Chapter 2-The Interview
Upon arriving at the entrance of the hospital I noticed that the light was extremely dim. There was one security guard that you can see immediately. The old gentleman greeted me and pointed at the direction.
“You are here for the interview” he asked
“2nd Floor” The security guard pointed to the shabby elevator.
“Is there a staircase” I don’t why I asked. Maybe the elevator didn’t seem to inviting.
“Staircases are closed for construction” The security guard smiled in an eerie way.
I ignored it and just headed to the elevator. When the elevator doors opened I can’t say that I didn’t cringe. The elevator seemed unfinished. The floor seemed like it was partially done, the ceiling looked old and a little dilapidated. I said a quick prayer before the elevator doors closed and hoped that there would be no malfunction. If whoever bought this hospital was trying to go a creepy hospital feel they’re definitely succeeding. I got off at the 2nd floor and walked over to the receptionist.
“Good morning, I am here for my interview with Dr. Clifton.” I informed the receptionist.
“Sure, you can have a seat”
I texted my boyfriend Andrew.
Waiting for my interviewer
He quickly replied.
Babe there is like a bunch of abandoned little buildings around this hospital campus. I’m not sure this is a safe area.
It was cringing to think that most of the hospital was desolate but I figured that if I didn’t go exploring the campus alone I shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
There are trees EVERYWHERE
That’s Staten island for you. They don’t call it the borough of parks for nothing. There were a lot of areas that were shrouded in trees and forest. Andrew was concerned by the location but there was no way I was going to walk out of an interview just because the place looks like the set of a horror film.
“Ms. Tina Diaz” A voice calls for me. When I look up it is a tall very well-dressed man.
“Yes” I reply, rising from my seat.
“My name is Doctor Robert Clifton I am the Director of the program here” He spoke with a heavy European accent, possible German. His handshake was firm and he had a confident smile. He didn’t wear a suit but had on jeans and a neat button-down shirt.
“Please after you” I walked through the hallway of the facility, passing by what seemed like the lobby. There were some patients who were sitting at tables with whom i presume to be their family.
“Wow these people are very young.” I whispered.
“Yes unfortunately the drug epidemic here runs rampant through the youth.” Dr. Clifton said, opening the door to his office.
“I am sorry, so this is a drug rehabilitation center”
“yes and no, it’s a rehab center for troubled youth, we take in teenagers ages 13 to 17 who are dealing with a variety of mental health issues. Addiction, eating disorders, anger management” We had reached the main office down the hall of the lobby. Dr. Clifton opened the door to his office and motioned for me to sit. His walls were decorated with degrees and awards. He also had photos of his family on his wall and a photo of him shaking hands with a priest.
I listened as Dr. Clifton explained the ways of the center. He explained the general population here. Most of the teenagers working here have prior history with the law. Some were arrested for robbery, some for drug usage, then he spoke about the more violent offenders. He spoke about the girl who went after her mother with a hammer and a guy that locked his girlfriend in her closet for hours while he shot off his bb gun at her dog.
After listening to all those stories, my head was just spinning. I didn’t know what I was getting into or if it would be worth it. The salary was okay, I didn’t know much about the benefits.
“Are you taking all this in Ms. Diaz” Dr. Clifton chuckled.
“Yes doctor, it is a lot but I can manage” I replied, hoping I didn’t look too worried.
“So, you worked in real estate before”
“Yes, I was an assistant to a broker I did that for about 3 years”
Dr. Clifton began to nod while reading my resume.
I tried to study his face and guess what reactions he was having, even though it wasn’t my ideal job, I still needed this job. Looking at him dissect my resume was getting me nervous that he didn’t like what he had to see.
“It seems like you have done a lot of independent work, would you describe yourself as a self-starter” Dr. Clifton said this while still examining the resume’
“Yes I would, in my old position I had to take it upon myself to call and follow up on projects, on people. and complaints. I was the negotiator between my boss and the contractors we used. Before my boss could ask me to get an update on an important meeting or on a project status, the information would already be on his desk. So yes, I most definitely would say self-starter is the perfect way to describe me.” I would be surprised I even got a breath in while saying all that.
Dr. Clifton smiled as he placed down my resume.
