By: Fallen Angel (Linda Almeida)
COPYRIGHT: All characters belong to me and are of my own creation as with the entire storyline.
WARNING: Contains adult and religious content.
The earsplitting ring of the phone echoed throughout the comforting silence of his apartment.
Jake jolted upright out of his bed in an instant, coming out of the train of horrible nightmares he had been having since he had fallen asleep. His heart raced, feeling as if it was going to literally explode in his chest as he gripped the bed sheets so tightly that his knuckles turned white. His heart's thunderous beating reverberated through his ears, pounding at his mind like an internal alarm warning him of impending danger…
…blaring at him like a distress signal from the depths of his soul.
He inhaled, then exhaled slowly, trying to reduce the rapid pace of his breathing…trying to keep from shaking himself right out of the covers. He was drenched in a cold sweat, chills coursing up and down his spine as he felt the intense aftershocks of a disturbing and frightful dream. He shook his head, trying to rid the terrifying visions that were still flashing before his eyes, trying to bring his consciousness back to reality.
…running endlessly through pitch-black darkness, a darkness that overwhelmed him, beckoned him to keep running further into its unfathomable grasp. He was being chased – chased by what or whom he was not sure of, but he had feared it…
…oh, he had feared it…
…he was absolutely terrified of it.
He could literally feel its aura encompassing around him, feel it's iniquity, it's malice surging through the smothering darkness like a shark stealthily encircling its next meal. He didn't see it, didn't hear it, but it was there.
It was all around him, hunting him through an endless sea of blackness…
…a sea that he was drowning in…
…a sea that he was being pulled down further and further into by the jaws of this dreadful predator…
…down, down, down into the abyss…spiraling into the blackness of infinite oblivion and utterly helpless to escape…
…never to resurface to see the light again.
It felt so chillingly real. It was like no other dream he had ever experienced in his twenty-one years of existence. There was no hazy effect, no abnormal subliminal qualities that dreams often had, just hardcore reality. He could feel his feet pounding on the hard pavement below, he could feel his heart hammering with every frantic step, he could feel the sharp searing pains shoot through his ribcage from running too fast and too hard, but he repressed it, fought it down with all his might because he was running for his life.
He could feel the ground give out below him as he plummeted into a pool of thick darkness, gasping for air as it wrapped around him and sucked him down like quicksand. The pressure was so intense to the point where he was barely mobile, the liquid so heavy and viscous that he was helpless to fight against it. He tried to scream, tried to breath as the dark syrup flooded into his lungs – muffling any noises he could possibly make and silencing any chance to be saved. He could taste it as it forced its way down his throat… bitter…metallic…
…it was as if…it was as if he was drowning in…
The phone rang loudly once again, its piercing chime resonating throughout his home and snapping him out of his stupor. He glanced over nervously at the alarm clock sitting on the wooden nightstand beside his bed, its illuminating neon blue glow reading 11:45 AM. It had only been an hour since he had fallen asleep, but by God, it felt like eternity.
"Hello?" He answered into the pale white receiver of the cordless phone that had lain beside the alarm clock. His voice wasn't groggy with sleep as most would when they had just awakened from their slumber. It was as clear as day, almost shrill with the anxiety of one awaiting the confirmation of whether a loved one had passed away. His tone was doused with a mix of fear, tension, and relief.
"Jacob?" The comforting voice of the preacher echoed from the other side, a slight hint of confusion and bewilderment in his simple response.
"Father." Jake replied, sighing softly with respite, his rapid heartbeat still thumping in his ears. "How are you?"
"I'm…well, that's why I am calling. Did I wake you?"
"No," was Jake's immediate response and guilt stabbed him in the gut. "I was just about to doze off." He added, trying to make up for it but knowing that he was simply digging himself a deeper hole.
"I apologize for rousing you," The reverend replied sincerely, his ominous tone of voice giving Jake a foreboding sense of what was to come. "I need you to come back with me to the hospital."
Jake's thudding heart now took a plunge into his stomach as dread began to crawl up his spinal column. "To the hospital?" He repeated uneasily, "May I ask why?"
"I got a phone call from one of their nurses," Mark began solemnly, causing Jake to momentarily fear the worst. An image of the frantic and disturbed girl butchering the hospital personnel flashed through his mind as he shuddered at the thought. "They want us to return, she's getting out of control."
