When James and Linda Scott welcomed the arrival of their first daughter Ella Marie. Nothing seemed to be better. The pregnancy was a text book scenario. Nine months of classes, preparing a room and eagerness for her to arrive all seemed to go swimmingly. Linda was wonderful and the birth went without fault. Ella was born a beautiful six pounds and eight ounces. With a full head of hair and cry that could wake the dead, these newly made parents could never be prouder.
As the entire process came to a close, the baby was taken to the nursery. Linda, exhausted and tired; went to her new room. James kissed his wife on the forehead as he said goodbye and made his way home. Elation and thrill filled James as he made his way out of the maternity ward.
“You headed home Mr. Scott?” asked the head floor nurse. She was alone and sitting behind her desk with one hand in a bag of cashews and the other hand she held a pen. She was tapping the pen on the table as if sending morse code to some far away allies across a battlefield. It annoyed James instantly.
“Yea, it’s three in the morning and the dog needs to be let out. The boss gave me the instruction to take care of it before she passed out. The least I can do.” forcibly laughed James as he stopped at the nursing station desk.
“Well that’s nice. She and your little one will be just fine.” she said.
“Thank you. See you later I guess.” James said while walking to the exit door.
“Cutting it kind of close with the birthday aren’t you?” asked the nurse as she leaned over the table while watching James walk down the hall. She looked like a pit bull with her arms arched downwards. Fists clenched as foundations to her weight. She was a large woman and presented herself loudly. She talked to everyone as if they were kids and she tipped her glasses down her nose. But didn’t look through the lenses to stare you down.
James slightly turned his shoulders and snickered. “Oh, yea… having your kid born on Friday the 13th. I guess we made it past the count. She came at 1:23 am. So I guess we’re lucky.” James said with a mocking head gesture moving side to side. He turned and proceeded back down the hall.
“Make sure to take a left at the end of the hall.” The nurse said under her breath. But James ignored it as he walked on. He simply waved with the back of his hand, not even turning to see the nurse. “Thanks so much nurse jackass.” he thought. To say the Friday the 13th comment bothered him was an understatement. All night the entire nursing staff kept bringing it up as if it was more important than the baby herself. Like some blasted omen that James and Linda should be concerned about. Who cares about Friday the 13th? Days like that come and go without ever noticing it.
“When did the civilized world become so damned superstitious?” James said out loud to himself while the exit door shut behind him. He shook his head and laughed. “Let them believe in their crap. There’s crazy people all over and one of them isn’t my daughter.” Then he proceeded to the end of the hall.
The hallways were like a tomb. James never liked hospitals. The few times he was ever at one was during the day and near the first floor. He wouldn’t admit it to anyone but hospitals always freaked him out. Especially ones at two in the morning. Something about the vacancy of the halls bugged him. Only being able to go two directions was forbidding on the senses. The monotonously endless halls all look the same and the sound of your own foot steps irked you because something made you feel like you shouldn’t be heard. He felt like a gerbil in a maze.
As he made his way down the hall, James suddenly realized… he couldn’t remember the way they entered the hospital. Peters Ridge City Hospital was so damn big that they had a security guard show them the way. James was so occupied with his wife and the contractions that he didn’t memorize all the hallways. The turns and elevators seemed like far away memories. He remembered the gift store down in the lobby and the cafeteria he used before. But that seemed like ages ago. He reached the end of the hallway that turned out to be a T intersection.
“Which way do I turn?” James asked to himself. He touched the side of his head as if to trigger his brain in releasing old memories. The wall in front of him had two arrows. One pointing to the right and painted black. The other arrow, a blue one pointed to the left. James couldn’t help it but something bugged him. Something told him to go left but he swore the way was to the right. It was calling to him like a far off musical tune. So to the right he went. He smiled the way all men do when trusting their instincts.
He carried onward and James found himself taking turn after turn. It was obvious that too much time had passed from when he left. He should have made it to some other section of the hospital by now. He didn’t see an elevator or a stairwell and there wasn’t a person he could ask for directions. His heart began to increase in reps and his worry rapidly grew into frustration. James began checking each door to only grow in rage with every locked failure. As he came to another intersection, he noticed the left turn led to a gate blocking the way. In the other direction was a hall that seemed to glow in a greenish hue.
