Home > Sanctum (Asylum #2)(3)

Sanctum (Asylum #2)(3)
Madeleine Roux

Dan’s hands shook as he tore open the envelope. Maybe it was just an apology, he thought—it was entirely possible that Felix’s parents wanted to reach out to him and say they were sorry for all the trouble their son had caused him.

Dan drew in a deep breath and double-checked to make sure he was alone. Through the half-open window he could hear Sandy washing the dishes in the kitchen.

Dear Daniel,

You’re probably surprised to hear from me, and I’d hoped to avoid sending this letter, but it’s become clear that this is the only option.

I really have no right to ask this of you, but please give me a call as soon as you receive this letter. If you don’t get in touch . . . Well, I can’t say I would blame you.


Please call.


Lydia Sheridan

Dan couldn’t decide whether to chuck the letter in the garbage or dial the number right away. Inside, he could still hear the quiet clinking of his mother washing and drying the dishes. He read the letter over again, tapping the paper against his knuckles as he weighed his options.

On the one hand, he would be perfectly happy to forget Felix altogether. On the other . . .

On the other hand, it would be a lie to say that he wasn’t curious about his old roomie’s condition. They had left everything so unresolved. The cold sensation in his stomach refused to go away.

Felix probably needs your help. You needed help, too. Is it really fair to say that anyone is a lost cause?

He looked to the window on his right. His mother was humming now, and the music of it drifted softly out to where he was sitting. A few leaves floated down from the maple tree that lorded over the porch. No matter how many times Paul cut back the branches on it, it kept reaching for the house. But that didn’t stop his dad from trying.

Dan picked up his mobile and dialed Lydia Sheridan’s number before he could think of an excuse not to.

It rang and rang, and for a moment he was certain she wouldn’t pick up. He almost hoped she wouldn’t.


“Hi, Lydia? I mean, Mrs. Sheridan?” His own voice sounded high and strange to his ears.

“That’s me. . . . Who is this? I don’t recognize the number.”

She had Felix’s same soft-spoken manner, but hers was a more relaxed and more feminine version of the voice he could still recall.

“This is Dan Crawford. You sent me a letter asking to get in touch. So . . . Well, I’m getting in touch.”

The line went quiet for what felt like a lifetime. Finally, he could hear Felix’s mother drawing in ragged breaths on the other end.

“Thank you,” she said, sounding like she was on the edge of tears. “We’re just . . . We don’t know what to do anymore. It seemed like he was getting better. The doctors treating him really thought he was improving. But now it’s like he’s hit a wall. All he does is ask for you, day in and day out—Daniel Crawford, Daniel Crawford.”

This news was more than a little unnerving.

“I’m sorry to hear that, but I’m not sure what you want me to do about it,” Dan said. Maybe that was cold, but what was he supposed to do? He wasn’t a doctor. “It’ll probably pass. I bet it will just take time.”

“What about for you?” Lydia demanded.

Dan jerked his head back, startled by the sudden chill in her voice.

“Has it passed?” She sighed. “I’m sorry. I’m . . . I’m not sleeping. I’m just so worried about him. I really hate asking this of you . . .”

“But?” Dan prompted. He didn’t need to. He saw the question coming from a mile away.

“If you could just go to Morthwaite. See him. See . . . I don’t know. I’m begging at this point, do you understand? Begging. I just want him to get better. I just want this to be over.” Dan could hear the tears cracking through in her voice again. “It’s not over for him, Dan. Is it over for you?”

He had to laugh. Did it feel over? No, not by a long shot. The dreams persisted, as terrifying as ever, often featuring the warden himself. It wasn’t over, and as twisted as he knew it was, Dan felt a little relieved to hear that he wasn’t the only one for whom that was true.

“This might not work,” Dan said slowly. “It could make him worse. You realize that, right?” I don’t want that on my head. I can’t have that on my head.

He felt guilty enough for having dragged Abby and Jordan into the mess at Brookline. At least with Felix, he’d been able to tell himself that he was blameless—that that two-faced Professor Reyes had all but admitted to luring Felix down to the basement, where his mind—well, where his mind had stayed, is what it sounded like.

“But you’ll go?” Mrs. Sheridan sounded so happy. So hopeful. “Oh, thank you, please, I just . . . Thank you.”

“So where exactly am I going?” Dan asked, his stomach still one giant knot of dull fear. “And how am I getting there?”

The following Saturday, Dan found himself sitting in the passenger seat of Lydia Sheridan’s charcoal Prius. Tall and willowy, she hunched over the steering wheel as she clung to it. Tight brown ringlets kept escaping from a tortoiseshell butterfly clip that struggled to keep a grip on her hair. Thin-rimmed spectacles crept down the steep slope of her nose.

“Are you sure your parents are all right with this?” Mrs. Sheridan had asked when Dan walked up to her car that afternoon.

“Yeah, of course,” he’d replied, waiting for her to unlock the passenger side door. “It’s just, they’re remodeling the house. Trucks everywhere. We can’t even park in the driveway right now. But they were happy to hear I was headed to see Felix.”

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