Chapter 18

I entered Dr Walkman's office. She smiled at me. It made me feel better, but I had no clue why.

"Good afternoon, Tanya. Would you like a seat?"

I closed the door and sat down. I was feeling on the edge.

"Have you been able to sleep well since the last time we talked?"

I shook my head. Everyone had said the same thing: that I looked so tired, well I couldn't help it!

"Why is that?"

I just looked at the floor, fiddling with my fingers. Eventually I took a breath and said: "Nightmares, why else?"

"And how was school?"

... "Bad."

"Because of the nightmares?"

I shook my head. "Nothing seemed that important. And I felt alone." I expected her to ask another question, but she just gave me a look that said she wanted to know more. I sighed. "No one can understand or imagine what I've been through."

"Did you get any extra attention at school today?"

I knew why she asked me that. All that Sunday my parents kept the reporters from the local paper away, and that was okay, I mean, I didn't feel like telling my story to a bunch of reporters anyway. But nothing stopped any reporter from getting the official reports from the police station. So the front page story in Monday's paper was about me being trapped in a mansion (details unspecified), all the bodies, the solving of many cold cases, thanks to my discovery and the cops did admit that the clues they followed to solve those cold cases were thanks to what I told them. So later on Sunday Alicia's house was raided and they found her torture-basement.  The report could only say that much because while the police report says that I told them about how the boys were murdered, it also says it has no idea how I knew. I suppose 'the victims told me so' is never good enough. Also, there was enough evidence to prove Alicia was guilty without even doing a proper autopsy on her. In the police report her murderer is 'unidentified'. They refuse to believe a ghost killed her but there's no evidence of anyone else.

To answer Dr Walkman's question, I shrugged. "A lot of people said to me I should be a detective. It got awkward when they asked me how I figured out all those cold cases. Some believed me, others didn't, some asked me what drugs I used. Ray's friends believed me, not all of mine did."


There was just silence for a while. I wondered if Dr Walkman even knew what to do.

"Can you describe your nightmares?"

I tensed up. There was no problem describing what I saw in the nightmares-actually that's not true, the nightmares I was having were horrific. I let out a huff. "There's no point describing them. I know why I'm having them, I understand what I'm seeing. You don't."

She watched me steadily. "They're to do with your time inside the abandoned house?"


"Then why don't you tell me your experiences?"

I stared at her. Was she serious? She wouldn't believe me! I grabbed the Pentagram I wore and held it tightly. "I saw ghosts. I saw ghosts that looked alive, I saw deformed inhuman ghosts, I saw the executioner that killed Alicia and one ghost showed me what he went through right before he died! Please! You have to believe me! I know you probably don't but it happened and I don't wanna go to the looney bin!" I sat there panting, just silently pleading that I won't get taken from my home.

Dr Walkman looked surprised. She noted something down quickly, then just asked me a set of questions. "Are you seeing things during the day that other people don't?"

This confused me, but I thought about it. "No."

"Do you sometimes relive moments in flashbacks?"


"Do you find it hard to forget the worst experiences?"


"Are you feeling violent or having any urges to attack someone?"


"Where do you feel the most safe?"

"Um, my home, my room."

She sighed. "In that case, I won't recommend that you be institutionalised."

I needed a moment to ingest that information. "Really? You won't lock me up?" I felt myself smile a little.

"Really." She frowned. "Your case is odd though."

It was my turn to frown. "Why?"

"Feelings of isolation, feeling disconnected or apathetic about your day-to-day life, your trauma catching up with you; they're classic symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Do you know what that is?" I shook my head. "It's a condition that soldiers returning from a war normally suffer from. Sometimes sufferes can also be found among police officers or those who work in emergency services. You've obviously experienced something very traumatic."

"So you definitely believe me?"

She chuckled. "Someone's mental health can't be assessed on whether the patient is telling the truth or not. If people lie, they have a reason. Also, the truth is very subjective. 2 people can experience the same event but recall and interpret different things, that wouldn't make one of them a liar." She sat back in her chair. "So put aside any worries you have about being removed from life as you know it and just tell me everything that happened."

I sighed. "Sure."

And that began my road to recovery, and to the great big unknown that's called the future.
© Ruth Hüneke 2009