Chapter 6

I am only awake for a moment before I pass out again; as I drop from consciousness I can only think, "Uh-oh, not again".

I peek out from squinted eyes and feel a massive pressure on my eyes as the burning light from the room strikes deep into my mind. A deep throbbing headache and annoying ringing in my ears makes it hard to concentrate.

I just can't recall where I am and how I would have gotten here.

I close my eyes again, trying to concentrate. There is a very unpleasant odor making me gag. I start to breath through my mouth, but that isn't really helping and my arms are stiff and sore. My legs are completely numb.

I peek out again, and as the glare subsides, I realize I am looking at the side of an old steel wash basin.

"What the..." I think to myself.


Feeling painfully returns to my legs - I find that I am face down on the floor, well almost. My legs are still on a cot behind me. I slowly pull my legs down off the cot and then try to raise my head off the floor.

That wasn't such a smart thing to do just yet!

I must have started out lying on the cot but at some point tried to empty my stomach into basin. I missed. Not only did I miss the basin but neither did I get back to the cot and ended up half on the floor. Must have seemed like a good idea to stay on the floor at the time.

That smell - ew! - I realize that smell is my own vomit.

Well, I will have to get the hell off the floor, but I am kind of sticking where I am. Not that I can actually exert that much effort just yet. A few moments to gather my will and extract my head from the floor and as I slowly regain control of my legs, I pull myself onto my hands an knees.

"Aaargh!" Pain shoots through my right arm as I put weight on it. I pull it back into my chest protectively and maintain my balance using just one arm. I lean over on the cot and close my eyes again. Slowly, painfully, I pull my myself onto the bedding. Nausea and sweat hit me instantaneously and I can feel my brain moving around in my head.

I feel the heave coming and move towards the bucket, I missed the basin yet again! That explains a lot, or at least much of the mess I have been lying in!

After emptying what seems like every meal I have ever eaten I drag myself back onto the cot. Lying on my back I look at the room I am in. There is a single, glaring bulb casting a harsh light onto the room. I turn my head away from the pain of the light.

I am in a small room. The concrete walls once painted white are now showing the effects of many years of neglect. The paint peeling off and the grout seams to be deteriorating. Along both sides are steel framed beds, something like army cots. They're in pretty bad shape but I can see that they were also once white. In the space between the cots is the steel wash basin.

I crawl over to the basin; rust and corrosion have long since have taken the gleam from the bucket; the liquid inside is a scary inky blue and coffee color but it is cold. I wash the puke from my face and hair anyway, it has to go!

Crawling away from the bucket and my puddle of puke I sit against the wall and study the room once more. It's a bare floor, and bare walls, and a lonely vent window is found in one wall, high and long since sealed up and so I won't be able to get a look outside from there.

The single door has been jammed closed with the remains of one of the cots. A frightening amount of blood is on the door and the cot.

I curl into a ball, trying desperately to get my head straight. I take a look at myself. I realize that I have only a denim shirt and white shorts on and only one boot! The shirt is stiff with dried blood, puke, puss and some weird glowing blue stuff. The shorts not so white anymore either.

I take a look at my wounds. Marks on back of hands showing that an IV had been used and ripped out. There is dried blood flaking from my right arm. I stare at my right hand in shock, my little finger is gone! A short stump of the finger is all that remains, it looks like the finger was torn off and the wound burned to cauterize it, it's black, and bruised and terribly painful. From my shoulder to wrist my arm has deep scratches and a cut that is going to need some stitches. My left arm is in much better shape. I remove the surgical tape which was trying to hold my eye open.

I close my eyes again and try to relax.

"Cold. Wet. Miserable. I ain't in Kansas anymore!"

I am having serious difficulty remembering anything other than the last twenty minutes. For some reason this does not strike me as strange. I try to focus on anything I can remember from outside this room. Nothing. All I manage to do is give my self another headache. Then without warning a vivid memory fills my mind as I sit alone on the concrete floor. I remember... running wildly, in a panic to escape... a giant insect-thing which had broken out of a small building thing, after it discovered my stealthy approach!
"How did it know I was there?!"
Getting over the shock of seeing this sort of mantis like thing, I emptied a full clip into it. I think it might have been laughing at me; then it roared - I guess it was a roar, or a scream or some screeching sound - and started right after me! I know I hit the damn thing at least half a dozen times; there's this black stuff oozing out of it, but you sure wouldn't know it from how fast it's coming!

This is too much! Did this really happen or is it the remnants of a drug induced hallucination?

I am not sure how long I remained sitting alone in the room after that. I pulled myself off the floor and promptly trip over a canvas back pack. Inside is half a bottle of wine, a bottle of water, a vintage .45 with no bullets, a handful of breakfast bars and a knife with a broken tip. Alright, now I've got something to start with, so I carefully pack everything back into the bag and head over to the door to pry the cot way from the door.

