Astyages's Weblog

May 5, 2011

HELL HOSPITAL 14

Filed under: Hell Hospital 14 — astyages @ 11:57 am

Episode 14

By theseustoo

The cricket team was doing
alright; with John and Mary working and Algernon and Vivienne in
charge of the ‘little-uns’ to make sure they all got to school fed
and properly dressed; although they had little enough time for
cricket these days… Fortunately it was off-season anyway; though
they still tried to get in as much practice as they could over the
weekends. Ever since they were born, cricket had been their religion;
their father’s passion had managed to inculcate his obsession into
his children.

For the time being at least
they had managed to avert impending doom and manage this crisis as
well as could be expected; indeed, much better than most expected;
thanks to the sense of discipline their father’s religion had
instilled in them. Swannee had been hoping to engage them against
similar ‘family’ teams in ‘exhibition matches’… Algernon was a
terrific fast-bowler and Merv, the third-eldest boy could hit almost
any delivery for six. Unafraid even of the dreaded ‘googlie’, he’d
stand his ground and then, ‘THWACK’ the next thing you know the ball
would be somewhere up in the grandstand, or crashing through a
pavilion window… When asked how he managed to hit so many ‘sixes’
he just said, “I hate running…”

The plans their father had,
however, were now on hold; in any case, they would need to get their
new sibling out of hospital (they still didn’t even know whether it
was a boy or a girl!) so they could bring it home and start its early
training; John and Mary worried that it had already been three months
since their mother’s ‘nervous breakdown’ and the poor bub hadn’t even
held a cricket ball yet! Indeed, hadn’t even met its mother or its
father… or its brothers and sisters; the poor thing was in danger
of growing up an atheist! Something would clearly have to be done
soon.

***** ******** *****

“Inspector Vin Ordinaire
Rouge was right,” Mr Jones, who called himself ‘Foodge’, was
saying, “Catherine Swan could not possibly have killed her beloved
husband, Swannee, because she loved him too much and in any case, her
religion forbids it; and she is very devout… We suspect that she
has been ‘body-snatched’ by some unknown alien force; probably from a
different dimension…” Even though the day-room was empty apart
from himself and Dave, the new psych patient, he spoke in hushed
tones.

“Bodysnatched?” Dave
said, incredulously, “You mean someone’s taken over her mind…?”
Foodge shushed him insistently, then answered in a whisper, “Well…
more like ‘someTHING’ has taken over her body and is controlling it;
no saying exactly what that thing is; or what has happened to her
mind; the shrinks here don’t even know what they’re looking for.
That’s why I’m here… If we can get through to Catherine’s mind we
may get vital information on the nature of the threat… We’re hoping
it’s still in there somewhere…”

“Threat…? What threat?”
Dave asked immediately.

“Well, if I knew that
precisely I wouldn’t be here now, would I? All we do know is that it
involves the intrusion into our dimension of hyper-dimensional beings
who really don’t belong in this time-space continuum… and they’re
collecting together certain people for some unknown purpose… and
you’re one of them…”

“Oh… right…” Said
Dave, dubiously… Sure now that this guy was not playing with a full
deck. “And you reckon this hyper-dimensional being wants me too, do
you? But why?”

“Well, if we knew why,
we’d know a lot more than we do today, I’m afraid; however, suffice
it to say that certain transmissions from the
nth
dimension have been received which suggest that a plot is afoot which
puts the whole of South Oz in danger… though, we’re not quite sure
what kind of danger that is yet…”

Dave was just giving him
his ‘quizzical’ look when the nurse arrived and, catching the
tail-end of the conversation, decided it had better end at once;
fantasies like those entertained by Mr Jones were not to be discussed
outside therapy sessions; and certainly not in front of potentially
violent patients… it was too easy to get them to act out even the
most bizarre dreams as if they were real; and that could be
dangerous.

“Mr Jones!” the nurse
said, “It’s time for your medication; report to the ward-sister
immediately.”

Then, after he’d gone, she
squatted down in front of Dave, who was sitting in one of the
day-room’s armchairs, “You don’t want to take any notice of
anything that guy says,” she said to him, “He’s nuttier than a
snickers bar! Now, you’d better go and get your meds too…”

***** ******** *****

When Catherine had
discovered her husband in
flagrante
delicto
it
had been such a shock to her psyche; had opened up such alien
feelings in her that her own mind felt violated at the impulses she
now felt; and these feelings it was which had opened up the psychic
crack that was necessary for the Dark One to quickly slip in and take
control. From that instant Catherine’s mind had withdrawn into
itself; thus whatever she experienced was experienced as a dream;
disjointed snippets of actions that were so unlike her and so
horrific that she found hard to understand, let alone to believe that
it was she who was performing them. The Dark One had been thrilled
with the discovery in Catherine’s mind of such superb knife-throwing
skills, and had immediately prompted his newly-acquired body to act
on the intense feelings of hatred and betrayal which had let him in,
and let fly… Catherine’s mind retreated further into
unconsciousness as the knives sank into Swannee’s back.

After she’d been taken to
the psych ward, however, the Dark One had been so busy manipulating
Elaine’s mind that his grip on Catherine’s mind had loosened just
enough to allow some remnant of Catherine’s consciousness to become
dimly aware, somewhere in its own deep, dark recesses; and in this
dream-like awareness, she found herself being tugged at by another
consciousness. It was not the Dark One, who had bullied her mind into
submission and frightened it into unconsciousness, of that she was
certain. This new presence seemed kind and gentle; it spoke to her
gently, soothingly, reassuring her that all would be well, but that
the time would soon come when she must act to rid herself of the Dark
One’s presence.

“Soon…” the new
presence said and Catherine knew she would be ready.

***** ******** *****

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