by TJ Marie
Justin is haunted by his imaginary friend Toby
Prompt: I always thought it would end badly. I just didn't think it would end quite this way
Word Count: 5006
I always thought it would end badly. I just didn't think it would end quite this way. Stuck in my mind unable to escape. This place is strange and the voices get louder with every minute. The pinging is back, I need to get out of here, now! Justin is running around the padded room loosing his mind. His arms are restrained in a straight jacket which prevent full mobility of his body. His mop of chocolate-brown hair is flopping all over his head. It is a shame a twenty-two year has been driven to this condition, he had his whole life ahead of him. Falling to the ground unable to do anything else, Justin bashes his head over and over again on the ground.
Security who watches the spectacle call Dr Browne, immediately. He quickly stopped writing his notes of another patient, grabbed his syringe from his fridge, and continued on his way to room 3D.
Doctor Browne has been practicing psychiatry for thirty years, this case, especially has him feeling that he needs to take a vacation, very soon. He has black pepper hair with black sleek, stylish glasses, with a bit of a pouch, putting on the pounds as he goes into his older years of life. The five foot eight inches of the man opens the door to Justin smashing his head on the floor while muttering to himself, "I didn't do it. They took it from me."
With the syringe in his right hand, Dr Browne proceeds slowly toward his patient, attempting some communication, "Justin, I am Dr Browne. I have come to help you. Can you stop banging your head?"
Justin stops for a moment, kneeling on the ground with his head hanging above the ground frozen like a statue, rocking back and forth. His head comes up quickly, with dark black eyes, foaming at the mouth with a hideous look in his face, screaming, "Nnoooooo!" He starts banging his head quite a bit harder with every hit he screams in a high pitch voice, "Nooooooo!" This display brings chills down Dr Browne's back, in all of his years of practice he has never seen a case quite like this before. Approaching Justin slowly, checking for any spot of skin he could inject the medicine so his injuries could be looked at because some blood can now be seen running down his face. These rooms are specifically designed to hold patients who are in such damage their illness forces them to harm themselves.
Dr Browne finally sees a spot and goes for it and plunges the syringe into Justin's skin and before he could react his body fell to the floor. Calling for assistance, Dr Browns says, "I got him. Can someone come down here and attend to his wounds?"
A gurney is wheeled into the room and Justin is lifted on it and taken away. "Thank you. I have to go contact the family. I am only a psychiatrist and can only do so much. This is my most challenging case to date."
"Hello, may I please speak with Chelsea Blake?"
"Yes, this is Chelsea. How can I help you?"
"Chelsea, this is Dr Browne. I am looking after your husband's case. I was wondering if you could visit my office today so we can discuss your husband?"
Chelsea paused for a minute, then responded, "Today will not be good."
"When would be a good time?"
"I do not want to come at all."
"I see. That explains why you have not been here at all to visit him, I assume."
"Dr Browne, I appreciate you taking his case and all. I am afraid, he is beyond hope. Meeting with you will only bring up memories I would like to forget."
"Do you love this man?"
"That is none, of your business. This conversation is over and I would appreciate it if you did not contact me again."
"Then would you please be so kind as to provide another contact, such as another family member."
"There is no one. He killed them all if you must know and almost killed me. You can check The Herald on Spetember 15, 2014 in the small town of Waterton, Kentucky. Actually, all the information you seek can be found through the newspaper. They wrote about him very accurately which is unusual for a newspaper nowadays. Good day, Dr Browne."
Dr Browne is still sitting in his chair at his desk with the phone on his ear listening to the dial tone, he says to himself, "Now it is time for some research."
He pushes the end button, putting the phone down on his desk, and turns on his computer. Bringing up the Google search engine he puts in The Herald, September 15, 2014 in Waterton, Kentucky and pushes the send button. There are about 1,070,000 results in 0.83 seconds, the beauty of technology with knowledge at your fingertips. The first article he clicks on is titled, 'Mad Man Goes on a Hit List' in summary outlines the murder of his family members and the attempted murder of his wife, she is the only surviving victim. Something near the bottom of the article caught his eye, 'When police showed up they found Justin curled up in a fetal position, rocking back and forth saying over and over again, "Toby did it. Toby did it." No one knows or will confirm who Toby is or what this means.' This is where I need to start.
