Death was not as silent as many people believed. The dead were chatty creatures. Ellie knew this better than most, she’d dare say. As she made her way across the massive compound, purse over her shoulder, she tried to ignore the stares following her. How many souls were wandering these old grounds, their voices nothing more than faint whispers on the wind? She kept her gaze on the ground, limp, brown hair falling around her face in waves. A bitter smile pulled at her mouth. The dead were far from silent.
“Ma’am?” Ellie’s gaze rose. A nurse was approaching her, dressed regally in a flowing lab coat, a clipboard in hand. Ellie adjusted her grip on her purse, eyeing this woman as she steadily got closer to where she stood. A quick once-over told her this woman was among the living, the edges of her body too solid to be one of the souls ambling across the bright hospital grounds. “Ma’am, can I help you with something?”
“You can, yes,” Ellie met this woman’s gaze, voice light as she said, “I’m Ellie Stern. I was asked to come here by Dr. Penora regarding my, uh, condition...”
The nurse looked at her clipboard, flipping through the pages. “Yes, I see you here. You’re early, Miss Stern.”
“I know,” Ellie shifted, offering a slight smile. She stepped forward, holding this woman’s gaze. Ellie lowered her voice as she said, “Things were getting hectic, back at home. One of the brochures mentioned a housing option for volunteers.”
“I understand, Miss Stern,” the nurse stepped to the side, gesturing towards the path leading to the hospital’s massive, silver doors. “Come, let’s get you checked in. We should let Dr. Penora know you’re here.”
The two of them walked in silence, for a time.
The Housing Quarter was empty, for the most part. The front desk was devoid of a nurse on duty, so the woman who had found her checked her in. Ellie looked around the open space, looking for a sign of anyone who could be around. Living or dead. The oppressive silence began to weigh on her, the deeper she went inside. The noise from the outside was a distant memory, barely there.
A thousand, unseen eyes watched her.
“This is your room,” the nurse told her as she unlocked a door. Ellie stepped inside, her gaze moving over the almost-empty room with a sense of wonder. There was only a bed to the side, a small desk and chair, an open door that lead to a closet and another door she was certain was the entrance to a bathroom. Behind her, the nurse said, “Dr. Penora isn’t here, today. He’ll be back tomorrow afternoon. Take the rest of the day to settle in. I’ll be back this evening to check on you and to take you to the cafeteria.”
The nurse left after that, gone like a leaf on a sudden, hard wind. Ellie blinked.
The silence, here, was comfortable. “How glorious it would be, if my world was always this quiet.”
Ellie closed her eyes, head tilted back as the sunlight streaming through the windows washed over her face. She smiled, shoulders relaxing. She was still for a long time, content to rest in the peace in the middle of her room. The air was still, the only sound that of her own heartbeat and the distant clap of thunder.
She wasn’t sure where the dead had gone, not when they had always been near.
Exhaling, Ellie opened her eyes. She tossed her purse onto her bed and made her way to the closet. It was empty, save a few robes. The rest of her clothing would arrive in a few days, perhaps. She was early, after all. Every step she made, an echo followed.
“I wonder where all the souls are at,” Ellie ran her hands over the desk, knowing she’d write many letters in that seat. Her family didn’t know she had come. They wouldn’t understand, a small part of her whispered. She smiled, a sad turn of the lips. The room was still, devoid of the souls that had resided there long before she had been born. “It’s unlike them to be so quiet, especially in a hospital.”
Ellie left her room, knowing, then, that she ought to explore a bit. Dr. Penora wouldn’t be with her until the following afternoon, at the earliest. As she made her way down the long, brightly-lit hallway, Ellie felt her body relax. As she got further along the path, there was a shift in the air. A familiar one, one she had felt many times before. Soft, broken sobs drifted to her senses, carrying from a distance.
Ellie followed the sound. She paused at a door cracked open, the soft cries of a distraught woman coming from within. Ellie lightly knocked on the door, listening. No one answered. She bit her lip. ‘Should I go find a doctor?’ Ellie looked over her shoulder, the hall long and imposing. Her gaze went back to the door. After a moment of silence, she pushed the door open and eased her way into the room.
The room was lavish, the bed, tucked in the corner, covered in a rich comforter befitting for someone from a family of wealth. A table and chairs decorated the middle of the room, a full-length mirror tucked in the corner. The massive divide in the room, a piece of furniture befitting the East, cut off a section of the room where she spied part of a door. The bathroom, Ellie knew.
Was this patient, her new neighbor, getting ready to shower?
“Excuse me, I’m Ellie,” the brunette made her way across the room, making her way to the massive, wooden room diver. As she circled the table, she saw a pale leg. Eyes widening, Ellie picked up her pace. Had this person fallen over? Was that why she was crying? Did she need help? “Ma’am, hold on a moment. I’m almost there.”
When she stepped around the divider, Ellie froze. This patient, a woman, was dead.
All the blood pooling around her body, golden hair curling around her pale, limp body. Hovering over the top of her, transparent and face in hands, was the same woman. Ellie stepped forward, slowly reaching out for the shimmering, shaking shoulder of the woman as she whispered, “Ma’am, what happened here?”
