A Dark Task
by Martin James Hunter
The cold tiles on my cheek wake me from a kaleidoscoping nightmare of tumid shapes and things pressed against glass. I pull myself to my bare feet and the urge to vomit comes strong but I endure. My eyes feel as though they are being pushed from the inside. I rub them but it does not help.
A long corridor bathed in dim green stretches ahead of me and doors and lockers spill down its length. In the distance there is a low drone as though something deep and loud operates in the distance.
My aching skull suggests I hit my head and a breeze brings my attention to the fact I am only wearing a hospital gown. Eyes on the back of my neck. I turn and see the dead end. Hundreds of missing person posters cover the wall. All infants. My head aches so I accept this grim collage for now. Their faces smear as I turn from them.
I perform a drunken waltz down the corridor. Slow at first, the contents of my stomach like a brimmed glass. I settle and the soft edges sharpen. I try the first handle I come to and it refuses to turn. The next door is already open.
There are no windows in this room where wheeled beds lie in disarray. Several of them are occupied by figures draped in old sheets. At first I am taken aback by this, then I become annoyed at the idea of a child straying this way.
I scan the corridor for a nurse or a doctor or anyone with a badge. No one. Just the same drone. The sheets look as though they have been dipped in piss and a limb protrudes from under one of the coverings. Another body appears to have an erection. I am about to leave when I notice something else. One of the furthest figures appears to be breathing. I squint but the image is no clearer. I decide I would rather not find out anyway and carry on quickly down the corridor.
The dizziness and nausea still linger but with less intensity. As I press on I become aware that something is taking place in this building. There is a great energy in the air, heavy and vast and dark. I press on.
The locker door squeals as I swing it open. Nothing. The majority are the same or locked. One contains a flashlight which I take. My mouth is dry. Shivering, I continue until I come to the next room. The handle is wet and turns easily.
A powerful lamp above the operating table lights a stack of dead machines. A surgeon stands as though he’s lost something. It is very humid and again there are no windows. Beside the table is a tray full of old operating tools. The surgeon turns as I enter the room. Dead eyes above his surgical mask. He watches me without expression.
Can you get me a nurse?
You’re the first person I’ve found.
I can’t remember anything.
I woke up on the floor.
Was it an earthquake?
Am I supposed to be operating?
What’s your name?
I.. I don’t know.
We leave together. Another flickering bulb. The faint odour of burning. I try more lockers and find nothing. We come to a storage room but the door refuses to budge. Carry on past a disembowelled vending machine. I pick up an intact can of Coke and drink it. It stings but I keep swallowing until I am quenched. I see a sign for the bathrooms. I push open the swing door and enter. My friend does not follow.
The corridor that separates the male and female toilets is pitch black. I try the light to no avail so I turn on the torch and a beam of light spears out. I point it at the first door. Gentlemen. I push it open and enter.
This room lacks a bulb and feels like a meat locker. My feet slap on what I hope is water. I swing the torchlight around. Sinks and urinals and cubicals and a large mirror. One of the cubical doors is closed. I leave, deciding not to investigate the breathing.
My friend and I continue down the corridor in silence. A ventilation system lets out a hoarse breath and startles us as we pass. I lift my gown and scan my body for a wound or scar from an operation or any other kind of affliction. I am pleased to see my dick is still there and nothing is out of the ordinary. I ask my friend if he remembers anything yet and he shakes his head. We search more lockers but see nothing useful.
The air seems to be getting thicker as though fighting our advance. I try two more doors and both are locked. It is getting warmer. I come to a third. Through the wood I hear voices. Something tells me to keep walking as I wrap my fingers around the handle.
The door opens to a delivery room where a vortex of doctors and nurses roar commands at another around a young woman screaming and gasping and splayed for all to see. An oxygen mask is pressed against her face and they tell her to breathe slowly. She hits out at the doctor and he parries the blow but drops the mask.
For the love of God do not deliver this baby!
Please Miss Diego. You have to relax.
You have no idea what you’re doing you idiots!
Miss Diego everything will be okay.
Listen to me for God’s sake!
Her eyes meet with mine almost with a click and she stops, her breasts heaving with each deep breath. Something snaps into place.
A blinding energy knocks me against the wall and I drop the torch. A spear of light striking me, splintering, shattering. Images shoot through my head rapid, an entire movie condensed into a few seconds. Wailing and twisted faces and great walls of pulsing flesh. A nose being broken and pissing blood. Black cum shooting into a young womb. A rape so vicious it results in the inception of the antichrist. Suddenly the girl and the energy and the mayhem is explained.
I fall to the floor and watch the scene play out as an immobile spectator. A voice over the rabble. I can see a head! Tears stream over Mrs Diego’s face and black ink bubbles from her trembling pussy. A doctor frowns. The woman lets out an almighty roar and her legs tense and kick out and stamp.
The child bursts from her, its dark birth killing its mother with a sickening tear. Doctors and nurses fall back and some scream. Others stand there spattered and rigid. Black and crimson swirls around the child, its flesh black and tough like bone. The air buzzes with vitality and the floor and walls shake.
There is a great crack as the earth opens up below us swallowing some of the delivery staff. I am knocked to my knees but remain there observing as the walls tear from another and displace, and a great wound opens up in the concrete allowing in the rain. Their screams first, then patients and members of staff tumble from the upper floors. The corridor behind me collapses in a hail of rubble silencing a man’s dreadful moaning. A nurse faints and goes down against the back wall.
The rain is warm on my flesh and carries a terrible odour. It gathers in swirling sepia pools. The cocktail of crimson and black dissipates and is cleaned from the child. A pocket of humidity leaks from the fissure, warm and sickly. A steaming tendril of flesh emerges, feeling around blindly. It wraps around a sobbing nurse and drags her into the darkness. More tentacles protrude from the earth to clear the room.
The unconscious woman slides quietly into Hell. My friend cries out to me as a length of flesh tightens around him. I ignore his hand and watch as he is pulled from my sight. I am then alone with the wailing infant and the remains of his mother.
My task is now assigned. I can feel Satan’s black gaze on my flesh as I lift the soaking child from the floor. Holding him close to my chest, I ascend the debris and crumbling walls until I reach the ground floor.
I emerge into a destroyed ward. A patient lies motionless under a fallen girder, her gown hiked up above her cunt. A man claws at the girder over his legs. He winces as I take his jumper to wrap around the child.
I flee down a corridor past confused and terrified doctors and nurses and patients and visitors all screaming and crying and wondering what the fuck is going on. Smaller fissures have opened up on the walls and ceiling and a shard of ceiling has floored someone. The reception area is filled with those uncertain if they should be arriving or leaving with their wounds. I pass through double doors into the main courtyard where thousands of civilians scream and scatter and the fire brigade arrive with their great engines.
The sun is dying a bloody death and the night is taking over. I make a sharp turn from the crowd and disappear with the child over a wall into the woodlands. The sirens and panic fade as I continue. Despite the trees lashing at me, I still cannot help but smile.