Authors: Paul A. Cagle
For what seemed like forever Alec clawed his way across the floor.
He couldn’t even lift his head to see where he was going he just kept inching his way slowly across the floor.
He wasn’t even sure if he was still crawling or moving at all.
He just kept his thoughts focused on freedom and staying alive and moving forward.
He just hoped his body was obeying.
Alec felt a cold breeze on his back and damp grass beneath his bare chest, he panted with the struggle of forcing his body to move inch by agonizing inch.
Without warning he felt light headed and realized he was on the verge of passing out.
Panic flared through his body but was wiped away just as suddenly as it came and then everything went black.
Alec woke up, a scream clawing its way out of his throat.
He panicked for a moment and then a nurse’s face swam into view.
She was pretty, maybe in her mid-twenties with her blonde hair tied back into a ponytail.
She said something to him, which his mind didn’t register and then she disappeared.
When she came back she uncapped a needle and put it into the IV tube attached to his arm. He wasn’t quite convinced she was real, and then he didn’t really care as the shot took effect.
But something was wrong.
He shouldn’t be in the hospital.
What was going on?
Alec tried to piece together what had happened.
He remembered being abducted but parts of it kept slipping from him.
While he pondered, a man came into the room and smiled at him.
The man was in his fifties maybe, hard to nail down his age exactly since his skin looked youthful and was unmarred by lines or wrinkles. He had gray hair that was just a touch too frizzy, and his eyes were very kind and the color of warm amber.
When he finally spoke, Alec thought he heard just a touch of a German accent.
“Can you hear me?”
When Alec nodded he continued.
“Can you tell me your name?”
Alec was quiet for a moment as he worked moisture back into his parched mouth.
“Good, I’m Doctor Schubert.
You are in Harrison Falls General Hospital.
Do you remember what happened?”
When Alec didn’t respond he continued.
“You were found at the scene of a fire, in a ditch.
One of the fire fighters just happened to see you and called over the paramedics.
You are a lucky young man.
You’ve lost a lot of blood and were pretty banged up.
We are giving you transfusions, fluids and antibiotics for the cuts on your wrists.”
At this Alec raised one arm to look at the white sterile bandage that was wrapped there.
The doctor went on. “The police have some questions for you.
I’ve let them know that you are awake now, but that they are not to tax your strength with too many questions.
You need your rest to recover.
Do you feel up to speaking with them?”
Alec nodded and the doctor disappeared from view.
While he waited he scanned the room.
It was a small ICU chamber of some sort.
There were the ubiquitous beeping and whirring monitors and equipment seen in any given hospital drama, and a single glass door, across the room from him that led out to an open area with a nurse’s station.
With the glass door and windows, the nurses could easily just glance in if they needed to check on a monitor or a patient.
He glanced over to his right and noticed that the blinds were down on his window but it was obviously dark out.
A noise caused him to glance back in time to see a uniformed police officer push open the glass door and step inside.
Behind him was another uniformed man, younger and fit, obviously the man’s partner.
Both men walked into the room and stood beside the bed.
“Alec Carson?” the older cop asked. He was in his early forties, hair just starting to gray at the temples and strands of silver woven through his brown hair.
His eyes were blue and had crow’s feet around them like maybe he squinted into the sun too often.
He had an open kind of face you could easily read and Alec could tell he didn’t want to overburden him.
But the man had a job to do.
The younger officer had dark, wavy hair and an olive complexion.
He shuffled slightly in place, eager to get to the information and the bad guys.
“We are with the Eddings County Police Department.
I’m Officer Clarke and this is my partner Officer Dalton.”
The younger man nodded his head once.
“We have a few questions for you about what happened tonight.”
Alec found his voice and finally croaked, “Okay.”
“How old are you Alec?”
“Twenty-three,” he answered and coughed. His throat still hurt slightly from all the vomiting and the smoke he had inhaled.
Officer Clarke opened up a small black note pad and scanned the page quickly before looking back at Alec.
“It says here that you were found by a fire fighter, naked and in a ditch, off to the side of an old abandoned house that had been set on fire.”
“So the doctor tells me,” Alec croaked quietly.
“What were you doing there?”
Alec thought for a moment and swallowed before answering.
“I signed up for Jordan Community College today and I had gone out looking for some cheap school supplies.
I stopped and got something to eat at Bailey’s and was getting ready to head home when someone hit me in the back of the head and knocked me out.”
The officer scribbled notes onto his pad as Alec talked.
“About what time was this?” officer Clarke asked.
Alec thought about it.
“It was a little after seven PM.
It was just starting to get dark and I was in a parking lot that was mostly empty.
Next thing I know, I wake up naked and tied up, laying on the floor.”
“And was this at the location of the fire?”
Alec nodded and Officer Clarke kept scribbling.
“I tried to get loose but the ropes were too tight and my hands and arms were numb.
Then after a few minutes, I started hearing this weird sound.
“Yeah, like someone being sick.”
Clarke nodded and scribbled.