“Shit, what now?” he said while walking toward the green glow. It was either this way or back to nothing. He knew even if he tried going back to his wife’s room then it would be a failure. “I knew we should have gone to another hospital.” he said. When he took another right turn he found himself before a set of doors. Doors different from the ones he passed before. On them appeared a strange logo. Completely black and made up of a set of three horns. All of which branched out from the central point and went straight up as if they were worshiping hands in church. The logo made him cold and filled him with dread. As if its presence was something opposite his existence. He hesitantly raised his hand upwards to push.
Suddenly, instead of him pushing the door. It slammed outwards and cracked James in the face. Sending him flying backwards and sprawled on the ground. He withered in agony and touched his swelling face. Then looked up to see a man. A man large and protruding as he filled the doorway with his hulking form. He wore blood stained overalls and no shoes. Barefoot and dominating he stood before James. James scrambled backwards as the horrifying figured stepped forward. From his hand he held a farmers scythe that was dark and rusted. His eyes looked crazed and he ground his teeth at the sight of James. James screamed at the sight as the man lurched forward. The psychotic giant seemed to send out a shuttering laughter of delight as he waved his weapon high, ready to come down on James. James covered his face, closed his eyes and prepared for the strike.
“Mr. Smith! What are you doing out of your room!?” came a woman’s voice.
James still laid there with his eyes shut tightly. All seemed calm and he slowly opened one eye. The towering man still stood above him but had his weapon to his side and seemed to pause as if in a daze. There in the same doorway was a woman. A nurse to be precise. Her face was pale in the soft green light. Her hair was pitch black and pulled back in a pony tail. The scrubs she wore seemed to be red and on her were splatters and spots of black liquid as if ink was shot at her from afar.
“Mr. Smith, you need to get back to bed. You’re not well enough to be about.” she said as she came forward. The woman didn’t even show a glimpse of fear. She stood before the behemoth and grabbed his shoulder. Then she put out her hand and he placed the scythe in her possession like a school teacher taking a child’s toy. His head went down and he let out a sigh. “There we go. Now let’s get to bed, you’ve had a long season.” she said while shepherding him back through the doors. While walking away, she looked back at James. “You might want to follow me.” she said to a shaking James.
James still laid there. Alone and struck with confusing with what had just happened. He didn’t know what to do and he closed his eyes to think. The nurse stopped and turned while the giant man kept walking. “Well, are you coming?” she said.
James got up slowly and moved to catch up. He tailed the nurse and cautiously made sure to keep a good distance from the horrifying man. As they made their way through the doors and farther down the hallway. James noticed more nurses standing about. They all took notice of him and merely gestured like it was no big deal.
“Just one second.” the nurse in front of him said.
She placed her hand on the small of Mr. Smith’s back and guided him into another room. Inside the room the he clunked his way to a rocking chair in the corner. Mr. Smith took a seat and seemed to mold to its structure. There, next to him were piles of wood. The nurse took one piece and then placed it in his hand. Out from her pocket she retrieved a knife and gave it to the seated Mr. Smith. He slowly and calmly took the knife and smiled in delight. Missing and rotting teeth glowed like stars as he began to whittle the wood.
The nurse rubbed his shoulder like caressing a lost child and then turned away. Leaving Mr. Smith to his craft as he rocked in the chair. The man looked up at James and simply smiled at. Without hesitation he went back to his block of wood. Then the nurse approached James and escorted him back out of the room.
“Sorry about that sir. Mr. Smith is fairly new to the ward and kind of wandered off.” she said with a smile on her face. “This doesn’t happen all too much. We tend to keep our department on lock down. Which makes me wonder… how did you get here if I may ask?” she said to James as they walked down the hallway.
James didn’t say a word. He was still stuck in a sense of shock. What the hell had just happened and who the hell is this lady?
The nurse eyed him intently and said “Hmm, I see this may have hit you harder than expected. You’re not the first to get here. But it’s been a while since someone from out there entered.” As they went farther they came to a desk with another nurse behind it. “Hello nurse Annie!” she said with a smile. “Hello Ms. Wesley. Seems we have an innocent that’s made his way into our ward. Could you call services and have them take care of this. My shift is coming to a close and I don’t feel like dealing with it right now.” nurse Annie said.
