The Nightmare

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Chapter 25 - Death

Copyright © DenGlemtePrinsesse, 2020

What was that? Why is it on Earth?

I shivered, gazing straight ahead. All the other cars and establishments seemed nothing but strokes of light as our driver hit full speed towards the hospital. I felt light-headed. My back, cold.

My tensed senses were way up high, guarding, in case that magical being was following us.

A huge part of me couldn't look behind us, nor to the windows on my sides. Part of me was praying he will never show up again. Because what can I really do in the first place? The guy can fly, there's no way I could outrun him. In addition, his huge black wings and black pants made him almost impossible to be seen at night. Worse, that didn't even matter. Apparently no one else can see him.

Eight minutes ago, when I couldn't take my eyes off of his huge wings, when his tall and white complextion's floating three feet in front of us, Pie was yelling at me, demanding me of my undivided attention to our situation. I was standing side by side with my sister, her driver and our neighbor, and yet none of them turned to looked at the guy when he sent an unearthly wave of wind as he escaped. None of them seemed disturbed at that encounter when it's beyond impossible to miss.

He saw me, staring at him. He knew I could see him. He probably is thinking I could be a hindrance to whatever he's planning to do on Earth. Ali was very clear. He said none of their kind would bother to step onto this world. Therefore that magical being I saw earlier must be here for a reason. His presence here can't be an accident, that I'm certain. He came here with a purpose, and as much as I wonder what that is, I don't think I'm prepared to know.

I shrugged, brushing off the idea that suddenly popped up in my mind. My stomach twisted at the thought I tried so hard not to entertain, especially after I witnessed what he's capable of. With one touch, he knocked my Aunt unconscious, and he managed to get away with that, effortlessly.

"Oh no!" I gasped, when we hit a bump on the road. Pie and her driver glanced at me for my sudden jumpiness. I can't help it. I'm scared that magical being will suddenly popped up.

My heart's frantic, thinking how many of his kind are here on Earth. Suddenly I remember the creatures from the coliseum earlier. Even if humankind can see them, still we couldn't stand a chance against them. And what if, they too could not be seen by the human eye once they entered our world? My race isn't ready for them yet.

I inhaled deeply, closing my eyes, determined to only open it once we finally reached the hospital. A place where a lot of people are awake, where a common setting on Earth can be seen, where the lights are blinding. I'm hoping that might at least prevent him from coming. I squished my eyes tighter, not wanting to see anything.

If that magical being shows up again, I could be screaming at the top of my lungs, but no human being would understand what's happening. People might think I'm crazy or delusional so they will be trying to calm me down and restrain my movement. It would only make it easier for him to come to me and does what he did to Aunt Joyce.

I exhaled.

Aunt's head's resting on my lap. One of my hands was brushing her hair, the other was holding tight onto her arm. Her cold skin beneath my fingertips is not helping my heart to calm down.

Where are my friends? What are they doing? Why aren't they home yet? Would they be staying there for good? Do I have to go through this alone? Do I have to deal with the fear alone? What am I suppose to do with the winged guy I saw?

I don't know what I'm feeling at the moment, nor if I'm allowed to feel it. But, shouldn't they be here?

The car came to an abrupt stop, and so were my thoughts. The bright lights penetrating through my closed eyelids. Doors from both of my sides opened. And the voices of people were coming everywhere, yelling unintelligibly.

"Get out of the way!" Pie called as the paramedic rushed to take Aunt into the stretcher. I immediately jump off the car and stayed from a distant. Two guys carried her out, another one was waiting next to the stretcher holding an IV, an oxygen tank next to them. They attached more apparatus on Aunt once she was laying. Another nurse walked to Pie, asking her what happened. Everyone was quick, moving smoothly and uniformly as if this very scenario was practiced.

The wheels screeched through the tiled floor as the paramedics rushed Aunt through the emergency room. Pie and I followed, catching our breath as we ran down an empty hallway. We hovered, until someone stop us from doing so, saying we're only allowed that far.

I followed Pie as she walked towards the row of blue chairs. Her shoulders, slumping. Her hands, running to her temples as she took a seat. I sat beside her.

My eyes focused on the white walls in front of me, scared to look towards the door at the end of the hallway and find something threatening. I stayed vigilant. My fingers, clasping together.

"Stop fidgeting! It's so annoying." Pie called. I immediately stop. But she too was shifting her weight to one leg after the other. While she doesn't show she's scared, I know she is and I couldn't thank her enough for being strong for the both of us when I couldn't even get myself together.

"My plans are ruined! Of all the day I could deliver you that stupid invitation, why it has to be today?" She stood up, pacing in front of me. And as much as she hated being here now, I couldn't help but thank God that she's with me.

Everything must've really had a reason. If she's not here when all these happened, I don't think I could do the exact response she did. Being calm and rational to take Aunt to the hospital. I was probably still at home, figuring out what to do. Perhaps trembling, easily overcomed by anxiety and fear. Especially knowing that a magical being was responsible for this. God has sent down an angel for Aunt Joyce today.

