Alice sits on a hospital bed, the nurses coming and giving her smiles. Her mother and father are around her somewhere, but all she could focus on is that her best friend is lying here. Her eyes close as a wave of dizziness approaches. Her hands fly to her stomach as it swirls around and makes her nauseous. The de ja vu hit her. She was just sitting on a cot not that long ago at school. The white walls hold posters on health and a television sat on the wall, high up. She cranes her neck, her eyes seeing color but nothing else. It is going by like a blur, as she distinctively heard a nurse call for her parents, but it passes.
Alice moves to position herself and hears a crinkle of paper. She reaches back and pulls the folded paper out of her pocket. Her name is in big, bold letters, like it wasn't going to explain why she wants to take her life. She opens it slowly, her heart beating in her chest.
She drags her eyes down the page, capturing the words. As she watches, the words start to merge and float around. The letters are moving on their own. Crying out in terror, she hauls the paper away. She scrambles back on the bed, her hand reaching for her chest. Her heart hammers, the fright sending lightning shocks down her arms. Trembling, she scoots back to the end and picks it up again. Panting, her breaths are visible as she grew cold.
The words are large, covering most of the paper in simple words. Her chest began to tighten as her fear grew. Sasha's bloodied body came to mind, her wrist slit open. Her Shepherd's neck cut open. The words felt like a blow to the heart as she stares. Feeling the need to vomit, Alice scurries out of bed, to the bathroom that is attached to her room. Gagging above the toilet, a wave of intense heat shoots through her. She cries out, the pain of it overbearing. As it passes, she leans her head against the cool tiled walls.
"What the -" her voice is cut off by a few gasps. She whirls around, her face sweaty and her body still trembling. Her mother and father stood in the door way, their eyes wide. Her mother has a hand to her mouth and her eyes brimming with tears.
"Alice?" her mother's voice came out a little breathless. Her father's brown eyes dark with concern.
"Mom," she whispers, her voice cracking, "How is Sasha?"
Her dark blue eyes are sick with worry and sympathy. Alice watches the body language of her parents; the normal bad news vibe came off in waves. Tears spill down her cheeks and her mother launches herself forward to wrap her arms around her daughter.
"Oh, honey. She isn't gone. Just in a coma." Her mother coos softly, her voice shaking. Her father joins them, his own sadness wrapping around them. Alice continues to sob, her tears soaking her mother's scrub and her father's arms tighten around her.
"Do you want to go home and wait for visiting hours?" Her father asks, his voice deep with sorrow.
Alice shuddered violently, the horrors that lay within that house. She backs away from their clutches, her eyes wide. "No. Fiona-"
"is dead." A masculine voice came from behind her parents. A police officer stands there, his uniform wrinkled. A handgun slung at his waist, along with a walkie talkie. Her parents' frown at the man, but his hazel eyes find her. She is shaking, the terror of the day getting to her.
"What are you doing?" her mother snaps, her body sliding in front of her daughter. Her father crosses his arms in front his chest and stares the cop down.
The man merely smiles, and offers her a gentle one. "I am Officer Panrick. I'm here to get a statement from Alice Malik."
Her mother turns to look over her shoulder at Alice, her eyes questioning if she is up to it. The news of their dead dog, is devastating for her parents to hear. The pain and anguish radiate from them, hitting into her heart. She shakes her head frantically and the officer peers around her mother to catch it.
"That is perfectly fine. I can give you thirty minutes before I do need a statement," he explains, allowing Alice to take in the words. "Mrs. and Mr. Malik, can I talk to you outside?"
They nod and her mother gives her a hug before they go out the door to talk to the officer. Alice stands there, her body worn out. She goes back over to the bed, the note sitting on the floor. Crying, she bends down and picks it up. The note shakes in her hand as she trembles with exhaustion and grief. Sniffling, she opens the not again, wanting to understand the message and why it seems to be at her.
The letter opens and she almost drops the paper again. Instead of the big bold letters, there is just a fraction, two fifths, siting in the middle of the paper. It is painted in blood red paint, dripping down like it is still wet. Alice furrows her eyebrows, the strike of terror of the unknown singeing her whole body. She takes her other hand and gently touches the paper with her index finger. The liquid came right off, still wet. The air leaves her lungs in a whoosh as she stares at the staining color on her skin. Finally, the metallic scent of blood fills her nose and she lets out a cough.
