The Vending Machine
I’ve never liked hospitals, the smell of death and the long white hallways have always freaked me the hell out. So when my mom went to the hospital when I was about 10 or so due to a bad bug that was going around, while I was worried for my mom I was less than thrilled to be there. I stayed as close to my mom as I could the whole time as I didn't want to be alone. Obviously, there were several times we had to separate, but they didn't normally last long.
One night, my mom was particularly sick, coughing and wheezing up a storm. They told me that i was going to have to wait outside for a bit, before giving me some money to get myself a snack. I reluctantly agreed and they closed the door behind me. It was nighttime, so the hallways weren't lit very well. I was scared, here I was alone and by myself in what looked and felt like an abandoned hospital. My stomach growled, and I was thankful I was given money for the vending machine.
I started to walk my way down the hallway, since my mom was in the sick ward, there were probably all kinds of gross sick people walking around. Thus kind of thinking made me use the hand sanitizer any chance I got while I was walking. I couldn't go a few feet before scrubbing my hands clean of whatever gross illnesses that were probably floating all around me.
I finally made it to the vending machine, and started putting my money in. By this point I was so freaked out I was shaking as I put the money in, making it take a lot longer than it should have. I finally get my snack, some chips and a Pepsi, and start walking down the hall. Just when I feel very alone and isolated, I see a person walking down the hallway toward me, seemingly having trouble doing so.
I try to look down at my feet as I keep walking, not wanting to interact with the figure. As I keep walking, I hear him getting closer, I don't dare to look for fear of a conversation. That when I see his feet in front if mine, he was standing right in front of me, completely still. I stopped as I waited for him to walk past. He didn't.
“Hey kid,” He said in a raspy and gross voice, “Those look good. Can I have them?” He asked, most likely referring to the snacks in my hands. I look up slightly, noticing how bloated and heavy his body was. I immediately looked back down and shook my head. He coughed, not bothering to cover his mouth.
“Please? Come on kid, I'm so hungry.” He continued, still standing in my way. I shook my head again and tried to walk past him. He suddenly put a fat heavy hand on my shoulder, stopping me from walking past him, as his coughing got worse.
“Please…” He said again between coughs, and I decide I've had enough. I look up at him to tell him that this was mine and he needed to go away. I froze when I saw his face, the words stuck in my throat and unable to escape.
His face was covered in disgusting boils, sores, spots and rashes. It's gotten to the point that his face and body were swelling, his skin red and covered in the same blemishes. I can't move or speak, all I can do is stare at him.
“I'm so hungry…” He says again and i notice his bloodshot eyes and his disgusting mouth and teeth. I try not to throw up as his foul breath hits my nose as he coughs up a storm. He didn't even look like a person anymore. I was so scared I didn't know what to do. Finally, he got angry and snatched both out of my hands, I made no attempt to stop him.
He spun around, leaned against the wall while crouched, as he devours the food. I was frozen solid, unable to make myself move. I started to walk slowly past him, trying to not be noticed by him. I didn't get very far, before he ran out of food, and the coughing began again. He looked at me angrily.
“More…” He mumbled as he stood up and stared at me with eyes so bloodshot, you would have thought they were fully red. “MORE” He yelled, as he ran toward me. I screamed and ran down the hall, toward the nurses, toward my mom. My heart raced more than it ever had before, but I couldn't let him get me.
He suddenly had a coughing fit, and fell over. I didn't stop, just looked behind me. He was doubled over, coughing and dry heaving in the ground. I ran until I got to my mom's room. I cried for hours, no attempt to console me worked.
After that, I never separated from my mom. That experience scarred me to say the least, to the point where I became a germaphobe. I wash my hands 20 times a day and I carry a huge container of hand sanitizer everywhere I go. Even to this day, hearing coughing freezes me in my tracks.