The moment her fingers curled around her shoulder, the woman turned. Ellie saw right past her to the slit throat, stomach clenching as the spirit gazed up at her with wide, terrified eyes. She rose to her feet, voice soft as she said, “He killed us. He came out of nowhere, fueled by rage and anger and, oh god, what have they done?”
“Ma’am,” Ellie grasped the woman by both shoulders, grip firm, her voice stern as she asked, “Who killed you?”
The spirit broke apart, voice a whisper as she said, “They did this to him and he came for all us, trapped in rage and fury and hatred. God, what have they done?”
Ellie knew she wouldn’t be getting an answer from this woman, not now. Standing, Ellie backed away from the body with a sick stomach. Who had killed this woman? Why had she been killed? Was there a patient on the loose? She eyed the cut, the line sharp and clean. It was precise, done undoubtedly by a very sharp tool. Maybe a scalpel?
Ellie left the cramped space, knowing the spirit was following her. A touch of coldness lurked with her, curling and curious. She was near the table when there was another shift, a sense of static in the room so intense that it was difficult to move. Ellie felt a chill crawl up her spine – someone, or something, was watching her.
Ellie turned, her body pitching to the side as something gray and smoky flew past her face. Her back hit the wall as she eyes adjusted, mouth going dry as she caught sight of an arm buried halfway to the elbow in the wall. Pieces of stone crumbled to the ground, each impact loud and deafening to her ears as this person, this man, slowly pulled his arm free from the wall. His head tilted to the side, slightly.
Gray eyes, cold and frozen, clashed against brown.
Off to the side, the dead patient let out a broken cry. “Run, you have to run!”
Ellie watched as he straightened his body, frozen in place as this man, oblivious to the woman crying off to the side, screamed and yelled. He regarded her silently, his form like smoke and ash as he stepped towards her. “You knew I was there. How?”
His eyes narrowed when she didn’t respond, voice akin to a growl as he said, “I asked you a question, girl. How did you know?”
“S-s-she told me,” Ellie kept her back to the wall as she pushed herself to her feet, arms crossed protectively over her chest. When his eyes narrowed further, the walls around them crumbling and darkness spreading through the once, brightly-lit room, she made a sharp gesture towards the dead body as she squeaked, “She told me!”
His hand slammed against the wall next to her face, his nose brushing hers. He held her gaze as he murmured, “Don’t lie to me.”
“I’m not,” Ellie pressed her hands against his shoulders, voice cracking as she said, “I’m not, I swear I’m not lying. She’s right there! She told me you were behind me, moments before you tried to kill me…”
Her heart was pounding, beating erratically within her chest. She was having difficulty drawing in air, vision spotting along the edges as a cold, calloused hand grabbed her chin with enough force to wretch a cry from her lips. Ellie stared into his eyes, held that unfeeling gaze, as he invaded her personal space. At that moment, she would have liked the dead to rise up around her. They would know what to do, in a situation such as this.
She almost didn’t feel the sting of the needle slipping into her skin.
Ellie stared at this man in shock, gaze dropping to the hub of the needle pressed against the skin above the crook of her arm. Ellie watched as he pressed the plunger all the way down, the murky liquid leaving the clear cylinder and flowing through the shaft of the needle into her body. Her gaze jumped back to his, wide and panicked.
A cold smile was all she had as an answer as ice flooded her veins. Her lips parted, a cry on the tip of her tongue, but her voice gave out. A sense of terror washed through her, suddenly unable to breathe as her vision swam. She didn’t feel the needle leave her skin, only saw it drop to the ground. Red droplets splattered the ground around it.
Then she couldn’t feel anything.
She sank into his grasp, her entire form caught within a sense of numbness. She felt her body lift off the ground, her arm hanging limp as her head lulled. Ellie blinked, eyes growing heavy. Her cheek pressed against a scarred, cold chest. She peered up at this man with cold eyes, blinking slowly as she tried to hold his gaze.
It was a futile effort.
Like a child tentatively chasing a dream, she sank into darkness. All around her, the world vanished. There were only shades of grey, white noise and the distant sound of a woman screaming and the scent of burning wood. Then there was nothing.
I’m a fan of games, movie, and, of course, music. I’ve been playing games and watching playthroughs for years. It’s a bit of an obsession of mine, so it really isn’t a surprise that I watched Markiplier play ‘The Evil Within‘ on YouTube. It’s one hell of a game. So I suppose this post is a salute to that game. I’m currently watching the DLCs to it and am also looking forward to ‘The Evil Within II’ to come out.
This post itself could very well be a FanFic, now that I look it over. For those who enjoyed the small post, I would recommend playing the game itself or watching Mark play it. He’s hilarious. Things we enjoy often inspire a burst of creative writing. This story is such an example. After watching the game, this idea popped into my head. So I wrote it out and now I’m sharing it with all of you. I do hope you enjoyed it.
On an ending note, I wanted to mention one other thing. I’ve been thinking about writing a small book. My thought is to have it like my posts, a series of small stories that tend to be random as hell but, maybe, with a connecting plot layered underneath. It’s an idea I’m entertaining. If I go that route, I’ll put a few of the chapters here on WordPress. We could all think of it as a teaser for the rest of the project.
It would be something to wet your appetites.
Let me know what you think.