the short story project


Jay Heard

The Diary of Vladimir

January 5th, 1922

A note for the Reader,

Hello Reader. I bought this diary for the purpose of showing you my progress throughout the early year.  My name is Vladimir Ivanov, and I work as a psychologist. My colleagues usually don’t deal with patients as extreme as I do, and prefer the more… well… “prescribable” people. I work at the Romanov Psychiatric Ward in Volgograd and I visit only twice a week. The following logs are my detailed experiences talking to the patients and getting to know them, as well as my experiences inside the facility. This is of course classified information, hence why I’m only allowed to visit twice a week. What you do with this information is up to you. I may not even see this diary ever again.

January 15th, 1922

My first encounter with the twins

A long brutal workday, and I have stared insanity right into its gaping jaws. “The twins”, is what the guards call them. Galina is the more “colorful” and confusing out of the pair. Then Alyona, who is much quieter and more willing to cooperate. Both are stricken with PTSD from the civil war (that still rages on) and depression. They have both been in the path of war and destruction, experiencing the unwanted fear of death. Galina has been stuck in a destroyed house while dodging the bloodthirsty Bolsheviks and forced to eat the rats as there was no other source of food. Her file also explains that she has seen her husband executed right in front of her (She was very hidden, but still saw the events).

Alyona, has been wronged by her husband one too many times, was also stuck in the same house with her sister, had to eat rats to survive, and also dealt with the scare of bombshells dropping right next her.

When I had the opportunity to talk to them, both sat in chairs next to each other. They are inseparable, so this of course had to be done. Both sisters were put into straight jackets for the safety of each other (and me of course).

I asked a simple question after introducing myself, “Please, tell me about yourself.”

The last word couldn’t even get out as Galina interrupted and started to bark about her past. She incorporated the gunshots, the feasting on rats and mice, and the execution in disgusting detail. Once she was finished I asked Alyona the same question, but she didn’t say a word and only looked to the side.

I then said, “You are both safe in this room with me. The rats, explosions, gunshots, and death can’t reach you here. I promise that you both will be safe.”

Alyona started to shed tears as her sister did the same. After they started to quiet down, I went through the standard procedures to work on their PTSD. I did a method that few doctors did, and I called it “remembrance technique”.  I told them about how to look at the traumatic events differently, as something that once happened and is now lost in past. That it can’t get to them, and the memories and flashbacks are only reminders of a time that will never happen again.

After I was done, I left the room and the guards had no issue of escorting them out and back to their room. I believe that my technique is working, as the twins reportedly had been getting more sleep ever since I left.

January 23rd, 1922

Getting to know the interior

Inside the Romanov psychiatric ward, it’s like a different Earth. The patients are by far either too insane to talk to or help, or the higher officials won’t let me help the patients like I have been hired to do. The only person that has at least made my experience with the sane-minded a worthy experience was a nurse named Matilda.   

Matilda had green eyes, blonde hair, and skin that is as lighter than the rays of the sun. During my lunch period she would walk over a plop down next to me and talk to me. She would ramble on about her time here, the crazy stories with her and the patients, and what she does when she gets home. This nurse was a friendly, kind soul who actually cared for the insane.

The guards never liked their jobs, and seemed quite miserable despite what they were getting paid. They never liked having to detain the patients, and especially hated patient-1089. Patient-1089 was a schizophrenic, and constantly yelled at the guards to be quiet (they always were), or kept begging for some dangerous object. Patient-1089 would also try to attack whoever is in the cell with him, and trust me, that man is strong.

The Romanov psychiatric ward is a place of many secrets. I’m not allowed within many rooms, only allowed to speak to so many patients, and paid a lot of money to keep my mouth shut to keep quiet for whatever I see. Why I was hired, I do not know. Matilda is the only person that doesn’t mind her stay, and this raises questions for me. Perhaps her pay is more than mine, so she just turns a blind eye to everything. I still cannot put my finger on this…

Tomorrow I have an interview with a patient, and I’m a little scared. They say he has attacked whoever steps inside his room, and most doctors are unable to make him cooperate. Pray for me.

January 24th, 1922

There’s No More Room for the Damned

I suppose why you think I say there’s no more room for the damned. My interview with patient-1037 has opened more questions for this place. This man is stuck on Earth, unable to pass on, and I believe I know the secrets behind his pain.

