Where They Keep Madness


Rain pattered against the roof, echoing through labyrinthine halls. The candle in Jennifer’s hand drizzled slow cascades of wax as its flickering flame cast shadows upon the doors.

The Professor stood by her side, wearing a somber suit. His eyes were black and darting.

“This is the deepest part of the asylum,” he said. “This is where we keep madness.”

Behind one door Jennifer heard the scraping of an iron nail upon a glass violin. From another came a light, a mingling of all colours and shades. Roots crawled around the frame of another, blossoming with flowers made entirely of moonlight.

The last door was still and silent as an ancient oak.

“What manner of lunatics could be kept here?” She turned to the Professor, but he was gone.

“No,” his voice croaked. “Not lunatics. Madness.”

And in the shadows, she saw two black and darting shapes. They came at her in a flurry of feathers and wings: two ravens, beaks gleaming, tongues screeching.

“You can’t let it out,” the ravens cried. “You can’t.”

But Jennifer batted the ravens away and reached for the handle of the last door. She flung it open…

Her laugh echoed forever.

Word Count: 197

This is for Sunday Photo Fiction. Photo credit to J Hardy Carroll.

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