Laurie had almost left the cover of the forest when her underused sense of danger sent her a caution. This wouldn’t be like the other Demons; that was what Derek had warned her.
It took effort to put together a retained Demon; you had to get enough people together, and they had to be the right sort of people, and then you had to torture them as much as you could, but not so much that they actually gave in to the pain, and you had to show them images of the things you wanted destroyed, while making sure that they were never able to imagine you at all; in case they turned on you. All in all, putting together a retained Demon would require a huge and well organized group with no qualms about doing morally indefensible things, and if Wellsford’s work was right, then she was walking right into their nerve centre.
Laurie crouched in the shadow of a tall tree and looked around. She didn’t see any guards patrolling the parameter and there were no obvious cameras around, but she supposed that was the point of a secret operation.
The forest looked like it had once been a garden for the patients, and it had been left to get overgrown. Laurie felt something smooth on the tree she was leaning on; someone had placed a cheery rock sign at the base of the tree some years ago, and over the years the bark had grown around it and lifted it off the ground; it proclaimed You don’t have to be crazy to live here, but you do!
Laurie couldn’t say that she really understood the sign, but it cheered her up a bit. She looked around for some sign of Derek, but didn’t see anything. He must have already snuck inside, she decided, she thought this was very unprofessional of him, and decided to have a few words with him later.
Laurie decided she would sneak in as well, but first she knew that she would have to set something up in case someone decided to sneak up behind her; if it went bad inside the hospital then she wanted an escape route that she knew was safe.
Laurie carefully scanned the edge of the forest until she found a gardening shed. She smiled and started to sneak around to it. She had managed to convince Derek to let her meet his family once, and meeting his daughter had been very educational.