Pulling out Justin's file from the file cabinet, he begins to read from the beginning. The name Toby shows up quite a bit, which explains here he is his childhood imaginary friend whom he blames all the bad things happening in his life, he has not taken full responsibility for his life. There is a knock at the door and Dr Browne responds, "Come in."
A nurse pokes her head in and says, "Sorry to disturb you sir. You might want to come see this, Justin is coherent and is wondering why he is here. He is still in 3D."
"Excellent, I am on my way."
Picking up a notebook with a pen and taking a knockout syringe he placed it in his pocket, just in case. Approaching 3D he put his hand on the fingerprint reader and gained entry, seeing Justin sitting cross-legged in the middle of the floor. He approached him slowly saying, "Hello Justin. I am Dr Browne. One of the nurses has said you have some questions to ask me."
Looking up at Dr Browne in confusion, he says, "I have lots of questions. Like, what happened to me? Why am I here? Where is Chelsea?"
"First of all, I have just been reading some material about you and why you are here. You did some bad things to your family and to Chelsea. Chelsea has not been here since you arrived and when I spoke to her a few moments ago, she does not want to see you."
Tear start welling up in Justin's eyes and they trail down his cheeks, "Why? I don't remember what happened."
"First of all, let's start with what you do remember. You are purposely blocking traumatic events from yourself at the moment and if I tell you everything right now you probably will not be able to cope. We will start at the beginning and work our way up to the parts you do not remember and maybe when we get to that point your memory may be more clear than it is right now. Tell me about Toby."
Justin was ten years old when his friend Toby showed up. At first they were inseparable, not long afterwards strange things started happening around the house. Drawers left open, a broken vase, the front door being left open, the one event that started it all was the paint. Toby decided he did not like the color of my room, so he took a red paint that my dad used to paint his car and attempted to paint my room red. My mom walked in and saw the masterpiece while I was at school.
While she was yelling horrible things to me Toby whispered in my ear, "I did it!"
Interrupting her rants I said, "He did it. It was not me. Toby did it, mom."
My mom's response, "There is no Toby. You do not want to take responsibility for your actions and so you blame someone else. I did not raise to be like this, Justin."
This was the event that created so much anger inside of me towards my mom and Toby. From that point on Toby wanted me to do things to hurt other people. He would tell me, "I can't hurt people like you can anymore and I have chosen you to hurt them for me. If you don't help me, then I will hurt your family."
About a week later Toby wanted to experiment with the family cat Squeezems. At first Justin said no to him and in the end Toby won the argument, he always won in the end. That night when everyone was asleep Toby influenced Justin to go get the cat which was easy because he was waiting just outside Justin's room, almost like he knew. Justin brought him in his room and closed the door. Toby has been practicing picking heavier objects up, so he picked up the cat and whirled him in the air.
Justin said, "Toby stop that. You are scaring him."
Toby responds communicating the words in Justin's mind, I am having fun. Watch this. Toby threw the cat across the room with the force of five men it seemed, he broke his neck with the impact of landing against the wall and dropped to the floor.
Justin started screaming at the top of his lungs, which of course woke his parents who came rushing to his room. They saw Squeezems when they first walked in. His mother said, "Justin, why did you kill the cat? How could you do this? Did you know this is how serial killers start out?"
Justin tried to speak at first and nothing would come out. Eventually, he got out in a whisper, "Toby did it."
"Now Justin we had this conversation at least a week ago about Toby. There is no Toby and you are using him as an excuse to take personal responsibility for your actions. I know you are only ten years old, you do know right from wrong, I taught you that." Justin's father walked over to Squeezems and took him out of the room. "See, you have upset your father so much he can't even speak with you right now. What are we going to do with you?"
Justin did not even try to explain or say anything, it would not do any good. No one wanted to know the truth which is, there are invisible people wandering around influencing us to do things. These types of things are only supposed to happen in the movies or that is what I have been told. "Since you will not speak for yourself, I will be speaking to your father about this and we will talk about this again in the morning. Now get some sleep it is late and you have school in the morning. Do not even think about skipping school tomorrow."