The noise that accompanies the cot being pried away from the door is a terribly excessive but I need to see what is out there, so I keep going. I push the cot aside and slowly open the door. The hallway beyond is dark but for the red glow of the emergency lighting. The outside of the door is covered with dried blood. Next to the door is a bunch of pale green colored vines with large thorns and broad flat leaves, trailing away down the hallway. The outside of the door has taken quite a beating. Gouges, scratches and dents confirm something was trying to get in - and then there is a strange growling sound coming from the hall.

I open the door more and allow the light from the room to spill into the hall. The bright chrome of a gurney frame is jammed sideways in the hall. Making a barricade nearly five feet high. One side of the hallway has suffered considerable fire damage.

A large forearm and hand are on top of the gurney, but the arm doesn't move. Slowly creeping forward I take a closer look at the hand. It looks like a human hand but it has large claw like nails, all covered with blood and some dark moss like growths. This just keeps getting better!

It takes a few minutes to get up the courage to look over the gurney. On the other side of the gurney is a massive pool of blood a bloody big mangy dog! It looks up at me as I stumble backwards against the door jam. The dog's head is caked with blood. I have a distinct feeling that this might be the source of my missing finger. It doesn't come over the barricade right away so I try to get a closer look. It is all cut up and bloodied and obviously starved and chewing on what must be another body part. I can't make out the breed. It looks like part labrador and part pug, or maybe part chow, or maybe even chi-wawa. Whatever! It's a big dog with a face that is oddly flat. Its nose is small and pushed up. With a bark it thrust forward a growling face towards me and I can see a missing fang. After a half hearted attempt to get over the gurney it falls back and starts lapping at the drying blood at the bottom of the gurney. I can see form here that the arm ends in a bloody stump.

This dog is between me and what might be the way out. I shake the gurney trying to move the dog off and it kind of growls in fear and backs slowly away, dragging the arm with it through the mess on the floor.

I sit down on my side of the gurney and dig out a breakfast bar from the pack, tear it in half and throw one over to the dog. Maybe we can be friends, or at least this would be better than chewing on me! After finishing the bar and some water I take another peek over the gurney. The dog is no where in sight.

I push down the gurney which hits the ground with a loud crash. Too loud maybe.

I scale over and limp down the hallway looking for the rest of my clothes and anyone who might be able to tell me just what is going on. It is only a few feet to the end of the hall. I take a look around the corner and the dog is still nowhere to be seen. A few feet away is a set of metal stairs and another door. I walk over to the door and walk into some sort of garage bay. Must be a hospital judging from the three ambulances and the cop car parked in neat rows and thickly covered in a sooty dust. I slowly cross the garage floor and set into the hospital building itself.


Chapter 5

I open my eyes but all I can see is a painfully bright light burning down onto my face. Trying to blinking away the searing afterimage I find my entire body aches from top to bottom. Trying to sit up is beyond any control I have over my muscles. After several tries I come to the conclusion that I can't get control over my body. After several painful minutes I manage to flop over onto my stomach. This reduces the pain from the light above me. I peek out through squinted eyes and it appears that I am lying face down in a stairwell.

Closing my eyes I take a few deep breaths to try to regain control of my body. Lying there, the cold floor seems to reduce the ache from my arms. I slowly tense my left arm and push myself up off the floor. It only takes a couple of minutes to push off the stairs and get into an uncomfortable seated position. Shaking my head to clear the cobwebs I find I have to close my eyes to force out the bright overhead light.

If I close my eyes it shuts out the light but the throbbing pain in my temples and running down my neck doesn't go away. I mentally brace myself, take a few deep breaths and open my eyes. I am sitting on a step about five up from a landing. A bright orange six is on the door of the landing. Turning to look up the stairs I see a body.

After an instant of shock I reach for my sidearm. I feel a bit better with the soft wooden grip of my gun in my hand. I stare at the body on the landing above me. The gun in my hand is not my service sidearm but my own pistol. A bead of sweat rolls down my cheek as I watch the body on the floor. There is an odor in the stairwell, a mixture of stale air, sweat, and urine. It is a scent that some of my buddies called the scent of fear.

There seems to be something wrong with the body - but I can't tell what it is. The bright light is still affecting my vision. I carefully shift to have a better view of the landing above.

I have a gut feeling that I am about to be in a very dangerous situation. I would feel better about things if I could remember how I got here. I start thinking about what I should do next. I keep trying to identify what is bothering me about the body because something doesn't feel right.

I take a deep breath and consider what to do next when the body moves. I take a quick step away from the body but end up falling down the stairs. I try to catch my balance but I can't manage to gain my footing. I try to bring my gun up but a burning pain in my shoulder restricts me to a feeble gesture at best. I open my eyes but I can't focus my vision and all I see is darkness. I fight to remain awake but succumb to the cool darkness that envelops me.

I awake with a start.

The cold concrete floor has numbed my face. There is a strong odor all around me and a lot of dried blood on the floor. I push myself up onto my hands and knees and realize I have my gun drawn. I roll over and lean up against the wall. I can see an arm hanging down from the landing above me. That would explain the odor. I check my gun. Only two shots left. I check it again... still only two shots. I am sitting right next to an exit door.

