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Illustration by KKC Bauder

BY GAGE
Illustration by KKC Bauder

A thick sheet of heavy rain poured down on me. "Ugh!" I screamed in annoyance. I continued to trudge up the wet sidewalk. I looked around. There were houses on both sides of me, their lawns and hedges trimmed perfectly. I continued to march with a poncho and heavy rain boots on. How much I would enjoy just to go inside in one of the patio homes and dry off!

I'm Amber Lucas--just your average person. Right now I was hurrying through the downpour to get to the hospital--no, no, there's nothing wrong. But my mother had made some treats for my grandmother in the hospital (she broke her leg and arm.) When mom had gone to work, I had put off the whole thing. But then it started raining. And mom would come home in ten minutes. So walking through the rain would be nothing compared to having my mom come home and I had 'Deliberately disobeyed her and procrastinated, blah blah blah. . .' as she puts it.

The hospital wasn't far anyways.

As I arrived at the doors, I felt like I was drowning in the rain. I took off my poncho inside, and replaced my rain boots with regular sneakers. I started roaming the corridors. I would find Keith before I saw grandma. Keith was a volunteer at the hospital. He basically studied what the doctor did and got more important people coffee. And whatever else they wanted. But he was really proud when he put a tongue deppressor on a kid's tongue. Too bad it slipped and he accidentally made it touch the kid's uvula. Then he wasn't as happy.

I saw Keith bringing coffee to. . .whoever (pretty much) and caught up with him in the hall. "Hey," I said, briskly walking with him. "Oh, hey, Amber." I still don't know why he talks to me--I'm thirteen and he's in high school. I must cramp his style--he sure does cramp mine.

He tripped--hot coffee poured onto his white uniform. "AAH!" he screamed. "Hot!" He started dancing around, trying to somehow cool it down.

He took his uniform off, into his normal clothes. He sighed. Coffee was splattered all over the tiled floor. He bent down to pick up the cups, and as he did I saw something in his short, yellow hair. "Uhh, Keith?" I said. "You have something in your hair." Keith felt the back of his head. He slowly removed the object. "It's a lollipop!" he exclaimed. "Stupid four-year-old stuck it there!"

I chuckled. We continued walking down the hall. "Hey, do you know where my grandma is?" I asked, brushing my long, brown hair out of my eyes. "Hmm," replied Keith. He looked at the doors, mouthing numbers. "249, I think."

I said thanks, and started looking for 249. I explored around, until I came to my room. I opened the door. . . Grandma was sitting there, her grayish hair bunched up. "Hey!" she greeted. I smiled and hugged her. I sat down in the chair next to her. We got to talking, and I gave her the treats.

"So what've you been doing?" I asked. She laughed. "I've been sitting here, watching T.V. What have you been doing?" I shrugged. "Running through the rain."

We watched T.V. There was a hurricane warning. It was only supposed to be a two on the scale, though. But then something interesting popped up. "A serial killer has escaped from prison today," the news caster announced, " His name is Marcus Vine. He was arrested for the murders of seven people. If you have seen this man, please call in and give us tips."

It showed a picture of the man. He looked eerie. His long, thin face had stubby hairs growing out of his chin, and a thick mustache. His skin was pale, his lips were dry. . .his eyes. . .they were mezmorizingly white. A large scar ran across his nose. This man had been disturbed. This man was a heartless, souless monster who had seen too much.

"What has this world come to?" grandma asked. "People killing each other for no reason." I nodded. "Well, grandma," I said, "I gotta go." Grandma smiled. "Okay. Bye, Amber," she responded. I exited the room, and started walking across the lobby.

I was tired, and I didn't want to go out in that rain again. "Ugh," I groaned, just at the thought of it. I sat down in a chair, resting my head on the armrest. Mom wouldn't be home for another five minutes. I would just wait until the rain calmed down. I was so sleepy. . .just let me close my eyes. . .

I had dreams of grandma, mom, dad and I. We were all happy, watching movies together and playing board games. We were all together. . .

I woke up, cramped in the uncomfortable chair. It was dark and quiet, just the way I liked it. "Ahh," I mumbled in sleepiness. I buried my head back into my shoulder. A light flickered on. "Mooooom," I moaned. "Could you turn that out?" Silence. The light kept flickering on and off. "Mo--" I started but cut off.

Mom would be home by now. I had surely slept for at least an hour. I sat up. I had to get home before mom got worried. And then. . .uh-oh. I rushed to the door and pushed it open. I tried to open the door. It wouldn't budge. I pushed harder. What the--?

