Sunday March 11th, 2018

The exercise:

It's time for the third installment of Empires.

Feel free to get started without me, I'm not sure when I'll get to adding to this.


Greg said...

Ben's head was pounding with the headache and flashes of light were starting to appear in his vision. Across the lot he could see David's car and, despite himself, he felt momentary relief. David would nag him, wanting to know where he'd been and why, but at least he'd drive him home, and it was far too cold out here to be walking. He hugged himself, and then started: a woman, slim and blonde in a decent winter coat had gotten out of David's car and was hurrying -- practically running! -- across the lot towards him. Her footsteps were sharp cracks in the still winter air as the iced-over snow shattered. Then David was getting out of the car, leaning heavily on the door like he'd been hurt and Ben's heart skipped a beat.
"What's–" he started to say, but she ran past him and then she was at the doorway to the hospital. "You can't go in there!" he shouted, suddenly panicked. She slipped her hand in through the gap in the door that he thought only he'd known about, and then the door was open and closed behind her. He looked over at David, torn between the desire to leave and the worry of what this strange woman was up to, and then it struck him. She'd been in the car with David. God only knew what she was up to, but if she'd already done something to him, and she knew about the hospital....
"Stay in the car!" he yelled to David, and turned back to the shadowy building, the pounding in his head getting stronger and bile rising in the back of his throat. As he reached the door and opened it again he saw that David hadn't listened, had started across the parking lot himself, and he looked like he was limping. Feeling somehow like a traitor, he left the door ajar so that David could follow them inside.

He waited several seconds inside the hospital: partly just in case the woman was waiting for him, and partly because she'd have to have a light to move around in here without breaking her neck, or a leg, or something else. His eyes quickly adjusted to the dark but all directions were equally gloomy except for the waiting room that still got some spillover light from the parking lot through the dirty, barred windows. He thought: David couldn't have told her much about the hospital; he'd come once with Ben right at the beginning when he'd started trying to figure out what was going on, but he's stopped almost immediately. David didn't like hospitals much anyway, and the abandoned, dirty, dangerous building was more than he cared to cope with. So if she was new here, she'd probably go... down. Secrets were always underground in the movies, so she'd head downstairs. To the morgue, and the operating theatres and the old incinerator.
Moving quickly despite the gloom, and shading his phone with his hand to let only a sliver of light, enough to avoid walking into things, illuminate the floor, he turned a corner, went down a short corridor, and reached the stairwell. Then he checked the floor: sure enough, there were footprints in the dust leading down. He took the stairs quickly, knowing there was no way to hide on them, and then he was out of the stairwell and through the heavy rubber double doors that led into the morgue.

Marc said...

Stacey stood in the morgue, slowly moving the beam of her flashlight over the wall before her. It was filled from floor to ceiling with metal cabinets, each adorned with a wooden handle and a rectangular plastic slot intended to hold temporary name tags. Almost all of these were empty.


"They wouldn't have left..." She found she couldn't even finish the thought. But she kept returning the flashlight beam to the two tattered name tags.

Vincent York

Anna Miller

Neither name meant anything to her, didn't set off any alarm bells or intuitive impulses. But her curiosity was overwhelming. Was there anything inside those cabinets that might be helpful? Not a body, surely, but something else left behind during a hurried departure? If the tags had been forgotten, then perhaps...

She took a step closer, then another. It smelled terribly down there, but she attributed that to leaking chemicals, or rampant mold, or... well, anything other than two, decaying corpses.

Another step. She was within arm's reach of Anna Miller now. Anna Miller's cabinet. Unoccupied cabinet she told herself firmly with a shake of her head. With a muttered curse she lifted her hand, grasped the handle, and began to pull.

"What did you do to my brother?"

morganna said...

Stacey screamed. Some calm part of her brain felt terribly embarrassed about it, because the voice was not a frightening voice, just a man's deep voice, but she couldn't seem to stop screaming. Hands took her by her shoulders and turned her around and still she screamed. The man was a big man, and he looked like David, but older and unkempt. She recognized him as the homeless man she had seen earlier and blinked. He shook her slightly and said, "I'm sorry I scared you. Please don't scream anymore. There are no secrets down here. We need to go upstairs. Let's go get my brother."


Across town, Anastasia looked up from the reports at the desk. She needed to go to the hospital right now. Stacey, the silly girl, had gotten herself into trouble of some kind. Anastasia shook off the residual fear creeping down her back and rose from her desk. She gathered her coat and her big bag. She'd packed it specially that morning, just in case Stacey's big idea got her in trouble. She strode purposely down the hall and out the door. She'd walk. It wasn't that far. She hated the hospital. Why did the mayor need to worry himself about it? Couldn't it just molder away?

Marc said...

Morganna - sorry, finally getting around to reading this now.

I like that you're bringing Ana to the scene. I'd had her in mind for my post but then didn't end up finding a way to fit her in, so thank you for this!