Komorebi #AtoZChallenge

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Komorebi; sunlight that filters through the leaves of trees.

Six months trapped in hospital with a brain tumour and I didn’t want to spend another moment in doors. But my wife and nurse insisted on a few days resting and strength rebuilding at home before I went back to my hobby of hiking.

‘Take it easy,’ my wife said as we arrived at the forest trail.

‘I shall do,’ I replied and we set off.

Spring was high in the air. The flowers and leaves on the trees out in full and the gentle breeze carried their scent to me. Birds were singing loudly, making the perfect music to our walk. Sunlight was coming down through the trees, creating dancing patches of light on the ground.

The air was so clean and fresh, a shock after the disinfected air of the hospital. There was colour everywhere, so different from the blandness I’d been in. Warmth kissed my skin and I looked up at the sun through the trees’ leaves. I took deep breaths, eyes shut, let the light play across me and relaxed fully for the first time in almost year.

‘Are you okay?’ my wife asked.

I nodded.

‘I’ve missed this,’ I said quietly, ‘nature is the best healer.’

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The Cowboy Ghost #SundayWritingPrompt

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I couldn’t sleep, my operation was tomorrow and my head was all over the place. I slipped from the hard hospital bed and drew the thin curtains around so I wouldn’t disturb anyone. Turning on the lamp which blinded me, I dug around for my Ipod and headphones.

Music might not help me sleep but it might calm me. Putting the headphones on, I scanned through the Ipod till I found natural sounds music. Relaxing waves of the ocean filled my ears. I lay back and let them carry me away.

I pictured a white sand beach, hot sun, palm trees, ice cold coconut and pineapple juice drinks. The sea was a dazing bright blue with just a touch of white on top of the waves. I was sitting on a chair basking in the sun, next walking along the shore, feet getting wet.  then I was swimming in gently tumbling waves.

I smiled, feeling all drifty-dreamy.

The song changed to the rattling of something….the neighing of a horse? Oh, was I riding a horse on the beach? How nice!

The creaking of a wooden sign blowing in the wind, a crow cawing and the beach scene changed to being in a desert.

I reached, keeping my eyes closed, to stop the track and re-play the ocean one but then a handsome, rugged man floated to my mind and my finger stopped.

The man, a stereotypical wild west cowboy, was riding a brown horse into a wooden built town. A strong wind was blowing, stirring up the top layer of desert sand. A storm was to be coming. The cowboy got off his horse and looked around, the town seemed to be abandoned.

I decided that whatever was happening here I didn’t want to know. I tried opening my eyes but they felt too heavy to do so. I fumbled my fingers across the Ipod but I couldn’t find the right button to press. I sighed, give up and carried on listening to the track with scenes playing out in my head like a movie.

The cowboy was stood in the wild west town, listening for signs of life. He heard tinkling piano music coming from the saloon. Walking over, his spurs clicking, boot steps heavy, the music grew stronger and he started to hear laughter. There where people here after all! He stepped up onto the porch, it creaked under his weight then he opened the saloon doors which screamed on disused hinges.

The music and laughter stopped. The place was empty!

The cowboy looked around and saw a thick layer of dust everywhere. He went over to the piano, boots and spurs loud in the silence and pressed down a few keys, out of tune wheezing notes sounded. That wasn’t the music he had heard before.

The cowboy walked out, confused. A rumble of thunder sounded, the wind was getting stronger, sweeping the desert sand about. Next door, was a motel. He walked in, wondering if he could get a room for the night. He went up to the counter and ring the bell once then repeatedly. Nobody appeared and dust lay here too.

He headed back, collected his horse and wandered through the town. It started raining and the sky was growing dark. The cowboy didn’t really want to spend a night here but he felt there was no choice now.

A church bell rang out, he stopped and counted, ‘one, two…three, four…five, six…seven, eight…’

He went to the wooden church and tried the door but was locked tight.

The rain started falling heavily, the thunder rumbled again and in the distance, the now black sky was light up by a fork of lightening.

The cowboy’s horse stamped her feet and neighed nervously.

‘It’s all right, girl,’ the cowboy said as he rubbed her muzzle, ‘Looks like we got to stay the night. Let’s go back to the saloon.’

