A Shadowlander's Tale: The Lingering Shadows Within
Written by Kathryn K Williams
Liz stayed with me most of the afternoon while doctors looked over my leg and told me that I would have to stay a couple of day, but could go soon enough. It turns out that I only had a hair line fracture and I would not be able to use that leg for some time, but it could have been much, much worse. The nurse showed Liz how to change my bandages so she would be able to help me after I was finally released from the hospital. It brought a smile to my face as I watched her intensively listen to the nurse and take in all the details of how to clean my wounds and what to keep an eye out for if something should go wrong.
The news of being forced off work for some time did not effect me much. I had Liz at my side and that was all that counted now in this dark world. I milled over a change in pace in my work. Maybe I could down play the more dangerous jobs and just take missing persons cases. Maybe that would settle Liz's worries about my work, or I could forgo the P.I. work and just focus on photography. I was not that bad with the camera and maybe I could make a living working for a magazine or something along those lines.
Before long, visiting hour came to a close, and Liz was again forced to leave me. "I'm sorry." The nurse said apologetically, she seemed very embarrassed to have to tell us that Liz was not allowed to stay with me through the night and apologized many times throughout the afternoon.
I smiled at the nurse, "It is alright. We understand." I explained gently, to show I was not angry, "It is not like she is my wife... yet..."
Liz stared at me with a startled look upon her face, "W... wife!?!" She exclaimed with a squeak.
I blushed, "Sorry, Maybe I'm moving to quickly." I said sheepishly.
Liz shook her head at me, then leaned over to place a kiss on my forehead, "Let's try moving in together first, alright?"
My mood really brightened at the sound of that idea, "Y... you want to move in with me?" I stammered. That was one thing I had not really thought about. I lived in a small apartment which partly served as my office. The living room was filled with walls of shelves that were overflowing with notes and books of all sorts. Would we need to move? My thoughts crashed about inside of my head as I puzzled over the new life that was awaiting me when I got out of this hospital.
Liz stood to her full height, "We'll talk about this later." She stated as she moved towards the door then glanced over her shoulder, "I'll see you tomorrow, love." She said with a smile.
I could feel myself flush even deeper, "I love you." I replied softly.
Liz waved, "Bye." With that she disappeared out of the room, leaving me with only the lingering scent of her hair and the vision of us sharing the same bed. I let out a deep sigh and suck into my pillows. This had turned out to be quite the day and all of this because I broke my leg. Who would have thought that was all it would take to get us together?
"You are very lucky." The nurse stated with a smile and a blush.
I returned the smile, "Yeah." I crossed my arms behind my head and beamed to myself.
"So you are here after all." A voice said from the door. A voice that haunted my dreams and sent a shudder through my spine. I sat up to find Dr. Jakes standing before me. A hand deep in his pocket and my chart in his other.
"What are you doing here?" I snarled at the man.
"I... I'm sorry..." The nurse stammered nervously, "I told him you wanted to see him." She explained anxiously, "Did I do something wrong?"
I slowly shook my head, "No, I did want to see him." I stated as I kept my eyes on the man before me. His hair had greyed in the past 10 years, but other then that he looked like the same old bastard that I remembered. His glasses set upon his slightly bent nose, a nose that I myself broke upon our first visit. The thought of it not healing properly made me grin satisfactorily.
The doctor hung my chart back on the headboard of my bed and turned to face me, "So I see you have grown up quiet a lot over the years. I also see you have not dropped your unreasonable affections for women." His eyes shifted to the door and I knew he was talking about Liz. I bet he was standing outside of the door waiting for me to be alone the entire time. The creepy snoop, I wish he would be straight forward and stop with the sneaky crap. I remember him giving gifts to the other kids at the psycho ward if they ratted someone out and I was the one who got into the most trouble of them all. I just could not understand what was so wrong with loving girls and as such every time I kissed one of the girls I would be punished, severely.
"And I see you are still the blunt jackass as always." I growled under my breath.