"If you like, I think I can take it from here. If we are just waiting for the result, I think I can handle it." I suggested, the least I could do for her is to save her plans for the night. Besides, I still worried that the winged guy will come back. As much as I don't want to be alone, I figured that way I can keep my sister safe.

"Seriously? Do you think I can enjoy the rest of the night knowing too well what Aunt is going through? Use your head." She glared at me, resting back to the chair. I looked down at my lap, internally hitting myself for I didn't think that through.

"What is that?" She snatched my right arm in an abrupt movement, examining it.

My face was quick to respond to her rough action, twitching for the sudden pain she caused me. My free hand ran to hers, a reflex to stop the pain where it's coming from. Pie must've seen the hurt on my face for she had loosen her grip.

I watched her face, dressed in horror as she scanned the back of my shoulders.

Cautious now, she moved my hair away from my back and I winced when her fingers touched my neck. Her eyes darted back to me.

"What happened?" She demanded, her words escaping through her gritted teeth. Why? What has she found?

My hand ran to my back and was met by fluid. My eyes widen at the amount of blood that sticked to my palm with a simple touch. I stared at the invisible air in front of me. Why is my back bleeding?

Pie was dragging me by my wrist before I knew it. We went straight to the nurse desk and talked to them but I couldn't concentrate on her words. My mind was going through the events tonight that might caused me this wound.

And for the first time, I felt a pang of pain shooting from the bottom of my neck, to my shoulder blades, down my back. How did I get this?

Was this because of what transpired back in the mirrored room? It felt like years had passed since my unfortunate event in that place, when in reality it was just hours ago. I couldn't think of any reason. It must have been the outcome of the impact earlier. The reason behind the feeling of intense heat on my back, the moment I stood up after I landed on the glass walls.

In line with the recognition, the pain doubles. My shoulder felt heavy and my back is sore. It seemed like the unregistered ache has been hidding all along, decided to attack once it was detected.

A nurse escorted us to a small square room. Inside was a bed next to the white wall, a bedside table and a chair by the door. The temperature is freezing, still she asked me to take off my uniform, and my heart panic. I am not comfortable to undress in front of anyone.

I fidgeted, sitting to the bed for my knees are about to give up with the heavy weight on my shoulders.

"Do it." Pie's glare pinned me to the side of the bed. She pulled the chair to the other corner of the room and stayed quiet after that.

I gulped.

My fingers reached for the buttons of my uniform, moving slowly for I can feel the pressure on my back as my arms moved. The nurse was tying up my hair as I continue to undress. She help me actually take off the uniform for it requires an outside force to remove it from my wounded arm.

My eyes widen as I watched her fold my uniform.

For the first time, I saw the gravity of the incident earlier. Different shades of red, covering the upper portion of my uniform. In the middle of the darkest red lies the torn part of the cloth.

"Please lie on your stomach." The nurse asked, removing my undergarment in the process. Uncomfortable, I immediately crawled to the bed. I turned my face to the wall, shutting everyone and everything.

"I'm going to clean your wounds." She informed me. My hands, gripping to the bedsheet, as she put something cold and wet on my back.

"How did you get that cut?" Pie asked, I heard papers being flipped, scribbling pen and bottles being opened.

"I bumped on a glass wall earlier. It crushed on me." I winced, for the nurse had put a pressure on her movement, to which she immediately apologized but she poked it hard again. And it felt like the soreness doubled.

"Did you hear how dumb that sound?"

The walls in front of my face was becoming comforting. My eyelids getting heavier as seconds tick by. It feels like it has been forever since I last slept.

Finally the long walks through the forest, towards the castle, and my unsolicited trip back to the forest were taking their toll on me. My journey to a despicable ceremony, our escape from the coliseum, back to the castle and out again, then finally my trek to Earth, I think I owe my feet this chance to rest. I owe my mind and my body this moment to slip into unconsciousness.

The door suddenly opened, and I wanted to protest for the mini shocked it caused me but I'm feeling too weak to speak. Someone with a light footsteps entered. I felt like the nurse had put a pile of books on my back.

"Hi." Pie, greeted.

"Hi, I'm Doctor Rales." I felt her walked close to me and remained silent for a few moment. All I heard was papers being turned and her occasional sigh and 'hmm'. I felt the nurse next to me raised, something I had to pout about, the sudden movements are keeping we awake.

"All set Doc. The anesthesia had set in." She gathered her things on the bedside table. I wanted to asked if she could do it quietly, but even opening my lips requires a great effort at the moment. It feels like the rest of my body was slowly embracing this chance to rest. I am not even curious why anesthesia is needed. I just wanted to sleep.

"Your wound is long but it's clean so you're good. I have to stitch it up to close the cut. You can relax, you won't feel anything." I see.