Hurrying through the rain which was fast turning the dry sand to mud, the cowboy turned behind the saloon and found a stable. It was rotting like the rest of the buildings but still standing for the moment. They went inside and found dry but moldy hay.

The cowboy lit a lantern, casting light to see by. He made his horse as comfortable as he could then sat for a few minutes. He fell into deciding if to stay the night in the stable with his horse or not. Would the beds in the saloon be more comfortable?

He decided to go and see. The cowboy got up, taking his bed roll, the lantern and whatever else he needed. He headed outside, braving the storm to get back into the saloon.

The cowboy pushed open the door and went in with rain dripping off his leather hat, coat and pants, sandy mud clumping his boots and smell of the storm thick in his nose. The saloon was as empty as before.

He went behind the bar, found some bottles of whisky and took them upstairs. His boots stomping as the wooden steps squeaked. He pushed open the door of the first room with his foot and looked in. There was just a single bed, side table and a curtained window.

He went in, placing the lantern down on the side table and got himself comfy. Boots came off, jacket too. He uncorked one of the bottles with his teeth and took a few swings. It wasn’t great whisky but it tasted okay.

He made the bed, settled in and pulled a book out of his belongings. Drink in one hand, Bible in the other, he listened to the storm raging outside. The wind was doing it’s best to bring down the wooden buildings, there was so much creaking and snapping. The rain was like a whip, lashing about. The thunder was rumbling like the empty belly of a beast and sometimes lightening would flash up the curtain covered window.

The cowboy began to doze off. Warm, comfy, whisky hazy.

A pearly piano note broke through the storm, quickly followed by more as someone played fast across the keys.

The cowboy stirred. The Bible slipped to the floor with a slap. He awoke and listened, frowning at the piano notes he was hearing but knew he couldn’t possible be.

A woman’s laughter echoed, wood creaked, long skirts swishing.

The cowboy smelt hints of perfume.

Voices rose and fell, chairs scrapped the floor, metal cups clanked and the piano music came impossibly fast.

The stairs creaked once more, lighter this time as if the person upon them was bare foot and weighed little. A gentle girly laugh and ruffle of skirts outside the cowboy’s chosen room made him believe he was no longer alone.

The cowboy snatched up the lantern and got to his feet, drawing one of his guns, he went to the door but it squeaked open before he could touch it.

All the noises stopped, silence hit him painfully but the cowboy stood his ground.

The door swing then was thrown against the wall with a loud bang.

The cowboy just had time to make out the woman – tall, fair haired, huge blood red dress- before she launched herself at him and sent them both tumbling to the floor. The cowboy shot his gun, the bullets hitting the ceiling and causing wood and dust to rain down on them.

The woman’s hands wrapped around his throat. He felt ice cold, dead fingers choking the life out of him. He struggled but her grip was too powerful. She bashed his head against the floor, he felt waves of dizziness and nausea. The cowboy tried to smash her with the gun but he lost his grip and the weapon skidded away. He grabbed her with his hands, fingers fisting the silky dress and slipping through the material.

The cowboy’s head smashed into the floor and he heard a deafening crack,  blackness washed over him.

Outside, the rain poured off the roofs of the wooden buildings, the wind howled through empty rooms, the thunder echoed as lightening flashed over the church tower and set the wooden cross ablaze.

 

My eye lids fluttered and I came back awake. The glaring lamp above me stung my eyes. I pulled my headphones off and rested a few minutes. My mind felt strangely blank but then bits of pieces came back to me.

I couldn’t hear any weather. There were the sounds of other hospital patients’ sleeping and shifting on scratchy sheets. Nurses’ hushed footsteps and whispered voices reached me.

Heavy footsteps with a slight metal jingle crossed the floor. The curtain around my bed fluttered and I got ready to explain to the nurse why I was awake.

The curtain carried on moving as if someone was running their hands over it looking for the gap to part them. It got faster, a huge rippling all over which was more like the wind then a person.

A spike of fear hit my stomach, what was going on?

Hands appeared, reaching through then the fingers bending to find the edge of the curtain.

‘Thank, God,’ I whispered, ‘I’m sorry for being awake, I’m having trouble sleeping.’

The curtain was violently yanked back, I jumped, almost tumbling from the bed, ‘there’s no need for that!’ I cried, scrambling in the blanket.

