an unusual patient, nothing like the rest in my clinic. I trust you with her although you’re an inexperienced doctor. I see something in you. So did Lavinia, and I trust her opinion.”

“I’m not following.”

“Jane is suffering from a very vivid imagination. She hallucinates, screams at night, she sees things that are not there. She creates stories in her mind that have never happened and believe them. These early signs of schizophrenia are something to worry about, I must admit but after the shock she experienced, I’m just trying to give her some time to recompose herself.”

“Early signs of schizophrenia? Are you fucking kidding me? Where is that written on her file? Why was I never informed about something like that? How do you expect me to have my sessions without knowing something like that?” screamed Ian.

Benjamin looked at him with a wicked smiled.

“On your way out, Lydia our beautiful receptionist will give you the updated file. Under no circumstances, is she to leave her room during sessions, especially without my permission. Do you understand that Dr. Hurts?”

“Yes, sir,” whispered Ian exhausted from the whole conversation.

“If you need any help Ian just ask. If you’re struggling with the case… it’s completely understandable. You are barely a doctor; this is your first patient. No one is judging you for making mistakes. I’m your mentor after all. You’re supposed to do as I say, right?”

“Yes sir,” replied Ian feeling the blood on his head burning.

“After all you want to be a successful psychiatrist like myself, or Lavinia? Right? You don’t want to lose your license or something unfortunate like that?

Ian rolled his eyes in shock. “No, no sir.”

“Thank you for your time, Ian. You may go. See you next week,” said Benjamin and showed him the door.

“No session on Friday?”

“I think it’s better if you and Jane take some time apart. Study the file and be ready to come back next week. Is that a problem?”

“No sir, no problem at all.”

Ian stood up and turned to leave. Before closing the door behind him, he heard Benjamin speaking.

“Oh, and Ian… a bit of advice, which I’m sure you are sure already aware of. We never let our patients call us with our first name. We are not friends. We are doctors and they are patients. Remember that!” said Benjamin and lowered his head to his computer.

Ian nodded without answering and closed the door as calmly as possible when all he wanted was to snap it. He stood there a few seconds, contemplating on whether he should enter and kick Benjamin’s ass or run to Jane and find out the truth. Instead, he walked with his head down all the way to the reception.

Ian was more than prepared for his next session with Jane. He was ready to discover the truth, whatever that was. During his time off from the clinic, he was trying to put all the pieces of the puzzle together. He couldn’t stop thinking about Lavinia. He tried to contact her a couple of times but in vain. He desperately needed her advice. He entered Jane’s room with the hefty guard and came across to a helpless, frightened, and weak creature lying on its bed. After they were left alone, Ian didn’t know what to say, how to start; as if it was their very first session.

“We haven’t seen each other for a while, Jane,” he finally said.

“How are you, Dr Hurts?” Although Jane’s figure looked like a sick person, her voice was more vigorous than ever. He was really surprised to hear her calling him Dr. Hurts.

“I’m fine, thank you very much. And what about you?”

“It was a tough week but I’m glad we are back into our sessions.”

“Would you like to tell me why it was tough? What happened?”

Jane smiled and stood up. She started walking up and down the room talking about her mood swings and her nightmares and how Dr. Webb helped her, when Ian wasn’t there. After almost five minutes of walking and talking she finally stood still against the wall on the right corner of the room. She stretched her arms up in the air and with her finger pointed something on the ceiling. She continued talking about her nightmares and Ian was carefully observing her every move. He glimpsed what Jane was pointed at on the ceiling and then quickly swift his look on the floor. The rest of the session was a pointless theater performed only for the sake of Dr. Webb. After all, that was why there was an illegal camera in the room and that’s why Dr. Webb insisted they never get out of the room during sessions.

Ian left straight to Dr. Webb’s office after finishing his session with Jane. To his surprise he saw the hefty guard standing in front of the closed door.

“Is Dr. Webb inside? I need to talk to him.”

“He is busy right now; you need to come later.”

“I want to give him my report and then I’m leaving. It won’t take long.”

“You can give it to me, and I’ll make sure he gets it. Now you need to go,” said the guard and pushed him gently away.

“What’s the matter with you? What is going on?” Ian was frustrated but before he finished his angry burst, the door opened to a repulsive view. Another guard was holding patient full of bruises after falling unconscious in his arms.

“What happened?” said Ian and tried to help the woman.

“She’s fine. What the hell are you doing here?” screamed the guard.

“I tried to get rid of him…”

“Ian. Come on in,” Benjamin shouted, giving Ian a wink, and inviting him in.

“What happened to this girl?”

“Oh, she’s fine. She was self-harmed, and I tried to calm her down, but things got a bit out of hand again, so I gave her a sedative. She’ll be fine, she just needs some rest.”

Ian stood there looking at him without saying a word.

“Did you want something?”

Ian passed his weekly report and left the building. He could hardly breath. His senses were alarmed and there was only one thing to do. But this time he needed a bit of help.

2 days later…

“Jane? I want you to tell me something about your worst enemy. The man you want to escape from, but you can’t…” Ian looked at her intensely hoping than Jane will understand his plan. “The man you killed. Your boyfriend.”

