At the end of another nerve wracking day on 2 west, I had just barely begun to drift off into the almost-sleep that I had settled for the past few weeks; and a sound roused me back to full attention. It had started out quiet but was growing louder and louder, a drawn-out wailing echoing seemingly from somewhere out down the hall. I cannot very well begin to describe the kind of chilling terror the voice traced down my spine, making every hair stand on end. It didn’t seem the type of scream of simple misbehavior or outburst; it was clearly a cry of sheer agony, as though it’s owner were being tortured in some unspeakably terrible fashion. I rose, noticing no one in the other two beds. I went out into the hallway, as another scream reverberated though my very frame.
Looking in each room, they were each completely empty of its former residents, but still I could not find the bearer of such a haunting cry . Surely they wanted to be found? A part of me was so terrified with every pang in my chest of the sound, that I did not want to find it, or them; but I couldn’t bear the sound, I had to at least try and help.
With each empty room, the blue glow of the night overhead lights seemed all the more sinister against the cracking, chipped paint. I walked further down toward the front of the hallway, seeing that even the nurses desk was empty, there was absolutely nothing but the blank countertop- as though no one had ever been there. Another piercing wail resonated down the hall. Every time I got closer to it, it seemed to change direction where it was coming from, and would again be on the other end of that corridor. The front doors were still locked. My apprehension turned to panic; Was I being lured? Something just wasn’t right about that voice. How the fuck could I get out of here; there was no way, was there?
Now I was sure I knew exactly what was at play here, and I knew that as always, there was no getting out of it. I closed my eyes for a moment, feeling the atmosphere around me. I could see in my mind’s eye, and feel it on my skin, tracing the familiar shiver of electricity down my spine; pointing me in the right direction.
I turned and looked back; one of the strip lights halfway down the hallway flickered a few times, and the very last light at the other end- the one outside my room- blinked out altogether. The same old terror violently scalded through every corner of my mind, and gripped at my throat, but I took a step forward and slowly willed myself back down the hall once more. The cry had again changed its direction of origin, again splitting through the thickening oxygen. I reached the door halfway down the hall, and gazing into the blackness was met by three pairs of eyes that shone out of the darkness. Immediately the hands of a translucent shadow were about my neck, and every part of me- dragging me to the ground and into the room where no light cast itself. Someone would surely wake me soon.
It wasn’t more than a few minutes of grappling in the dark with these beings before I felt a shaking on my shoulder, and opened my eyes again to be looking up at the wide eyes of the night-shift supervisor.
“Are you awake now?! Dear god you’ve been screaming bloody murder long enough, scaring all the patients.”
I stared blankly for a moment, “Yeah, I’m sorry. Please don’t mark me for it.” This woman already disliked me.
“This is happening too often and you can’t keep disturbing the other residents. I’m putting in a report to Dr. Cillian. Either you get on a medication or they’re going to move you to 2 South.”
Like their goddamn flashlights every 15 minutes weren’t disturbing anyone. But if I got sent next door, I was fucked. I’d heard all the stories about how many people had been attacked, raped, or other things over there. The staff were busy, unaware, or just didn’t care. Everyone just wanted out, and that pressure slowly drove everyone a little more crazy than we all were before. I was feisty and strong for my size, but I was also exhausted and not in my right mind for a fight yet.