Reality was never something that the Warden found acceptable, even if it was happening right before him. Whenever something was possible by normal means, the man could match that and then some. However, whenever its something that challenges his own crazy laws and logic, he goes right into a classic defense mechanism; denial. Some might say, 'Blame on the personality of a spoiled child coupled with the complex and dangerous mind of a sadist'. Was that the case with Warden? Maybe, but there was one other factor involved. The fact that he was still nothing more then a mortal.
Warden hummed a tune as he walked down the hallway. It has been a long day, but a good one regardless. He was looking forward to turning in, maybe even sleeping in if he felt like it. He could whatever he wanted, he was the boss.
He reached his bedroom and went straight to his walk in closet. He changed into his night clothes and placed his purple suit neatly on it's hanger. He was still humming the same tune as he made his way to his bed.
As he pulled back his covers, he paused. He stopped humming, and the expression on his face had a look of slight discomfort. He didn't feel right all of the sudden. The upper part of his body had a burning like sensation. Warden stood straight up and placed his hand over his chest. After a few moments, the burning was gone.
Warden quickly dismissed it as a little heartburn. The food in the cafeteria wasn't actually that of five star quality, and tonight's meal wasn't any different. He crawled under his covers and settled in for the night.
2 am in the morning. Superjail was quiet as everyone, inmates and staff alike were fast asleep. Everyone was deep in their own dreamworld, enjoying their time there.
Everyone except for one man.
Warden was asleep, but not peacefully. His body tossed and turned, practically twisting his bedsheets into knots. His face was cringing, like he was struggling with something.
Deep within the multiple layers of the man's already distorted mind, something was attacking him, something dark and without a face. A figure with no actual form, and didn't make a sound. It had Warden by the front of his clothes. It's blackish grip was digging into his chest. Then he felt it, like someone stabbing him with a knife. The pain drove deeper into his chest, and within moments, he couldn't even breath. He tried to remove the entity from his chest, but his own hands went right though the blackness. It was like it had become a gas or a vapor, but the pain was still there, and it was becoming unbearable.
Warden jolted from his nightmare, gasping for air, and soaked in a cold sweat. He sat right up in his bed, dazed and disoriented. He was trembling, severely. He felt absolutely terrified, more so then he was used to. He would have the occasional bad dream or two, but this wasn't like his normal nightmares. In his nightmares, he could see who was attacking him or want to do him harm, and it was normally the inmates. Knowing that was enough for him to get over it. Besides, he was the warden of a jail full of men that wouldn't think twice about killing him. That's what he had people like Alice and Jailbot for. Not this time; no, this was someone, or something, that he never met, never knew, but was hell bend on putting an end to his life, and that only made it even scarier.
Warden didn't even realize it till he had calmed down, but the burning sensation was back.
The clock on the break room wall read 6 in the morning. It was dark; the lights were off, and other then the ticking sound of the clock, the sound and smell of freshly brewed coffee filled the air. A small figure opened the door to the room and switched the lights on. He went straight for the coffee machine with a mug already in hand. He removed the sleepers in his eyes as his mug filled with the the bitter stuff.
This was how Jared started his day; it was quite possibly the only quiet time he could have before he started his work, and whatever the day would bring. He would take this time to focus on what paper work he would have to finish, what reports he had to go over, and what other stresses he would have to 'survive' for that day. A cup of black coffee with three to four sugars, and a candy bar from the machine nearby were the only things that would accompany him, not that he minded.
The accountant was stirring the sugar into his coffee when the sound of someone walking into the room caught his attention. He turned around, expecting to see Alice. After all, she got up just as early as he did, but she rarely ever came into the break room. Instead, to Jared's surprise, it was his boss.
"Sir?" That was the first thing that came out of Jared's mouth. He's never seen Warden up this early. It was a bit of a shock. "...Uh, good morning."
Warden, already dressed in his iconic purple suit, but lacking the top hat, simply walked passed Jared and went right for the coffee himself. He took one of the mugs out of the cabinet and poured himself and cup. No sugar or cream, just black.
That struck Jared as odd. He's gotten coffee for Warden before, and never did he ask for it black. He then realized that he was staring. He snapped out of it and went over to the venting machine.
Expecting that his boss would just leave right after getting coffee, Jared didn't try to make any small talk. He was quiet as he got his daily chocolate bar, but when he turned back around, there was Warden sitting at the tiny round table in the middle of the room; another odd bit of behavior.
Feeling awkward now, the accountant meekly walked over to the table and took a sit, across from his boss. Jared finally noticed now tired Warden looked; he had bags under his eyes, and a bit of a five o'clock shadow to go with it.
'Was he up late last night?' Jared thought to himself.
He watched as Warden took a sip from his mug, and it was clear to Jared that he wasn't enjoying that black coffee. He sat the mug down, mumbling something under his breath. Jared figured it was cursing.
"..Sir? Are you...feeling alright?" Jared finally asked.
The reaction he got was delayed. Warden's eyes closed shut, like he was fighting off a headache or something, but instead of holding his forehead, his hand went over the front of his chest. After a moment, he replied back, saying, "The food from late night kept me up."
It took a second or two for Jared to get what Warden was saying. "Really? I thought it was pretty good. Maybe a little on the spicy side, but..." He stopped midway. This just felt weird having the boss in the break room this early in the morning, like he was another staff member. "...Um, I have some anti-acid that might help."
Warden didn't reply back. He was still half asleep, and still forcing down that bitter drink. Jared thought that maybe it was best to just stay quiet. He unwrapped his candy bar and took a bite.
