A Voice in the Dark
The woman sighed as she settled on the bed. The house was locked up, her patient was tucked in and snoring away in the downstairs bedroom. The windows were open - it was a hot July night and the house had no air conditioning. She pulled out her historical romance and began to read. The chirps of the crickets drifted into the room as background music. Other than that the house was silent. She read for about 15 minutes when she began to doze.
SHe jerked awake and glanced at the clock. It was 1:30 AM. The bedside light was still on and the crickets still chirped, but she knew something else had pulled her from the deep sleep she had fallen into. She decided to go check on her charge. She crept down the stairs, but each one creaked under her weight. When she reached the bottom she heard the soft snores drifting across the stillness of the house. The only light in the main floor was from a night light near the bathroom, so she flicked on the living room light before entering the patient's room. She went over to the bed and checked the breathing & pulse. Everything seemed normal.
She left the room and moved into the kitchen to grab a bottle of water. She headed back upstairs after turning off the light in the living room and she heard a movement behind her. She whirled around and turned on the stair light. There was nothing there. She went back down the stairs and turned on the living room light again. She moved to the kitchen & turned those lights on. She went through the whole main floor turning on all the lights. There was no one there. She chuckled at her imagination, turned all the lights off and moved herself back upstairs.
Upstairs she went back to her room and picked up her book. As she was getting to the "good part" she thought she heard a footstep on the stairs. The creaking was unmistakable. She looked around the room for some kind, any kind of weapon. There was nothing. She cowered in the bed, but did not hear another sound. Slowly she began to relax.
She continued to read and glanced at the clock. 3 AM the voice came. It was a deep voice calling her name from downstairs. She thought her patient needed her so she ran down the stairs and into the bedroom....the patient was still snoring... she then recalled that her patient couldn't have called her name - she had suffered a stroke and had lost her power of speech. She turned and ran back up the stairs with the sound of deep laughter following her all the way. She flung the door closed and cowered in the corner until morning came. At 6 she forced herself to go downstairs and get her patient up for the day.
When her replacement came - she was out the door and she never went back.
It didn't matter that she left and never went back.
The damage had already been done.
The same process that had ravaged her patient had already started on her.
What little time was left of her young life would become a waking nightmare.
The problem being that nightmares don't tend to drain bodily fluids.
Rex rounded the desk and helped the woman to a chair and asked if she needed a glass of water.
She drained the cup and heaved a huge sigh. He asked her name and she opened her to speak and nothing came out. Her eyes grew huge as she stared over his shoulder. Rex turned around and there was nothing there. He turned back to her and it appeared that she had fainted. As her body slid to the floor Rex grabbed for her. One big heave of breath and then nothing came from the woman. He began CPR and from behind him came a deep dark laugh.
Rex had done CPR before. There was that time when his idiot cousin's son had almost killed himself by huffing lighter fluid on Thanksgiving day.
Rex had passed out from the fumes trying to do CPR.
The other time was when he tilted a chin back and went to give a lifegiving breath and got punched out by a drowsing beachgoer.
Each of these times he swore to himself that he could hear his friends and family laughing at him from far away.
Always a deep dark laugh.
Rex began to panic as the CPR once again failed to work for him. He ran to the phone to call the EMTs....He once again heard the laughter. This time right next to his ear. He whirled around and stared at the woman on the floor - she was in a different position. Her body had moved. He ran back to her - there was a weak pulse - the laughter again. He ran back behind the desk & picked up the phone.
I could feel the tension building up in my body as I read - well done, Veronica.
Great story! I was tensing up as she was exploring the house.
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