by Brianna G. Harte
Every screen nearby started shutting off and then somehow turning back on. The blinking numbers ranging from 0000 to 9999, always circulating a new combination. Mixed with this were the haywire overhead lights in the pure white ceiling. They seemed to pulse on and off in a constant rhythm. The nurse and Odessa took notice, eyebrows knitting together and mouths agape.
At first, I grasped satisfaction in the palms of my small hands. Worry streaked across the nurse’s face. She deserved it for making Odessa feel uncomfortable. However, this sense of justice dashed away from my mind quickly. While the lights were off, there was a faint rumble in the distance, ceasing when light briefly turned back on. My eyes widened. Heavy steps echoed across the emergency room, the sound elevating with each thud against the floor. I couldn’t see anyone besides the nurse and Odessa, but the noise was there. I closed my eyes and made a run for it, not caring where I went. I couldn’t outrun him forever. Wait, how did I know it was a him?
A slightly ajar door near the end of the fourth hallway I went down became my target. I ducked in, hiding in the shadows with my knees tucked close to my chest. My eyes shut tight in the dark as I rocked back and forth.
The voice was omnipresent, though it was nowhere too.
It was a little human boy’s voice, crying as he screamed.
I stood up shakily. “He – hello?”
No one answered.
As I phased through the door, my ears perked up, though it heard no more. “Is anyone there?”
I couldn’t see anything. No light aside from the emergency exit signs illuminated the halls, and these only made the place seem even more ominous. It was red . . . the color of blood. Cautiously, I stepped forward on the tile floors. “Hello?” My voice wanted to crawl back in my throat.
Click. Click. Click. Click. This sound too amplified.
“Leave me alone!” I cried.
Click. Click. Click. Click.
“It’s okay! It’s okay,” a soothing female voice said. “Everything is alright.”
I turned around and found Odessa kneeling a few feet away. With relief, I ran toward her and opened my arms, wanting tears to flow onto my cheeks. I passed through her, though. Hugging myself, I sniffled without physically needing to.
“What’s wrong?” Her gentle words came to me like a lullaby, almost calming me.
“The thunder. . . I hate thunder. It’s scary and mean.”
“Is that all?”
I looked into her eyes before turning mine to the floor. “Someone was chasing after me.”
Odessa pursed her lips. “There was no thunder just now. And no one is on this floor except for you, me, and the nurse. You’re safe.”
Copyright © 2015 Brianna G. Harte. All rights reserved.