Fluorescent lights a-flickering express a unique kind of atmospheric foreboding. So, of course, at this moment of nervous anticipation – heart beating far too rapidly, breath catching in the chest, sweat bursting from every pore, hairs standing on end all over my body – naturally, predictably, invariably, the Ward’s neon lights were flickering. As I had initially caught sight of the erratic illumination, the pathetic horror of the situation – and my circumstances – almost made me laugh.
Frozen in my stride, I tore the cap from my head and furiously scratched the scalp underneath; an idiosyncratically-edgy action that my friends knew and laughed at. My friends… Fucking hell. Had any of them survived? Could I have saved any of them? Should I have tried?
The fact that some dodgy lighting was enough to stop me dead in my tracks was, frankly, a fairly solid indicator that my mates were probably better off without any puny assistance I could offer. In all honesty, had I been with them the likelihood is that I’d have somehow managed to get ’em all killed.
You would think that I would have become used to the eerie silence after almost three hours of gingerly creeping around, wouldn’t you? Between the horrible absence of any sound and the nerve-jangling on-off, on-off of the overhead bulbs, it felt like I was a heart attack just waiting to happen. Heh… In a hospital, too – best place for it, right?
Funny, Lucy. Funny as a fucking funeral…which, coincidentally, if exactly where you’ll be headed damn soon if you don’t get a grip, pull your head outta your ass, and start searching the Ward for…well, for anyone. A Doctor would be nice. Wouldn’t say no to a Nurse. Not to be ageist, but a geriatric might be…a bit of a handicap.
Wait… Fuck, that was probably ableist as well. That’s the apocalypse for you; lowering standards across the board. What has the world come too? It’s a bloody disgrace, is what it is.
Right, that’s enough of that.
I set my jaw and clenched my fists down by my side. Tried to get my breathing under some kind of control – one deep inhale and exhale, two, three – and stared at the far end of the corridor. Finally, I began marching, with a purpose and confidence that I definitely did not feel. Any sort of activity lifts the spirits a teensy bit though. I placed a hand on each of the double-doors, and gently pushed.
That was when the screaming started.
Solidarity, brothers & sisters…☭