Bewildered and still shaking James felt like a helpless puppy lost and searching for his home. The desk nurse looked up at him as she reached for the phone and dialed. She shook her head and chuckled, then held the receiver to her ear and there was a soft ring. A muffled voice could be heard before nurse Wesley spoke. “Yea Vinnie, I got an innocent down here for you. Yea, he came in via the wing entrance down near 55C.” she said. She paused as the muffled voice spoke. “Yes, he has one of those maternity ward bands on. So I’m going to assume he’s a new dad or something. You might want to get down here quick. Guy looks like he’s about to pop.” she said while laughing at the “pop” comment.
She put the phone down and gestured to an open chair. “How ’bout you take a seat right over there?” she said. James didn’t even question the lady. He took his seat and sat there in the quiet hallway. An occasional nurse would pass by and he could hear their scrubs brushing against each other to signify their hurry. One carrying a strange beaker full of neon green ooze and another pushing a cart. Muffled sounds could be heard coming from different rooms and the entire symphony became a soft soothing noise. James looked down, and tried to gather his thoughts and breathe. He felt dizzy and tired. The air in the hall seemed thick and hot like a humid jungle in the deep southern continent.
“Mr. Scott?” came a voice as James looked up in surprise. James got to his feet as he saw a man standing in a black business suit. His hair was parted and shined from whatever concoction was keeping it in place. He was clean shaven and pristine with a hairline mustache that hasn’t been in style for decades. He was medium height and slim but not at all, weak looking. He smiled at James and gave a little smile and coughed. “I see you’ve had quite a shock? We’re deeply sorry for your experience. I am Vincent Fare and I am what we call a ‘liaison’ for this ward.” he said as his hand reached out for a shake. James reluctantly took hold and Vincent shook his hand the way a grandfather did. “Maybe I can be of some assistance to you today?” Vincent said.
In this mans presence, James seemed to gain some composure. It must have been his professionalism in the chaos he just witnessed. James couldn’t figure it out but he finally uttered his first words. “Where exactly am I and who was that man who tried to kill me?” James said.
“Oh yes, Mr. Smith. I’m sorry for that. Usually doesn’t happen. You see Mr Scott, this isn’t a typical hospital ward you’ve discovered. In fact, you’re one of the few that have the privilege to discover it.” he said while calmly guiding James forward. “This place we are in is the Hel Ward 54 and you might call it the lesser known sections of a hospital.” he said while walking slowly. Vincent stepped as if every drop of his foot to the ground was though out, planned and remembered.
As they walked past Ms. Wesley, Mr. Fare and her shared a smile and waved to each other. James looked to his right at other rooms. Some rooms he could see, had people sleeping in beds. Sounds of beeping sprinkled the atmosphere in various places. Except for the eerie green lighting it appeared as another ordinary hospital ward. They approached another room and James stopped to stare inside. Mr. Fare realizing this, stopped and turned around. He stood with his arms folded with an expression of impatience.
“Oh yes, room 32B. Such an unfortunate patient that is.” Mr Fare said.
James was confused, what he saw before him wasn’t a patient. Just a seeping mold of plastics and cloth. Like a child’s play doll was melted down into a pile of goo. Parts of it seeped over the edges of the bed. James noticed a charred hand poked out from the mass. Like it was reaching for something when it was in a… more solid form.
“How is that a patient?” James asked.
“Well, this isn’t your normal hospital ward Mr Scott. What you see as a lump of plastic garbage… is in fact something much more.” As he said this a tone went out over the intercom with a voice. “VD to room 32B. VD to room 32B.”
Mr Fare grabbed James’ elbow and pulled him aside gently yet with a firm urgency. Behind them a tall lanky man with a long top hat and dressed in a tattered suit came strolling by. He looked menacing and dirty and didn’t speak a word. He carried a cane which he twirled around with each step. He saw James and Mr Fare and smiled wildly. Yellow teeth luminous and eyes blood shot red. Mr Fare smiled and sort of saluted like a Boy Scout. The top hat man returned the gesture and seemed to glide into the room. The nurses all backed away as the peculiar man stood above the lump of melted plastic.
“Just watch this Mr. Scott.” Vincent said as he pointed to the room.
