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Return of the Prodigals
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Return of the Prodigals
by Twig

Bwizville Center for Mental and Emotional Welfare

"The coast is clear," Elizabeth hissed as she and Miguel crept along the side of the large building, well out of the view of the security guards patrolling the grounds.
"I still don't see how you plan on busting Charity out from out HERE. She's inside," Miguel protested.
"Ah, yes, but here is where cleverness and planning ahead comes in," Elizabeth grinned as she produced a fold of paper from her pocket.
"What's that?" Miguel asked her.
"A map of the grounds," Elizabeth smirked, "I swiped it from Lenny when he wasn't looking."
"I'm impressed," Miguel slowly nodded his head as they continued to creep along.

"According to this map, we are standing right outside of Charity's room."
Miguel glanced up at the thick stone wall, "Yeah…and…?"
Elizabeth rapped on the wall, "Timmy…Timmy, I know you can hear me."
"You're talking to the doll?"
"TIMMY!" Elizabeth tried again, knocking on the wall, "Knock back if you can hear what I'm saying."
After a moment, a series of knocks came from the other side.
"Timmy, I need you to listen VERY carefully to what I'm about to say…"




Lenny strolled down the corridor, swinging his keys in his hand. He paused right outside of room 666, looking in on the blond girl who was sitting so still on the cot. She held the doll in her lap. The doll looked…like a doll, and not like the living creature he had witnessed earlier that evening. He could almost say that he had been imagining it…
The girl, Charity, looked up and saw him through the plexi-glass window. She smiled at him and perhaps would have waved had it not been for the straitjacket.
As if under some sort of magnetic pull, he found himself unlocking the door and stepping inside.
"Everything all right in here?" he asked.
"Everything's fine Lenny," Charity responded with a bright smile, "But I don't understand why you got so upset earlier."
He looked at her oddly. This was the most she'd said in her entire stay at the asylum.
"The fact that the doll you're holding was alive has a great deal to do with it," he finally stammered.
"Timmy?" Charity looked confused, "Timmy's not alive. Timmy didn't move in the entire time he's been here."
"The doll isn't alive?"
"Of course not! Do you really think I'd want to sit here with a living doll? Come on," Charity smiled at him engagingly.
Lenny, who was kindly but dumb, wavered, "Well—"
"But," Charity continued, "You DO know it's against hospital policy to allow the inmates to keep any unauthorized objects. This doll could be a deadly weapon, if I were one of the more dangerous people here," she grinned, "You really shouldn’t be so careless."
Lenny hastily snatched Timmy out her arms and headed for the door.
"Aww," Charity said as he left, "Bye bye Timmy."
Over Lenny's shoulder, Timmy winked.




"You do realize that we're placing Charity's future in the hands of a doll," Miguel said slowly as he and Elizabeth lurked outside the main entrance.
"Timmy won't let us down," Elizabeth replied firmly, "He wants out too."
"I just hope this plan works."
"It will," Elizabeth nodded, "It will."




Lenny hunched over several flickering security monitors, making sure that none of the patients were staging a dramatic escape. The salvaged doll was perched on a stool next to him, a plastic grin on his face.
"Talking dolls," Lenny muttered to himself as he bit into a candy bar, "I've been working here wayyy too long."
He didn't notice Timmy slowly slide off of the stool and land nimbly on his feet. Nor did he notice as one of Timmy's gloved hands ever so carefully eased the keys out of his jacket pocket. He was oblivious as the small doll crept from the security office and made its way back towards room 666.




Bwizville Center for Mental and Emotional Welfare

"Why is this taking so long?" Miguel paced back and forth nervously.
"Because dolls can't walk as fast as we can," Elizabeth snapped back, ducking out of the way of a flashlight beam that came from the direction of a nervous-looking security guard.
"What if someone sees us?" Miguel persisted.
"If you'd just shut up, no one will even notice that we're here!"
Miguel sighed and leaned against the stone building, "I hope they hurry up."




Timmy, daringly avoiding those pesky security cameras, managed to creep to the door of Charity's room.
"Timmy has come to rescue his sweet Charity," he said breathlessly, as he attempted to reach up and unlock the door.
"Timmy is going to be a hero," he huffed as he turned the key and shoved open the door. Charity was waiting for him, a big smile on her face.
"Took you long enough," she snapped.
Timmy froze. That voice…
He glanced at her neck in horror. Sure enough, the pendant was glowing an ominous yellow.
"MOVE!" Charity boomed, stomping out, her arms still bound in the straitjacket. With a nervous gulp, Timmy hurried after her.




Harmony Hospital

The door to Julian's room burst open, and Grace Bennett came hurrying in, a worried look etched onto her perpetually cheery face.
"Ivy!" she exclaimed as soon as she spotted her, "How is Julian doing?"
Ivy narrowed her eyes suspiciously, "He's fine, Grace."
Grace breathed a sigh of relief and clutched Sam's hand, "Thank goodness. I would feel so terrible for you if something happened to Julian. I know you both have had your differences and all, but just the same—"
"YOU HAVE A LOT OF NERVE COMING HERE!" Julian roared from the bed.
Grace cringed, "What's wrong?"
"YOU TRIED TO KILL ME WITH THAT DAMNED CAKE!"
Grace looked confused, "Kill you? With a cake?"