In that situation, it was hard not for Jared to see that Warden was in some really discomfort. He just kept his hand over his chest, just in his suit. It was making the accountant feel nervous. He finished his candy bar faster then usual.
"Sir, are you sure you don't want something for that?"
Just as Jared asked that, Warden's complexion changed. He turned pale, and was starting to break into a sweat. On top of that, his hand was now clutching the front of his shirt. He tried to stand up, only to fall right over from sudden dizziness.
"Warden!" Jared pushed the chair out from under him and ran over to where his boss fell. One look was enough for him to know Warden was now in considerable pain. "What is it? What's wrong?"
The Warden didn't want to believe it, but the intense tightness in his chest refused to let him deny it any further. He thought for sure, hoping even, that the cause was the food from yesterday. Now he was having trouble even taking the slightest breathe. He recalled the dream he had last night, the one that keep him up, that robbed him of his sleep. It was happening, right then and now.
Jared dug into his pocket and pulled out his communicator. Without a second thought he punched in the emergency number to reach the Superjail doctor. Much like a panic button, a signal was send out to alert the doctor that something was wrong and where to head to within the huge jail. This mention was only used in the event that one of the staff members were in trouble.
Warden struggled on the floor, rolling over on his back, hand still clenching his chest. His vision was blurred; everything looked hazy and muddled. Jared then stepped into this line of vision. He couldn't see the worried look on his accountant's face. All he saw was blotches of colors and shapes. It as if space itself was starting to melt all around him.
"Sir, I just called the doctor. He'll be here in a few minutes." Jared insured.
"...N...noo" Warden mumbled.
"..I don't need...the doctor..."
Jared didn't know how to reply back.
"I'm fine. I'm...fine..." Warden continued to repeat to himself. "This is...just a dream! A dream!"
Jared didn't know how to tell his boss that he was wrong. He bit his bottom lip before just saying it.
"Sir, you could be having a heart-"
"SHUT UP! "
Jared stepped back a few feet from the Warden's sudden outburst. He thought about trying to reason with him, but a more important idea came to mind. He searched through his pockets once more, this time pulling out a small bottle of aspirin. He always carried some around for his stress induced headaches and other bodily pains. He popped it open and took out one of the tiny pills.
Kneeling down he presented the pill to his boss. "Here. Chew this."
Warden's back hand met with Jared's, slapping the medicine out of the accountant's fingers. Jared took out another pill, and this time tried to place it in Warden's mouth. Despite the immense pain, the man abruptly pushed Jared away. He attempted to sit up, but his body wasn't responding. He flopped back on the floor with a weak thud. The pain was now moving from his chest right up to his jaw and left arm.
After recovering from his own fall, Jared was back over to his boss' side, pill still in hand. "Sir, please! You have to take this! It'll help you." Once again he tried to get it into Warden's mouth.
His chest felt like it was on fire. His heartbeats were without number and the pain was spreading throughout his upper body like some horrible plague. He fought it for a bit more, until finally he let Jared pop the aspirin pass his teeth. Warden bit down, crushing the pill and letting the bad taste flood his mouth. It hurt to chew. The pain from his chest has invaded his jaw, attacking all the nerves and muscles.
That's when reality hit. His own personal fears couldn't be contained any longer. As he finished chewing the bitter pill, he shut his eyes, trying his hardest to keep the tears from showing. It was a futile attempt. Stubborn as he was, he couldn't hold back the fright filled tears any longer.
There wasn't much more Jared could do now, except wait for the doctor to arrive, which should be any moment now. That thought was what was occupying his mind; his eyes was on the door, not on his boss.
"It'll be alright, sir. The doctor will be here in-"
Jared turned his head just as the tears started to leak and fall from Warden's shut eyes. A subtle whimper escaped from Warden's throat. He turned his head away from his accountant. Fear and shame blanketed his face.
Warden didn't answer. The only sound he made was the slight and sudden gasps of air, partly from the chest pain and partly from trying to hold back the tears.
This behavior was new to Jared. Granted, the level of the situation would call for some anxiety, but this was unexpected, even for his boss. It was like he was watching a entirely different person; maybe even a child. It felt awkward, but at the same time, the more he thought about it, this may have been something that Warden would have never thought he would be going through.
Fear of death can have that kind of effect on anyone.
He thought about it; not long, but hard before reaching out and placing his hand on his boss' shoulder. He waited for a brief moment, expecting some reaction, but Warden just stayed still, his face still turned away.
"It's going to be okay, sir."
Jared tried to sound as calm as he could with those words, but sure on how Warden would react. There was plenty of reason to expect a negative reaction; a slap, a yell, a curse, or all of the above. However, that wasn't the reply Jared got. What he got was nothing. Warden kept his face away from him, but he didn't seem peeved about having Jared's hand on his shoulder.
Suddenly the sound of running feet burst into the room. In came the Doctor along with two other people in white coats; trustworthy yet disposable acquaintances of the 'good Doctor'. One of the people carried a portable stretcher while the other had a large bag with a bright red cross on the front. Jared jumped up and stepped aside. The Doctor looked surprised to see who was in need of medical help.
Warden heard the people come in. He felt his accountant's hand leave his shoulder. As he heard the medical team come upon him, the room began to spin. His heart pounded so hard he thought the other people around him could hear it. It rang in his head, and the pain pulsated in every inch of his upper body. Sick; he felt absolutely sick to his stomach.
A numb feeling suddenly washed over Warden's body. He couldn't feel the hands of the medics or hear whatever the Doctor was yelling at them to do. The numbness gradually grew cold.
The last thing he saw before everything went black was the oxygen mask going over his face.