The top hat man spoke strange and exotic words. Rhythmic and threatening as if it was more a chant. The sounds seemed to grow louder and stronger. As the his voice rang out a wind blew down the hall and seemed to try and grab hold of James’ arm. The wind flew into the room and swirled around like a mighty whirlwind. The bed blankets twirled and papers from the walls fluttered. But the top hat man appeared in-effected by the powerful gusts. The top hat man shook the end of his cane and it rattled like a babies toy. As he did this the mass of plastic began to bubble and bend. A dark cloud above the bed formed and to James’ surprise, lightning struck down. Setting the pillow and sheets smoldering. The mass took shape and seemed to repair itself. The bulging hand started moving and formed into a fist. Then back again to outstretched fingers. In a matter of seconds the once melted blob now seemed to be a fully moving child’s play toy. It laid there in the bed seeming confused and weak but also completely alive. The top hat man placed a hand on the dolls head and then left the room. He again passed by James and Vincent without saying a word. He took three steps past them and in a cloud of black smoke, he vanished and was gone.
James looked back at the room and stared at the doll in the eyes. “What the fuck are you looking at?” the doll said in a grown mans voice. The doll snickered and grabbed the remote and turned the television on. James stood perplexed and speechless. He never in his life had seen anything like this. He turned and looked at Mr Fare. He himself was looking at the doll with a simple look as if it was nothing new.
“What the hell is going on!” yelled James.
“You’re not in Kansas anymore Dorthy.” said the doll. Vincent simply sighed and shook his head. He took hold of James’ arm again as they started off down the hall. “You see Mr Scott. When a person is sick, hurt or in need of medical aid. They go to a hospital. These ‘people’ you see in these rooms. Well they aren’t real people. They’re special Mr Scott and this ward is meant just for them.” Mr Fare said as he spoke with passion and gusto. His free arm moved about like a pentecostal pastor signifying the Lords splendor.
He slowly points to the room next to him and then the next across the hall. “We take in the ones that perform a special role in the world. The monsters, the killers, the demons and the whatever’s. They all come here in dire need of aid and we have been offering it to them for ages.” James looked confused like he was a kid learning about where babies come from for the first time. Mr Fare looked back with a grin.
“Mr Scott, these ‘killers’” he said using his fingers as air quotes. “Often times do a fine job at what we call ‘restoring order and balance.’ They cause pain and death as a job. As a service to a greater obligation. Their sworn duty is to do this. Like a soldier storming Normandy, they perform without question. But every once in a while, they get injured. Almost killed really! But when they do, they come to the Hel Ward for ‘medical’ assistance.” Vincent explained.
“You mean… the guys from movies… the monsters we know come here? When they… get hurt?” James asks while raising an eyebrow.
“Yes in a manner of speaking. That living doll back there is a special case. Long ago, a known serial killer literally placed his soul into a toy store doll and thus filling a role in society. In life he was a mess and in death… a purpose. Their lives have become more like legends. His power comes from ancient voodoo dark magic and his doctor’ was that man we just saw.” Vincent said while pausing for James to take it all in.
“The man in the top hat is known as Papa Legba. He’s been with us for ages. Also, he happens to be an amazing cornhole player.” Vincent said while laughing and tapping James on the back in a kidding manner. “Over here is an interesting case. This patient is a shape shifter from another dimension. He may very well be one of the oldest beings in this hospital. Right now, he’s taken the shape that of a giant spider. He seemed to have gotten his heart ripped out by a group of adults and now he is in need of a transplant.” he said while pointing to room 42A.
“How do you fix a dead giant spider?” asked James.
“It’s complicated but we will make sure It is up and running before you know it.” Vincent replied with obvious pride in his voice.
James and Vincent walked passed room after room. Like a strand of dominoes that all lined up one after another. Each one more peculiar and terrifying as the last. One was different in that it had no bed and just a giant tank of water. Inside floated a humanoid creature that resembled a deep sea fish. He remained contained in the glass casing and ate dark rotten eggs. His mouth and gills slowly opening and closed as he seemed content and occupied. His gaze fell on James with his giant glass-like eye and his mouth parted open as if screaming with no sound. It terrified James and he quickly looked away to another room that was in full surgery. A doctor was pulling out a bullet from a werewolf withering in pain. The wolf man howled as a bullet came out as smoke exited the wound with a hissing burning sound. The doctor placed the forceps downward and the bullet clanked in a metal pan. The nurses all clapped in applause as the wolf man laid his head down.