I would've been frantic upon hearing that if only I wasn't tired. Instead I remained calm, my back was feeling too thick and heavy. And while I trust her, my palms gripped onto the bedsheet, weakly, anticipating pain.

I can hear her lift small metals and tools. I felt it when she finally touched my back. I was aware when the needle finally met my skin. I could even feel it as she pierced it into my skin, the friction of the thread deep into my flesh as she pulled it out, but I could not feel any pain. And I like that.

I losen my grip on the bedsheet, assured that there'll be no pain. I relaxed and let the doctor fulfill her duty. My mind just focused on the movement on the upper right portion of my back.

I couldn't think of anything. Suddenly none of the things I experienced today mattered. As if I wasn't running away from death a while ago. It's just peaceful. And I like that. I like this calm feeling. This feeling that I don't have to care or be careful.

My eyes, shutting.

Doctor Rales and my sister were talking but I could no longer comprehend, as if their words were being automatically converted into a soft hum in the background. It was probably my mind's doing, allowing me to drown into unconsiousness.

The door jolted open smashing it hard against the wall behind me. My eyes, once again flung open, frustrated that everyone seems to be depriving me of sleep. I stared unfriendly at the wall in front of me, waiting for the unknown visitor to state his purpose, or ask for an apology that he had bolted to the wrong room.

The visitor — I assumed — splashed liquid across the room. I felt some of it on my exposed back, another thing I had to pout about. Was he disinfecting the room? Now? I worried that some of that liquid might gotten onto my wound, but since Doctor Rales didn't say a thing, I think that's okay. I closed my eyes, giving up on everyone, on everything.

And just when I thought that nothing else will follow, the visitor was walking and moving rowdily across the room. As if on purpose to keep me awake, he threw a slightly heavy object at me, but letting it bounced off the wall first before it landed on the tiny space between my face and the wall. He sprinkled liquid again, most of it now landed on my face.

Why now?

I exhaled loudly in defeat and was determined to speak what's on my mind, but when I opened my eyes, all the sleepiness was instantly drained from my system for I was staring face to face with Doctor Rales' chopped head.

I had no idea how I did it but I manage to yanked myself off the bed and faced the room towards the culprit in a swift movement. As if I wasn't being stitched to begin with.

Abruptly, my breathing halted. A survival instinct as my eyes landed on the threat that drained all the blood from my entire body.

Oh no.

Frozen, I stared in horror at the galiama in the corner of the room.

My elbows and knees turned jelly as my eyes followed the two-horned tree-like creature I'd first seen at the coliseum earlier. It wiped its bloodied distorted mouth with its oak hands.

My eyes just focused on the monster. I was determined to reject the gruesome sight I wish I was not seeing in my peripheral vision. I never wanted to glance at the product of its barbaric deed across the small room. One that lies next to its feet and the other that lies next to me.

It took everything in me to stared nowhere but the monster, I don't want it to be the last picture I'd remember of my sister. The water started forming in the corner of my eyes, the denial could fool anyone but myself.

The idea I'd been trying to suppressed earlier has finally brought before my eyes. The galiama followed me on Earth. The guy with the black wings must've followed me too. Both creature must've been sent here to silence me permanently so I couldn't speak of the sacrificial ritual I witnessed earlier. That must be it. There's no other way their appearances happened on the exact time I got back on Earth.

Aunt Joyce, my sister and Doctor Rales were collateral damage. I don't even want to entertain the thought that there were others who had to pay the price for being in the path of this monster as it pursued its way to me. Lives lost that must've been avoided if only I died in that ritual, as planned, undisclosed.

My eyes blurred. I am mad at myself again for preserving my life when I couldn't offer it to the people that completely has nothing to do with this.

My lungs were running out of air. Should I give in and finally die here? I don't know what to do anymore.

The monster walked across the room, standing between me and the door. It kept on snifting the air, obviously searching for the scent it has found earlier that vanished instantly— my scent.

My fingers gripping onto the mattress, holding on for my life. My lungs demanded air, I had to do something. I don't have to fill it up, but just enough to hold on a little longer.

It's clear that in the end, I still decided to save myself. Selfish.

I inhaled in a split of a nanosecond. I couldn't be certain how quick I acted, but I could tell it wasn't fast enough for the galiama had completely turned its body to my direction. Like someone pulled away a curtain that hid me. Or more accurately, like someone lifted a silver platter off of me.

Was this karma? Was this what I had to pay for escaping my suppose death? Was this the price, that I had to die slowly, gruesomely and watched my loved ones got hurt and die in front of me before death finally got served to me?

Had I known this was the consequence of escaping death, would I not grab the chance that Cirga, Terra and Rade offered me?

On the second thought, it doesn't matter now. Death has finally found its way to me. There's no escaping. That, I am absolutely positive.

The galiama lunged at me so quickly I didn't even had the chance to blink. It moved so quickly I didn't even see where its lethal fingers had thrust into. But when the blood burst out, sprinkling everywhere across the room... I felt it.

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