"Come now." He crossed his arms in front of himself, "I thought for sure that you would have dropped the vulgarities when you became a detective." He mused, "What happened to that charming demure that I've heard you are famous for."
"I reserve that only for those that deserve my respect." I hissed.
He shook his head, "If I wanted this kind of banter I would have talked to my other patents. Now what is it that you wanted from me?"
"Somnambulom." I stated coldly, I was certain that I saw a twitch in his right eye, "You have been prescribing it to your patents, am I correct?" I probed.
"I see." I could feel his eyes crawling over me, he knew something and I wanted to know what it was, "So you have come across Somnambulom in your investigations, have you?" He never even batted an eye. God I wish this guy would show some sign of emotion. It was creepy the way he never so much as smiled. I was sure that if I could crack his shell I would be able to find out what was going on around here.
"You could say that." I stated simply, not wanting to let all my cards out of my hand just yet.
He glanced around the room at the many people listening to them, then his eyes fell upon the nurse, "Nurse, would you find a wheel chair for the young detective." He ordered the woman.
"Yes, Doctor." She hastily started for the door as commanded.
"Then be sure to bring her to my office." He added and then turned back to me, "I'll explain what I can when you arrive." Without a further word he turned and left the room.
I really felt I was onto something. Maybe I could blow entire missing children's cases wide open, possibly even save my job in the process. It did not surprise me that the good doctor could be responsible for all of this madness, but what was he up too. Part of me feared confronting the man. I mean he was the cause of a lot of the pain in my life and I bet he is even responsible for these annoying visions I keep having too. I don't recall having them before being in his care, but then again I don't remember much of anything before being sent to that horrible place.
The nurse returned with the wheelchair rather quickly and moved it beside my bed, "Here we go." She helped me pull on a house coat and swing my legs into the chair then locked my wounded leg into place, "The doctor must have something really important to talk to you about if he wants to see you in his office." She stated in astonishment.
I quickly snatched up my journal off the bed as she pushed the chair out of the room and down the hall. "Or he has something to hide." I remarked suspiciously, hugging my book to my chest, "Tell me, have you seen anything strange around this place? I read that a couple of children went missing here not long ago."
"I... I'm not allowed to talk about that." I could sense the nervousness in her voice. In my investigations I'd never considered looking into the hospital, maybe there was a greater connection that I was not quite seeing. Why didn't I look into this place before? Maybe it was my own fears that made me steer clear of this hospital? Well, now that I'm here I could not allow my fears to keep me away from the answers that I seek any longer.
I glanced up at the woman to see a single drop of sweet run down her cheek, "Is it that horrible to talk about?" I probed calmly, "I mean the reports said they just ran off and could not be found again." I was hoping the round about approach would lead to more information. One can never tell what they will get out of a nervous witness if they kept their feeler's out.
"Y.. yes..." I could see her eyes were darting around the hall, probably to make sure none of her coworkers were paying attention to our conversation, "They somehow got out of the psych ward in the night and ran away."
I gazed forward again and pondered this, "I recall when I was in that ward that the doors were always kept locked at night and there was no way out until morning." I really hated that, because I loved night walks and felt so claustrophobic in that place. Then I recalled the words that I had discovered in my note book earlier that day. During my stay at Ward 6 someone had gone missing and something about the shadows. I shook my head violently as I tried to rattle some of the memories loose from their bearings. I could feel that some of the answers where hidden somewhere in my mind, but no matter of shaking would loosen them.
I pulled at my hair in frustration and glanced up to see that we were approaching an elevator. Upon the wall was a plaque and my eyes instantly were drawn to the words, "Ward 6 - Floor 5" I couldn't believe I am willing going back there this time. The thought made me stomach do flips, but I told it to settle down. There was nothing to keep us there this time. We would find out what was going on here and get the hell out as quickly as we could. Which would not be quick enough no matter how long it was.
"It is strange, isn't it." The nurse suddenly spoke up as she pushed the button to call for the elevator.
"What was wrong with the children who vanished?" I returned my interrogation, I felt kind of sorry for the young woman, but I needed answers and she seemed the most talkative person I've yet come across, that doesn't say much.