Another room was the oddest thing he had seen yet. Inside was a giant eye. It looked sick and withered. The glassy lens was fogged and blood clot. About the monster tentacles dangled about like limp spaghetti. The eye moved in jerking movements and gave a deep stare at both James and Vincent. “Hello Mr Retina!” Vincent said as he waved and stepped closer to the window. The eye kept moving, as if it had an itch that it couldn’t touch. “Mr. Retina had an accident on the tops of a mountain peak. Someone threw a molotov cocktail at him and his vision has been severely damaged.” Vincent said while shaking his head.
“How do you fix a giant crawling eye ball?” asked James.
“Well we don’t really abide by the same rules and methods most innocents adhere to.” Vincent said. “Say, are you thirsty?”
James and Vincent turned into a room that had tables, chairs and a Coca Cola machine. They sat and Mr Fare got James a can of pop. Vincent relaxed as if on brake. It took a while for conversation to begin and James took a little time to process the information. The monotonous fan from the rooms vent created an ongoing tone.
“So who funds this place?” asks James. Vincent raised an eyebrow and seemed taken back by the question.
“Our backings come through charitable donations by means of undisclosed sources.” Vincent said and then taking a sip. “Must be rich people.” James said. “Not really as much as you think. Most of it is a collective group of nations. Banding together to keep it running.” Vincent replied while straightening his tie. “I don’t get it.” asks James.
“The practice of generational slaughtering is an invested process. Many high level people understand the importance and thus, fund us with what we need.” Mr Fare said while taking another sip.
“It doesn’t make sense. How does it not get found out more often. Why did I find you and what is the damn importance of it?” James said in an urgent tone. Mr Vincent looked take back and almost offended.
“Mr Scott. It’s extremely important. These aren’t just mere psychos, maniacs or monsters. These patients fulfill a service and keep this world in check. Think of all the good that exists. You yourself are a newly proud parent of a little girl right?” Vincent said with a certain entertaining intensity.
“Yes, yes I am.” James replied.
“So, when you saw her face for the first time. When you heard her cry of innocence, you felt something special. What you felt was goodness, innocence and life itself.” he said while poking the air in a ‘matter of fact’ kind of way. These great folks are the reason you feel that goodness. Without their work then you would have a numb concept of life. You wouldn’t value your daughter or your own life. The safety you feel in your bed, the security knowing the locks on your doors let you sleep. You feel that because of them. You wouldn’t right now be enjoying that can of soda.” Vincent said.
James simply looked into this mans face. Not truly sure as to what he just said was at all honest. Mr. Fare noticed the doubt and simply waved his hand and said “The bad makes the good… good.” It seemed ludicrous but something clicked. Vincent continued after taking a long drink and swiveling the liquid in the can.
“They maintain a hierarchy over youth as well. For life to exist, there must be a sacrifice from culture. The entity that supersedes our world requires that all ignorant youth be punished. There are rules to do this and many times, our patients succeed and all is good in the world. But… unfortunately accidents happen or victims prove victorious. It’s fine and the laws are appeased… but good expertise is hard to come by. We found that maintaining the talent is important to the entire process.” Vincent said.
“So you let them kill people for just being… young. For just being themselves? That’s barbaric!” James says while slamming his hand on the table.
Mr. Fare smiled and continued. “It’s not always youth Mr Scott. Adults do get mixed into the ‘liquidation.’ But seriously, think about the last time you were at a community pool, movie theater, restaurant or amusement park. Perhaps there was a time when a group of teens were there? This may sound blunt but perhaps they were being ass holes? Causing everyone frustration and testing your limits of patience?” Vincent said.
“Ok yes that happens but…” James said. Vincent interrupted “… and what do you secretly wish? That they would stop. That they would quit their shit and grow up. That someone needs to strike some fear in them.” Vincent heralded in triumph. James felt like he was on the defense and said “yea we all feel that way. But we don’t do it!”
