SHADOW

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CHAPTER 33

WELL, NOT EVERYONE.

Because at that very moment when the parents were kneeling in prayer for the recovery of their son, a certain woman wearing blue-rimmed spectacles was walking along the hallway of the hospital, with one of the nurses by her side.

This woman was dark and slender, slightly grayish, with narrow, critical eyes and a sure, confident gait. Wearing an ankle-length black gown and brown stiletto shoes, the woman looked like she just got back from a funeral, or was going to one.

She was at the hospital that afternoon to visit one of the patients and, that done, she was being escorted by one of the nurses in attendant when she suddenly stopped in the middle of the quiet hallway. Her eyes narrowed darkly as she lifted her face, staring around the place with trepidation whilst carefully and surreptitiously fingering a small, disc-like pendant around her neck.

The nurse stopped, somewhat puzzled as she stared at the visitor. “Is anything the matter, Sister?” she asked her.

The woman remained quiet, staring at the walls with a pale expression on her face, then up and down the hallway again. She grew frigid in a way that almost spooked the nurse out. Then finally, recollecting herself, the woman snapped back to consciousness and turned to the nurse.

“No, No,” she answered, forcing a smile. “Let’s continue, please.”

But her countenance remained stiff, her stare hard. It was clear to see that something had really riled this queer looking woman, turned her off and on back there like a remote-controlled appliance.

Before the two women disappeared around the corner, the visitor turned and cast one long, disturbing look down the hallway from where they’d come.

And she returned to the hospital later that same evening, just before the end of late-hour visiting time.

Clad in a different but equally unfashionable gown, with conspicuous bracelets, necklaces and bangles adorning her neck, wrists and ankles, she made her way up to the very floor and hallway where she’d been that afternoon.

Sure enough and like she feared, the vibe she felt that afternoon was still strong in the atmosphere; the unseen yet real presence as though the air had been spiked with an evil substance that hit her directly in the brain like a shot of crack. The woman stopped, gasping uncertainly with a wild and dreadful look in her eyes. As she’d done before, she began to run her fingers delicately along the smooth edges of the pendant around her neck.

She hesitated on the spot for a moment, paused to smile curiously at a couple of nurses that came along just then, eyeing her suspiciously and wondering if she had missed her way, yet they went on without saying a word to her. The woman really looked tensed, and it was evident she was afraid of being there then, but for reasons other than merely being discovered by the hospital authorities.

Then drawing a deep breath and clenching her lips apprehensively, she walked down the corridor a few more meters on light footsteps, her pores stretching with every step she took forward, till she got in front of a white door. That was exactly where she’d stopped that afternoon, and that was where the strange energy was strongest.

She took the metal handle of the door and turned it gently. Then she stepped into the broad, well-lit room and shut the door behind her with a quiet click.

For a long moment, the woman paused, resting her back against the door as she stared apprehensively at the person lying still on the bed with several tubes and needles plugged into his head, arms and chest.

This unknown woman, with her fingers still holding onto the pendant she was wearing and a distinct glow in her eyes, stepped forward cautiously and stopped beside the bed. Then she looked down with bated breath, staring into the quiet, sleepy face of Alan Prince.

It was clear to see that something was awfully amiss. And whatever it was, it had gotten this petite, eccentric looking woman so rattled and worked up, she seemed utterly delusional.

Slowly again, the woman reached out nervously and touched the boy’s head gently as though feeling for his temperature like a medical personnel. His body was calm, perfectly still and his breathing appeared normal.

But something about this boy, about his essence, had really unnerved the woman. She broke out in sweat presently, suddenly feeling ill and dizzy, with goose bumps breaking out all over her body.

Just by her standing next to the boy!

Yet she lingered at the bedside, staring at the young boy, studying his docile form and considering him gravely, in a terrified manner. Then she leaned closer after a few tensed moments and sniffed his warm body. When she pulled back his eyelids to look at his eyes, she stiffened at once at the horrible emptiness she found there.

It was a pair of black, empty sockets that gaped back at her!

The boy had no eyes!

The woman gasped and straightened up at once, totally mystified and overwhelmed by what she’d just seen. She hurried out of the room in sheer fright, almost bumping into a nurse who was coming in just then. She smiled uneasily and apologized for entering the wrong room by mistake. The nurse, though surprised, nodded with understanding and went to the side of the bed to examine the patient, noticing though that the visitor was still lingering by the door and watching her rather curiously.

The nurse checked Alan’s pulse, temperature, checked the reading on the digital medical equipment connected to Alan’s body. Then she checked his eyes.

The eyes.

The woman by the door watched anxiously, holding her breath, waiting to see the nurse’s reaction as she would pull back the eyelids to behold the inconceivable. But the nurse only nodded slightly and continued with other things. She was neither terrified nor spooked, not even remotely perplexed, much to the visitor’s utter bewilderment.

Because the eyes were there, as they should be! There were no empty sockets threatening to suck her soul into an infernal black hole.

Alan Prince’s eyes were normal again!

Standing at the door, the woman blinked in disbelief and horror. Then she turned and walked down the hallway as fast as she could, half sprinting, half running. Anyone who ran into her at that point might conclude that she just saw the most frightening, unbelievable thing in her life.

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