by Vincent Daemon
John and Julie had gotten off the bus at the hospital. Inside, Debra Hill’s family crowded around outside her room, and when a nurse mentioned that John was the person who’d found her and brought her in, they immediately flocked to him like some kind of frenzied religious herd to a Christ-figure, with thank you’s and questions he had no answers to. Italians, apparently. He did find out her name was Debra Hill, she had a husband and two teenage offspring. She was, indeed, a soccer mom. He also found that it was definitively a severe shock that had sent her into that state.
Julie was completely enthralled with all of this, it being that unique story she’d been so desperately looking for all this time. And John was in fact one of the more interesting people she’d come across in years.
John and Julie were briefly allowed in the room (at the doctor’s behest) and became incredibly disturbed by the state Debra was in. Debra would go from almost catatonic stillness into short but chaotic bursts of self-defensive rage–at something horrible, visible to her eyes and mind only–trying to speak, yet managing only glossolalia.
“Jonathan Agar, I presume?” asked the tall, salt-and-pepper haired doctor. “I’m Dr. Chorn, her uh, attending physician, for the moment,” as he offered his hand. “Do you have any idea, John, what may have caused her to be thrust into this horrid condition? This is beyond standard shock, you see. It is almost like she is in a constant state of self-preservation and self-defense against whatever initiated this sad event that she’s locked into.”
John looked to Debra, then to Julie, then to Dr. Chorn, then to the floor. “I’m honestly not quite sure how to answer your question, Doc.”
Dr. Chorn procured some papers from Debra’s bed-table. “You’re not sure what you saw either, are you?” the Doc asked, baffling both John and Julie as to how the Doc just seemed to know.
But Dr. Chorn was far more than your average doctor. “I happened to see it as well. The meteor. These pictures she drew–only certain people have drawn things like this, historically. Since before the monkeys ate the mushrooms.” The doctor left his statement at that.
“I don’t know what I saw, but I saw it twice, I think,” John mumbled to Dr. Chorn. “The first time at three a.m, after my fucking car broke down and I was walking to work, after I’d seen some kind of meteor or something, what you mentioned.” The words came quick and almost with a sigh of relief.
“Don’t worry kid, I’m on your side, okay? I only get called in for certain cases, such as these. And who is your adorable colleague here?” Dr. Chorn asked, the “adorable” coming off more kindly than creepy.
“Julie Adams, Journalist for the Brisadelphia Daily. I guess we are kinda colleagues, aren’t we?” she sheepishly grinned at John, who reddened slightly and half-smiled, his mind still disturbed by all of this.
“Good, we have someone to actually document such a strange happening for a change,” grinned the doctor slyly. “Most people don’t like to accept that the unknown lurks around them at every turn, that in all reality we understand and actually know nothing. And I can see the two of you have the fever, the understanding to at least be curious about such things. You have...the connection.” He handed John the papers he’d grabbed off of Debra’s bed-stand and shoved them into his hands. “Any of these mean anything to you...either of you?”
John had to sit down, a sudden headrush leaving him dizzy and lightheaded. The pictures, if they could even be called that, savagely scrawled on the papers in cheap smudgy crayon, resembled most intensely the shadow form he had seen both blocking out the starglow at three a.m. and flying upwards away from Debra almost twelve hours later.
There were four separate scrawlings, most as if they were done by a morbid, unmedicated, bad back-alley graffiti box dweller. Just shock-drawn portraits of demented swirls, spirals, tunnels and tubes of varying colors, pushed into each other so hard that all colors eventually became varying shades of a particular dim brownish-red; it was a color unplaceable beyond that. But one picture stood out as outright terrifying. Some kind of full-frontal recreation of this thing, of the entirety of its form, as it stood frozen on the page, just as it was, and always would be, inside her mind.
Simple words could never begin to describe the thing drawn on the paper. It looked like a combination of several different beasts, slightly comparable to those commonly found on this planet, but arranged horribly, all wrong. Two different sized eyes, one much larger than the other, finalized the madness that projected from the picture as John handed it back to the doctor. “I don’t wanna see these anymore,” John quietly mumbled to no one in particular, the drawings slipping from his hands to the floor. Julie came and gently placed a soft hand on his shoulder.
“I assume by your shirt there, you work at Corman’s Petting Zoo? Is that the place claiming to have an actual polar bear to display at that silly winter carnival tomorrow morning? What were you guys thinking?” the doctor asked, wincing.
“It’s not me. Corman’s nuts. I just work there,” John replied in full agreement.
“Been there,” chuckled the doctor sarcastically. “Look, you two mind if I tag along? I’m also curious about the duck, and those, what, six-foot penguins?
“Uh-huh,” John replied, exhausted from the headache as the pictures faded and his senses began returning full and proper. “In fact, Doc, I think that’s a great idea.”
“Excellent. Let me take care of the last of my tests on Debra, make sure she will live the night, and then we can get out of here. I hate these places.”
“Live the night?” Julie exclaimed. “Is it that fucking bad?”
“It is, yes. Whatever she saw, in the simplest terms possible, fucked her up done good. If she lives, she won’t recover. Now, uh, let’s get out of here.”
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