“You don’t do it because of OUR patients. They fulfill a duty by making youth fearful. That the actions youth do and the attitudes they have… can have dire consequences. Without them youth would run rampant. Do you honestly believe condoms or fear of AIDS decreased sexually transmitted diseases in the 80s and 90s? When your little daughter grows up. She will think twice about her actions because of a legend. A legend that has truths to it.” Vincent said with a raised voice. “It even works on a larger worldwide scale.” he said and then drinking to pause. “The earths pollution levels decrease because everyone is afraid of waking a giant monster or mutating rabbits going on a rampage.” he added. He leaned in closer and with a ‘told you so’ way “You really think those damn liberal hippies had anything to do with nuclear war?”
James remained silent as if knowing the answer. To be honest the nuclear war thing made him laugh and he quickly remembered a time during his youth. When he was a teen he was working as a camp counselor for an entire summer. One night the camp director told them of a story about a boy that drowned in the lake. None of the counselors were paying attention and the boy died. The mother swore revenge and went on a killing spree. She was killed by a lone survivor and thus, it was rumored the boy rose from the lake as a walking deadly behemoth. Constantly preying on camp counselors that partook in the unrighteous behaviors.
The story scared James so much that he never fooled around that entire summer. To this day he remembers how the story made him feel scared pissless. But it did make him take hold of responsibility and it could have been his first moment of actual growth into adulthood. Vincent could read the thoughts on James’ face and simply bowed his head in acceptance.
“I worked at Camp Crystal Lake when I was young.” said James in a meager admission. Vincent’s eyes went wide and exclaimed “You know of Jason! Why he’s one of our proudest achievements. He’s been working the camp counselor line for decades. Consider yourself very fortunate you made it out alive. Usually only a lone female survivor makes it out of his grasp.” Vincent let our a laugh and mumbled to himself as if bewildered by James’ deposition. For a while James and Vincent remained silent. They took various sips from their sodas and made little conversation. The soft sound of the brake room cooler became so loud to James that he started feeling awkward. James thought deeply and finally spoke.
“So how did I find this place. If this is real then how come the public doesn’t know.” James asks.
“That’s easy. It’s Friday the 13th. Our gateways are often times… open during the night and morning shifts. Most people are too busy or not around at the hours the portals are open. You found us at the right time and by slim chance, did what little few innocents do.” Vincent said.
“And why are you calling me innocents?” said James.
“Just a professional term we like to use. Nothing offensive. Just how we see… normal folk like you.” Vincent said without making eye contact and checking his watch.
James shook his head and gave a chuckle as if everything made some sort of crazy sense. He couldn’t truly believe where he was and what he was hearing. It sounded like something from a crazy horror bloggers post. Like he had to come up with some weird challenge and wrote out some ridiculously stupid concept while he was drunk on too much booze. But there it was. What James witnessed was undeniable and something he would never forget. A part of him appreciated it all like he was a witness to something bigger. With a cheerier attitude he looked up at Vincent.
“Well I can accept all of this and I guess all I can say is ‘thanks for informing me.’” James says attempting a smile. He began to stand, conveying to Vincent that he would like nothing more than to leave. Vincent gave James an approving smile and placed his soda can down on the table. “Yea it is getting late for you. For you its early but for Hel Ward 54 this is considered the morning shift. Very few of our patients actually work the day trade.” he said while standing up and brushing off his suit coat. The two made their way out of the brake room and James followed Vincent’s every step.
“So how do I exit the building?” James asked.
“We’re walking that way right now.” said Mr Fare as he tightened his tie and checked his phone. “Actually, you coming here is a good thing. You don’t know how important we value your… input.” Vincent said.
“Well, anything I can do to help.” James reluctantly said. “What do you have in mind?”
Mr. Fare remained quiet, which made James tense as they walked down another hallway. Eventually after many turns, passing rooms and spectacles beyond imagination. They came to a door… a strange red door. James noticed it stood out amongst the entire architecture that effortlessly contrasted against the typical mundane hospital style. The brightness of the door seemed to swallow all attention and the redness glowed like fire. From the walls around it seeped blood and on the door read the word REHAB with the winged logo above it.