Then I saw him.

The cowboy from my dream! I heard his boots and spurs hitting the floor, the cracking of his leather jacket and pants. His hat was down, half covering his face, I could make out a strong jaw line covered in black stubble. His throat was badly bruised, some of which were outlined like finger marks. He smelt of stormy air, burning wood and old whisky.

‘He’s not real. You’re still dreaming,’ I whimpered, clutching the sheet to my chin like a scared child.

I heard a rumble of thunder, a clash of lightening, rain hitting the window like stones and a desert wind howling down the ward. I wanted to turn to the window to look but something held my gaze fixed on the cowboy.

There was a plop, plop sound and despite myself, I looked over the edge of the bed and onto the floor. Black blood was pooling around the cowboy’s boots, it was falling from the edge of his coat.

‘What do you want?’ I demanded.

He took his hat off and put it to his chest as if in an old fashioned greeting. I saw his face fully but it was just a skull! Deep hollowed, black eye sockets, no nose, high cheek bones, wide jaw and two rows of clenched together gold teeth.

I fought for breath but couldn’t get any in. My body went numb and I so badly wanted to tear my eyes away but I couldn’t!

The cowboy turned slowly, spurs scrapping the floor. He showed the back of his skull which had been totally smashed in. There were chunks missing and cracks running along like crazy paving.

I screamed and screamed.

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2019/02/24/sunday-writing-prompt-campfire-ghost-stories/ and also, Sound Effects: Night In A Ghost Town https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sch7HyYANiI with thanks).

‘Tis Not The Season To Be Jolly #TMAT120

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I didn’t have any Christmas spirit inside of me, what I’d had instead had been cancerous lumps. The doctor said the operations had been a success but I would have to stay in hospital over Christmas to recover. There was no place worse to spend Christmas, other then jail and the streets, I guess.

‘Home by new year’s eve, maybe, if you are well enough,’ he had added.

I looked at the few tatty decorations the ward nurses had strung up and the tiny Christmas tree on the table. It looked like no one had even tried, like me they couldn’t be bothered. There was no jolliness to be had here.

 

(Inspired by; https://rantingalong.blog/2018/12/06/joelles-tales-first-thursday-of-the-month-tmat120-writing-prompt-for-december-2018/ with thanks).

 

Something In The Night (Part 2)

abandoned, architecture, building

Abe reached the top of the staircase, his old legs feeling shaky after the climb. He stopped and caught his breath. The light from his torch spotlighted on the wall before him and the edge of a large picture frame.

Rising the light up, Abe saw the huge portrait of a middle-aged man wearing an early 1800’s black jacket, white shirt and red cravat. The man had long black hair which was tied back with a black ribbon. The man’s head was slightly turned to the right, so the dark brown eyes were staring off into the distance and not looking down at you as many other portraits did. Underneath the painting, a worn out bronze sign read Jacob Oscars.  

Abe had looked the man up after his first exploration of the asylum and found that Oscars had been the original owner and designer. Though only a few years later, he had sold the place to Doctor Charles Denty who many people had believed was the founding father. Abe had researched Denty too and uncovered some chilling stories about the scientist and his brain experiments.

Turning to look behind him, Abe saw the window above the front door which looked down upon the stairs at this level. It was where he had first seen the light. Now though he could see the dark stormy night pressing against the glass.

Clearing his throat as quietly as he could, Abe turned left and went up a few steps that led onto the first floor and the east wing. The light he had seen from the security cabin had come from this side and past by the window he was now approaching. Not stopping he pressed on to the end where a large, but less grand staircase led to the second floor.

His feet slowed but instead of going up he turned right and followed the corridor around and into a long hallway. The wall on the left was lined with doorways and the wall on the right was broken up by a few windows which Abe knew looked down onto the asylum’s center courtyard.

Silence and dust hung heavy in the air as Abe shone his torch along the doors. Nothing looked undisturbed and still there were no fresh footprints. All of a sudden the weight of the search got to him. Abe’s thoughts tumbled and the thrill of the chase began to fade.

Where do I start? he asked.

