Below is a recollection, or walkthrough, of the pre-show for Heretic’s The Cabin: Ruin. Every guest’s pre-show is distinct and personal, so this interaction with the Patient should only be considered representative of one guest’s experience. This is also different from the other pre-shows for other nights of The Cabin. To read a review of another night’s preshow, please check out our review here.
Lit by only the faint glow of the television, a patient lies in a hotel bed. White gauze obscures everything but his eyes and a small slit that I can only assume is his mouth. Sores and pustules populate his legs and arms—ailments of a man in bed too long. I pull the trigger of the spray bottle, misting a strange liquid over his emaciated legs. “Not too much!” barks the Caretaker next to me. I reach my gloved hand down and rub in the liquid, feeling each sore like some mortar-blasted battlefield.
“He may vomit on you. If he does; there’s a bucket in the bathroom. Just clean it up—and clean yourself up,” the Caretaker instructs. I turn my head to her and nod.
“Don’t look at me!” she screams. “Never take your eyes off him! If he dies, you will suffer.”
I picture myself trapped forever in a withered shell, gauze sticking to seeping, acrid wounds. Is this suffering? Or does she mean something worse? I don’t have time to ponder the possibilities—the Caretaker commands that it’s time to feed him—some bland watery mush. I cradle the back of his head, lifting it up, and letting a spoonful drip through the small opening in between the stark-white bandages. For the first time, he is able to look back directly into my eyes. What I see surprises me: where I expected weakness, there’s rage. Where I expected pain, there’s intensity. This is a caged beast, desperately clawing from the inside to get out.
I finish my job quickly and return to a chair to watch the Patient—fearful of who, or what, I am really watching. The Caretaker approaches me, pulling me close, “There are some people who may try to kill him. If they make it into this room—you need to be ready; you need to kill them first. Do it silently—a knife, wire, your hands. But if that doesn’t work, there’s a gun in this room—but only use that as a last resort. Do not let him die.”
Next up is the injections. The Caretaker moves to the other side of the room—searching in her bag for the needles. With her back to us, the Patient slowly twists his head to the side, looking deep into my eyes—a silent plea for help or a promise of the pain to come? He turns it back to look back up at the ceiling as the Caretaker returns to our side of the bed.
“I can’t find the damn needles. They must be in the car. I’ll be right back. Make sure the door is locked—and don’t take your eyes off him.”
With those words, the door slams and I am left alone with the Patient.
The din of the television fills the room and I fear for what will happen next. The Patient was able to move his head; what about the rest of his body? Is his weakness only a façade for the Caretaker? My eyes stay on him, waiting… waiting… waiting. Then it happens—he chokes, gasping for air. I stand to help him but disembodied arms emerge from the darkness and wrap around my chest and neck. Gloved hands are now clawing at my skin and probing my mouth. The Patient continues to gag.
A gun is put to my temple. The hand is shaking violently—pounding against the side of my head. He cocks it; his hand still shaking. Will I die here?, I wonder. But then I hear the door unlock. It opens and the Caretaker enters, back with her needles. I’m saved, I think. But I’m wrong. With a smile, she throws a plastic bag over my head and tightens it. The last words I hear are those of the Caretaker, spoken to the arms wrapped around me: “We’ll take him; put him in the trunk—but give me the pills. I want all of them.”
For more information on Heretic, please sign up for membership on their website and follow their Facebook. Also check back tomorrow as Part 2 of The Cabin saga continues as we head to Big Bear and enter The Cabin. Will the Patient make an appearance? Only time will tell!