Chapter Four: Beneath the County Hospital
Edwin left suddenly to go back to “check on something” in Harpers Crossing without giving any more reason. Lina and Violet, with the help of Lina’s mentor Gabriel on the phone, woke the “watcher” named Sarah up with Essence. She led them to her body, which was in the morgue beneath the hospital. Night stayed in the waiting room to keep watch but a spell knocked her and everyone else in the waiting room asleep. Brian woke up and followed Lina and Violet into the basement. The basement had clear connections to Brian’s earlier vision. They went into the hospital morgue. The janitor confronted Brian while a tentacled monstrosity attacked Lina. Violet summoned fire, but it grew out of her control while she had a vision of her death, including Kevin Meadows being attacked by a Wicce coven before being able to finish her ritual murder. But her fire was insanely strong and set the hospital on fire. Brian was trapped in a dark room behind the fire. Lina saved Night and Minnie, but the other sleeping hospital employees and patients burned to death. Violet and Lina saw the Soul Eater in the flame and it said it had found Violet and she wouldn’t escape for long.
List of clues and significant events:
- Sarah’s body was turned into a monstrosity and her spirit trapped as a “watcher”
- Who “operated” on Sarah and others in the morgue under the hospital to create the watchers and tentacled monstrosities?
- Someone or something put several people to sleep
- Brian had a vision of the cop dying by a tentacled monster, but he was in the fire — was there another tentacled monster?
- Who were the Wicce coven that attacked when Violet was being murdered?
- What does the Soul Eater have to do with the ritual or the murders?
- What is the immense power that the victims were given to (and that Violet and Minnie are still connected to somehow)
The “watcher” named Sarah faded back to her gray, featureless, vaguely animalistic form about 30 seconds after suddenly coming to life. Edwin, Violet, and Lina were still startled, but further attempts to capture her attention had no obvious effect. Edwin returned to his body and then he and Lina filled Night in on what had just happened since she hadn’t been able to see anything.
Lina in particular wanted to figure out what had happened and what Sarah was. To everyone’s surprise, Edwin said abruptly that he needed to head back to Harpers Crossing to take care of something. He was not forthcoming about why, beyond vague references to responsibilities and a gentle reminder that he was the mayor and it was a tumultuous time. Edwin had the only car and there was some discussion about leaving them stranded, but Night reassured them that she could have a car in no time. Edwin left, the automatic glass hospital doors closing behind him.
Violet went looking for the creepy janitor that had stared at the group a few minutes earlier. She found him walking with his mop and cart through a long hallway in an area of the hospital that was deserted during construction.
Like other places where death occurred regularly, the hospital was filled with a residue of death-flavored essence and the faint echoes of ghosts that had never been conscious or had long since faded to wisps. That was nothing unusual, but Violet was disturbed to notice that they seemed suppressed to stillness as the janitor passed, only to resume their flickering half-existence as soon as he passed.
The janitor set his mop and cart against a wall and pushed through a door into a service stairwell. To Violet’s eyes, the stairway was filled with an impenetrable inky blackness that swallowed him without a ripple. The stairway radiated malevolence. After a few moments, she went back to where the others were in the waiting room.
Shortly after Violet wandered off, Lina pulled out her phone and called her mentor, Gabriel. She explained about the gray “watchers” throughout Cranston and about the one who had become animated briefly and said her name was Sarah.
Together they speculated that it might have been the essence from Edwin’s Insight Invocation that had woken Sarah. Lina tried feeding a trickle of essence and Sarah half-woke up, but only for a brief moments.
Violet returned and saw what she was doing. She offered to feed Sarah significantly more essence. Sarah woke up all the way again, even more than the first time, and told them that she remembered being taken somewhere on a gurney. It was somewhere medical, with bright lights and masked figures, though the memory was hazy.
The Deep Sleep
Back in the waiting room, Night was killing time. It was dark outside and the only other people in the room were the nurse receptionist (Quan Li by the name on her badge) and Officer Parish down the hall about 20 feet outside of Minnie’s room.
Moments later, everyone in the area was deeply asleep.
Beneath the Hospital
(The next two paragraphs are a repeat of the same scene at the end of last session, but now in context.)
Brian awoke and rubbed his eyes. He stood up, unhooked sensors and pulled out his IV. Monitors began to beep, but he ignored them. He walked into the hall. It was almsot deserted, except for a few people who were sound asleep. Brian walked into Minnie’s room. The cop was still there, but was sleeping. Brian touched Minnie and got a clear flash of the last place she was before whatever happened to her occurred. She was in the center of a pentagram in a room. Beaded curtains hung in a doorway behind her. Wicce themed art and symbols covered the wall. It was the same room in the same house as he’d seen when he’d touched Maya. The same room where she’d stood over a dead woman and said sadly that was the last of them.
Brian tried to wake up Night, but she was out cold. Next he called Edwin. Edwin was pleased he was awake and filled him in that he was heading back to Harpers Crossing. Brian gently probed why he had left, but when Edwin was evasive, he didn’t push. Next he called Lina, who answered from the stairwell and said she was heading into the basement. Brian asked where that was, then briskly walked to catch up.