The stairwell is still fairly dark and only the emergency lights are on. I take a couple of deep breaths and pull myself up off the floor. A flash of pain shoots through my arms and legs as I get to my feet. I grit my teeth and force myself to move.

I take a quick overview of my body and find that I have more bumps and bruises than I care to count. I must have taken a pretty nasty spill down the stairs. A deep cut just under my left eye has left dried blood on my cheek. All my muscles hurt as well. Sleeping on concrete is not all that restful.

I catch myself taking mental stock of my situation, listing my injuries, the current time as well as the location of the items around me. I am on the sixth floor based on the giant six painted on the door next to me. On my mental check list I start giving all the items around me threat levels. I am a little shocked at the activity but it seems to be a natural reaction for me so I go with it.

The emergency lights add a dull hum to the otherwise quiet stairwell. I put my gun away and realize I have added "limited ammunition" to my mental check list.

Sweat rolls down my back as I pace back and forth across the small landing. My heart and my mind both seem to be in a race to see which can go faster. I stop pacing and try to regulate my breathing. My pulse jumps again as I realize I have started a second mental list. It frightens me to note that the second list is all the signs of shock I can identify in my own behavior. I get angry as I realize I have started pacing and have drawn my gun again.

I put my gun back and force myself to stand still for a slow count of twenty. I sit down and take a look down the mental lists I have been compiling on my current situation. The equipment list is pretty short; a gun with limited ammunition and that seems to be it. But that doesn't set my heart racing, it?s odd but I seem to be quite comfortable with that. The body above me on the landing doesn't seem to be the source of my near panic either. Even though I am pretty sure that I killed that person. My training seems to have kicked in and taken over. What training?!?

The sweat starts to drip off my nose as it hits me. I have no memory of what has happened, why it happened, when it happened. It is a stark and sudden thought that causes the cold sweat to stop - I have no memory of who I am! I stop pacing and I sink to my knees with the stark fear that I have no idea where or who I am or why I am holding a gun in an industrial stairwell.

I start doing some breathing exercises. I stop pacing and sit down again. I rest my head against the door and I put my gun away again. I start looking though my pockets. I don't have my service side arm. My service side arm?

Flashes of a graduation ceremony appear to me as though through a fog. My parents and brother are in the crowd along with Sgt. McKinley. He?d been retired for twelve years before I joined the academy but was my inspiration for joining the force. I proudly showed him my service revolver and badge the day I graduated.

I search my memory. Hungry for more, hungry to remember more of myself. But there is no more. Just a ceremony and then me in this stairwell. It must have been nearly four years ago but I have no memory of anything that happened in that time.

I pull out my wallet; there are only five items in it: My badge, Buffalo New York Police Department number 2003786, Patrolman James Sharp. My drivers license; James L. Sharp of 5 Red Jacket Parkway, Buffalo, New York. Looks like I am 23 years old. There is also a visa card for Jim Sharp and a smart card with a blue square and the letters JTL embossed in black. The only other item in the wallet is fifty seven dollars in cash. I put the items back in my wallet. The wallet itself is a plain black leather wallet with an embossed B with a sword sticking through it. The symbol tickles my memory but I can't place it. I also have a key chain with a dodge key and what must be a house key on it.

I look over my clothes. My jeans are in okay shape but are a little dirty. I pull off my jean jacket and hoodie and under all that I am wearing a white and black Buffalo Sabres tee shirt with a large blood stain on the left shoulder and arm. I don't have any injuries so it must be someone else?s' blood. The jean jacket and hoodie are both in great shape but have the same blood stain on the left shoulder. I put the hoodie and jacket back on.

The lights above me crackle for a few moments and slowly light up as the emergency lights flicker and go off. I am about to open the door and head out of the stairwell through the doorway when I hear something in the stairwell below.

It sounds like someone is moving around down there. I wait, straining to hear but the faint sounds are drowned out by the high pitched buzz of the fluorescent lights coming to life. I draw my revolver and start moving slowly. I would like to move faster but the combination of wanting to make a cautious approach and the shooting pain that stabs into my back with every step. At the next landing my right knee starts to stiffen up slowing me down even more. That fall I took down the stairs sure didn?t help improve my mobility.

Gripping my pistol I pass the green five painted on the landing and continue down the stairs.


Writers Un-block

I have come to the conclusion that writers block is not the worst problem I face writing. I am actually having exactly the opposite problem right now. I have started a writing project and I am stalled after only a couple thousand words.

The problem is not writers block. The problem is that I have so many ideas that I can't settle down to write on any topic. When I have writers block I can work through it by sitting down and writing. Writing about anything. Just write.

With un-block I find myself putting off writing because I can get back to it in a while. I justify this to myself because I have so many ideas it is not like I will have problems putting things onto paper once I can pick just one topic.

So I am going to try posting a progress and design notes here to try to get myself motivated. It works for NaNoWriMo, so maybe it can get my momentum going.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Canada License.