O, Death: Part VII

by Matt P.

Needless to say, Walter hadn’t been thrilled about them going back to the internship. With Morgan out of contact they had been forced to make the decision together, which had resulted in a very long discussion which only at times rose to the level of an argument. The arguments largely involved two positions. Walter’s position was that he was their father and he was supposed to protect them from harm and also crazy things, which was just another kind of harm he couldn’t adequately describe yet. Their position was that the likelihood was they would be involved anyway, and they could probably just sneak out and go do it no matter what. His counter that he would lay disabling spike traps around the house to keep them from sneaking out was quickly shot down on the grounds of lowering the house’s worth and upsetting the neighbors.

Which made it all the more disappointing that Tuesday had been…normal. With Morgan still gone they had been foisted off largely on pediatrics, which was fine—besides Siobhan’s self-admittedly creepy desire to go sit in the morgue and stare at things for hours, it wasn’t a bad place to be. They cleaned, and spoke to several of the children, and had surreptitious conversations with Paul and Paolo about what had happened in 1986 and also which doctors were complete douchebags and which were only sometimes douchey but mostly acceptable. There were more of the first then the second, and only two or three in the whole building Paolo decided were completely well-adjusted and decent people (including Morgan), but Paul chalked that primarily up to the fact that they were doctors.

“It takes a lot of schooling, debt, and alpha personality types to become a doctor,” Paul explained the next day. Wednesday had come lacking fresh snow but still freezing, so the white accumulations were half sparkling and half dirty outside the hospital windows. “It takes most of them decades to get over it, kind of like lawyers. That’s why the old doctors are the best—they might have paid off their debt, or maybe they just started smoking pot or something, but there is a chance they mellow out. It’s almost weird that Morgan is so chill at her age.”

Siobhan raised her eyebrows and then looked over to Antigone, barely managing to suppress a smirk. Antigone turned her laugh in to a delicate cough, smother her smile with a hand before she could put on her poker face. She glanced by to where some other nurses were moving children in wheelchairs who were talking animatedly, IV stands wheeling beside them. “Some people are just good eggs from the beginning,” she offered sweetly when she looked back.

“Where does that phrase even come from?” Siobhan asked, to move the subject to something a little more safe than Morgan Winters’ age. “I mean I know we all want our eggs to be good, but it’s still kind of odd…” Her voice trailed off a little bit, as her eyes glanced upward. The lights above had started flickering unusually, the steady glow giving way to slight sputtering.

“Oh blast it, is a light going out?” Paul asked before he stopped, as his eyes found what Siobhan’s had a second before. There wasn’t one light flickering, but every light across the whole of pediatrics had started. They could see it getting worse, spreading like a wave down the hallway, and Siobhan felt a pressure building in her ears like she was diving under water. Antigone’s eyes widened, and Siobhan knew she felt it too—and knew what was coming.

“GET DOWN!” They both shouted in unison, hurling themselves over the two children in wheelchairs protectively. All four nurses, Paul and Paolo and the two with the patients, started to say something, their mouths opening slowly. But it was drowned out by a shattering sound that ripped down the hallway as every single light above them exploded at once, spraying them with shards of glass.

The cacophony was followed by a moment of stunned silence in the hallway, before everyone started talking at once. Nurses and doctors began to move quickly to check on patients, and Siobhan was guided away from the patient she had saved from the glass so the patient could be looked over. Siobhan tried to brush the glass out of her hair as she took stock, and Antigone looked over and met her eyes.

“Did you see how it came down the hallway?” Antigone asked, looking up. “It came like a wave, which means that it had to have come from somewhere.”

Siobhan gave a slow nod, trying to fish more of the glass shards out of her hair. She came away with a big one, tossing it in to a trash can as she considered. “We’re going to run after it, right?” She shook her head to clear the last bits and then started heading in that direction.

Antigone gave a little bit of a sigh but caught up with her sister, reaching out to take her hand as they dodged past rushing nurses and janitors. “It does seem to be what we do. We need to stop that, eventually,” Antigone added. “It can’t be good for our health, really.”

Siobhan gave an artless shrug as they came to an intersection near pediatrics, looking up at the lights. Only one hallway had lights blown out, which seemed to be a good indication. “Back to the hell room.” The lights were leading them back to the place where they had first encountered…whatever was in the hospital. They rounded the final corner to find it once again abandoned, and once again painted differently—a throw back to the way the walls were in 1986. They started to step forward in to the hallway to face whatever it was.

Only to be bowled in to by two children, barefoot and wearing hospital gowns and screaming for them to run at the top of their lungs.