Jane smiled in a way that let Ian understood that she was in for whatever the plan was.

“There was no other choice but to kill him. He had to die. Otherwise, he wouldn’t stop taking advantage of us. All the helpless women… drug addicts.”

“Did he hit you?”

“Yes.”

“Did he rape you?”

“Yes.”

“Do you feel guilty for his death?”

“No.”

“Do you think that murder can be an act of justice to people like him?”

“Yes. Yes,” screamed Jane and started crying.

1 hour later…

Ian was sitting in the cafeteria of the clinic taking his lunch. He was speaking with another doctor, when suddenly he heard screaming. Lydia, the receptionist appeared on the entrance of the cafeteria, pale and trembling.

“Dr. Webb…” she murmured. Everyone stood up. “…Dr. Webb is dead…” she exhaled and fainted.

…..

“You Honor, this is the autopsy of Dr. Benjamin Webb. He was found dead in his office from an accidental overdose of fentanyl, cocaine, and alcohol. Before the accused admitted to his crime, there was no evidence that this was a case of murder.”

“Thank you,” replied Ian sarcastically.    

5. BENJAMIN (part I)

“My name is Ian Hurts and this is how I killed Benjamin Webb.”

“… I wanted to be a bit more careful that time, cause I had the feeling that Lavinia was suspecting something. I was dying to reveal everything to her; my thoughts, my idea of justice. I knew she was the only person who would understand me. I guess people can be wrong, right? Back then I needed to gain her trust…”


Ian, after Dr. Kull’s advice, decided to start his Master Degree in Clinical Psychopathology. I’ve always wondered how people who have spent most part of their lives involved in the field of Psychology, cannot psychoanalyze themselves and identify their flows and weakness. But apparently this is just another myth.


“So, Ian, I was thinking that it’s time for you to have your own first session with a patient,” said Lavinia, while taking a sip of her hot latte. Ian, who was sitting on the other side of the desk, lift his head up and stared at her in surprise.
“Do you have a new patient?”
“Yes. Her name is Jane…something… I read her file and I think that this should be your first case.”
“But… you’re not going to be there, with me? In the room I mean…” asked Ian with great concern.
“No. But feel free to ask my opinion or any suggestion if you feel like struggling with the case. You will give me feedback weekly with a written report. How does that sound?”
“Okay, I guess. So, what’s the deal with this Jane?”
Lavinia passed the file to Ian and continued drinking her coffee. Ian opened it and started reading the first page. He tried not to show any expression, as the case was too familiar to ignore. Jane Fields, age 22, white female, killed her abusive drug dealer boyfriend in an act of self-defense on a night that got out of control with her ending up in a hospital in a coma from the physical violation imposed on her. She is now committed in Faber Psychiatric Clinic.
Lavinia was looking at Ian intensely while he was reading the file. It was like she was trying to decode his expression, to enter his mind and listen to all of his thoughts. Ian lifted his head, and she turned her look quickly, trying to hide the fact that she was looking  at him.
“Thank you, Lavinia. I will study the case and be ready for my first session on Friday,” said Ian avoiding eye contact. He put the file in his bag and without saying another word, he left the building. He spent two sleepless nights full of memories and reminiscence until finally the day of the big meeting arrived. Black eyes, pale face, weak body but his mind was as sharp as knife. He was so eager to meet this Jane character; a strong person who managed to escape from her worst nightmare and was worthy to gain her freedom, unlike Mia; the unworthy victim who gave up life, gave up on Ian and chose a different path. At least that was Ian’s opinion and maybe yours and everyone else’s who may have heard his statements while in court, but for me there’s nothing more than a murderer and a dead body.


