Ian and the Sanitarium.

In yet another scheme to force their son Ian out of their house so they can retire, Ian’s parents have him committed to a sanitarium with 8 underground floors. Ian gets placed on Floor 6 for mildly insane patients. Despite being allowed to have his stereo and video games in his room, he suffers from separation anxiety from his parents and becomes unruly and dangerous. After an attempted escape and vicious assaults on staff and fellow patients, Ian gets transferred to Floor 8, home of the cells with padded walls. It is here that he is told of the existence of a ninth floor, a floor so dark and desolate that it bears the nickname “The Floor of Lost Souls”. But even this does not change his ways as he kills his best friend who stops by to visit him. The door to the ninth floor is opened and Ian is thrown in…

As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, Ian could hear ghostly moaning from all directions. Suddenly he saw white streaks of light charging at him but there was nowhere to hide. Then his eyes picked up a yellowish glow farther down the pitch black hallway. His nose picked up an appetizing scent of food and his ears detected the presence of music. What was down there? There was only one way to find out.

With the ghosts in pursuit, Ian made a mad dash down the hallway with the light becoming brighter, the smells more appetizing and the music more majestic.

Then Ian found himself in a huge medieval dining room illuminated by torches on its stone walls graced with colorful tapestries inside what was an underground castle. In the middle of the dining room rested a long table lined lined with food and at the far end sat a jolly, heavy set man wearing a golden crown and a red robe blazened with golden swirls. Nearby a huge choir sang while accompanied by an equally huge orchestra with strings, horns and percussion blaring in glorious harmony. The king was clearly enjoying every minute of this performance.

Ian was incredulous. After the music ended, the king laughed heartily as he applauded. Then he saw Ian and said, “Welcome, most noble wanderer! Have a seat and help yourself to my food.”

Still incredulous, Ian took his seat at the table and surveyed the food. On a nearby plate rested a freshly roasted pig, along with nearby plates of bread, fruits and vegetables. Ian was indeed hungry but still too incredulous to eat.

The king noticed Ian’s confused face and laughed. “You never did expect to find a castle down here, did you?”

“I was told this was the Floor of Lost Souls,” Ian replied.

The king laughed again and said, “Eat up, my friend! You don’t want the food to get cold, do you?”

As Ian finally began eating, the king continued,”Welcome to the Kingdom of Levelnine! I am King Levelnine, and you are?”

“Ian,” Ian replied through his stuffed mouth.

“So, Ian,” King Levelnine began, “I am sure you are wondering how this underground kingdom came to be. You see, centuries ago, I acquired a vast fortune of treasure that has long been a target of spies and thieves. The only way to keep my treasure safe was to move my kingdom underground. And when construction began on the sanitarium, I gladly moved farther underground to keep my treasure all the more safer.”

“Excuse me,” Ian asked, “Did you just say you acquired this treasure centuries ago?”

“Correct. I was born in the year 1325 and have remained alive since then.”

“So you’re immortal?”

“My, you catch on quick,” King Levelnine beamed. “You know what that makes me, right?”

Ian became momentarily clueless and offered no response.

“Surely you read your classic literature. Anything mentioning immortality that comes to mind?”

“Not that I know of,” Ian murmured while in thought.

“How about books in the classic horror genre?”

Then it dawned on Ian, and the moment it did, his appetite faded as fear began to settle in.

“Does that mean,” Ian gulped, “you’re a vampire?

“Correct,” King Levelnine smiled as he bared his sharp fangs.

Floor Nine is nicknamed the Floor of Lost Souls.

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