When I write, I try to think back to what I was afraid of or what was scary to me, and try to put those feelings into books. R.L Stine
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead or actual events is purely coincidental. This is a story I’ve been working on a for while now. A total departure from how I usually write. I got goosebumps reading it.
Sensitive souls stay away! I mean it Reading time 3mns
The sharp chlorine smell of the hospital’s bleached walls makes my nose itch. The colourful murals of the maternity ward are hurting my eyes. I forgot about that. The halls leading to the newborns’ area are now void of visitors; it won’t be long before hordes of families fill them up once more. I press on. Voice grows impatient:
”Stop wasting time, get to it already!”.
“Quiet!” I grumble louder than I want to. Looking around, I am relieved to see I am still alone. I have to stop reacting this way every time Voice talks. Can’t afford to screw up now. The team of specialists following me all those years declared that I was fit to work again. I have to prove them right. The hallucinations have stopped, so it seems. Voice seems quiet; I’m now part of the working masses. I can show them all I belong here.
Years of practice have taught me to be better at hiding Voice. The truth is quite the opposite; who could ever guess that the information allowing me to become better at hiding my diseased mind came from the team of doctors hired to heal me.
“Ironic, don’t you think?” shouts Voice snickering.
Voice’s guidance, with its croaky, rough sounds mixed in my head is a constant companion for so many years now. I tried to stop listening many times.
Voice has been in complete control of my mind. There’s nothing I can do about it. Years locked away in the psych ward, with no visitors, allowed Voice to grow stronger, to get deeper within me. A shy young man of 19 years old, I remember the fright coursing through my heart when Mother committed me to the Green Meadows Psychiatric Hospital. It was then that Voice guided me through the frightening maze of human interaction. Slowly I learned how to hide him. Eventually, I came out: “cured” ready once again to face this unwelcoming world. Together Voice and I are invincible, for better or for worse.
Mother’s the one forcing me to fit into this conventional mould, “bless her soul,” .
“Stop thinking of the old hag!” grumbles Voice
Following Voice’s orders, I walk faster. The blood rushing in my veins is making me feel so alive. So close to getting what I’ve wanted for years. Sweet revenge is a few steps away.
“Stop grinning: it’s not over yet!”.
“Right,” I answer out loud. First things first, getting through the reception area without arousing any suspicion. I can’t help but to grin again, recalling how I made sure to befriend Rachel, the ward’s head nurse and the rest of the Maternity Ward nurses team. “Sob stories melt women’s weak hearts”; Mother used to say. Who could resist me after hearing about my messed up childhood?
“No one, that’s who!” muttered Voice.
A quick hand wave in Rachel’s direction allows me to follow through the swinging doors without any problem. One more push of the swinging grey and yellow doors; here I am. All alone. In the nursery surrounded by newborns lying in their cribs.
“You could always kill him later.”
Voice’s devilish proposition is appealing even though I know I can not do it now. Looking at all the babyfaces in the room, I try to remember if I ever saw any childhood photos of myself. I’d want to pick a baby who looks like me, right? Changing my mind, I lean over the first crib I see. The blue blanket enveloping this baby is soft to the touch. The name tag reads Shawn. Shawn? Yes, it sounds right.
“Who cares who’s baby you take?”. “Stop losing time!” shouts Voice!
I feel lost and confused while Voice gets louder, more impatient, harder to ignore.
“Just grab it, for f*&k’s sake!!!”
Minutes pass, I can now even hear Mother’s favourite and unnerving catchphrase: ”Beware of the voice in your head George! It will be the end of you”.
Thinking back, she always told me to beware of Voice. How did she know I could hear IT? I vaguely remember her speaking of her brother, who spent most of his life in a mental institute. Confused and at a loss, I grab my ears in a desperate attempt to tear them out. In the depth of my mind, I can hear the angered raucous of Voice spilling out from my mouth.
“What’s wrong with you?!?
The babies frightened shrills are hurting my sensitive ears. Grabbing the screaming newborn, I rush out of the principal area and weasel my way into the back stairs through a “personnel only” door. Running down a few flights of stairs, my right hand is covering most of this infant’s face. Stopping to catch my breath, I realize his skin colour changed and I can feel his body slowly going limp. Where can I hide the lifeless body still warm in my arms? Have to ditch the scrubs too. Looking around for the best hiding spot, I hear the PA announcing: “All hospital personnel please; report to your stations”.
Judy, my wife, grabbed onto my shoulder to shake me awake. “How long was I asleep?” “What’s this commotion all about?” I asked in a sleepy voice.
“You know what it’s all about!” snickered Voice so loud that I fear she can hear him.
“I could not tell you how long you’ve been asleep, George,” she answered. “This commotion has been going on for the past twenty minutes. It started about the time I went to visit my friend’s grand-daughter. Did you have a good nap?”.
I nod, smiling at her while letting the soft blue blanket bundled up in my hand slide in silence on the floor alongside the hospital armchair.
“Should we come back tomorrow for another visit?” I asked. I am wondering how to convince her, gently placing my arm on my wife’s slumped shoulders as we both walk out of the maternity ward.
“You know we will; no need to ask for permission! Our work here is just beginning”.
Leaving the hospital, I see the police cars gathering in the parking while a media van already starts shooting this evening’s news scene.
This is quite a departure from anything I am writing, the first draft I wrote was quite unnerving to read out loud. This is a work in progress, and every time I edit it seems scarier (at least to me). I know it still needs works but I wanted to share it today with you.
It is story time after all, here is my first instalment.