Guards are running, cell doors opening, guns firing, inmates shouting, lights dimming and darkening. The red lights and alarm flash and sound, disorienting me. This is so sudden, with all being well just seconds ago. Is there a system malfunction? How could the patients be leaving their cells? I hear them escaping, their steps growing louder and louder in volume as they approach the gate. They are a stampede of buffalo, ready to trample any obstruction to their path. The deranged inmates cannot be contained, let alone resisted. They screech like hyenas, thirsty for the blood of their oppressors.
I think quickly, moving toward the staircase before me to make my way to Barney, last spotted at the control center. If anybody knows how to overtake this complication, it is him. I climb the stairs, giving me an advantage over the menacing criminals below. Their screeching grows louder and as I climb higher and higher up the rattling stairs. I reach the top, gaining a full view of the catastrophe occurring before my eyes. Across the way, three guards down, in the path of the rioting patients, another seven lay unable to move; unable to breathe. In the midst of surveying my position, I am batted down from behind. I am too disoriented make out the figure before me, for the darkness fills the asylum with a thick, black fog that cannot be seen through. He approaches for a second hit. I draw my weapon. I shoot. He screams. He falls and tumbles. I rise to my feet, hearing more screams and howls through the darkness. Only this time they are not of the irate inmates approaching the main gate. They are among the guards attempting, yet failing to resist them. I had been in their same position just minutes before.
I make my way through the dark to the control center, feeling my way along the railing toward its’ entrance. I reach the door, and before I can open it, I realize that it had been open all along, except this time with broken glass surrounding it. I enter. I search through the blackness for Barney, assuming that he had been injured by the same patient that had attacked me just minutes before. Drip, drip. I can feel a thick and warm liquid pouring off of the control panel. Bzzzzzzz, bzzzzzzz. The gate lever produces sparks, flying left and right and illuminating the surrounding room. I see a figure and know now that it must be Barney. Only he is not standing, nor is his chest rising and falling in a breathing motion. He is draped across the control panel as if he is a blanket covering the sparks flying off of it. I shake his arm. No response. I feel his heart. No beat. I check his pulse. Nothing. The liquid, I now realize is the blood that pours from his torso. The knife, I now understand lays on the floor below me, covered in blood. Barney had not been as lucky as I had been. The asylum manager, and the head guard. The supervisor of all patients, lying dead, brutally murdered before my eyes. This is no riot. No system failure. A Breakout. I, lost in my doubtful thoughts, can now hear the alarming, heavy footsteps of the snarling patients making their way up the steps toward my position. I realize now that nobody is left. I am the final survivor, their final target.
My knowledge of the asylum now is my only hope to make my way to safety. The bridge has two entrances; one of which I had came through, and one of which leads to an alternate hallway. The patients, now approaching the top of the staircase, will enter through the first door, leaving the second as my only hope. Bullets reach the first door. My ears ring as the criminals relentlessly throw themselves at me, and a quick motion to sprint through the opposite doorway saves my life. They continue to chase me, yet I make twists and turns through the dark hallways, allowing only the quick ones to be able to trail behind. Every turn is another pathway into a blinding, black abyss that is the next corridor of the asylum. I blindly turn, smashing into tables and chairs through the darkness. The fast pacing criminals do not trail far behind. I grow fatigued, now knowing my way of escape: the ladder to the roof located in the boiler room, lying just the next corridor away.
I turn left to make my final stretch toward the room of escape, yet this stretch is obstructed by the few patients chasing behind me. A gunshot ruptures my left shoulder as I let out a weeping cry of pain. I cannot stop or I will be shot to death, leaving my only option being to push through the unbearable agony that I experience on my shoulder. I, at last, reach the room, smashing my way through the steel door and leaving me with even more pain to push through. The ladder, off to my left is behind the two central water heaters. In turning left, I am unable to realize the pipe that bursts as I make contact with it, falling to my knees. The darkness assists me in disguise from the criminals, yet increases the horror that I experience as I hear another guard attempting to climb the ladder to the roof in an escape. He is shot down, except this time falls flat, screaming in anguish as two more bullets are placed in his legs. I crawl below the boiler before me, able to make out the three patients that have been able to reach the boiler room. I sweat under the boiler, for I cannot remain here for long. This is my final opportunity to save the life that lies in my hands: that of my own. I reach for the knife I picked up at the control panel. I wait for the footsteps of an inmate to come within close range of the boiler.
He approaches. I count down in my head from three, to two, and to one, now using all the strength left within my aching body to draw the weapon through the vein in his ankle. He cries in pain and drops to the floor. I reach for his gun and aim at the foot of the other patient. I shoot. He collapses. I weakly stand to my feet. The other patient has run in fear of his life. I reach for the ladder with both arms, slowly lifting myself up through the agony consuming my body. As I reach for the last ladder bar and out of the building, I am shot again from behind, this time by the patient who I believed had left the room. He reaches for my leg and pulls with all his might. I shake, but cannot throw him off. We struggle, and I take the action that I should have from the start. I shoot the last round of my pistol, straight through the left shoulder of the patient. He screeches in agony, and my leg is relieved of his grip as he falls lifelessly to the floor below. I make my final reach to the roof before me. I pull myself up with the last of my strength, and the light appears to me. I see the policemen rushing to my aid. A helicopter lands on the roof. The time is 3:00 p.m., and I view the brightest sunshine that had ever appeared to me in my lifetime. I have escaped. I am safe. At last, all is bright.