Ian was about to enter the Faber Psychiatric Clinic where Jane was committed, and his heart was pounding like an 18-year-old boy ready to meet his date.
“You must be Dr. Hurts. It’s so nice to meet you. I’m Dr Webb, head of Faber Psychiatric Clinic,” a man twice the size of Ian with dark hair and dark eyes welcomed him into what seemed like a modern museum of art rather than a Clinic. Gigantic, gold chandeliers, purple leather furniture, ancient Greek statues here and there. The only normal thing in the eyes of Ian was that all doctors were still wearing their white uniforms.
“Shall we?” said the Dr. Webb, pointed at his office at the end of the hallway, with a big smile of satisfaction on his face. It was the exact reaction of astonishment that wanted to achieve from every doctor, guest or patient visited the Clinic.
“Jane Fields is the kind of patient that I would describe as unconventional… There is an element in her that I have seen before, although rarely, that I haven’t managed to… how do I put this? Hmmm… to eliminate. And this is where you Dr Hurts enter.”
“I’m not following…” said Ian confused. Benjamin Webb smiled and stayed in silence for a few seconds. He chose to ignore Ian’s confusion and continued with his vague speech.
“Lavinia… I’m sorry Dr. Kull was an intern in this Clinic when she first started working as a psychiatrist and I was her mentor. Sadly, she decided to choose a different kind of… path into psychology, which I respect. I’m assuming that you must have a lot of commons with Lavinia, but the fact that she sent you here makes me really… glad.”
“Thank you,” said Ian as if this were the only thing he could answer.
“I would like you to meet Jane and spend some time with her today and by the end of your session I will give some notes of mine that I would like you to study and come ready with those on Monday. How does that sound?”
“Yes, of course.”
“Perfect. Shall we see the lovely Jane?”
The two men walked silently, and all Ian could think about was Mia and how much she had disappointed her and now he would finally find what he was looking for in Mia. What he wanted in Mia. Who Mia wanted him to be.
Dr. Webb opened the door to Jane’s room. She was sitting on the corner of her bed waiting for them. She was blonde, with green eyes and beautiful lips. The air around her was so fresh, almost smelled like life. Ian was instantly attracted by her charm. He sat on the white chair opposite of Jane and Dr. Webb without saying a word closed the door and left the two alone.
Ian stayed silently for a few minutes, looking intensely at Jane. She felt uncomfortable and covered her legs and pulled them near her body.
“Good morning, Jane. My name is Ian Hurts,” he said with calm voice.
“Good morning,” she replied in the same tone.
“How are you feeling today?”
“Good.”
“Would you like to tell me what was your day like? Your breakfast for example. Did you take a walk outside, did you talk to anyone?”
“You’re new.” She said sharply.
“Excuse me?”
“I’ve never seen you before. You are new.”
“Yes…” Ian smiled nervously. “…It’s my first time… Yes, I’m new.” He felt the need to talk to her about his own day, his own fears about his first day as an independent psychiatrist. He desperately wanted to share with her the fact that she had the honor of being his first patient. But he didn’t.
“Are you staying in this hospital? Are you going to be like them?”
“Hmmm… if by them you mean the doctors, yes, I’m like them, I’m a psychiatrist, but I’m not gonna be here every day if that’s what you mean. We will have three sessions per week, more if necessary. That will depend on you.”
“It will depend on you. Not me.”
Ian felt more confused than he was in Dr. Webb’s office. He had forgotten all about Mia, and now he was trying to figure out what was going on.
“Jane…” the sound of her name called by Ian warmed her whole body; she felt more comfortable. She took her feet off the bed, and she was now sitting like a professional in an office.
“… what we’re going to try to do together is that we will help you gert through this. Together. You and I are going to help each other, so that you can earn your freedom back. Do you understand that? Do you want that? Do you want to be like you used to?”
“No.”
“Excuse me?”
“Not like I used to.” she said quietly.
Ian smiled with satisfaction. Their first meeting has gone unexpectedly well in his opinion. He could spend hours talking to her if it weren’t for Dr. Webb’s interruption. The hardest part for him was to write his weekly reports as objectively as possible. He didn’t want Lavinia to understand the amount of connection he felt and the comparison he couldn’t help but making with his last victim. Little did he know, that for a professional and a woman as Lavinia, no suspicious behavior could pass by, unnoticed.


It was Sunday afternoon, a day of rest and relaxation, which was about to be disrupted by an unexpected visit. Ian heard the doorbell and ran to the door. He looked by the window, and he hardly recognized the beautiful figure on the front porch. He opened the door and his eyes almost rolled when he viewed Dr. Lavinia Kull standing in tight sports leggings and a gymnastics top that was slightly revealing her abs.
“Lavinia? WOW… I mean… what a pleasant surprise. Come on in…”
“I hope this is not a bad time,” she said while entering the house.
“No, of course not. Is everything ok?” Ian led the way to the living room but could not take his eyes off of her. It was unusual for Lavinia to dress up like this, and Ian had only seen her in a formal suit or dresses, and always during work. He had almost forgotten that she was also a woman and an extremely attractive one. Lavinia sat on the sofa and took a quick glance at the room. Like the rest of the house, it was minimalistic, only the necessary; A sofa, a table, and a big lamp.
“Would you like to drink something?” Ian was extremely polite with his guest.
“I can’t stay long, I’m afraid. I wanted to give you this. It’s an extended diagnosis for Jane’s case. From tomorrow you will give all your written reports to Dr. Webb. He will be a great mentor to you.” She left a big dossier on the table.
“What about you?”
“I’m going to take a little break, Ian. About a month or so. I’ll be on sabbatical. O need to figure something out until I’m completely sure about…” she stopped.
“About what?”
They looked at each other straight for a few seconds. The atmosphere was uncomfortable and intense.
“I just need some rest when I’m ready I will be back. Dr. Webb will help you with your degree and your career.”
“Like he did with you?”
Lavinia stopped. She grabbed her rucksack and stood up.
“I wish you all the best, Ian.”
“Lavinia. It sounds like you’re saying goodbye. What’s going on? You can tell me anything.”
“Can I?”
“Of course.” Ian took a step towards her; she took a step back.
“I have to go,” she turned to leave but Ian grabbed her arm. He pulled her on his body. Their noses touched. Lavinia was breathing hard but did not move. Ian felt the need to hug her and kiss her but didn’t. She raised her head and looked straight into his eyes. They did not talk but they communicated. Ian let her go. She stood for a few seconds and then left. 

“She knows…” whispered Ian.