Casting his mind back he thought about the few times over the last five years when he had caught trespassers. There had been three different gangs of teenagers who had made a lot of noise destroying things and one gang had started a fire in one of the ground floor rooms. They had been easy to track because of the noise and they had brought a lot of lights with them too.

Other trespassers had been small groups of work men  who had come to rob the place of any valuable; lead, copper, expensive wooden fits and anything else they could remove. Abe had easily heard them at work too. It was no quiet job ripping through walls and flooring.

The last lot of trespasser were the ones Abe didn’t mind and actually allowed in. They were the abandoned places lovers. They came with cameras and recorders to take photos and film the asylum. Sometimes there was only one of them but most of the time they came in pairs or threes. Their whispering voices and flashing cameras drawing Abe after them.

It had been awhile through, close to a year now since the last known trespassers had been in. Security had been tightened at that point, but Abe was sure people had found ways to escape his notice. Plus, old age had caught up with him and Abe’s hearing, eyes and fast movements had slowed.

Abe moved carefully down the hallway, listening hard for any sounds. At the first door which was half open, he shone his torch into the large room. The empty floor and walls met his eyes. It had been the night nurses’ room once, Abe had read on an 1852 blueprint of the asylum that were framed on a wall in the security cabin.

A creaking of a loose floorboard or door vibrated downwards. Abe rose his torch and looked up at the ceiling. He held his breath and waited for more. A whispering voice tickled his ear. He couldn’t make at the words. Another creak came, longer then before. Someone was opening a door on the second floor.

To Be Continued…

Something In The Night (Part 1)

abandoned, architecture, building

It was raining heavily but inside the security cabin, Abe was dry and warm. The electric heater was humming loudly and beside from the rain hitting the metal roof there was little other sounds. Out of the window, though the darkness, Abe could see the looming front of the main building of the long abandoned asylum and hospital.

He knew the place like the back of his hand, but not because he had lived or worked there, it was because he had been watching over the place for the last five years. Some big development company had brought the buildings and land when the government had sold them off. Abe had been hired to keep an eye on the place for a few months whilst work on knocking everything down got started. However, things hadn’t gone to plan for whatever reason and no work had been started. Nobody had ever bothered to tell Abe but they had kept paying him so he carried on being the night guard.

Getting more comfy in his plush desk chair, Abe reached for his sandwiches on the desk before him. He began unwrapping them, wondering what his wife had put on them. Suddenly, a small bright light shone through the night and the rain. Looking up, Abe saw the light coming from a middle window.

A few moments later, the light vanished. Abe kept his eyes to the windows and just as he thought; the light appeared in the window to the left. The white ball seemed to bob and flash around. Abe sighed, it could only be one thing; a torch. Which meant someone was trespassing inside the asylum.

Wrapping his sandwiches up again, Abe picked up his large heavy torch and the ring of keys from his desk top. Then checked he had his mobile phone in his trouser pocket. Signal was hard to get out here, but there was just enough to phone the police if he had too. Then he put on his thick coat, woolly hat and gloves. It was cold outside but even colder in the asylum. He went to the door, unlocked it, turned on the torch and stepped out.

The rain hit his face like he had just got into a cold shower and the wind yanked him around as if he was an old newspaper. He closed the door, locking it again then set off. Fighting against the weather, he made bad time and it took him twice as long to get to the side door. Pressing himself against the freezing stone walls, he fumbled to find the right key and put it in the padlock.

Opening the door, he hurried in and closed it behind him. The light from his torch bounced in the small corridor. The beam was so bright and large that it was a spotlight in the darkness. He breathed in deeply, smelling the rot and mould of the place. Shuffling forward, he avoided the peeling paint walls and the long cracks in the floor.

The corridor ended in a door which Abe had to unlock.Once through, he came to stand in the entrance hall of the asylum. The huge open space engulfed him and the light. A cold chill ran through him and he felt like he was being watched. Abe swung the torch slowly around. The floor was made of large stone slabs that were covered in dust, but a few footprints could be made out. The walls were dark wood panelling which give away to large arched doorways which were dotted around.

Abe moved, breaking the silence which lay as if caught in the end of time. He walked slowly to the centre of the entrance hall. There was a pattern on the floor here; a large many pointed red star or flower which was surrounded by a large blue circle. To the right of him were the huge front double doors that seemed to be more from a Medieval castle then an asylum. To the left, the grand staircase rose up, guard by two towering winged lions.

