I live in a hospital room. I have for the past few years. The doctors say it was caused by trauma. I still wish I could tell them, but whenever I mention it, bad things happen.
It is somehow ironic that the room I was assigned to is my greatest relief, yet contains my greatest fear. The doctors are almost always busy; I usually hear them talking when they pass my door. The hospital never sleeps. This is why I love being able to stay here. It is never completely dark.
In one top corner of the room, a tile is missing from the ceiling. This used to have a bar attached for venting purposes. But now all that remains is a pitch black hole which leads to the air shaft. I have asked to move rooms several times, but the nurses always tell me to not be so childish and to face my fears. They don't understand. They don't have to sleep listening to what slithers in the dark, in the air shaft.
Every night when the lights grow dimmer, as soon as I close my eyes, I can hear a faint "click clack" above me. On the rare occasions when the doctor on my level has a day off, and all the lights get turned off. The click clack vanishes, but is replaced by a slithering of some sort. I never sleep on nights such as tonight. I can try to hide under my blanket, but then the slithering only grows louder. On two occasions, even the slithering stopped, but instead when I dared to look. Where the missing tile was, two red eyes stared at me. All other usual noises had stopped, and I could faintly hear it breath. It was not my imagination, because imagination doesn't leave claw marks on the tile next to the missing one.
The lights had just been turned off several minutes ago. The slithering had not yet started, only the usual click clack whenever I dared to close my eyes for even a second. But today was different, today marked something new, because today, there were no unusual noises besides the click clack. I could hear nothing out of the ordinary, nothing that was supposed to happen on a night such as this. The only nurse on the floor was sitting in her office at the end of the floor. The only nurse which I knew I would call any moment had just let out a scream which was almost instantly deafened the next moment.
"Nurse! Nurse!" My voice echoed through the hall without reply. I got up and ran to her office. Anything would be better than staying in that wretched room. I thought anything would be better, but finding the nurses office empty was not in any way better after all. As I turned around, to return to my room, I saw starring out of my room two red eyes. They were motionless, lifeless. But what was definitely alive was the slithering sound which now echoed through the long and empty corridor.
Paralysed by fear, my feet stayed motionless as the red eyes slowly started approaching me. All around the red eyes I could make out something black. It was still too far away to take proper shape in the sinisterly dark corridor. The lights turned on and the voice of the head nurse could be heard from behind. The only thing I could make out was a dark tail entering my room.
That day the nurse on my level went missing. Naturally I wasn't believed and was labelled as delusional. What the head nurse couldn't explain was the slimy substance which was all over, where the two red eyes had stood still.
Ever since that day, a reeking smell had started coming out of the missing tile in my room. The new nurse who was assigned to my level said it must be a dead rat, and that rats would also explain the all the noises I had heard. She even went so far as to say that the red eyes must have belonged to a cat that somehow got into the hospital and was hiding somewhere. She actually found a couple of other good arguments too. For every mystery I proposed she decided to find an answer. She was a nice nurse.
Today, due to my complaints about the smell getting unbearable, she got one of the doctors to come go up into the shaft and get the dead rat out. The doctor would come after his night-shift. I was worried about the time, but guessed that it was alright since it's only a dead rat. Sadly, the new nurse gets dismissed shortly after sun down and is not there during my most troubling times. She had said she'd stay one day to find out what causes the noises, but had yet to hold up her promise. The time is 1 AM, and there are absolutely zero noises. It's almost as if it knew that somebody would come tonight. Today was the first time I could lie in bed with my eyes closed. I was even instructed to pretend to be asleep when the doctor comes, so that he would not be worried about my abnormal sleeping pattern.
My eyes are closed and I can hear footsteps approaching. Still no noises, no red eyes, nothing that would hinder the doctor was in my room. It is truly a marvellous night, the first one in years at that. I can hear the door opening. Due to the chair and table already being moved in place, there wouldn't really be much noise. It was already set up that way so I wouldn't wake up. Faint steps are moving their way up the chair, the table and finally into the shaft which could barely fit a person. Click clack, as he entered. It sounded familiar, but I did not care because I knew that it was cause by something else. Click clack, it became fainter as though moving away. Click clack, it went away into the shaft.
That day, the doctor never came. He was called back early due to a family emergency. But at midnight, the new nurse whom I greatly cherished let out a scream which was heard by the neighbours, and then vanished. My floor had only the night shift nurse who reported that nobody came. Both entries to my floor could be clearly seen from the nurses office, and with only long time patients who all slept soundly through the night, nobody had entered my room. My fear started swelling up inside of me once more when I heard about the nurse vanishing. When I heard that the doctor didn't come that night, my mind started wandering on what to do. By now I decided to give up trying to talk to any of the staff members, they all saw me as delusional to begin with.
Ironically though, the reeking smell had reverted back to its least severe state and could now barely be smelt. I was also lectured about this by the doctor who told me that I had made the kind nurse worried about my delusions. I tried telling him that somebody entered my room, but it was like talking to a wall. Back in my bed, with the click clack sound above me, with a faint smell of something rotting in my room, with all the things which cause my so called trauma to aggregate.
Day by day, the smell of something rotting gets worse. I know it isn't my imagination because the nurse has already confirmed that something reeks. Luckily there haven't been any days with all lights out. The only thing which keeps me going is hoping that I can one day get away from this fear. I spend most of my day looking at a claw-like scratch on the tile next to the missing one. By looking in that direction, I can at least be convinced that nothing is staring at me from the black hole. The food tastes really good considering it takes my mind off of the missing tile. What I am currently waiting for is that day the smell reaches the same level as it had before. That day I myself will ask the same doctor to come to my room.
Today is the day I find out the truth. I talked it over with the head nurse, the hall nurse, and some of the doctors. Today one of the doctors will go into the shaft at night time to find out what is there. The agreement with them states that if nothing out of the ordinary is found, that I will stop making up stories about something lurking in the shaft. On the other hand, if something is there, then "we will see," was the answer I got. It is still one hour till the doctor goes up. As usual, once somebody other than me enters the room, the click clack stops. Two of the nurses were already there to see the conclusion to my delusion.
They came in slowly, one after the other, till all 8 people including me where stuffed in my room. The first doctor said that he'll get the rat, seeing as he has a similar problem at his own house, where his cat sometimes leaves him presents. As he poked his head up the shaft, he was suddenly sucked right into the shaft. Things had taken a turn for the worse. I closed my eyes and buried myself under my blanket. One after another their voices went out. Nobody left the room. I did not look so I do not know why. But the last one to go was the head nurse as she screamed "let go." The sound of breathing was the only thing left in my room, the same sound that went with the red eyes. I felt it move unto my bed which squeaked under its weight. The breathing got louder, and louder. The sheet got wet. I understood now that the slimy thing on the floor the last time was its saliva. My last thought, "It must have a big mouth."