The door swung open and in paraded Theresa and Ethan.
"Is this true?" Ethan asked in a clipped tone, "Was Father almost killed because of an allergic reaction to a tomato soup cake?"
Ivy could see where this was going, "Ethan, it's not nearly as serious as you—"
"Like hell it's not!" Julian griped from where he lay.
Ethan narrowed his eyes at Sam, "This is all your fault, Chief Bennett."
Sam looked appalled, "How is this MY fault?!"
"You've allowed your wife to run rampant in the kitchen, and now my father has to suffer for your ineptitude."
Ivy attempted to restrain her son, "Ethan…really…this was just a horrible accident! No one…intended for Julian to get sick."
"Chief Bennett should not have allowed his wife to bake such a horrid concoction! I wouldn't be surprised if Chief Bennett brought it over here deliberately to kill Father. I wouldn't put anything past him."
"Ethan, Sam did not—"
"I'm so sorry," Grace suddenly sobbed, "I had no idea my cake would cause so much trouble. I was just…I was just…trying to be NICE!"
Ivy, left with no other options, delicately patted her on the back, "There there Grace."

William heaved a sigh, "Ethan, Mother has told me many wonderful things about Chief Bennett. According to Mother, he is a wonderful man who has everyone's best interests at heart."
"Mother is just trying to ensure my future in politics—"
"IF YOU WANT TO REMAIN MOTHER'S FAVORITE, YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HER!" William exploded.
Ethan immediately calmed down, "Ahem. Chief Bennett, I apologize."
Theresa gazed adoringly at Ethan, "This is one of the things I love most about you. The ability to admit when you're wrong."
Luis glared at them, "Theresa—"
"Luis, leave them alone!" Sheridan sighed, "They aren't bothering anyone."
"They're bothering me."
"YOU are bothering ME!" Paloma suddenly shrieked, glaring hatefully at William.
William glared back, "Paloma Lopez-Fitzgerald, perhaps if you didn't persist in picking fights with me, neither of us would be bothered."

"I need some air," Sheridan sighed, brushing out the door. Luis followed wordlessly, not sure how much more he could take.
"What is going on in there?" he asked as soon as they were alone.
She closed her eyes, "I don't know, but it's giving me a headache."
"Why are Sam and Grace here?" Luis asked finally.
Sheridan raised her eyebrows, "Have you ever bothered to consider the fact that maybe…just maybe…they have no lives?! Why else is Sam always wandering around outside my cottage in the middle of the night, waiting for key moments to interrupt?"
Luis chuckled, "Now that you mention it…"
She smiled at him, "You see? I can be observant."
"If only you could be so observant while driving," he cracked.
She stared at him, trying to look annoyed but ending up more amused, "You know, if I hadn't crashed my car into yours, we would never have met."
He paused, "Somehow, I doubt that. All the times we ran into each other…"
Sheridan sighed, "I'd PREFER to think that something good came out of that little accident, all right?"
Luis leaned towards her, "But something good DID come of it," he whispered.
Their little moment was interrupted by the arrival of TC, who bustled down the corridor with a huge bouquet of flowers in his arms.
"TC?!" Luis seemed startled, "What on earth—"
TC smiled cheerily, looking happier than Luis had ever seen him, "Just bringing some flowers by to wish Julian a speedy recovery."

He hurried into the already crowded room. Luis gaped at Sheridan.
"Am I missing something here?" he asked, startled.
She could only shrug.




Julian yelped in terror as TC hurtled into his hospital room. He held the flimsy blanket over his head.
"GOOD GOD, PLEASE DON'T KILL ME!" he squealed, cowering under the blanket.
TC continued to smile, "Julian, I am only trying to wish you a speedy recovery."
Julian peeked out from under the blanket, "What's the catch?"
"No catch," TC beamed, handing Julian the flowers. "Well, I must be going. Have a wonderful day."
He limped out the door, Eve narrowing her eyes when she saw that his hands and arms were adorned in thick rubber gloves.
"Julian," she said after a moment, "I wouldn't touch those—"
She was too late. Julian already had his face buried in the blossoms, "Ah…Fresh flowers. Such…fascinating leaf structure. Perhaps the brute isn't as…brutish as he seems…"
"Julian…" Ivy suddenly recognized just what exactly those flowers were.
"Why…why are my hands itching?" Julian suddenly asked.
"You of all people should know," Ivy muttered disdainfully, "Since you seem to DELIGHT in calling me that."
Julian's face contorted in a mask of horror, "Poison ivy?"
Eve sighed, "I suppose I'll be adding calamine lotion to the list of medical supplies needed…"

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