As I entered my patient’s room, nothing felt right. He sat in the middle of the interview room, 4 guards waiting behind the one way mirror, all armed. I was given a gun for my safety. Patient-1037’s name is Evan and his story opened my eyes.

I didn’t get to open this interview up. He immediately started to speak, “I know why your here. To talk to me about my mental illness. I have a panic disorder and a severe anxiety disorder. I have a reputation for attacking the people that try to help me, and it’s only because they want me gone.”

I was writing this down and then I heard the last words of his sentence. I replied, “What? Why would they want you gone? You are a patient, and you must be treated.”

Evan would only scoff as he adjusted himself in his chair, “I was a Bolshevik, and you can understand why they hate me. I served my time, and I remember everything.”

Before I replied, I thought of something. What if they want him gone? Because he was a Bolshevik? I must know more. With a haste response I said,

“Bolshevik? Why are you here instead of prison? Why do you attack those who are trying to help you?”

Evan would smile, and adjust himself in the chair. He then replied,

“ You see, this isn’t a place for the mentally ill to be sick. It’s a prison, and its a gov-”

Before Evan could get the rest of his sentence out guards would burst in and started to point their guns at him. I hopped out of my chair and ran to the side of the room so I wouldn’t be shot. Each guard had high powered rifles, the same that were used in the Great War and the Civil War. The guard in the middle barked,

“Quiet you! Mr. Ivanov, your interview with this demon is over. Make your way out now.”

Of course without hesitation I bolted out the door as quickly as I could. As i did, my mind was flooded with questions. What was Evan going to say? Was it something he meant? Or a deluded saying only to make me question my job. I must know more.

Only a few seconds later after I left the room, yelling was thrown between the patient and the bruting guards. Insults were volleyed back and forth (God forbid). My work journal was still in my hand and for some reason, I had the gun still in my jacket. As I went to open my journal, a loud crash occurred in the room, and then ear splitting cracks. All noise went silent, and myself being a curious monkey, entered the room.

Evan lied there, still in a pool of blood. His look of hatred and delusion reminded me of the Great War. The guard that told me to leave, as he chambered another bullet into his rifle, and looked at me. The other guards turned as well, and the ringleader grabbed me and took me to a room for interrogation.

February 5, 1922

Secrets within Locked Chests

I’m sorry for my disappearance reader, you’re probably wondering on why my last passage was some time ago. You see, that interrogation, it answered questions.

Once I was in the room, the guard who shot Evan was sitting from a table across from me. His grizzled beard and crusty eyes signified he had aged, not well. He had a gun on the table and he asked me a question.

“Do you understand why you are here?”

I of course had no clue why, I then said,

“No sir. I have no idea of why I am in this room.”

The guard sighed as he then responded,

“Mr. Ivanov, your here because the patient that died has given you classified information, do you know what I am talking about?”

I was confused and scared. My mind was like a bird on fire, it’s all over the place. I said with hesitation,

“No. I don’t know this information you speak of.”

The guard, of course, didn’t believe me. He played it off with this sentence,

“Alright then. Mr. Ivanov, I do believe you, you see Patient-1037 was a madman from the civil war. His allegiance with the Bolsheviks meant prison time but, his mental issues landed him in here, a smaller, and much more personal, hell.”

I took the information with caution, of course I didn’t trust him, but I atleast needed to get out of here. The guard asked me questions, I answered, and this went on for what seemed like hours.

At the end of the interrogation, a man in military apparel, and multiple badges on his coat, walked into the room. He walked over to the guard, whispered something into his ear, and then walked out. I couldn’t make out anything he said, I wish I could though. Perhaps if I did maybe I wouldn’t be working here anymore. The guard with this new and mysterious information turned to me, and said,

“Mr. Ivanov, you can go. You are going to go on a vacation, we will pay you extra money so you can stay out for at least a month. You are not allowed to speak to anyone about this place, and if you do, you will be prosecuted accordingly.”

I agreed, took my stuff and left. I needed that vacation anyway, but why they told me to leave for a month was ridiculous. I believe the sentence Evan was going to tell me, was that this is a government facility. The civil war was fought between the White and Red army. The White army was led by Anti-Communist ideologies and Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak. The Red army was led by Vladimir Lenin, who believed in Communism.

