This is one of the stories within The Ultimate Phantasms in the Infirmary...
It was a cold and dark night on the wards of St Augustine. The wards were silent as the inpatient population slept with the trustworthy watchful eyes of the nurses looking after them to rely on.
The silence was broken by the odd cough and windy escape from the patients as they relaxed into a slumber. All was uneventful and calm.
Gail, who was on one of the night shift, sat at the nurses’ station with her knitting on her lap as she created another matinée gown for her next grandchild, labouring away on hot clicking knitting needles as she industrially, conjured up another masterpiece. The clicking of the needles was rhythmic as she twisted the wool around the sharp long spines as she “knitted and pearled” the garment into shape.
Louise, her colleague, sat in the dim light, reading her novel and automatically answering the occasional yes and no to Gail’s intermittent conversation, trying hard to concentrate on her book. As the couple sat aimlessly waiting for a call buzzer or a patient groan to attend to, there was an almighty crash from the end of the ward.
Gail hurled her knitting paraphernalia clumsily on the desk, in total disregard of dropping a stitch and braced herself for a dash down the corridor, Louise did the same.
‘What in heaven’s name was that?’ remarked Louise, surprised by the sudden clamour. They both simultaneously lifted up of their comfy seats, nearly crashing heads at the sudden start and headed towards the source of the disturbance.
Not a further word was said as the flashlights were switched on and they purposefully propelled themselves down the long, dark corridor, like two sentinels looking for a break-in, shinning the beam of light from one direction to another, trying to source the ruckus.
It was at that point that they both noticed a dim bluish light emanating from the patient in bed eleven. It was not the patient but something indistinguishable, something hovering over the head of the bed.
‘What the fu..?’ exclaimed Louise, chocked into not finishing her uncouth exclamation.
‘Oh my god, what is it?’ replied Gail but there was no answer from her colleague.
Both nurses were experienced night shift workers and had seen a lot over the years but they had never encountered anything like this before. The Bluish tinge was ill defined and was emanating from the wall, it was impossible to determine what it was but it stood out of the ordinary and seemed like a human form but only partially human, it seemed to be a floating torso that was focusing on the patient who lay helpless and seemingly asleep beneath the apparition.
Mr Warren, the patient on bed eleven, had been an inpatient for the last three days, was an elderly man who had been transferred to the surgical ward with acute bowel obstruction, undergone surgery and was now recovering.
So why was this “thing” picking on him? They wondered about this as they tried to make sense of the unbelievable spectacle that they now faced. It was unusual in every way and unearthly to the extreme, frightening and ghoulish. As they hurried toward the figure, it must have sensed the oncoming rush of the two staff members coming to the patient’s rescue and it deliberately turned to face them. Both ladies were now frozen to the spot, petrified at encountering this unearthly spectre. It was soul and ugly to say the least.
Sunken eyes within a now well defined angry face, mouth snarling and the eyes focused on the two innocent nurses. The eyes were evil and piercing. Its arms were outwardly reaching for the patient’s face, as if wanting to extinguish the poor man’s life, suffocation was possibly it’s intention?
Gail shone the strong beam of light straight at it and the result was to make the demonic appearance angrier as it swooped further into the ward from the wall that had previously housed it and it turned more definitively towards them, as if ready for battle.
‘Shit, what do we do now?’ exclaimed Louise as Gail went into automatic pilot… She was wildly flaying her arms about, shooing it away and nervously talking to it.
‘In the name of god almighty, leave the poor man alone’ ‘Go away, shoo you ugly bastard’ as she lashed her arms at it in quick succession, as if in an attempt to push it away from her patient.
This did not seem to have much impact as it now stood in front of them, no longer floating horizontally but standing up to them, vertically and slowly making its way towards them, threatening the custodians of the ward. Both nurses were now very afraid but they were there to protect their patients although no book in their respective training courses had ever prepared for dealing with demons or ghosts. This was new ground and it was a sharp learning curve they faced. To make matters worse, Mr Warren was now awake, shaking in his bed as he could see the battle between good and evil was being fought over him. ‘Please don’t let it take me away, I don’t want to go with it, please’ he cried.
Soon the whole bay of patients was awake from the commotion and although they were mostly elderly patients, they got up off their beds and rallied round their nurses. They threw pillows at it, kicked and hit out at this being. The makeshift teamwork was having an effect as it now seemed to be confused and lacked the previous malevolent focus it had demonstrated. This dark force was now looking around at all the participants, trying to hit back when suddenly it turned back and jumped through the solid wall where it had originally appeared and now thankfully disappeared. It was all very quick, from the furore and commotion to sudden silence. Louise and Gail shook as much as Mr Warren was shaking and quaking, firmly cocooned in his bed with the bed covers around him like a protective shield. The three battling patients, Mr Jackson, Mr Williams and Mr McIver, although slightly dishevelled and confused, had helped the staff in battle and had won. The dark matter that had battled with them had vanished. ‘I don’t know what that was dear but can we do something about not having them back again, my leg is killing me’ Mr McIver said. ‘So is my back’ replied Mr Williams. Mr Jackson was now sitting on the side of his bed and just said ‘that was the most exercise I have had in years, reminded me of the old days when I boxed in the army’. Louise and Gail smiled and thanked them all, helped them back into bed and made them all a warm drink to help them rest.
Mr Warren was a nervous wreck, unable to settle and wondering why he had been the target of this evil apparition. Of course there were no answers available at this point but they would of course report this and protect them all. Gail and Louise checked the patient’s observations and once satisfied there was nothing unduly wrong with them physically; they left the battling geriatrics and made their way to the nurses’ station to write their reports. As both baffled nurses worked their way to the office, they could not help but ponder on the events that had just taken part in. There were no explanations; there were no solutions or plans just questions. The main questions being what were that and what was it doing with Mr Warren?
They sat and sipped on a coffee that Louise had made them both and wrote down the reports. They read them and agreed that it did not make any sense but they had written facts, however hard to believe, they were facts.
‘Ghosts and ghouls should not feature on patient notes but this is an exception’ said Gail.
‘In all my years I have never felt so frightened, helpless and vulnerable’ she continued. ‘
Thank god the other patients came to our assistance, otherwise who knows what would have been the resulting outcome, brrrr, frightening’ Louise shuddered.
‘I’d better check on the old fellow, Mr Warren, poor old soul’ Gail said. Louise continued to pen her account and Gail made her way down the corridor of the ward. All was well, or so it seemed. Everyone was asleep and as she gently approached Mr Warren, she noticed he was still. He was more still than he should have been as she waited for his chest to rise and take a breath. This was never to happen again. Gail became very upset as she now felt for a pulse or any sign of life... He was dead. She shone her torch on the cold and lifeless corpse and noted his pallor and strangely distorted face, eyes fixed towards the wall where the spectre had originated from. Whatever the result of the last few minutes were, either it was too much for this frail elderly person to take or…. The demon had been back to reclaim the soul he had targeted.
Has this wet your appetite for more?
If the answer is yes, read on by clicking the link to my terrifying book.. The Ultimate Phantasms in the Infirmary