He went to the staircase and shone the light up the stone steps. Through the dust he could only see his old footprints. That didn’t mean he was the only one to enter the building though. There was lots of side doors, windows, the underground tunnels and cellars which a person could get inside by. The two hundred year old buildings were a rabbit warren.

Abe thought about calling out, but decided against that. If there was a trespasser he wanted to catch them, not give them a chance to escape. Reaching out for the once over polished stair banister, he began to climb upwards.

 

To Be Continued….

 

Outside

Red Leaf Tress Near the Road

She wanted to go outside and walk through the falling leaves. She wanted to feel the wind full on her face and smell all of the earthy, autumn scents. Seeing everything from her window or the screen wasn’t the same. She needed to physically be there.

But she couldn’t.

This bed, this room, was her life now. She had no body, she was just a mind trapped within a rotting shell. And how much longer would she have to wait to be free? No one could tell her that.

She looked out of the window and tried hard to smell the nature. But someone had lit incense sticks again that was the only thing she could smell. She was sick of that and the scents of candles and flowers. She understand why they did it now; not to comfort her, but to comfort themselves from the hospital smells and her decaying flesh.

She longed for it all to go away and for her just to be outside walking barefoot through the woods. She shut her eyes and thought about the wind in the trees and the singing of birds. She could touch the tree trunks and walk in streams and mud, just like she use to do.

She sighed.

It felt like she would never go. Perhaps, that was her curse? To just carry on like this forever and each generation of her family having to care for her and go through the same emotions. Maybe, they’d get bored and just sign her care totally over to the hospital. Then either they would store her away in a freezer or some scientist, crazed with frame would find a cure and she could go outside again…

She wanted to know why it had happened to her. She must have done something wrong and being punished. But that didn’t make any sense. She had been good to the world, unlike so many people. She had chosen a quiet, animal and world friendly lifestyle. She had meditated, eaten right, helped everyone when they needed it and had never been selfish or needy herself. Surly that was how humans should be? Why would someone as good as her be punished with this crippling sickness?

She was too tried of trying the figure that out. It was something she tried to keep at bay, but with only her thoughts and imagination still in use, it was hard for her to keep away from that line of thought. Sometimes she would reflect on what the doctors, nurses and her family were saying, but most of the time it was the same things over and over again. It was easy for her to mute their words now, though she desperately craved them.

She looked at the window again and knew if she could cry she would do. When would she be back in mother’s natures arms and free of this hell?

Cold Calling

Phone, Dial, Old, Arrangement, Nostalgic, Nostalgia

The phone was ringing again. Sallie put the pillow over her head, pressing it down over her ears. She breathed deeply, listening to her harsh breaths and the only slightly muffled sound of the phone. She counted slowly, trying to remember how many times it had rung today. She reach six then stopped.

Tossing the pillow aside, she got up and stormed down the hallway of the bungalow. she snatched the phone up from its living room stand and answered it.

‘Hello?’

‘Miss Pearman?’ a too cheery male voice asked.

‘Yes’?

‘Did you know you could be owned money on your PPI?’

Sallie sighed, ‘I’m not interesting, please remove my number from your list.’

She hung up and took the phone back  into the bedroom with her. Settling down again, she wondered how she was going to get enough sleep for her night shift at the hospital tonight.

The phone ran again.

She eyed it and thought about unplugging it. Instead, she picked it up and asked, ‘who is it was this time?’

‘We’re looking at replacing windows and doors in your area right now,’ a loud female voice spoke, ‘would you be interested in a quote?’

‘No thanks. Please remove my number and stop calling me,’ Sallie snapped and hung up.

She put the phone on the bedside table and tried to get back to sleep again. She muttered to herself about the terrible people. Just as she was dozing off again, the phone rang for a third time. Sallie opened her eyes and looked over. Wondering if suddenly the word had got out that she was  answering her phone.

She answered and pressed the phone to her ear.

‘Hello? an Indian accented woman asked.

‘What you want?’ Sallie asked, sleepy.

‘Madam, I’m from Windows tech support and your computer has been sending us messages that it has a virus. Can you please turn your PC on so I can help you sort this problem out?’

