O, Death: Part XII

by Matt P.

“She’s fine, Siobhan,for the moment; but that continues to not quite be our biggest problem,” Walter explained with a sigh and a shake of his head as they walked in to the Pediatrics area of the Hospital. “Raina is going to be fine so long as her fever breaks soon, but we…found something in the basement.”

After finding the woman and her daughter, Mona and Raina Pierce, in the basement the night before, the Richards family had been hustled home. Siobhan hadn’t slept much, and knew that Antigone hadn’t either, still flushed with the adrenalin of the day before. It left her feeling a little bit strung out, almost hungover, although she didn’t phrase it quite that way to her father when he had asked. Better to avoid fighting about her knowledge of that feeling, for now at least.

Walter had been assigned by the Marshal of the Border PD, William Alexander, to find out exactly what was happening at the hospital. Siobhan hadn’t seen the Marshal but she had heard the early morning phone call that had sent Walter back to Border General at 4 AM; she could hear the strain that had started in Alexander’s voice and spread to her father’s as the Marshal explained what had happened twenty-nine years prior. There was fear there, of a repeat of those circumstances. That fear lay heavy on everyone in Pediatrics as they walked in, to find Ryan waiting for them again at the Nurse’s station.

“We ready to go downstairs, boss?” Ryan asked with a raised eyebrow toward Siobhan, Antigone, and their father as they came up. Ryan was dressed similarly to the day before, leather jacket zipped shut—but Siobhan could tell he was wearing something beneath it, armor of some kind.

“Yeah, saddle up, let’s ride, all those cliches,” Walter agreed. His own jacket hung open, and he once more had his pistol loaded in his shoulder holster. They began to walk and, to Siobhan’s surprise, Paul and Paolo fell in beside them.

“Why do you call him boss?” Paul asked, his hands folded together to hide their fidgeting. “You’re not a cop, are you?” The nurse asked, looking Ryan over as if checking for a badge. Ryan smirked, and shook his head.

“No, I want to actually get paid for getting shot at any more. Walter and I served together in the Army. Met when Uncle Sam paid for both of us to go to Kansas State. Stayed friends because he married my sister and it was either that or shoot him,” Ryan answered very plainly, as if those were the only two logical options in the world. “Bastard got promoted more then I did.”

Walter raised an eyebrow. “You told me, and I quote, ‘Hell no I don’t want to end up a Major, do too much paperwork,’ end quote. In fact you specifically told me that getting promoted was a trap, like getting cheese from a mousetrap or marrying a stripper. Also a direct quotation,” Walter offered in an explanatory tone to Paul and Paolo, while Siobhan and Antigone let out a startled giggle.

“What did you do?” Paul asked, not failing to not the holster that Ryan openly wore on his hip with a pistol in it—Siobhan knew the .45 was a twin to a personal weapon that Water owned—they had bought them together. Ryan, whether he noticed the glance or not, reached back to pull the pistol out as they made it to the hallway. Walter reached into his coat to do the same, and both men adopted a similar posture with the guns out but pointed down and smooth leg movements.

“This and that,” Walter offered unhelpfully.

“Communications,” Ryan offered with a genial smile to both men as they took to the stairs. Paul rolled his eyes at the comments, but he still fidgeted his hands and seemed to be speaking mostly to keep the silence at bay.

“You guys should go on the road, you’re funny. What kind of communications?” Paul asked as he and the rest of the rear guard made it to the stairs.

“Very effective short films noted for their violence and cinematography,” Ryan answered as they carefully reached the bottom of the stairs. Apparently whatever had caused the power outages and emergency lighting had been fixed or abated, because the hallway was back to being a normal and boring one. It was smaller than the ones upstairs, the basement area both older and less used for medical purposes any more. “Did you tell them what we found?” Ryan asked Walter without taking his eyes away from their quick and searching glances.

Siobhan stepped forward quickly, not about to let that opportunity pass her by. “He didn’t tell us squat, so give,” she demanded eagerly.

“Careful, little bug, that eagerness might get you your wings clipped,” Ryan smirked, but the expression fled from his face more quickly than it normally would as he kept scanning the hallway for dangers. “Damn, now I wish I could retroactively nickname you Cat,” he sighed at his inability to travel back in time. They considered down the main hallway, before turning down a very cramped and poorly lit one; the lights above flickered with age.

“Where the hell are we, I’ve never been down this hallway…” Paolo offered, trailing off as they took another turn in to a hallway that was every bit as poorly lit. “I’m not even sure this hallway is on the plans.”

“So what the hell is it?” Siobhan demanded again as they walked down the hallway, shaking her head in frustration. “I love how you guys are treating it like it is super dangerous but won’t tell us what. It. Is.” She enunciated the last words carefully as she stalked ahead, only drawn up short when she realized her father and uncle had stopped walking and she almost walked in to them.

“What’s your favorite thing to find in Border, after the fun in the High School’s basement?” Walter asked, gesturing ahead of him. Siobhan stared at it and blinked.


Ahead of them was a large door made of some strange black metal, darker even then the shadows around it, with no knob that they could see. An imposing door, one might say—or as Siobhan, Antigone, and their friends had termed them before: A spooky door.