I backed up and put my arms in position. I charged the door, arms out. I rammed into it, and a blinding pain consumed me. All I could feel was pain in my arms, I could just pass out on the floor, right now-- I sat on the floor, rubbing my arms. I couldn't get out. I would just call Keith to open it. "Hey, Keith," I called. "Could you unlock the doors?" I looked around. There was nobody there. All the lights were out. No person was in the room, and it was all darkness. I heard creaking as a rusty wheelchair rolled down the hall. . .empty. . . Oh my gosh-- I was alone!

It was okay--I would just look around and find them--I was fine-- I heard a knocking on the glass doors. Everything was okay now, mom would help me, she was at the door. I turned around--

There was a horrible man. A murderer who lived in cold blood--killed in cold blood-- A man who stabbed and killed people in a senseless manner, killed everybody--men, women, children. Right now he was looking at me. And his name was Marcus Vine.

I screamed. I screamed until my voice couldn't give any more. I screamed until my throat was hoarse. I could not register, could not believe the fact that I was about to die. I was locked in a dark hospital with a killer outside. A ruthless killer who was right now smiling at me, tapping a long knife against the glass.

He had some keys--he must have killed a staff member and stolen theirs. He waved them in front of my face, smiling like a maniac. I turned and ran. I ran as I heard him jingle the keys--he placed the key in the hole--turned it--a click as the door was opened! I kept running. If I wanted to live, I couldn't give up. I ran in the corridors. I sped down a hallway as I heard another click--he was locking the doors again! I made a right turn, thinking I could shake the man off. I started to cry uncontrollably, I couldn't believe I was stuck with this man, how did this happen?--

I heard slow footsteps--the man was taking his time--he knew I was stuck--he wanted to drag it out, toy with my wits-- I immediately stopped crying. I had to stop running--he could track me by my footsteps--I went inside room 324--for some reason all the doors were open--I silently hid under the bed--no, the T.V. was on--he was going to find me!

The man was walking in each room now--looking for me--! I wished I could just hide under this bed--there was no way he could get in--I could just go to sleep and be okay forever-- Marcus entered the room. I held my breath, staring at him. The snowy T.V. static made an eerie atmosphere.

The man looked around a couple of times--he tightened the blade in his hand and forced the door of the bathroom open. Convinced nobody was here, he slowly left the room--and into the next. I heard him slam more doors open--one by one--then he would leave to another corridor--right? I didn't hear anymore doors slam--he must've went to another section of the hospital--

And now I had some time to think. How did I wake up and no one was there--and why was I faced with a murderer--who did he kill to get those keys? I had to get up--I had to run away--I couldn't stay here forever--he would come back--

I quietly stood up. Sneaking out of the room, I crept down a large hallway. I didn't quite know my way around the hospital, so where I ended up was where I was hiding. I ventured down to a room that chilled me to the bone. The Psychiatric Ward. Obviously the killer had been here once before. A mattress had been shredded up and its fluff was everywhere. The killer had written on the wall with blood (that was probably his own). The wall read in dripping letters:

Do you remember me, Carla?

Then there were a series of hearts. I guessed the killer had been in here before he went to jail. He must've been in this room to express his hate for this place. Carla must've been a nurse. . .?

I looked around. Strait jackets were slit wide open on the floor. Straps on the bed were coiled around. I quickly exited the room. I hurried down a hallway, terrified. As I ran into another room, I saw a figure on the other side. I stopped in my tracks and backed up, out of sight. I tried to steady my breathing. My heart thudded in my heaving chest. I saw the figure come towards me. What was I going to do? I clenched my fist, and when the figure came around. . .

I jammed my fist into the man's stomach. He groaned, but did not even flinch. I slowly looked up. In a tiny voice, I whispered, "Help." Keith looked down at me. "Keith?" I asked, confused. He grabbed me by the wrist and dragged me into a room. He shut the door. "Keith?" I asked, tears in my eyes. "What is happening?"

Keith looked me in the eyes. "Amber," he said slowly. "You need to run home. Now." I shook my head, the lump in my throat hurting. "What happened?" Keith sighed. "The hurricane that was coming jumped from a two to a five. The news said for 'unknown reasons.' We all went down into a storm shelter and did a head count. I knew you hadn't left because I saw you asleep, but I thought someone took you to the shelter. That's why no one was here. Then I heard there was a killer in here so I came upstairs to find you. I can't let you die. That's why you need to run."