"They had troubles sleeping." She remarked as the grey steel doors opened and she pushed me onto the elevator.
"Sleep walkers?" I inquired curiously.
She simply nodded and pushed for the button for the fifth floor.
"So Somnambulom is to suppress the will to sleepwalk? Is that right?" I dug deeper, I could see her startle slightly and chew on her lip.
"So that is what this is all about." I muddled everything I had learned and everything I'd already known over in my head. What could Dr. Jakes be doing with these sleep walkers? Then it hit me, I remembered being injected with some kind of drug years ago. Something that sent my mind into a feverish madness. That was the first time I'd seen the shadows clearly. So clear it was like any of my normal memories. That was when the visions started, but I managed to keep them from the doctors. I refrained to speak of any of them and did not write about it until I got out of there.
Could it be that he was testing this new drug on us and instead of suppressing our sleep walking and night terrors it was increasing them? But where did all the children go then? The thought that we were being used like guinea pigs made my blood freeze cold. What exactly had I stumbled upon here?
The elevator doors opened again and before me I could see a large set of glass doors with a receptionist desk out front. The nurse pushed me up to the desk and turned to another nurse behind it, "Dr. Jakes asked me to bring this patient to his office." She stated with a friendly smile.
The nurse glanced down at me and I realized that it was the same old nurse from my nightmares, Mrs. Haler. She grinned at me in a menacing way, "Ah yes. Miss. Baker, so glad to see you again." She pressed a button behind the counter and the doors in front of me began to open.
My hands began to tremble at the sight of those doors. It took me so long to be free of this place and here I was allowing myself to be lead back into the lion's den. Maybe I really was insane after all. I mean who in their right mind would return to the place of their torture. The place that brought about the most haunting images and frightening memories. I suddenly did not want to go in there. I wanted nothing to do with this place. I glanced up at Mrs. Haler to see her smiling down at me. The look upon that woman's face scared the hell out of me, but it was already too late, the nurse had already begun to push me through those doors. I tried to tell the nurse to turn around. Tried to tell her that I did not wish to be here any longer, but I could not find my voice. It was as if my voice had frozen up inside of my throat and refused to speak.
I watched in horror as the door closed behind me and I realized that I had made a big mistake. I had got cocky and thought that I was strong enough to face whatever I needed to head on, but this was more then I ever expected. I was such a fool to pretend that I knew what I was doing. There was no way I could save everyone. I was not even able to save myself.
As we moved down the hall I could hear the familiar sounds of wails and sobs from behind the closed doors to either side of me. We came across a door that was still open and I looked in to see a single bed made of metal rods. Restraints could be seen hanging to either side of the bed and I was almost sure I could see blood upon the floor. As I gazed up at the door I noted the small plague which read, "W6-A4". The same number as in my nightmares. Could I have actually been in that room? Did someone die in there? So many questions circled through my mind and I was finding it hard to keep them in check. I felt my entire body tremble with fright as we moved down the long white hall, I hate white walls. They we are so devoid of colour and seemed to suck the life out of everything around them, making the task of living seem so useless and impossible. I bowed my head in defeat. I would never get out of here again and I had no one to blame besides myself.
Then my hand fell to my housecoat pocket and I felt something within its folds. I reached inside to find the photo of my niece. I did not know how it got there, but at that moment I felt my strength return. I needed to face my fears and face whatever I was up against head on. No more running and hiding for me. I would solve this case and rescue those missing children. My niece and Beth and everyone else. Plus I would return to Liz and we would live our lives together, happily ever after. I smiled down at the photo and placed it between the paged of my journal. I was finally ready to face the lion. Nothing would stop me from living again. Nothing.
To be continued
Note: The world of the shadowlands, Its stories, Characters and ideas are a copyright of Kathryn K Williams.
This story is based upon my manga of the same name. If you wish visit my site and see some of the art based on this series at http://www.KatAndNekoManga.ca
Also if you spot any typos or other errors please contact me at Kathryn@KatAndNekoManga.ca