Yelping silently, she lets the letter drop to the floor. In an instant, the letting began to get soaked, the blood spreading throughout the paper. It starts to pool on the floor, bleeding into the grounds. The paper melts into the blood and simply disappears. Alice gapes at the little puddle of blood on the floor, the only evidence of what she witnessed. She hears clicks of heels and the echoes of footsteps. Shaking her head, she sees the fraction in her mind, like a searing brand.
"You ready, honey?" her mother voice filters her thoughts. She calms her heart, the blood puddle slowly fading away. Her body shudders as a cold electric shock goes through her. In the back of her head, she could sense something is wrong with her, something that has been happening the last few months. She turns to face her mother, a fake smile plastered to her face.
"Yes. I think." Alice murmurs as her mother takes her arm. She leads her to the police officer, and her mind goes blank. Like a switch went off in head her, disconnecting her to the memories. She froze, a tremor of panic slicing through her, the odd memory of blood melting sparks into her mind. "I... can't-" her mouth went numb and the face of the police officer is right in front of her.
Her eyes snap into the back of her head and she loses consciousness.
Her eyelids flicker, a dim light hanging over her. Gasping, she sits upright in a bed. It is familiar, the bed of the guest room creaks as she moves. She stands up, letting the blue blankets falling to the floor. The window is ajar, moonlight dancing through. The clock by the bedside shone five-thirty in the morning. Sitting on the edge of the bed, her eyes stays to the window, the top of the trees sway with night wind.
The last hours floods her mind, making her eyes close. Her stomach lurches from nausea, the bloodied note and the words that move on its own terrify her. There is no explanation for those. Hallucinations due to shock? It still won't explain Sasha or Fiona. Burglar? Psycho?
Tears fall down her cheeks, the words of her mother echoing her mind. In a coma. Her best friend for thirteen years is in a coma due to suicide. Or so they believe. Alice stands, her thoughts running all over the place. Her mind keeps brushing over the fraction like it was the answer to a question. Maybe it is.
She starts to pace, the hardwood floor creaking in spots. The numbers contain a message or a threat, the monster who attacked her best friend clearly sends her a message. She just has to break it apart. The frustration boils through her, making her growl in anger. It doesn't make any sense!
It seemed to click in her brain the next moment. Two fifths. Two out of five. Out of what? Alice's eyes go wide, the truth settling around her. Two, Sasha and Fiona. Five, the other three being her parents and... she drew a blank. The fifth person is a mystery, even if it is what it means. But when she is reading books or watching a movie of horror. Or of mystery. The antagonist threatens to hurt love ones to get to the protagonist. Sasha and her dog are the minor attacks, simply warning the protagonist that they are running out of time.
I'm the protagonist in this situation. He is warning me of something. she thought to herself, her heart picking up speed. What is happening?
Shaking her head, she goes downstairs to see if her parents are home. They weren't. A note is taped to the fridge door. It says they are still at the hospital after they discharged her. Alice scoffs, anger a roaring sound in her ears. Their own daughter went through a huge ordeal, her best friend in a coma and her dog murdered. And still they stay at the hospital. Alice already made up her mind, the threat to close to home. The anger helps her focus her decision, her eyes going to the bags hanging by the front door.
She strides to the door, grabbing the first bag on the hook. She hurries back to the kitchen and piles dry food into the bottom, going to the refrigerator and slipping bottles of water in. When she is done with that, she grabs her book bag of the counter where she let it earlier that day and runs up the stairs. She pours all her stuff onto the bed and grabs clothes. She zips the bag of food and water into her bookbag, slipping it over her shoulder. Panting, she goes downstairs. Alice stands at the entrance of her childhood home, the memory if paws scratching the surface or Sasha's voice screaming with laughter echoes.
It is a hard goodbye. Alice allows herself to soak up the memories, good and bad. The final moments made her believe this is for the better. Whoever is attacking her loved ones, wants her scared, wants her to leave. It isn't her safest option, but whatever is after her isn't human. No human could construct what had happened in that hospital room. The words or the blood.