Mr. Fare went to the door as James held back. Unsure if his next step should go any closer, James seemed to hover behind. A vague anxiousness came over him and the hairs on his arms pricked up. “This is our rehabilitation center for our patients. It also happens to be the portal to the real world. An exit if you will.” said Mr. Vincent Fare while slowly smiling. James took a few steps closer as Mr. Fare walked in. A bright yellowish light permeated outwards and James found himself drawn to its glow. As he took two steps in James found himself in a small room. Walls surrounding him on all four sides. Vincent stood at the corner of the room checking his phone and texting vigorously. Then the door slammed shut behind James.
He couldn’t figure it out. The room had no exits. No doors and no windows. There weren’t even vents in the ceiling. James turned to look behind him and all that was there was a white wall. No red door. He looked down and noticed the floor was lined with large smooth stones, like those you’d find in an ancient church sanctuary. He was completely boxed in and gulped and cracked his fingers in anticipation. With one step forward he eased his hand up as to gesture a question. “What’s going on Mr. Fare, does this portal work differently than the way I came in? James asked.
Still looking at his phone, Mr. Fare looked up quickly and smiled. “No Mr. Scott, it doesn’t work the same. You see I… I mean… we… feel bad about this. We need you for something bigger. I am truly sorry for all that has happened to you.” said Vincent. James felt like his expression didn’t match his apology. He put his phone into his pocket and continued “… and I apologize for what is about to happen to you.”
The room rumbled and the center stone dropped down. James pressed himself up against the wall. Running his hand up and down as if the door was still behind him. The smooth scraping of rock against rock filled the room. It was like the tomb of Jesus opened slowly and seemed to roll on forever. From the hole in the floor, up came an object. Bulbous and shaped much like an egg. It came out of the shadows, revealing itself to be organic looking with cross hatches at the top that resembled bloodless lips. The texture of the egg-like structure looked webbed and living. Liquid oozed forth from its crevices and steam slowly billowed out around it. The very presence of it made James nervous and scared. Like an organic time bomb ready to explode.
“What… what is that?” James yelled.
Mr. Fare took a step toward the strange object and placed a calming hand upon it. As if caressing it like a newborn puppy. Without looking at James, Vincent spoke soft and with authority. “Recently one of our essential patients perished Mr. Scott. It is a great travesty on our part.” Then he looked to James and a fervor came from his eyes. “The supreme entity requires it be re-established. To be brought back. Without it, the ideas of man go too far. Without it, mankind strives to be more… to be fearless and rise above their current state.” he said as if reciting from a pamphlet. A rustling sound from within the object churned as it lightly shook. “You Mr. Scott, are helping us and mankind. Thank you.” Vincent said while stepping back to the wall.
The egg opened with individual flaps flailing to the side like a peeled banana. The sound of steam came out and the air around the room stalled. James looked in disgust and shook with fear. Sweat pulsing from his face and soaking his shirt collar. He collided to the wall as if trying to brake through but it simply bounced him off like a bug. “Please no, I just had my baby girl!” he screamed.
“For that we thank you as well. You have added to the balance.” Mr. Fare replied in a careless tone.
The egg structure jolted and from inside a fleshy sound caught James’ attention. A flicker of something gangly and pale came out. Like fingers crawling up the inside edges of the sack. They dragged a hideous body of an insect like creature with a pulsating abdomen. It contracted in and out as if breathing and seemed to analyze the room with whatever senses it possessed. Its tail flailed in the air as it balanced while laying on the cocoons flaps. It stopped when it faced James. For a minute James just stared in horror as this eyeless creature stared back. A finger flickering and moving slowly. Mr. Fare on the other side of the room smiled with delight and rubbed his hands together like a child waiting in line for Santa. The entire room felt like a drain waiting for the faucet to give one drop of water.
James rose and made ready to defend himself. But his instincts proved to once more a determent. When out of the sack the spidery creature sprang forward. Hurling a high pitch scream as its legs went wide. The world around James froze and for the glimmer of time, James saw before him the protruding anus of the creatures face. Its secreted mucus jetting all over as it came at him like the outstretched arms of a long lost lover.
