It had been a long day, but a satisfying one. My body was glowing with the soft, warm pain of muscles growing. I was eager for sleep, much too eager, and that would be a lesson I will never forget.
Outside, a gentle rain was falling. It’s sound lulled me and I closed my eyes for what seemed like just a second. When I opened them, I found the ceiling just inches from my face. I don’t know what I thought, or even if I was thinking. The other side isn’t like this one, it’s more like feeling than thought. But even that isn’t quite right…
I tried to roll out of the bed, as if to escape the crushing smash of a collapsing roof, but I only spun in place. Looking down,I saw the room below me, I saw my bed, and I saw myself, or at least my body.
I panicked. I wanted to be back down, back in my body, but I couldn’t move. I was afraid that I would never get back, that I would die, that I would go back to the dark place. And to my terror, I start to move or drift, but away from my body. Somehow, I turned to the wall before I went through it.
The other side was an awful sight seen through a strange hazy air. Between dim pools of light, the darkness crowded in. There were putrid puddles on the floor and filthy smears and handprints stamped along the walls. But the sight was nothing to the sound.
There were the sharp screams of pain and the long, low groans of agony. Choking coughs were stalked by gurgling gasps. My eyes followed to the open door of a darkened room. In silhouette, I saw a jumbled heap weakly thrashing on a bed. It heaved over and stared back at me with glowing eyes.
In all of this, I had floated down and felt the cold floor beneath my feet. I turned and fled from this abomination, leaving it to resume its eternal suffocation, its endless battle for a breath. But each door I passed showed me the horrors of living death, each vision worse than the last. Rage and frustration, sadness and mortal fear… these were the final moments, the worst moments,
The hospital was saturated with these events. They had seeped into every surface such that the walls could bleed or scream the melody of misery in every sinister scale. And they lined the halls which stretched on and on in an endless maze. Each room had held many patients, so the halls stretch not only through space but through time.
But if I pitied those eternal residents, I could not help but to despise the shadows of the staff. There, doctors played god on human guinea pigs, cackling at their failure to save a life and then turning back to dig the scalpel in again, into a patient that could never quite die.
Hateful, smirking nurses with pretty, plastic faces stood condemned by their own conceit. For they loved nothing more than to see the suffering of the ones they didn’t like. But of course, they hated them all. When a doctor stepped back from his meat experiment and took his scalpel to one of those pretty faces, I fled her screams like all the others.
I ran through this hellish place searching for a way to escape. In that world like in this one, I was determined to leave the hospital. When that conviction reached my awareness, I found myself standing at the glass exit doors.
Beyond, there was a deep darkness as though the sun, moon, and stars had not followed me to this realm. I knew there were things in that darkness, awful things to which all I had seen would pale. I had no courage to pass outside.
Then my eyes opened again and I was back in my body, in my bed.
story by Joe Stanley to be continued