The first story I've chosen for publication in the fiction contest is a creepy, twisty tale by Sparkler Medea37. I'm not ashamed to say I gasped when I reached the end. Congrats, Medea37!
Even Angels Cry
Tuesdays were never particularly busy around St. Mark’s emergency room, especially when it was nearing midnight. All the tipplers in the area normally waited till the weekend to drink themselves unconscious, and any illnesses or household accidents had occurred earlier that evening. Even so, this particular Tuesday found a trio of people hovering under the brittle, fluorescent light of the waiting area.
The boy stood anxiously off to one side, watching his sister with some degree of uncertainty from across the room. She sat unmoving on the plastic-coated couch, knees drawn to her chest, face expressionless. A few feet away, their father sat in a thinly-cushioned chair, his leg bouncing restlessly up and down. Despite their close proximity, father and daughter were miles apart.
Something was wrong, the boy could tell that much. They wouldn’t be in here if everything was fine. But for the life of him, he couldn’t remember what that something was. He didn’t even remember coming here in the first place. Yet he hardly thought it would be wise to ask about the matter. Not only would his asking all too likely dredge up a slew of emotions, but admitting to short-term memory loss in the middle of a hospital when stress was already running high hardly seemed the smart thing to do. So for now he stayed where he was, thinking instead about his sister.
She by far seemed the worse for wear out of the three. At least his father showed some signs of life, tapping his foot restlessly and occasionally getting up, making a lap around the small room, and sitting back down to tap some more. But she remained motionless, the occasional blink the only indication that she was even still alive.
That frightened him. His father’s actions could be a response to any number of things, an accidental burn or fall, a sudden illness, something that didn’t have to be serious. But his sister’s state seemed particular to a matter of life and death, making it all the worse that he couldn’t remember what was wrong.
Before he could worry over the matter any further, a silent, scrubs-clad doctor slid into the room. The boy’s father stood the instant he noticed the man’s presence and strode over, worry lines etched into his face. The two conversed for a moment, but the boy was too far away to hear what they were saying. His sister had yet to even notice the doctor at all.
The boy watched in silence as the worry gradually faded from his father’s face, replaced by a remote, emotionless façade. After a bare nod and a glance towards the girl curled on the couch, the man followed the doctor further into the maze of hallways that made up St. Mark’s.
Feeling a little sick to his stomach, the boy slowly sunk to the floor. It was bad, then. Whatever had happened was bad. His father wouldn’t have reacted in such a way if it was anything less. But what it was, he still couldn’t say.
He glanced up suddenly as a kind-faced nurse slipped into the room and sat next to his sister. Murmuring what he could only assume were words of comfort and condolence, she reached across and gently rubbed the girl’s back. That tiny act of consolation seemed to be all his sister needed, for the tears finally welled up and she buried her head in her arms, shoulders trembling. Standing suddenly, he strode after his father and the doctor, intent on discovering exactly what had gone wrong.
It didn’t take long to catch up to them; his father seemed to favor a slower pace at the moment and the doctor was kind enough to indulge him in this. The boy trailed along after them, unnoticed by either man.
After a ten-minute walk, the doctor directed the boy’s father through a door off to the right, the boy himself slipping in right behind them. He halted, however, as he got a full look at the room. There were labeled drawers along two of the walls and tables spread out across the room, a still figure stretched across each one. Each figure was completely covered by a white cotton sheet. His stomach churned.
The doctor led them to a table off to one side, waited till the boy’s father gave a slight nod, then carefully pulled the sheet back from the body’s head. The boy found himself staring down at his own face.
Based on "Even Angels Cry," by Jars of Clay
CHILLS, right?? Or is this too Sixth Sense-y for your taste? Weigh in with your praise and constructive criticism.