Justin's mother left his room and all he could do was throw himself on his bed, bury his face in his pillow and cried himself to sleep that night.
"Justin let me see if I have this correct. You say that your imaginary friend picked up a paint brush when you were ten and painted your wall. That you were not responsible for that event. You are also saying that your imaginary friend picked up the family cat and threw him across the room, with enough force to break his neck. That you were not responsible for this event either."
"Yes, that is correct. I know it sounds crazy. There are what some call ghosts and others call them spirits, it does not matter what you call them because they exist and they exist whether people want to believe or not. As time went on the situations got worse."
"What do you mean by that?"
After the incident with the cat, he seemed to go away somewhere for a while, Justin thought he was gone for good except he was wrong. Justin is now seventeen, he asked out Patricia, who is the first girl he has fallen in love with, and his father has agreed to loan him the car for the night for the first time; his father seems more excited about this date than he does. Just before he leaves the house, Justin calls out, "I'm leaving. Don't wait up."
Both of his parents reply, "Have fun, honey and drive safe."
On the drive over he goes over and over in his head what he will say on his date when a thought interrupts him, Are you going to nail her?
In shock Justin pulled the car over to the side of the road and screams, "Toby, get out of my head!"
At this point he should have turned around, went home and cancelled the date, except he could not resist the long chestnut brown hair and emerald-green sparkling eyes. He didn't hear Toby anymore, so he started the car, backed up and continued his way to Patricia's house. Knocking on her door, he was welcomed with her big smile lighting up her beautiful face like an angel in a deep-purple dress showed her body off nicely. "Hi, Patricia. Are you ready to go?"
She grabs her purse, locks the door and walks with him to the car which opens her door for her. After he gets in and starts the car up backing it out of the drive way, he asks her, "Where do you want to go?"
"Sam was telling me the other day about a new place called, Stephanos. She said it was really good and I have been wanting to go and try it."
"Sure, anywhere you want to go. I have been hearing good things about the place myself."
After driving along the deserted road for about ten minutes the car started to move on its own over to the side a bit, then it swerved down the dirt road and drove a bit on its own. A confused look is on Patricia's face, she asks, "Justin what is happening?"
Justin replies, "I don't know. You did see the car moving on its own, right?"
With a look of terror in her face, she replies, "Yeah, you need to stop that now. It is one thing to show off, right now you are scaring the shit out of me."
Justin, are you ready for some fun?
Justin realizes this is the work of Toby, he is not sure how he can stop any bad things from happening because whenever Toby is around, bad things always happen. Patricia's car door opens and she is hurled like a football onto the grass. They are both in shock about what just happened, Justin tries to get out of the car except his door seems to be jammed and when he slid across the seat to go out the passenger door, that door slammed shut as well with no way to open it. All he can hear are Patricia's screams, over and over again, he put his music on as loud as he can while holding his ears, attempting to block out the sound, it didn't work. He couldn't even look to see what was happening to his girl because of the fear seizing him, he allowed it to take over his body, even though he felt like he was completely mad in his mind. After the screaming stops, the fear starts leaving Justin and he takes a peak out the window. It is ok now Justin, my fun is over. She was a beauty and I can see why you were attracted to her. Find me another one.
He sees Patricia is lying on the grass with her head turned at an unnatural angle, fear grips him again, he starts the car and drives.
"Justin, do you realize what you have just told me?"
"Yes, I do. You are the first one I have told and since I am already in a padded cell, probably because of Toby, then I need to tell someone everything if anyone is ever going to believe me. If I leave out parts now my story will be incomplete."
"Let me see if I understand. You took out a girl Patricia when you were seventeen. This spirit you call Toby took control of your car and drove to a different location than the agreed restaurant between you and your date. Toby took Patricia had his fun with her then left her dead and you drove off without checking on her."
"Yes, I did. I was scared about what would happen to me because my whole life I have been told that Toby does not exist and the truth is, he does exist."
"You understand that I have to check on this girl now and if she is dead or missing you will be held responsible."
"Yes, I do."
"Ok. What is the last thing you remember?"
"Before waking up here. I remember being at home with Chelsea and we were having a discussion... about a baby. Chelsea wants to have a baby and I am just not ready especially with the problems I have had all my life, I could not bring a child into our life just yet."
