Title : Demon At My Door
Genre: New Adult Paranormal
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***Unedited. Not Final Version***
When we reach the fourth floor—The Oncology Ward—the hustle and bustle of the nurses and assisting staff is like a whirlwind, as we walk down the hall. My bones shake under my skin. We are close now. That familiar vibration I always get around the damned zings through me and I’m not afraid. I welcome it. This time the hum brings me closer to my freedom.
I’m relieved we aren’t in the Cardiology Wing. I’d hate to have to explain to my father on why I am here. I never visit him at work, so this would totally look suspicious. The staff must not notice us, because no one stops us as we walk past the patient rooms. They have no clue we are here to murder one of their patients.
Rick leads me down the long corridor containing the patient rooms and finally stops at 214.
He turns to me, and says, “Just follow my lead and do what I tell you. This will go very smooth. You’ve seen enough of these to know how this works, right?”
I nod stiffly while my heart thumps hard against my ribs. Just because I’ve seen a soul collection a ton of times doesn’t mean that I’m ready to actually participate in one.
Rick gives his hands one solitary clap. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice a nurse frozen in mid step as she pushes her big green medicine cart. Turning my head to get a full view of the hallway, I see all the people on this floor appear to be standing statues, stuck in the moment Rick clapped his hands. Time’s frozen. Just like when my mom was dying. The first time I met Rick and all the other times he collected a soul near me. A ragged breath fills my lungs and I freeze, too.
“Come on.” Rick takes my hand and opens the door. “This will be over before you know it.”
The evening sun shines through the large double pained glass window and illuminates room 214. The strong stench of urine fills the room and I pinch my nose shut and breathe through my mouth. I look upon a sleeping old man in the hospital bed before me. His silver hair is thinning on the top and only a few strands still remain, covering his scalp. Age spots cover his forearms and hands. The long plastic hoses hooked to the opening in his neck fog up with each rhythmic breath the ventilator pumps into his lungs. The multitude of tubes attached to his right arm flow with an array of clear liquids.
“Who is he?” I ask, never taking my eyes off the man we are here to kill.
“His name is Floyd Jackson,” Rick says.
The name doesn’t ring a bell, but that doesn’t make this any easier. My eyes search around for a chart or something. “How do you know that?”
Rick looks at me. “Part of the job perks. It’s like developing a sixth sense. We can tell a lot about a dying human just by being close to them.”
I watch the man’s chest rise and fall. “You mean, you can tell who people are just by looking at them?”
He nods. “Along with what sins they’ve committed.”
Running my fingers through my hair, I stare at the old man I’ve been sent here to condemn. I knew this would be hard, but looking at him now, in the flesh, I’m not sure I can go through with it. What if this man has a wife, and kids, or could be the grandpa of someone I know? My arms snake in front of me, creating a cross like barrier. “I don’t know about this, Rick. It feels wrong. I can’t just kill him.”
“The first one is always the hardest. Besides, this is an easy one. This man has murdered eleven children and doesn’t feel a drop of remorse for his actions. The world will be a better place once he’s taken out of circulation. He won’t be able to be reborn and commit more heinous acts against innocent kids again.”
I gnaw on my chapped lips and I taste a slight hint of metallic. I swallow down the blood and my mouth feels like a desert. “Kids?” I whisper.
Rick nods and holds out his hand. “Let me show you.”
My arms stays crossed in front of me. “Show me? I don’t want to see him kill people,” I say.
“You have to know what he’s done so you can make the deal with him. You have to learn his weakness to get him to agree.”
Tears well-up in my eyes. How could this feeble man kill so many kids? He doesn’t look like a killer or a pedophile. He reminds me of the rich old guys that hang around the country club. My whole body trembles and I feel the sudden urge to bolt from the room. Run away and never look back. I can’t do this.
Rick pulls my hand down and threads his warm fingers through mine. “It’s going to be alright. Trust me.” He gives my hand a little squeeze. “Close your eyes.”
Reluctantly I shut my eyelids. My palm starts to burn as my bones begin to hum. Electricity passes from Rick’s skin into mine. My insides quiver as an image of a little girl flash in my brain. She has on a pink sundress with matching shoes. Her jump rope swings in perfect time while she sings. The girl can’t be older than seven. My breath catches as I see a man I recognize as a younger version of the old man from the hospital stalking the child. Panic fills me as I watch him creep up behind her.
The jump rope smacks the sidewalk once more before he grabs her from behind. His massive hand covers her face and muffles her screams. Her green eyes are wide and terrified.
The homicidal maniac drags her kicking body into his white van that’s parked along the street corner. He jumps inside the van with the little girl in his arms and then slams the door shut. Inside the windows are covered over and the tools he uses to help him with this crime are strung around the floor. The girl bites his hand and the man grunts in pain. “You little bitch,” he says before he punches her in the face.
Her body goes limp and he lays her on the van’s floor. He grabs the roll of duct tape and rips off several strips. His large hand smacks one piece over the girl’s mouth and then bounds her arms together. He reaches under her sundress and my stomach lurches.
“No more!” I shout. “I can’t watch this.”
Rick grips my shoulder and the vision morphs into a series of flashing pictures. I see the faces of several different little girls. They are all screaming and crying. My nerves scramble under my skin.
Rick’s right. If anybody deserves a lifetime of hellish punishment, it’d be this guy. This man, Floyd Jackson, has never been caught. The girl’s faces sting my vision and I think about all of the innocent lives he’s taken. All of the families he’s ruined and my blood runs cold. Hate courses through my veins. No longer do I feel any remorse for taking this man’s life. I want to hurt him—punish him. I want him to feel scared and weak, just like he made those kids feel.
My fists ball at my sides. I’ve already made my decision. I can do this.
“What do I have to do?” I whisper as I open my eyes and glare at my victim.