Realizing what had happened, I snapped back into reality. "The doors are locked," I said. Keith nodded. "We didn't want them blowing open. I'll unlock it and we'll both run." I shakily nodded. Keith opened the door and we went to the lobby, quieter than mice.

Keith sifted through his keys as I anxiously waited. We came to the doors, and Keith stuck his key into the hole. Just as it clicked, I saw the killer running at us, full force, knife in hand. Keith fell down sideways, and the killer sat down on him, holding the knife high. I turned and sprinted, closing my ears. I ran down a hallway and heard the murderer lock the front doors. I pushed open two swinging doors and crouched down behind a table in the darkness.

I did not notice what room I was in. I was too horrified, at how quick Keith's life vanished--how I would share his fate-- Then I suddenly realized I was in a morgue. Both walls were lined with large file cabinet-like things. Where they stored the bodies. There were two tables. One had a body bag on it, and the other had a cloth--laying over a real corpse. I let out a quiet shriek, and looked away from the body. But what was I going to do?

I looked at the body bag. I was pretty sure the killer wouldn't check morgue cabinets--would he? I knew what I had to do. I slowly opened a cabinet. There was a body in it. I closed that one, and opened another. Body. Another. Body. Another. This one was empty. I walked over and got the body bag. I crawled in the cabinet and closed it.

I put on the body bag.

I was freezing now, the cabinet was so cold. I felt like I was laying on ice. Then I heard the door open. Footsteps. Then I heard a sliding noise. Then a shutting noise. The sicko was opening morgue cabinets--just to find me! I heard him check several cabinets. Then he came to me.

I felt myself slide out. The man couldn't notice me, I was face down. I felt like I had been running for so long, and was so tired I just layed down and prepared for the final pain. He examined the body bag, then--to my relief--slid me back in. I relaxed. I was safe. For the moment. I heard more opening and shutting. Then I heard him leave. He closed the door behind him--the bolt slid in place--I was locked in! I quickly kicked open my drawer and struggled out of the body bag. I stood up. The killer was locking up every place I wasn't--so I would be trapped--but he didn't know he had locked me up.

I started to breathe quickly, what was I going to do? Then the hideous face appeared in the window. He spotted me. The murderer was double-checking every room to make sure I wasn't there! I screamed shrilly as he unlocked the door.

He approached me slowly. "Hello," he said. I yelped, backing up to the cold, stainless-steel wall. He cornered me. "How do you do?" I sank to my knees, sobbing heavily. "I'm afraid you have an illness, Amber," he said. I looked at him, chilled. "How. . .?"

"I heard you and your friend Keith talking," he admitted in a sad voice. "Now I'm afraid you've been diagnosed." I let out low, mournful moans. "Oh, boo-hoo," he said. "Boo-hoo!" I screamed again, yelling in his face. I spit on him. Then I took up crying again, I was so scared. . .

"You've been diagnosed with the Marcus Vine disease," he said sternly. "It's terminal." I saw him raise his blade, saw him sink it into my chest-- I felt a horrible pain and terror, make it stop--

And then it did. I saw a green background, there were no walls or a floor, just a bright green color shining in my eyes. Black wisps were floating around. I heard a sharp, high voice say, "So you are the newest victim." I looked around. One black wisp had formed to make a face.

"I never knew he would take another young one. He went to prison after his last one." I looked around. There were eight people formed out of the wisps. Two were children, five were adults, and one teenager: Keith. "We're all his victims?" I inquired, bewildered. My voice sounded shrill and sharp--just like the rest. "Yes," Keith replied. I looked around. A few more wisps appeared.

"Hmm," said a voice. "He killed some of the people in the shelter," Keith explained. More and more wisps came. A few were strangers, then I saw grandma, and a few other people.

That's how it is now. I and the other victims greet the new ones. Sometimes there are no wisps, when Marcus goes to prison, and sometimes wisps come rapidly, when he goes into a spree of rampage and death. And that's how I spend my time, however long that is, and I don't know how long I've been dead. But I see familiar faces and strangers. As we greet the dead.



The End


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Gage About the Author: Gage

Gage is a talented 15-year-old author from Florida who began writing for Phoophie Tales at the age of 12. In his free time, he enjoys acting, video games, reading and writing stories. What inspires Gage is reading other great horror stories and wanting to make his own to inspire others.



about the illustrator, kkc bauder

About the Artist:

KKC is a second generation artist from Texas. She was raised on abstract expressionism and loves playing with line, color and motion to create free-form paintings that can be interpretated in many different ways. Her work is inspired by Music and Literature. You can visit her art shop at: Cool Unique Original Art | apparel & gifts



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