Through the fog, pain. Every part of my body feels like its on fire. My head is pounding, and I swear there’s a knife or an ice pick right behind my left ear. Lying down – stretched out. Last I remember, I think, I was flying through the air and crashed into a brick wall. I was tumbling down toward the ground…
Hospital. I recognize the smell, even past the thick smell of my own blood. There’s someone here. Not dangerous. She? Yes, maybe a nurse. I’m trying to open my eyes, but they are sealed shut. Sticky. Blood.
Glass breaking. Scream. Another. It’s here. Time to get up.
Move! I scream in my head. My body doesn’t want to listen. Or obey. Too busy bleeding. Sealing. Healing.
She’s leaning over me. Danger. She has to get out. Move! I scream at myself again. My hand reaches up, hits her, grabs on. My eyes finally open.
“Run.” It comes out as more of a whisper than the command I wanted her to hear. She ignores me. She hasn’t heard it yet. She will soon.
Time. To. Move.
“Honey, where do you think you’re going? You lie back down…”
Her hand on my chest gives me something to push against. The pressure fires my muscles, and I roll to the side, sitting up and swinging my legs off the bed. I grab her wrist with my own. Her eyes are wide, but her heart is steady. Good. Brave.
“You must run. Get out. It’s coming.”
She backs away now. Heart beats faster. I hear her pulse, smell her blood warming in her body. She’s watching me carefully. Thinks I’m crazy, no doubt. Ah, if only.
I slide down to the floor and press my hands on the bed to stand up, wavering. I hear noises above me. Crashing, breaking. Dying.
Glancing at the window, I see bushes. Good. We’re on the ground level. I look back at her once more. Try once more. “Go out the window. Get out of here.”
“Honey, I don’t know what you’re talking about, but you really need to—”
Too late. She hears it now. Time. To. Move. I push away from the bed and sweep my hand over the instrument tray next to her, grabbing anything I might use as a weapon.
“What are you—”
I push past her and grab the door handle. If she won’t go now, there’s nothing more I can do for her. “Please. Run.”
I open the door and walk into Hell. The creature is rampaging down the long corridor. It smells my blood and whips its head up from the limp body it holds.
“You cannot stop me, Otherthing.” Its voice grates like screeching nails on chalkboard in my ear and across my mind.
“But I will,” I grind out, clenching a surgical knife that’s shorter than any of its venomous claws.
“Why?” It cocks its head, curious. I’ve never seen a monster stop to think before. It scares me more than anything I’ve ever seen. “They’re dying anyway?”
“Not today,” I spit and start moving forward. “Not by you, you sick demon.”
Its chuckle grinds like rocks breaking under pressure. I suddenly think of an old diamond commercial and the incongruity makes me smile.
“Good.” It drops the body, sliding off its claws to the floor. “Your bravery makes your fear all the sweeter.” It lumbers toward me, picking up speed. Soon it will have the momentum of a freight train. I have to get there first. “Run,” I tell myself.
Slow motion. Two steps, jump up to push of the right wall, dive to the left side, tuck and roll under its carapace, stab up with the small blade, drag it along the monster’s belly as I slide on my back across the floor. It stomps with its right foot and I roll to the left, grab onto the spiked tail as it whips up, swinging me onto the monsters back. I hear the blade clatter to the floor behind me. Great. Now what?
A plume of smoke covers us. Standing in front of this monster from hell is the nurse, spraying a fire extinguisher. What part of run did she not understand?
Dogs in house
~45 minutes, interrupted
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