"Why did you decide to be with Chelsea then? Wouldn't you hinder her life as well, being the way you are?"
"I would have preferred to be alone. Chelsea was kicked out of her home because she did not want to be the family slave anymore and her father was forcing her to do things a father should not. We were just friends at the time, been friends all through high school and I told her she could stay with me for a bit. Things led us to get closer and we could not resist each other. With both of us come from shattered lives, we found comfort with one another. She was also familiar with weird things happening around me, although I did not tell her about Toby until the discussion we were having about having a baby."
"Can I show you something?"
"I will be right back." Dr Browne leaves the padded room to go to his office. He prints the newspaper article from his computer and returns to room 3D. "Take your time to read this article and tell me if it seems familiar to you."
Justin starts reading and memories start flooding back in his mind. The out of control rage, the knife with blood on it, the bodies all around, so many dead bodies.
"Darling, I have something to discuss with you."
Justin looks up at Chelsea putting down the book he was reading, saying, "Yes. What would you like to discuss?"
"I have been thinking about this for a while and I would like to have a baby, with you."
"I really do not think this is a good time. We went through our savings already on the trip to the Dominican. One of the best times of my life with you, sweetheart."
"Justin, I have this feeling in me which feels like a need about having a baby."
"I should have told you about this before. I am sorry, I didn't. The main reason I do not want to have a baby is because, now this might sound strange, it is real, I have a spirit named Toby who has been haunting me since I was a boy. Now you have noticed since you met me strange things happening when I am around and that is why those things happen. I haven't told anyone because my mother tried to force me to think that Toby was not real. I could not do that when he has been bothering me for a long time and the only problem is I was the only one that could see him."
"Actually, your mother did mention this Toby to me and said that you have some trouble taking personal responsibility which is why Toby exists at all. Start taking responsibility and Toby will be a figment of your imagination."
The bowl of salad greens with samphire added for flavor flew across the room and smashed against the wall. Pictures started to fall off of the wall with their glass smashing and the frames splintering to pieces. "This is what happens when he gets angry. Things break, then people start getting hurt."
Fear is written all over Chelsea's face, she says, "Are you threatening me?"
"No. See, there is no need for threats because I have always been interested in telling the truth about this situation. It is everyone else that does not want to hear the truth. We have people arriving for our dinner party tonight, within the hour. We can have a serious discussion later about this when we have more time. Why don't you put on the new necklace I bought you last week and show it off to everyone? Sweetheart, I don't want you upset when our family is here. We will work it out, it may take some time, ok." Justin wraps his arms around Chelsea and gives her a sensuous kiss leaving both of them hungry for each other. He pulls away and says, "Hold that thought, I gave you something to think about tonight and when everyone leaves. I will make passionate love to you any way you want."
"You are right, we need to get ready."
All the guests have arrived, the food has been set out, and everyone is enjoying each other's company. Out of nowhere, a voice says in Justin's head, We are going to have fun tonight. Go get a coat hanger and let the games begin. Out of all the times, Toby is not wanted tonight, which will explain Justin's reluctance to do what Toby wants; this is starting to get tiresome. You know what will happen when you do not do what I say, there is no going back now.
A loud crash is heard from the kitchen and everyone went to go see what it was. All of the pans hanging on their rack fell to the floor and people are looking for other mishaps in the kitchen. Justin and Chelsea were at the back of the sea of guests and they did not see it coming until the knife drawer flew open with all the kitchen knives flying towards the guests. For a moment, Justin was in absolute terror about what was happening and Patricia popped into his brain just for a second triggering the memory. He grabs Chelsea, taking her back into the living room in shock and fear both of them are a loss about what to do, at first. Out of curiosity, he had one last look in the kitchen, he regretted immediately because he saw his butcher knife slicing through the air toward his parents, chopping off both their heads. After witnessing his parents death he felt himself shut down and realized someone else was in his body with him. Thank you for letting me in, friend.
Chelsea walks over to the coffee table, picks up her cell phone, and says, "I am calling 911."
Justin walks over to her, trying to take the phone from her, saying, "No. Not yet."
"Justin we have at least some injured in the kitchen, maybe someone is dead too. We need help."