“Anyway, as I struggled to get loose, this woman comes in and just smiles at me.
It was a cold, crazy smile, like she wasn’t all there.”
“What did she look like?”
“She was close to thirty, reddish blonde, shoulder length hair.
Maybe weighed a hundred and five pounds.
And her eyes were very green.
She had this strange, manic look in her eyes.
I’ll have nightmares about those eyes for the rest of my life.”
The last was said very quietly and his eyes were squinted like he was in pain.
Officer Clarke looked sympathetic, and nodded.
Officer Dalton looked ready for action.
Alec hadn’t seen him enter the room with the officers, but suddenly Doctor Schubert was standing behind them, listening carefully.
He nodded for Alec to continue.
“She stood there like she was in a trance, she didn’t say or do anything at first.
Then…” Alec stopped and swallowed hard several times before he could continue.
“Then, she picked up this sharp knife off of one of the tables against the walls and slit my wrists and collected my blood in this huge bowl.”
“Did she say anything, or explain why she was doing what she was doing?” officer Dalton asked frowning.
Alec shook his head.
She kept speaking these words under her breath.
It sounded kind of like Latin.
Then she disappeared into a room behind me and was gone for a while.
I was starting to get weak from blood loss.
Before she left the room though, she wrapped tight gauze around my wrists to keep me from bleeding out.
Anyway, she did this several more times, each time chanting under her breath.
Then, I guess I passed out from losing too much blood.
When I came to, I was in a different room, and I was tied down on some sort of altar.
I’m not sure how I got there.”
Alec shook his head.
“I didn’t see anyone else but I don’t know how she could have dragged me in there alone.”
Yeah, Alec thought, a one hundred and five pound woman dragging around a blubber ass like him.
He weighed more than twice as much as she did.
If it hadn’t been such a nightmarish situation, he might have laughed at the image of her throwing him over her shoulder and toting him to the other room.
“So you didn’t see anyone else but her?”
“Not at first.
I looked around and noticed that I was in this large open sitting room.
On the other side, there were these bodies.
Men, naked, some lying in the black fluid that they had thrown up.
Some were sitting on the couches in the room, slumped over like they were taking a nap or resting, but with black vomit all around them and covering their chests.
It’s all a blur honestly.”
Officer Dalton looked uneasily at his partner but didn’t say anything.
Was he squeamish, or did he know something?
“Then, she pulls out this goblet, says a few words in Latin and holds it to my lips and makes me drink it.”
Alec shuddered quietly as he remembered the thick, metallic fluid washing over his tongue and down his throat making him gag.
“What was it?”
“Blood,” Alec stated.
Both men looked at him then, shocked expressions on their faces.
Doctor Schubert was staring at the floor, lost in thought.
“Was it hers?” Officer Dalton asked quietly.
It could have been mine.
It was room temperature but it didn’t seem to be congealed.
I never saw a mark on her where she could have drawn it but I don’t know.
She made me do this three times total and all three times I gagged on it.
I was too weak to fight at that point.
I drank quite a bit of it.”
He made a face.
Officer Clarke nodded once and went back to scribbling notes.
“I think the blood was poisoned or had drugs or something in it because suddenly my chest started burning like I had swallowed acid and my muscles started cramping bad.
I felt like there was a live electrical wire running a current through my whole body.
And then I started vomiting up the same black crap I had seen around some of the others.
It was awful.” Alec rubbed his arms like he was cold.
“I guess I passed out again because when I woke up next, I was across the room, on the floor and still vomiting.”
Alec felt sick to his stomach just thinking about it.
He reached over and grabbed a small cup of water sitting by his bed and took a drink to get the phantom taste out of his mouth.
“So, how did the fire start?” officer Clarke asked, looking at him.
“While I was laying there I heard voices and then this guy stopped and lifted my head and looked at me and said, ‘He’s close’ and then walked away…”
Officer Clarke interrupted him, “He’s close?
What did he mean?”
“I guess I was close to dying.”
Clarke nodded his head.
“What did the man look like? Can you tell us what he was wearing or how many there were?”
Alec just shrugged his shoulders.
“I had lost so much blood and was in so much pain that my vision was blurry.
All I remember was he had dark hair and eyes.
I never saw who he was talking to, but I do know they were wearing black army tactical boots.
That’s all I could really see from the floor.
I don’t even know how many there were.”
Alec was lost in thought for a moment as he remembered.
“Anyway, I heard the woman arguing with a man and assumed I was being rescued.”
He took a deep breath and continued.
“But I wasn’t.
I heard some yelling and fighting, and then heard the woman scream.
After that, I saw black boots run past and heard an explosion and felt a lot of heat.
At that point the pain in my chest and muscles was gone and I just felt battered and bruised all to hell.”
“So you think these men, whoever they were, set some sort of explosion and left the house to burn with you in it?”
After that, I somehow managed to crawl to a door and get out.
The last thing I remember was feeling cold air on my back and hoping I had finally escaped.
Then I passed out and woke up here.”