Silly bit of terror
Housed deep within the bowels of the Mancroft institution, secreted away from all but an elite few, was the psychiatric ward. Deeper still, concealed behind a four-inch thick steel door, guarded twenty-four hours a day by two of the most experienced wardens money could buy, was a corridor.
The walls of the corridor were of a slate grey colour. They conveyed a tunnel like hue under the soft lighting system which guaranteed shadows were non-existent. An electric buzz continually emitted from the high-tech security cameras set in place to ensure every movement from the only patient confined in the unit was monitored at all times. Security was the only aspect of the Mancroft Institution that did not come under the constant scrutiny of the accounts department.
Doctor Hamstead led Professor Ann Winterowly along the painted yellow line. Protocol was of the utmost importance. This was the pinnacle of the grand tour. He wanted to see what kind of woman the new head of the psychiatric unit was. So far she had not flinched and maintained her professional rigidness throughout. This, for him, was the ultimate test. Standing to one side, he gently reminded her not to cross the red line which ran parallel to the entrance of the only chamber within.
Winterowly needed no reminding. Early on in her career she had witnessed first hand the outcome of those lax in their work. She had lost two close colleagues one day for failing to follow procedure, and she herself gained a nice jagged scar along her left upper arm as she attempted to free them from the clutches of a frenzied patient thought no longer a threat.
On reaching the appointed position, she took a deep breath readying herself for the notorious patient imprisoned within. Facing the door which mirrored the one she had just entered, she nodded to Doctor Hamstead who in turn nodded to one of the near invisible cameras.
A warning siren pulsed like a heartbeat as a segment of metal slid to one side. The observation window was two-inch thick bulletproof, bombproof and shatterproof glass. At first Professor Winterowly could see nothing inside the stark chamber. A moment of fear washed over her as she thought he had escaped. For most of her adult life she had waited for this moment. A slight gasp escaped her. She did not know if it was from fear of him escaping and all the consequences that would follow, or from disappointment at having worked so hard for this moment only to be deprived at the last fence.
‘Look to your left, Professor.’ Dr. Hamstead indicated with a nod.
Sure enough, bound in medieval looking manacles and tethered from the ceiling by titanium chains was the suspended figure of Hula-hoop. She couldn’t help it, but as soon as she attempted to take a step forward, Dr. Hamstead’s clutched her shoulder, restraining her movements. ‘Back Professor!’ he warned, ‘that’s one vicious circle.’