[WP] You’re a nurse working nightshift at an asylum.

I've always hated the night shift.  The hours always seem to drag.  It's hard to imagine how just twelve short hours can feel like a lifetime.  But, after all, we must all take our turn.               "Hello," a warm, shaky voice calls out to me.  It's origin a shriveled figure settled in a wheelchair and cloaked in a fleece blanket.             "Hello, Mrs. Newman."  I responded warmly.  We're not supposed to have favorites, but I have always been fond of the old woman.  Her husband admitted her to the hospital over thirty years previously as her schizophrenia began to make itself more apparent.              "Hello," the old woman called out as I made my way into the grand entryway.  I have always hated the nightshift, I thought as I made my way to each room.  The cart rattled as I pushed it, jarring the little white cups atop its surface.  Each patient smiled as they obediently took their little cup, tipping it to their lips, and swallowed the contents.  Some of them even giggled a friendly greeting.  I hesitantly smiled back.    Those who are able, I took to the cafeteria for dinner.  The room was alight with friendly chatter and warm laughter.  Even Mrs. Newman appeared to enjoy herself, surrounded by likeminded patients.  It almost made me smile.   The sun began to set.  The security staff took their leave, the wrought iron gates echoed behind them.  I could almost hear the lock clicking into place over the night breeze.   I heard my heartbeat in my ear as I scampered around the hospital, gathering all patients' nighttime vitals as the sky slowly began to darken.  The rhythmic pounding of my feet was the only sound in the sterile corridors of the ancient building.  I hate the night shift, I thought, as I continued my plight.   As the sky grew darker, the empty hallways began to fill with the sound of screams.  Starting with a lonesome wail, the hall soon vibrated with a chorus of cries.              "We all must take our turn."  I whispered comfortingly to the newest addition to hospital staff.  She offered an uncertain smile through the stream of tears running down her face.  I had a grim suspicion she would be putting in her notice in the morning.  Leaving the new hire with the more seasoned nurse, I made my first round of the night.  Patients banged on their metal doors, harmonizing with the now deafening skreiches filling the hallways.  Some used the legs of what once were chairs.  Others utilized a more simplistic means, opting instead for their fists or heads.  Reaching the end of my route, I turned once more for the nurses' station.  My stride hastened to a sprint as the sound of footsteps joined mine.  Laughter mingled with the screams in the air as I passed door after door.  The occupants of the hospital were promising to be particularly unruly tonight, I thought.   The other nurses and I locked the doors to the nurses' station.  Not risking drawing attention of any patients, we sat in silent darkness.  The haunting wails and sardonic laughter surrounding us.  The hours dragged by, marked by the painful tic-tic-tic that scared the carefully crafted silence.  Yet, time ticked past.  It was time for rounds.  Creeping from the silence, I painstakingly made my way up and down the crowded corridors.  As silence once more took hold of the hall, I knew that my frantic heartbeat must have given me away.  My breath caught in my throat as the patients' grinning faces turned toward me.  Sweet Mrs. Newman rose from wheelchair, her uneven steps hastening to meet mine.  I hate the night shift, I thoughts as I passed by what was once a haven.  The station's door having been left askew, it was now occupied by individuals dressed in matching blue and white stripped gowns, all streaked with red as they clawed through the carts, wiping their hands on the cotton material.   I cursed the new girl as I raced down the stairs, Mrs. Newman matched each step.  We ran through the entryway.  People gathered there that night, each joined in a silent dance to music only they could hear.  I pushed my way through, reaching the narrow stairs that lead further down. What little light there had been dropped away.  Each step into the darkness was matched with a prayer.  The stone gave way to soft mud as I ran.  Yet the pounding of feet echoed behind me.              "Hello," Mrs. Newman growled behind me, as we made our ascent from the dark.  The second building mirrored my own.  I just had to reach the nurses' station, refuge in this asylum.  Cold air rushed from the open doors of the second building.  Patients poured into the moonlight.  Their hysterical laughter coasted down the cobbled road.  Chains rattled as they pressed against the gate.              "I hate the night shift," I screamed into the void as I ran.  My proclamation was met with only giggling from behind me.   At last, I reached haven.  My fellow nurses welcomed me with warm open arms.  We huddled together as the tic-tic-tic of the clock lulled us further into the night.  The sound was deafening.  Patients pounded against the doors to the small room.  Slowly light began to filter through the window.  The screams quieted.  Laughter subsided.  Patients returned to their rooms.  We emerged from our sanctuary, taking stock of the damage from the dark.  I returned to my perspective building.  The nurses gathered, cleaning the remnants of the night.  Before long, there was no evidence of the happenings.  As the clock struck six, it was time for us to leave.              "Welcome to all of you!"  A cheerful voice boomed through the silence.  My supervisor greeted a sea of optimistic faces.  "You have all made a wonderful decision in joining the Westview family!" As I reached door, a cold hand shot from under a warm, fleece blanket.  Mrs. Newman's clouded eyes met mine.             "Good morning, Megan."  She said warmly.  "Will I see you tonight?"             I hate the night shift.

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