Violet was there when Brian arrived and warned him not to go down, but Brian ignored her, too. Violet hesitated alone in the hallway, then felt some_thing_ coming down the hallway towards her. She couldn’t see anything, but the echoes in the hallways became agitated by something passing. Violet hid, freaked out.
Brian caught up with Lina in the hallway. The hallway was the same as the hallway in the beginning of his vision in the crack house (before the hallway had changed into Catacombs). He was now very scared and pulled out pepper spray for defense. He explained the overlap with his vision and Lina found a heavy wrench to carry as an impromptu weapon.
The hallway was a service corridor and was filled with ladders, tarps, tools, and the other debris of construction workers that had left for the day. At the end of the hallway (where the white glowing triangle had appeared in the vision, then grown into a portal) was a door with a sign reading hospital morgue.
Lina and Brian walked in. The janitor was standing in the middle of the room looking at them without speaking. If he was surprised, he kept it hidden. To the right was a gurney with a body covered with a sheet. Sarah was floating over the gurney and looking down at the body with vague bemusement. Lina went to the body while Brian headed straight to the janitor.
The janitor was not tall, but Brian was shorter. He could read the janitor’s name badge now and saw his name was “Gonsalez.” Gonsalez did not seem intimidated by Brian at all. Brian demanded to know why he was down there, but the janitor didn’t answer.
While Brian was confronting Gonsalez, Lina pulled the sheet slowly off of the body. The body underneath was nothing human, though it was clear that it had once been. It was twisted and warped, covered in mucus-covered carapace in some places, while other places looked like deep open wounds, with white bone, red flesh, and yellowish pus all visible. Lina was frozen for a moment in shock and fear, noting as if in a dream that Sarah seemed confused at what had happened to her body. The twisted mockery lashed out at Lina with tentacles and she barely avoided them, jumping back and knocking a metal bowl filled with medical tools to the ground with a loud clang before falling to her back.
Brian was distracted by the loud crash and turned towards Lina. Fortunately for him, his precognition kicked in and he saw Gonsalez slashing at him with a long curved knife before it happened and was able to dodge out of the way. Brian aimed his pepper spray at Gonsalez’ face and hit him directly in the eyes with the stream. Gonsalez screamed and fell to the ground clutching his eyes. Brian kicked him hard and repeatedly while he was down, then backed away when Gonsalez
got to his knees and slashed his knife in his direction.
Upstairs, Violet heard screaming. Her form pulsed with fear, but she forced herself to float down through the floor and towards the sound. She saw the monstrosity through the window in the door. She called fire around her ghostly hands.
Violet had been able to create fire ever since her death. Her body had been burned (though she didn’t know why; none of the other victims had been burned). But this time something was wrong. The fire grew too rapidly, far bigger than she’s intended (or eve been able to before). It grew out of her control until sheets of flame were coating the ceiling, walls, and floor in waves.
Lina crashed through the morgue doors and ran behind Violet. Brian was trapped by the flames so he ran through a door on the opposite side of the morgue, slamming the door behind him. He was in complete darkness. Gonsalez and the monstrosity both screamed as they burned. The monster shrieked and keened while Gonsalez’ screams were disturbingly human.
While the fires poured out of her in sheets, Violet had a vision of her death. Kevin Meadows, the New Hope Devil, stood over her. He had jsut completed a ritual and her ghost was suddenly outside of her body. He incanted in some inhuman language, holding his arms out like an offering. Violet felt herself being grabbed and suddenly pulled towards something… mad and horrible and immense. She was still tethered to her body, though, which kept her caught between. Meadows was going to kill her and complete the ritual to give her to… whatever it was on the other end of the pull.
Then a coven of Wicce appeared and confronted Kevin Meadows before he could finish. There was a battle and a magical fire burned Violet’s body. She died, but before she is sucked away, she saw her cat, Isis, standing over her. Isis was a ghost cat. Then the vision ended.
The fire was still spreading. Lina couldn’t get to Brian and Violet had no body (she could form one with great effort, but it was far too slow of a process to help now). They had no choice to hope he was okay and run.
They ran to the lobby. Everyone was still asleep and they couldn’t save everyone. Only Lina could move anyone and she wasn’t large or strong. Lina pulled Night out, then ran back to pull Minnie out, rolling her hospital bed through the door. By then the fire had grown too strong and she couldn’t go back in. Brian hadn’t had a chance to tell anyone about his visions of several employees dying horribly in a fire, but it had just come true.
Then the invisible presence Violet felt in the hallway appeared in the center of the flame in the hospital, framed in the center of the glass sliding doors of the main entrance. It became visible, revealing itself to be the Soul Eater. It looked at Violet and said in a voice inside her head: “I see you now, number seven. You evaded us for awhile, but we will claim you soon.”
Meanwhile, Brian was still trapped in pitch blackness past a door that was hot to the touch and growing hotter. By the smell, Smoke was filling the darkness around him, though he couldn’t see it.