~SerzenNow, navigating up the gravel path, you are struck once more by the monumental nature of the building. You conclude, ultimately, that Steve was right. Even with all the unexplored passages and things, no one’s likely to be buried there.
After making your way inside, you present your ID badge and the list of files you need to the young, sandy-haired kid at the desk and are ushered down the hall to the waiting room. “Someone will call when we have everything ready,” the kid tells you in an off-key, lisping voice. You choose one of the hard plastic chairs, designed, no doubt, by someone who should be brought up on charges, pull a book from your satchel and settle in for the long wait.
The dim hum of institutional halls, the severe click of hard-soled heels on polished tiles; thick, odiferous air reeks of burnt hair, exhaust fans somewhere far away try in vain to freshen the air. This place didn’t smell fresh the day it was built, no reason it should today.
They simply call everyone in white “staff”, everyone in blue “guest”. The staff call each other “doctor” and “nurse”, call those in blue “patient”. None of the labels mean much, though. If their goal was honesty, they would call the whites “criminals” and the blues “victims”. But that would still only tell a part of the story. To call the whites’ bosses “masterminds” would be to give them some level of genius unevidenced; to call the families of the blues “accessories” or “co-conspirators” would be truthful enough.
This place is supposed to help people, the staff are supposed to look after and care for the guests. People who come here, who are sent here, are supposed to get better, are supposed to go home. You know what happens here, though. You know no one gets to go home, no one gets better.
Even the staff get worse the longer they stay.
In another part of the building, another wing, another floor, some great beastly machine surges to life, is put to its designated task. The exhaust fans slow in protest of this new addition, this new burden. The fans take up their normal duty only when the other machine’s job is done, its purpose fulfilled.
In that other part of the building, that other wing, that other floor, someone gets a little worse.
The sun has drawn close to the horizon when the sandy-haired kid stops by to tell you that a few of the items you requested are not ready yet, but if you come back in the morning everything will be waiting for you. Having long since guessed that would be the case you reply with a curt nod, tuck away your book and head out.
I totally rewrote the next paragraph, but haven't worked the new version into the current text, so I can't share it here at this point. Hopefully, though, this makes a little more sense of the direction I am moving in.