Arkham Sanitarium had been built with the best of Victorian intentions. Its endless hallways were graced with large windows to let in sunlight and the grand main building was meant to instil a sense of expert professionalism. The founders' ambition culminated in the claim that it would be the finest lunatic hospital in New England. They would house and cure up to 500 troubled souls with the most advanced treatments and applied sciences. Gone were the days simply locking away an epileptic cousin or belligerent wife in the family attic. They could now be sent to the scenic Massachusetts countryside where their aberrant behavior would be corrected with the finest care. A marvelous hypothesis but hardly feasible in application.
The locals would say that the place was cursed from its construction, muttering that only an outsider bought the rights to that hill. The leading folklore stated that the Sanitarium was established on the grave of a colonial witch hunter and was forever tainted by the dead man's malevolent life. A potential haunting was the least of the budding hospitals' worries, reality provided more than enough hardships. As stated by Mr. Lovecraft it was soon overcrowded and the staff's strategy soon turned from treatment to management of their charges. The change brought immediate and disturbing ramifications.
Patients lay forgotten in the once bright hallways. They were deprived of regular meals, lived amongst their own filth, and had no means of legal recourse. Put simply the patients were no better off than infants, completely at the mercy of their caretakers and incapable of choosing what family they are born into. The Sanitarium was full to the bursting point and the onslaught of new residences never let up. The morality and human decency that formed the founders' dream had rotted into its current state. The walls were soaked in misery right down to the bones and the whole of it groaned defeated death rattle. Arkham Sanitarium was agony and knew no other way.
Mr. Lovecraft stood before this abomination like a sacrifice before the slaughter. He wanted to turn around, to not stop until he hit Rhode Island. Providence was lovely in any season and he desperately missed his aunts. Arkham had nothing left to offer him anymore, the tormented alter to human misery lomming over him had made sure of that.
He entered despite it all. For closure, revenge, Mr. Gears and Graves, or misplaced pride he couldn't say, only that the point of safe return had long since passed. His legs carried him without his conscious consent, his path so well-traveled that it was committed to deep memory. Mr. Lovecraft would remember Arkham Sanitarium until his end and never be rid of the nightmares it caused.
His presence had the desired effect, staff began whispering and scurrying away to alert their superiors. Nurses would be redirected to block any attempted entry to the main hospital and with luck, away from Mr. Graves and Gears' destination. The administration had set up protocols in case of his return, learning from past mistakes. Lovecraft had been loose in the east wing for nearly an hour before the orderlies dragged him and dealt him a vicious sanctioned beating. The author's determination delivered him beyond the pain after all what is an injury in the face of insanity.
"Mr. Lovecraft what an unexpected pleasure."
Dread crawled down Lovecraft's spine and burrowed into the pit of his stomach. Of all the doctors why did it have to be him?
"For both parties, I assure you, Dr. Tallman."
He hadn't heard the doctor's approach; the man was like a sadistic shadow.
"I'm sorry to hear that your last visit was unpleasant." Dr. Tallman feigned concern with well-practiced ease. Lovecraft remembered how comforting it had been at first only for it to decompose into infuriating condescension. He wouldn't be surprised if Tallman had been behind the assault. The good doctor never appreciated questions to his authority and the author had severely tested his patience.
"Unpleasant would be an understatment, given different circumstances I would have taken legal action." It was a bluff and Dr. Tallman knew it. If Mr. Lovecraft had the funds to employ a lawyer, then he would have done so already.
"And what circumstances brings you here today? Surely it cannot concern your late mother." Yes, the doctor was a cruel man, reopening a wound that barely formed scar tissue.
"No," said Lovecraft between ground teeth. "I merely came to bid my farewells. I am leaving Arkham."
A triumphant glint flickered across Tallman's eyes. Had Lovecraft finally broken?
"I am …sorry to hear that. I know that we have had our differences, but have you forgotten my offer?"
Forgotten? Dr. Tallman's recommendation always lurked at the back of his mind; exerting a pressure that weighed on him in even his most untroubled moments.
"You will have to forgive me Dr. Tallman, but I have seen the effectiveness of your care. Any affliction you believe me to have would be better cured by a moment of human decency than a lifetime spent here."
Dr. Tallman's face became a mask of expertly hidden rage. "I swear to you, Mr. Lovecraft, that my concern is well-founded. The latest eugenic theories postulate that anything from criminal tendencies to hallucinations can be passed from mother to child. It could be only a matter of time before you begin seeing wraiths if you are not already."
Tallman was speculating, hoping to see some reaction in Lovecraft that would confirm his assumptions. In truth, there was never a time when the author wasn't haunted by shadows creatures though their visits had diminished since his youth. His mother's were of a different variety, she would envision a woman in red whom she would beg to take her away. Mr. Lovecraft himself had never seen the Red Queen but her shades were always visible to him. His mother had called them Gaunts while in a fevered state and that the faceless winged things were under the service of their Queen. In his dreams, they would snatch him from his bed and carry him through an impossibly dark void to alien worlds.
But his mother hadn't been mad, had she? No more than his vivid night journeys were works of the imagination. That meant the Gaunts were real and their Queen too. Dr. Tallman could never understand that, even if an un-Glamoured Graves and Gears stood before him. The doctor was too metaphysically inflexible, too close-minded; forever destined to remain in a minuscule reality where he lay at the center.
"Perhaps I am mad Dr. Tallman, but I would prefer a hell of my own making than one of yours. Good day Doctor if there is a God then we will never meet again."
Mr. Lovecraft turned on his heel and carried himself out of Arkham Sanitorium with a victorious stride. He felt like he was out of his own body and some confident Other had taken control over him. He had no power over the past, but the future was his own and for the first time he felt like he could seize it.
Then there was a sharp prick of a needle in his neck followed by a complete loss of sensation.
"Incredible, still alive!" The unfocused shape of a man leaned over him. "Your dissection will prove most enlightening."
Fun fact: Arkham sanitarium is a real place.
HP based it off the Danvers State Hospital which if you want some historical nightmare fuel you should google. This place was a literal hell on earth and I based the sanitarium's history off Danvers. If ghosts exist, they would defiantly haunt this place. Dr. Tallman comes from an urban legend involving disappearing patients and the hospital was featured in the incredible horror movie Session 9 and helped inspire Arkham Asylum from the Batman universe.