By My Bedside

There’s someone stirring by my side, I feel it against my skin.

Drip, drip, tap.

Drip, drip, tap.

A hint of humidity settles in the filtered air, I can taste it. It sounds like it’s coming through the walls. At least I think there are walls, it’s all a fuzzy black. Except for that sound, it’s like a rifle crack.

Drip, drip, tap.

Soft whirring sounds come from the side of my bed, a bed that inflates and deflates on its own whim, bringing my broken body from a dead sleep to wakefulness. But something else is whirring beside me, or is it purring?

Drip, drip, tap.

I try to lift my head and look around my room, but nothing happens. I’m not awake, at least my body isn’t. But my mind is trying to take things in.

Drip, drip, tap.

There it is again, that liquid sound, did someone leave a faucet on? Air stirs at my side, I feel it travel up to my face, raising hair along my skin.

Drip, drip, tap.

Where is that drip coming from? It’s coming from beyond my feet. Except I can’t see my feet because my eyes aren’t open yet.

Drip, drip, tap.

I can’t even lift a finger, everything feels so heavy, like a bowling ball pulling on my limbs, my entire body. My body . . . This is taking too much energy, my mind is using too much.

Drip, drip, tap.

Breathing in I can taste a familiar flavor to the air, one of cloying sterilization. Antiseptic wipes, and deodorizing sprays.

Drip, drip tap. 

“I’m in a hospital.” My mind registers, and I feel my eyelashes flutter with a familiar panic.

Drip, drip, tap.

I wish that those sounds would stop, can’t anyone else hear it? I try to turn my body, nothing moves. I can’t move. But something else moves in my room, I feel it.

Drip, drip, tap.

Prickling needles across my back force me to open my eyes. There’s a second where I try to roll them around, and they do move, but I’m already too tired to focus. Everything is a bleary black and white canvas, smeared by strong sedatives. My vision settles on a sheet of gray beyond my arm where several square lights glow yellow. I try to focus on the dark shapes within each glowing light, but my eyelids close.

Drip, drip, tap.

Drip, drip, tap.

I can feel someone squeezing my legs, one by one. Their hands feel massive as they close around my calves. Under my back, the mattress hisses and I feel something move. I feel like I’m falling.

Drip, drip, tap.

But there again, a feeling that someone is standing beside me, interrupting the natural flow of air. And with that presence a resounding sense of fear, stronger than anything in my body. I feel my heart rate pick up, pushing blood through my body.

Drip, drip, tap. Pant.

Why am I here? What’s happened to my body?” Rational thinking stumbles across the stage of my mind, vying with panic and fear. I force my eyes open and look up to see . . . darkness.

Drip, drip, tap-pant.

“Remember. Remember, something happened.” I cast around for stray thoughts, “But what?”

Drip, drip, pant, pant.

“That’s someone breathing,” I realize at the same time the thought shuffles into focus. There’s a presence beside the bed. I try to turn my head and look, but my neck still won’t bend. Only a quiet pulsating strum happens and I feel strength ebb away.

Drip, pant, drip, pant.

And then it dawns on me, “Crash. You were in a crash, a-a car crash.”

I felt my eyes focus on ceiling tiles, cables and tubing coming from the wall beyond the head of my bead.

Pant, drip, pant.

“The car, it flipped . . . after . . . after it hit something.”

Pant, drip, drip, pant.

“Something.” The word echoes over and over in my head.

A rolling perfume of putrescence blinds my senses and I screw my eyes shut. It’s revolting. No longer is the air filled with the smell of rain, but wet hair and rotting leaves. My body beings to shake as chills run through every part of me, waking it all up from a dream.

Pant, pant, Pant.

Except this is reality.

“Something. The something.” My mind reels. “The something was horrifying, gut-wrenching.”

I felt warm breath on my arm, pushing through the thin scratchy hospital gown onto my hip. Someone was breathing on my body, the panting sound perfectly timed with water hitting a stainless still sink.

“I’m not alone.” I think, “What a stupid thing to realize.”

It was then, as my body shakes even harder upon the slick plastic mattress, and I remembered everything.


Pant, pant, pant. Lick.

My eyes settle on a form crouched low over the foot of my bed, head twisting over my arm. Matted fur covered a grotesque human form. Knees that bent backward stuck up in the air, as if broken. Antlers twist from a head full of ragged hair twisted with leaves and twigs.

“Oh no.” I breathe out as the face turns up to me. A face born straight from the nightmares of hell. An upside down face looks up at me, wrinkled like aging leather. Dull shark eyes sink in where the chin should been and a smiling mouth frowns down where eyes should have been. A dark wet tongue flicks out between broken teeth and it breathes out quickly, excitedly.

Pant, pant, pant.

All I can do is screamed, scream in delayed desperation as it’s face splits and jaws open wide to greet me.

-M.E. InkOwl





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