Justin went into a rage because Chelsea refused to do what he wanted. His eyes turned ebony-black, all the emotion left him an empty shell operating his body with the control of Toby. This was the first time Toby actually entered his body and was wondering why he did not do this sooner because it was so much better than just influencing Justin to do things. He directed Justin to go to the closet and take out a coat hanger. Returning to Chelsea, Toby directed Justin wrap the wire around Chelsea's throat. As he approached Chelsea, she asked, "Justin, what are you doing? What are you going to do with that coat hanger?"
Justin's facial features hardened as he got closer to Chelsea. His lip started to sneer in a way it had not done before and had some spittle on the side of his mouth. He spat out, "Pretty lady, I am Toby. All of you should have believed the story Justin told you all the truth his whole life, no one believed him. Not one person took the time to hear him. I am the only friend he has and will ever have, now you will meet me in hell. I cannot wait to spend eternity with a lovely morsel as yourself. It will be easier if you hold still or we can play a game if you like. It is up to you."
"I don't care what this sick mind fuck is. I am out of here."
Chelsea grabbed her cell phone and call 911. "Hello, 911. What is your emergency?"
In a shaky scared voice, Chelsea replies, "We have some people hurt in my kitchen and my husband is trying to kill me. Please..."
Grabbing the phone out of Chelsea's hand, Toby throws the phone on the ground and smashes it with his foot. "This is not the time for phone calls."
Sirens can be heard from the distance and approaching getting louder and louder until the noise stops at their arrival. Justin goes into a spasm for a moment, then collapses on the living room floor, curling up in a fetal position, rocking back and forth, he mutters over and over to himself, "Toby did it. Toby did it."
Police officers and paramedics rush into the place taking charge of the situation. Justin is in handcuffs and under arrest while the paramedics are frantically trying to save the people lying on the kitchen floor except everyone there has their heads cut off. There is no hope for anyone.
The last thing Justin can hear Chelsea say as they dragged him out of his home is, "He doesn't just need to be thrown in a jail cell. He needs some help, he is not all there in his mind. I am stressing this to you because, I do not want him to hurt anyone else. I need to check on our family in the kitchen. How are they?"
Officer Brady looks at Chelsea with concern, telling her, "I really do not know how to tell you this. No one survived in the kitchen."
Chelsea collapsed on the floor in a fit of tears, feeling her grief to the fullest extent. There would be no consoling her and Officer Brady didn't know how else to handle the situation. This has never happened before in the whole thirty years on the force.
"Just for clarification, Toby the spirit killed your family in the kitchen and then took over your body and attempted to kill your wife, Chelsea."
"Yes, you are correct."
"What if I was to tell you that everyone is correct about Toby being a figment of your imagination. Your mother has been correct in stating that you do not want to take responsibility for your own life, so you created this Toby to blame all the bad things that happen to you. What do you think about that?"
"It is not important about what I think, it is more important about what Toby thinks. You will see soon enough."
"Are you threatening me, Justin?"
"No, I am telling a truth you do not want to hear. That is one of the biggest problems in society, people would rather live and believe a fairy tale story than the truth. The truth confronts everything you believe in and can shatter a life in seconds while the fairy tale feels like it can go on forever."
"Are you the doctor now?"
"No, you asked a question and I answered you. Very simple."
"No Justin, it is not very simple as you put it."
As the doctor is discussing things with Justin, Toby decides it is time to play a game. He carefully takes the syringe out of Dr Brownes pocket.
Dr Browne notices something out of the corner of his eye. A long needle is seen coming towards him with a clear liquid filled the barrel. Blink his eyes to make sure he was seeing correctly, it occurred to him to check his pocket. As he did so the syringe continued floating through the air towards him. Sweating with fear, he stammers, "What is going on here?" The syringe started swinging back and forth like it was trying to dance with him.
"I told you, you do not have to worry about me at all, Toby will always make himself known"
Toby began to get bored, he lunged the syringe hard into Dr Browne's hazel eye. With the protruding needle sticking out of his face he fell over onto his back without moving or a sound. Justin walked up to his body, remarking, "You should be more careful around people who are committed in a padded room. You let your defenses down and you have perished for being critical of something you have no idea how to even understand it."