With a massive slam it crushed into his face, instantly wrapping its tail around James’ head. James’ body slammed into the wall and he flailed on the ground in a blind rage. Tossing and turning. Pulling and tugging at the thing now latched to his face. The thing covered him and like a plastic bag stopped any airflow. When James opened his mouth the appendage quickly and violently jammed into his mouth. It slid deep down his throat and James gurgled in pain. It felt offensive and harassing, like it wanted James to feel manipulated. The tail tightened around his neck and James sank into blackness in pulsing spasms. As his arms flopped to the ground all seemed dark and blurry and then James knew no more.
The Next Day
In a murky daze, Jame Scott opened his eyes as he awoke laying in a hospital bed and dressed in a surgical gown. Before him were three nurses, all busy and holding various contraptions. Some ignoring him while reading charts and others preparing other surgical devices on a table nearby. A low repeating beeping sound could be heard to his left and James turned his head to see its source. A monitor with a screen glared a greenish tint as a thin line ran across. Jumping up and down every half second. James’ mouth felt dry and when he tried to speak no words came out. Instantly one of the nurses saw him stir and grabbed him a drink of water. The liquid was cool and soothing as it went down his gullet. Like a zamboni cleaning the top layer of ice James throat felt fresh and new. He spoke “Where am I?” and all the nurses turned and looked at each other.
“You’re doing just fine Mr. Scott” came a voice in the corner as James quickly recognized and turned. Mr. Fare sat with his legs crossed in a chair and leaning back. “You’ve been out for nearly a day now and as expected you have awoken.” Vincent said while casually flipping his phone in his hand. James quickly rustled in urgency to get out of the bed and away from this place. But he found himself incapable as his arms and legs could not move. He looked down and realized there were straps wrapped around him. Keeping him secure and with little movement. He tried with all his might to rip free. Muscles tearing and sockets popping with every pull. “Don’t overdo it Mr. Scott.” said Vincent.
James retreated his attempt for freedom and glared at Vincent. “You son of bitch, I’ll kill you!” he screamed. Mr. Fare stood from his seat and approached the bed, lightly touching James’ shoulder. “Yes, I’m sure you would wouldn’t you?” in a mocking tone. “But that will not be happening.” he said.
With one initial punch, James suddenly felt a spike of pain channeling through his nerves shake up into his ear. A pulsating ringing filled his brain and all the air from his lungs pushed out. James moaned in a deep swollen sound and his eyes began to roll upwards. His mouth hung limp as if his lips were numb and falling to the floor. Then a violent stabbing pain sprang from his chest. James convulsed and in a quick motion actually tore one strap from his arm. He grabbed his chest and rolled over in pain. Spitting and screaming into the pillow. The stabbing pain was coming out and making his veins feel like they were about to burst.
The nurses all stepped closer. The joy on their faces looked down on James as he withered on the bed. Then a great crunch came from his chest and James’ insides burned like a hot furnace. Another crack and James arched his chest upwards. His hands stretched forward and his head bobbled like a flag in a wind. Spats of bile and saliva flew from his mouth and flooded his eyes. Blood soaked his gown and in one last feeling of pain, James chest exploded like a hot spring. He only saw blackness as it dimmed the light about him. His eyes glossed over and James Scott lay soaked in his own blood and dead.
A nurse quickly extended her hands forward. Instead of attending to James she reached down into the gown and pulled it free. As she ripped it aside while another crack and splay of blood jutted out from James’ chest. Jolting his body in another spasm as if he was still alive. The nurses all stepped forward as the chest opened and out came a scream. One nurse clapped as the others said “oooh” and “ahhh” like seeing a newborn kitten. What came forth was a bloody elongated creature. The blood soaked animal bobbed its head up and down, thrashing through the organs of its host. A nurse moved in and picked the creature up, quickly wrapping it in a blanket. The body of James Scott lay there with a cavernous hole from his chest. The ribs sticking outward like jagged rocks dripped with blood. A nurse pulled a blanket up and over James’ body.
Mr Fare came over and went straight for the newborn creature. “Hello” he said with an ear-to-ear grin. “We thank thee, oh servant of all.” he said. The nurse went out of the room still holding the creature. It gave off another raspy high pitched roar as the other nursed followed behind. Mr. Fare stood in the room and looked down at what was once James Scott. He touched the ends of the blanket and said “All in days work.” Then walking out of the room, he shut the lights off, leaving newborn father James Scott a mere faded memory for Hel Ward 54.
Credit : nscovell
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