Now this is only a speculation, but I believe that the Romanov Psychiatric Ward is secretly a prison for Bolsheviks who have mental problems. This place is also a testing facility for the White Army, to test new weapons/materials.

May my speculation be correct, this place is a much more personal hell.

March 5, 1922

My bittersweet return.

My month break is over, and yes I still have to work here. Today I interviewed 5 different patients, evaluated their mental state, and did some procedures to help them all. Mental institutions these days don’t care for the sick. They beat them, torture them, and of course can careless for them. I am different however, I do care for the mentally challenged, and my methods are working.

The sisters that I helped have disappeared, any attempts of me trying to get into contact with them is futile. I have been told that they have been released into the world for they have been cured. I doubt that, the doctors that they have been seeing without me, DO NOT do the same procedures as me. They all believe in shock therapy, and random drugs that they deem “helpful”.

I believe that they are dead, or atleast test subjects for some kind of experiment. So I investigated. The gun that the guard gave me a month ago that I still have in my custody was in my coat pocket. It’s a Nagant m1985 revolver, fairly sturdy, and decently sized for concealment.

I entered a forbidden room, a room that was not for me to enter. I looked around before I opened the door, no guards, so I entered. My gun was in my hand and I opened it, slowly. It was dark so I grabbed my lighter and flipped it on. Instantly, the yellow glow of the lighter illuminated the room a little bit. I could only see what was close to me. I walked forward and I saw pictures of melted faces from mustard gas, viciously beaten patients, and then I saw it,  picture of Galina and Alyona dead on the ground. The grisly image startled me and then I illuminated something that should have stayed in the dark.

I saw a plans for an experiment, and it bore no name. It explains that the Romanov Psychiatric Ward is a place to experiment on the mentally ill. My theory of a Bolshevik prison was proven wrong, but this is much worse. The plans explained that there are different stages for this. The 1st was the effects of a stronger gas to use in war, hence the pictures of mustard and chlorine gas victims. The second was a sleep experiment but it is still uncertain of how it will be done. The third is a mutation of the human body.

I wrote down whatever i saw in the room and left quickly. I then left the facility and went back to my house. The rooms that were restricted entrance were gas chambers, and other test rooms for evil experiments.

I must stop this before they find me.

March 6th,

My Final Entry

I should have never taken the job. The pay, the opportunity to help the sick was all tricks played by my mind. I went to work the next day, and I needed to burn that place down.

Before I could however, I was greeted by the same guard that interrogated me, he looked angry. He started to yell at me and say that I am in a world of trouble. I thought I would end this, I was proven wrong. Before I went into that room, a patient down the hall saw me. You can guess what happened after.

I was taken to a room that was meant for the insane, a solitary room. I hid my diary so they could not take it away from me. My dearest friend, the nurse named Matilda is coming to check on me. She heard what happened, and is worried for me. I am going to give this diary to her, she needs to know. This is my last time seeing this book, and I can hear Matilda’s heels click on the floor. Goodbye reader, my fate is now in God’s hands.

December 15th, 1922

Matilda’s Entry

You are probably wondering what happened to Vladimir Ivanov. He gave his diary to me and told me to hide it, and quit working here. I asked why and he said he didn’t have time, he then shut the tiny window in the solitary confinement door. I took the book and walked away fast, due to the heavy steps of the military officials.

They took him and sent him to a gulag. Where he will slave away for the rest of his days in the Siberian winter. I miss my friend, and I’m sure he misses me.

I quit working at the Romanov Psychiatric Ward after I read Vladimir’s diary, and started to work at a local hospital. The information of the experiments is something I cannot touch, for it is impossible for a woman like me to infiltrate a place like that. I have kept the burden of those secrets and dare to not tell a soul.

I dared not to add my entry so early. I thought maybe you would understand what would happen in all those months that passed. The reason why Vladimir skipped a week and added another entry in February was because he was simply too scared to add another excerpt. His mind was breaking under the pressure and thus became more elusive and quiet. I barely started to see him at his breaks, and he acted so distant. His paranoia of the book being found was so big it was enough to crush the soul, and suppress rational thinking.

Vladimir became the very thing he once tried to help. The mentally broken. This is the story of Vladimir, forever trapped inside this book.

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