Chapter 3 - Escape Route
My question hung in the air for a few moments, before they responded.
“You need to leave this place, right now. You’re not safe, and you are running out of time. Somebody is coming for you.”
My heart began to race; something I should have been grateful for given my prior circumstances.
“What the fuck are you talking about?! Who’s coming?”
Before they could answer, in walked a nurse. I didn’t recognise her; perhaps she was new. Was she who they meant? What the hell was going on? As she checked the monitor beside my bed, I found myself slightly more at ease almost immediately.
They spoke again, still using Sarah’s voice. – “Trust her.”
“Mr. Tyler? My name is Nurse Ulrich. How are you feeling?”
“Confused, but okay. I think I’m ready to go home; how do I check out?” I asked as casually as I could.
I noticed a yellow pin on her uniform in the shape of a heart. They had told me to trust her, and for reasons I couldn’t quite reach, there was something comforting about this pin. Though very pretty with raven-coloured hair, it was her eyes that stood out the most to me. She looked at me and it was as though she could see something beyond this realm. Her eyes emitted a slight glow as she spoke. I could tell immediately that she wasn’t from this world. One of them?
“You’ve been warned?” She asked, calmly.
“Warned about what?” I responded, feigning ignorance.
“We don’t have time, Dylan. I’m with them. You need to come with me.”
With that, I quickly grabbed my clothes and got dressed. I had no idea what was going on, but I knew I’d just sent Sarah away on her own and I had to make sure she wasn’t in danger. I yanked my sweatshirt over my head and caught a glimpse of my dishevelled figure in the black mirror of the previously-mute television set hanging above the room. I looked like hell.
“Where are we going?”
“The nearest fire escape is 100 feet left of this room. You need to head straight there and do not look back for anything.” She commanded.
“What are you going to do?” I asked, confused.
“I’m going to advise the receptionist that you’re leaving and attempt to stall the others. Once my job is done, this body will be repossessed by her original owner. She’ll be none the wiser.”
What the fuck is going on? I’ve got voices in my head and a possessed nurse helping me bust out of a hospital I’m increasingly convinced I should be living in. Maybe this is hell after all.
With that, I left the dull, green walls of my hospital bedroom behind and broke into a brisk walk towards the exit. I heard a stir behind me and pulled the hood of my sweatshirt over my head hoping to remain unseen. As curiosity got the better of me, I turned for no more than a second to see who Nurse Ulrich was talking to.
Three men dressed entirely in white. Not out of place in a hospital, but they met my eyes immediately. Black, empty eyes stared back at me as a cold chill hit me in the chest like a fist. Within a second, they began to chase me. I saw Nurse Ulrich shudder, and the glow from her eyes was gone. Her job was done, it looked as though I was alone now.
“Hey, little help??”
“Brilliant, now you’re quiet…”
I bolted through the fire escape and hurled myself down as many stairs as I could. A floor above me, I could hear them gaining ground.
“Left.” They advised.
“About time, what the hell are they?!”
“Not now. Soon. Go left now, through the door. At the end of the corridor you’ll see an external fire escape. Take that down to the ground level and do not stop running. If they catch you, this journey is over. You must not let that happen.”
I could feel them mere feet behind me as my lungs began to burn. I knew I couldn’t outrun them, I was still too weak. Hiding briefly, I slammed the door into the face of the first pursuer. The second burst through and tackled me to the floor, leering at me with those eyes. There was nothing behind them, just emptiness. As the third approached, I thrust my foot into his kneecap.
No sound of pain, but he went down. With the knowledge that they could be hurt, I found myself with a second wind. I threw an elbow to the jaw of the last attacker and rolled him off me. I had just enough time to make it to the fire exit.
Picking myself up, I sprinted towards the exit. Stumbling slightly, I caught myself on the railing.
I don’t think I touched a single step on the way down; just leap after leap until I hit the ground floor. I was out. Not sure if they were pursuing me, I continued my sprint towards any type of freedom. Before I knew it, I was at least half a mile away from Mercy Central.
“I want answers, right now. Who the fuck are you? Who are they?! What the hell is happening to me?”
“You made it out. Well done.”
“Answer me.” I demanded.
“Very well. We are The Messengers. Our mission is to help you avoid what’s to come. Those who pursued you belong to a group named The Witnesses. They will attempt to stop you at any cost. You were lucky today.”
“Where is Sarah?”
“She’s at home, as you asked her to be. You should go to her, before they do.”