‘That’s it!’ Sallie yelled.

She hung up, threw the duvet away and stomped down the hallway. Spotting the phone plug at the wall near the door, she pulled it out.

‘There! that should stop all you cold callers!’ She cried.

Mags

Magazine, Colors, Media, Page, Colorful

The shelves were lined with colorful glossy front covers that boosted screaming titles. Ivy stood before them, trying to pick out any that would interested her from the photos and words. Ignoring the ones aimed heavily at men, she looked at the women’s ones.

Celebrity names, Ivy knew or half knew called out to her followed by scandalous slurs. Questions about her body and mind shouted across to her, demanding she grab the mags and find the answers. Shaking her head, she picked up a magazine containing short stories that looked bland compared with the others.

With a quick glance at the front page, she dropped into the wire shopping basket. Further down, she found two aimed at writers. Ivy selected the one she normally read and noticed the free gift was a small book of inspirational poetry. Putting that in the basket, she moved on to a section which seemed to grow every time she looked.

The blank front pages of the adult coloring magazines looked out of place. Ivy browsed through them and finally selected two; one that declared it could calm her mind and other that stated she could win a valuable set of coloring pencils by filling in the front cover. She put them both in the basket then moved on.

At the end of the shelves, were the crossword, word searches, Sudoku and puzzle books. Ivy hovered in front of them. She had never been a fan of such things, but having one might be useful right now. Debating, she spent a few minutes looking at them all, then selected one that seemed a good mixture of things.

Adding that to the collection, she did the rest of the shopping she needed to do then headed to the hospital ward that was to become her home for a few weeks whilst she recovered from the major operation she needed.

 

Nurse Part 2

Nurse, Woman, Person, Girl, Syringe, Injection, Shot

After handing a pack of new bed socks to the vampire, Head Nurse Cassie decided to check on the other vampire. She couldn’t remember which one Will the elf had said was being discharged tonight, but the second vampire looked in worse shape. As she entered the room, he was laying in the bed, with the blue woolen blanket folded down to his stomach and his head  propped up on pillows. He was looking out of the window with sad, almost empty eyes.

‘Hello,’ Cassie said and grabbed the clipboard notes.

The vampire didn’t reply.

She reminded herself of his name, Princes Luton from what was now Denmark. He had been found almost died in a car park three nights ago. He had been attacked by werewolves or shape shifters or something else with huge teeth and lots of dark fur.

‘How are you feeling?’ Cassie asked.

‘Fine,’ he replied sadly.

Seeing that he had only been checked less then ten minutes ago, she put the clipboard back and crossed the window. Outside the wind was blowing a small tree and some bushes that formed a small garden in between the hospital buildings. The sky was very dark blue almost black color with a touch of white dotted stars.

Cassie opened the window and felt the wind on her fur. She heard the vampire take in a deep breath. He sighed the breath out deeply then took another one. She turned back and saw he had shut his eyes.

‘If you are feeling better later, you could possible go out in a wheelchair,’ Cassie told him.

‘Maybe…’ he said.

‘Let me know if you need anything. Your blood is coming soon.’

The vampire mumbled a thanks.

Cassie left him, closing the door behind her and went to check on everyone else which as the rest of the patients were settling down to sleep, was quick and easy. Going back to the desk, she found Harriet Hippo on the phone and the other nurses getting on with other tasks.

Sinking into the other chair, she thought about phoning the doctors’ office and seeing when the vampire doc who was scheduled to visit the ward might be due. Picking up the other phone, she thought it might be a bit pointless as no one ever knew, but still…Cassie dialed and waited.

When the office receptionist picked the phone up, she put her question in, but just as she had thought, no one knew the answer and of course if there was an emergency it might change things. There were only three vampire doctors on tonight and two were doing the ward rounds.

‘Is it an emergency?’ the receptionist asked in a clip tone.

‘Not really,’ Cassie said,’how many do the docs have to see?’

‘About thirty are on the list,’ came the reply, ‘of course, they’re not all vampires. There are some half-vampires, two owls, a boogie man, three shadow figures, some ghosts -‘

‘That’s fine, thanks,’ Cassie cut in and hung up.

‘So, you don’t think the Prince is very good either?’ Fenchie spoke out.

