“You broke it too many times, Dan!”

“No, you just won’t leave well enough alone, Shane!”

The two men pushed and prodded one another. At their feet was an obliterated object. It was broken into so many pieces that it could never be repaired.

“That’s Dan and Shane.” The man in the white coat said to Nurse Bingham. His name badge read Dr. Octavian, “They’re our resident breaker and fixer.”

“Excuse me?”

“Dan likes to break things. He’s compelled to. That’s why he’s here.” Dr. Octavian pointed through the two-way mirror. “The other is Shane. He likes to fix things. We pair them together so that we can observe their behavior from time to time. As you can see, when something has been broken and fixed too many times, it becomes completely irreparable. Then they become agitated.”

Nurse Bingham watched them uneasily. She felt compelled to say something against the seemingly barbaric treatment they received. “Why aren’t they kept separate. Would that not be better for their treatment? I’m not sure what can be accomplished by this.”

She could see that she struck a nerve. Dr. Octavian’s jaw seemed to clamp tighter. His jaw muscles were rippling.

“No, as you will see, most of the patients here are allowed many of the amenities and freedoms that they are not allowed elsewhere. They are human, after all.”

She felt her face redden, “I didn’t mean to offend you or your staff. I’ve just never seen any treatment facility like this one.”

His face seemed to soften, “I understand. This place is the best kept secret among all the mental treatment facilities. Would you like to meet Dan and Shane? They are quite harmless, I assure you.”

She smiled and nodded, “I would love to.”

Nurse Bingham and Dr. Octavian strode the pristinely clean hallway towards the observation room. Someone called from behind a cell door, “New nurse, new nurse!”

Soon afterward there was a chorus of voices, “New nurse, new nurse!” The voices grew louder and louder.

Intimidation washed over her and she gave a sideways glance toward Dr. Octavian. Almost as if he read her thoughts, he assured her, “They are always happy to meet new nurses.”

She felt slight relief. Dr. Octavian had a calm demeanor and a reassuring quality about him that made her feel at peace with her decision to transfer to his hospital.

He opened the door to the observation room, “After you,” he said with a smile.

“Thank you,” She returned the kind smile.

She stepped into the room and the door slammed behind her. The sound startled her. She swung around and saw Dr. Octavian’s laughing face through the glass porthole. He laughed and clapped and jumped and cheered. She could hear his muffled voice on the other side of the door, “New nurse, new nurse!”

She turned around again to see Dan approaching with a large hammer. Shane was behind him with a leaky bottle of glue. Both seemed elated over their new toy.

"New Nurse, New Nurse"
Copyright: © 2009 Brian Barnett
Brian Barnett lives with his wife, Stephanie, and son, Michael, in Frankfort, Kentucky.To date, he has published over forty-five stories since he began publishing in November 2008.

He has been published by MicroHorror.com, Flashes in the Dark, Static Movement, The New Flesh Blogzine, Midnight Screaming Magazine, The Monsters Next Door, Sonar4 Ezine, Blood Moon Rising, Flashshot, Black Lantern Blogzine, Dark Fire Fiction, Burst Fiction, The Daily Tourniquet, Yellow Mama, The Lesser Flamingo, and The Short Humour Site.

He was co-editor the anthology “Toe Tags: 21 Spine-Tingling Tales from the Best New Authors of Horror” with William Pauley III.

"New Nurse, New Nurse" originally appeared on Static Movement on 6.1.09


  1. Sick, Brian...and quite funny! Thanks for the laugh. :)

  2. Thanks! I forgot all about this one getting posted here. I had it written down, but still yet, it somehow passed me by.

  3. Holy cow!!! That was positively fantastic. Just loved it Brian!! Wow...that so sucks to be the new nurse.

  4. Thanks, Suzie. I wrote this several months ago. William was nice enough to reprint it for me. I'll have another reprint in another day or so.