“Well if we accept you for this position many of the tasks you would have to do are independent and without too much supervision. So it is ideal that you are able to take on tasks on your own. You would be our Recreational Coordinator. Which means you will be responsible for planning and executing our events for the teens here. We don’t exactly have a department so you would be the only person. Also this is a large facility. From the 3rd floor and on there is nothing. Sometimes we will catch our patients trying to explore and even sometimes the staff” Dr. Clifton laughed.
“Please do not be one of those people. This is a very old building with a lot of constructional problems.” Dr. Clifton’s office phone rang and he quickly answered it.
“Hello, oh he is. Alright I’ll be right there.” After hanging up the phone Dr. Clifton held out his hand to shake mine.
“I apologize I need to run but it was a pleasure meeting you”
“Thank you for having me, I hope to hear from you soon” I gave him a firm and confident handshake.
On my way out the receptionist gave me a brochure to the rehabilitation center.
“This is what Dr. Clifton does” She eagerly said.
“Thank you” I replied, noting the picture on the brochure looked an awful like the receptionist.
I held up the brochure and pointed to it
“Um I don’t want to assume anything but, is this young woman you” I hesitantly said.
The receptionist chuckled and shook her head no.
“She is my older sister and a former member here. It helped her a lot. She lives a much calmer life now.” The receptionist thankfully did not take offense to the question.
“My name is Evelyn by the way,”
I took my hand out to shake hers and introduced myself.
“My name is Tina, as I guess you know already.” With that I took my leave to the elevator and once inside I pressed the 1rst floor button.
Going down the elevator a couple of thoughts came into my head. The first was would I be able to handle this position. I have never worked with mentally challenged people, I have never worked d with drug addicts and I have never worked with former criminals. It is something that I have tried not to do. My mother, a social worker for over 30 years, always told me that working with that type of crown can often be a thankless and frustrating job. You can’t expect much of out it is. She used to tell me.
It isn’t certain what I wanted, but it would be all I had. At least until a better opportunity came.
When the elevator doors opened I must have still been lost in my thoughts because I did not realize that I entered a dark floor until I stepped out and the elevator doors closed behind me. I quickly turned around and pressed the elevator call button but the doors didn’t open, instead I heard the elevator go up quickly.
The air was so cold, it was cutting into me. The floor I was in seemed lie and endless hallway with a single light at the end. I looked back into the elevator and saw that it was stuck on the 3rd floor. I kept pressing the call button but the elevator didn’t seem to respond. I could feel my anxiety rising a bit. I turned back around to face the dark hallway and was met with an overwhelming it of sulfur. It felt has if someone throw a massive puff of smoke in my face. My knees collapsed and I dropped hard onto the ground, choking, couching and struggling to see. I tried to yell out to see if anyone was on the floor but as soon as I opened my mouth the trail of sulfur entered.
My eyes were tearing, my throat burning I still did not understand what just fucking happened, it was like I was attacked out of nowhere by some invisible force.
The sound of the elevator doors opening gave me relief. My hand extended and I cried out for help. Someone grabbed me.
“Oh my goodness are you okay” It was the receptionist Evelyn, she grabbed my hand and helped me up.
“What happened” She said sounding just as perplexed as I felt.
I wipe my eyes and looked around to see if I notice anyone hiding in the hallway.
“I have no damn clue, I took the elevator I guess to the wrong floor and it brought me here and then I just looked around and next thing I know it was like a huge cloud of ash and fire literally blew up in my face, I am choking and crying and all over the floor” I took a deep breath to try and relax.
Evelyn led me into the elevator with her hand on my shoulder.
“You said fire and ash”
“Maybe I exaggerated, but it smelled like it, I couldn’t breathe”
Evelyn looked at me with a concerned expression. The elevator door open and she walks with me to the front door.
“The entire building very old but it has been retouched, all expect the basement. No work hasn’t been done there at all, so maybe what you smelled was just rotting wood or something. Are you sensitive to certain smells?” She asks.
“No, I don’t think, but I am very sure that I smelled fire” As I spoke Evelyn nodded, I wasn’t sure if she thought I was lying but I did not care. I just wanted to leave.
“Well I will tell the janitor to go downstairs and take a look around. I am sorry for whatever may have happened. You did look petrified when I found you”
“I knew someone was wrong when I went downstairs and the security guard told me he didn’t see you leave’ Evelyn laughed.
I tried to find some humor in the situation but all I could think about was getting in Andrew’s car and getting the hell away from this place.
But…I would be coming back.