Cassie opened her mouth, ready to tell the nurse gnome off for over hearing, then decided there was no point.

‘He’s lost a lot of blood though,’ Pepper chipped in, her arms full of supplies.

‘Yes, well,’ Cassie finally got in, ‘I think he might be depressed. Compared to the Lord, he doesn’t seem to be recovering mentally.’

The buzzer for the door rang and Cassie answered it with a quick hello.

‘Food delivery,’ came a man’s tried voice back over the intercom.

Cassie buzzed him in and a few seconds later heard the wheels of a trolley along the floor. She stood up and watched the man knocked on the door of the first vampire then let himself in. Leaving her nurses to their duties, Cassie followed the delivery man in. Stopping in the doorway, she watched the Lord receiving his breakfast and quickly drinking it from the bag.

‘I’ll come with you to the next one,’ Cassie said and got a grunt from the seemingly human delivery guy.

Heading down the doors and opening the one to the Prince’s room, Cassie was glad to see him still in bed. There had been too many nights with different patients were they had left via an open window. Taking the blood from the human, Cassie set up the drip.

‘Unless you feel you can drink it?’ she asked.

The vampire shook his head.

Hooking him up, she left wondering what the doctor would say when they got here.

Nurse

Nurse, Woman, Person, Girl, Syringe, Injection, Shot

It was the start of the night shift on the hospital ward. Head Nurse Cassie looked at the list of patients on the board behind the desk. Next to the bed numbers and the names were initial letters written in red. She transferred them into words and counted the different creatures that were actually in the rooms.

There were two vampires, three werewolves, a pixie, five witches, a warlock, a demon and a shape shiftier. Cassie then read the next lot of information attached to each name which stated why they were here and who their doctor was. Nothing had changed from last night. With that refreshed in her head, she turned to the messy desk left by the day staff and began trying tidy it up.

Around her, drifted the low muttering of voices from the patients and the nurses. Though she couldn’t hear any actually words. The movement of furniture, TV shows and a phone ringing added to the background. Cassie smiled and felt herself settling in for the night. Pulling over the wheeling desk chair, she double checked her long brown tail was tided out of the way.

Sitting down, she was then drawn to check the small pink bow between her small round brown ears. The phone rang and Cassie answered it. The kitchen staff were running late due to the delivery being held up. The vampires would have to wait for their breakfast.

Putting down the phone, Cassie decided it was best for the moment not to tell them. They had only just woken up and would be grumpy enough. She got back to cleaning the desk then checked the medical trolley. Making a note of the things that were needed, she waited till the other four nurses came back to the desk.

‘Were you late?’ Frenchie, a pink gnome asked.

‘A little,’ Cassie admitted, ‘twins where playing up…the little monkeys.’ She giggled and the other nurses joined in.

‘Are they still walking all over your husband?’ Pepper, the rabbit, inquired.

‘Yes and taking great delight in it too,’ Cassie replied.

More laughing followed and Harriet the hippo had to hide her snorting.

‘Oh, I think one of the vampires is getting discharged,’ Will spoke out, cutting in.

Cassie turned to him and took in the tall elf. The blue pants and jacket, did not seem to suit him, but maybe it was just the clash with his light green hair and the tattoo green leaves on the edges of his face.

‘The kitchen has just said their food is delayed. If they ask you can tell them, but for now…’

‘The blood is late again!’ a sharp, male noble voice shouted out.

They all turned and saw one of the vampires standing in the doorway of his room. He was shockingly tall and thin, with a very white face and blood shot eyes. He wore a black seventeen hundred suit with a white shirt and a frill at his throat. His long black hair was tied back making his too high cheek bones more pronounced.

‘Lord Trell, I’m sure it will be here soon,’ Cassie said and got up.

She escorted him back to his room, noticing his bare feet with long toes and cracked yellow nails. The vampire flung himself on to his bed with a loud groaning. Cassie eyed him then checked his clipboard notes at the end of the bed. Seems he hadn’t been eating much anyway.

‘I’ll let you know when it has arrived,’ she said, ‘you should put your bed socks on.’

Lord Trell sighed and looked at the discarded stockings on the bedside table. He picked them up and showed the nurse the holes in them.

‘I’ll get you some more,’Cassie said with a shake of her head as she left.