Write to Right- Fiction
Sancta Maria College
At half past eight on the dot, the sign at Johnson’s Corner Store flicked from “Closed” to “Open”. Bill lumbered back to the counter, sipping on his morning coffee, and rubbing the sleep from his eyes. He swiftly got into his work routine. It was, by all intents and purposes, a normal day.
The bell suddenly chimed and a man limped into the store. His face was red and sweaty and his eyes were puffy and bloodshot. He trudged over to the freezers and grabbed the three remaining steaks, pausing for a moment, seemingly entranced by the meat. He made his way back to Bill, still staring at the steaks, before slamming them onto the counter along with a €50 note. Bill’s attempts at pleasantries were quickly shot down with simple, one-word answers and, when he spoke for more than two seconds, his words were slurred and littered with pauses and “uhms”. As the man left, still entranced by the steak, Bill tried to piece together an explanation for the man’s behaviour but was snapped out of his daydreaming by a new customer.
Many hours passed and the store sign flicked back to “Closed”. As he headed back to the counter there was a thud at the door. A man was standing outside in the yellowed light of a nearby lamp post. His mouth was hanging open and he was drooling all over himself. His clothes were torn and eyes bloodshot.
“We’re closed,” Bill called. The thudding continued. “I SAID WE’RE CLO-”.
The glass door shattered and he climbed in. Bill backed away towards the phone, too slowly. The man lunged towards him, narrowly missing. Bill reached for the phone, but the man lunged again, not missing this time.
Allison was jolted awake by a scream downtown. Too tired to truly question the anguished shriek, she concluded that it was some drunk hooligan. It wouldn’t have been the first time she was harshly awoken by drunken shenanigans. She yawned and massaged her eyes while her right hand searched the bedside table for her phone. She brought it very close to her fatigued eyes, the brightness temporarily blinding her. 22:52. Her alarm was set for 11 o’clock so she got up early. Pulling on her dressing robe, she trod to the kitchen for some food.
Her roommate, Susan, left a note on the fridge; Chinese leftovers in the fridge DO NOT EAT. After throwing the note into the bin, she grabbed the oriental box and feasted. The food wasn’t great, but she was too hungry and tired to care. Stomach satisfied, she trod back to her room and got dressed into her nurse’s uniform. She was half-dressed when her ringtone suddenly exploded from her phone. She jumped and went to answer. The caller ID said Work. Taking a deep breath, she answered.
Before she could even say “Hi”, her manager’s voice shouted into her ear.
“ALLISON WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU?”
Taken aback, she replied, “What do you mean? My shift starts at 12.”
“WE’VE BEEN TRYING TO CALL YOU FOR HOURS, YOU NEED TO GET HERE ASAP.”
“Did something happen?”
“JUST GET HERE NOW.” He hung up.
She quickly pulled on her uniform, grabbed an apple from the fridge and rushed out the door to her car. As she rummaged through her bag for her keys, her eye was caught by a strange sight across the street.
There were two people lying on the sidewalk and a silhouette was standing over them.
“They’re drunk as skunks,” she thought to herself, rolling her eyes, and she drove off. She didn’t notice the silhouette pounce onto one of the bodies.
The hospital was a frantic scene. Ambulances flitted in and out and, in the windows, Allison saw a constant stream of nurses and doctors rushing past. Her eyes widened and she quickly parked her car haphazardly and ran to the main entrance.
The inside of the hospital was somehow more frantic than Allison was expecting. She tried to get the attention of a nurse rushing by, but they barely even noticed her. Finally her manager rushed towards her with a long list of names and rooms.
“What’s going o-”
“Here’s a list of patients, take care of them and make sure they don’t leave their rooms.”
He re-joined the stream of hospital staff. Dazed, she gathered herself and headed to the first room.
In the first room on the list, there was a woman tied down to a bed. She seemed to be sedated. A nurse was sitting in a chair facing the bed. He seemed exhausted but his eyes were wide open.
“Oh thank God,” he muttered and slumped out of the room.
“But what do I do?”
“Keep her sedated and tied up,” he called from the hall.
Allison sat there, watching, as the hour ticked by. Her eyelids grew heavy and she slowly drifted off. The woman suddenly gave a shriek, jolting Allison awake. She continued to shriek and struggle against the restraints. Allison’s heart thundered in her chest.
“What is wrong with her?” she thought. She found the sedative and tried to administer it, but the woman was struggling too hard. After what felt like hours trying to inject her, she finally plunged the needle into her upper arm. Allison sat there catching her breath as the next nurse came in.
She moved onto the next patient and, again, the current nurse couldn’t wait to get away. She dropped herself into the chair, needle held firmly in her sweaty palm. As soon as the patient began to wiggle in his restraints, she stabbed him in the arm with the needle. The next nurse came in.
After hours of drifting between patients, she reached one of the final names.
As she went to find a needle, the patient spoke.
“What are you going to do to me?”
Allison jumped more violently than when the first patient screamed. The man repeated himself.
“I-I n-need to keep y-” She lost her voice.
“But why? There’s nothing wrong with me. I’m not like those lunatics they brought in.” Allison was still shaking.
“Please, I’m not one of them. At least loosen these restraints.”
Despite herself, she moved to the restraints and loosened them. He grabbed her arm.
Screaming, she threw herself back. His calm demeanour had completely disappeared. He snarled and snapped his mouth. In her panic, Allison had released the restraints and he jumped out of bed. He flew towards the door and down the hall.
“No! Come back!”
No use. The sounds of his feet on the linoleum floor were fading. She got to her feet and began to chase. Her panic was rising rapidly and peaked when she heard a scream from down the hallway. Finally, she reached the main entrance and stood there catching her breath. “Where the hell is he.”
There was a massive pounding sound. She looked across to the main door and her eyes widened. Tables and chairs had been placed against the door as a barricade and the man was throwing them aside. Outside, there stood a gigantic crowd of men and women, pounding their fists against the glass door. They all looked exactly like Allison’s patients, drooling, snapping their jaws, and moving like animals. Cracks were forming on the glass and the barricades were destroyed. Allison ran.
That was day one.
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