"No," The preacher interrupted, as if reading Jake's mind. "But she is gaining resistance to the sedatives. They need us back there to at least put her in a calmer state of mind."
Lord, if only that was possible.
"Alright," Jake replied tentatively, getting out of bed. He was willing to do anything for the reverend, but he really did not want to deal with this right now.
"You don't have to come if you choose not to," Mark stated, obviously picking up on Jake's apprehension, yet he didn't waver with the least bit of offense. "I can go alone."
"No," Jake responded immediately, trying to erase all the trepidation from his voice and replacing it with reassurance. "I want to go. I'll go."
"Alright," The preacher replied, still unconvinced. "I'll see you in the lobby in a half an hour."
"Yep, half hour." Jake repeated fretfully, now failing to hide that he had been obviously shaken. He rummaged through his drawers and pulled out a white t-shirt and jeans, his hands still trembling violently. "Half hour it is."
"Jake," The preacher stated, his tone so stern that it caused Jake to stop mid-search, freezing him in place.
"Are you alright?"
Jake sighed heavily, trying to compose himself as he looked up at his reflection in the vanity mirror. He was as pale as ghost, his dark eyes wide and resembling large black marbles encased in the startlingly bright whites of his sockets. His dark hair was astray, sticking up at all ends of his head like the bristles of an old broom. However, there was one thing in particular about his reflection that struck him like a metal baseball bat, one thing that would've knocked him dead off his feet if he hadn't been so damned scared already.
There was blood caked all over his mouth.
His heart raced once again, accelerating to those ear-deafening thuds as shock overwhelmed him and dread surged through every inch of his body like electricity. The half-dried crimson fluid had already begun to rub off onto the phone's pale mouthpiece, as if to permanently remind him of the unspeakable image that lay before him.
"I'm ok, Father. I'm fine." He lied right through his blood stained teeth as the black knife of remorse plunged itself once more into his abdomen. He gave every ounce of will in his body and soul to keep his voice from cracking, to keep himself from panicking. What on earth had happened to him?
"Alright," Mark's voice sounded, his tone still saturated with doubt. "You know you must be in the right frame of mind for this." He added as somewhat of a warning.
If only the Lord could bless him with the right frame of mind at that moment.
"Don't worry, Father." Jake replied simply, trying to force a bloodied smile, trying to convince himself that he was ok. There was a perfect explanation for this, there had to be.
Everything will be alright.
"I'll see you at the hospital."
* * *
Blinding fluorescent lights enveloped her vision as she came to, wincing from the harsh glare. She was in a muddled daze, her mind droning with the low hum of sedation, her body numb of the world around her.
"She's awake." A masculine voice called, sounding dim and bleary to her anesthetized ears. She tried to open her eyes, her eyelids feeling as if there were ten-pound weights resting on either one of them, as a low groan escaped the depths of her throat. In the foggy abyss of her mild consciousness, she realized that she was completely immobile as she attempted to lift her hand to her eyes to block out the glaring lights…it wouldn't even budge.
"Oh, goodness," The relieved sigh of an unfamiliar woman sounded. "I thought she wasn't going to make it."
She was alive.
It was at that moment when it occurred to her, when it pierced into her sedated soul…the fact she was still alive. Panic rose in her throat as distress began to overwhelm her. She was supposed to be dead. She wasn't supposed to make it. She had wanted to die, she had needed to die…she didn't want to live.
If she were able to, she would have screamed.
Irrepressible tears began to stream down her pallid cheeks beneath her sealed eyelids. At this point, she didn't even attempt to open her eyes anymore.
This isn't happening.
"Oh honey," The female stated sympathetically as a warm comforting hand brushed down the side her wet cheek, wiping the tears away.
Get away from me.
"You just came from Franklin hospital, you had your stomach pumped. They were able to rescue you in the nick of time. They sent you here afterwards, since the hospitals were running out of rooms due to the…epidemic…"
Why?! She mentally screamed at the nurse. Contempt began to grow within her against these people, these people who had saved her. They brought her back to this world, they brought her back to the world she discovered to be hell itself.
Why did you bring me back?!
"…we want to help you. We care about you and we want to help you through this." The female stated soothingly, as if she had read her mind, still caressing her face gently.
"Should I untie her?" The male voice questioned almost in an inaudible whisper. She heard it, barely, but she did. The woman must have nodded because she could faintly feel movement near her right hand.
Tears were now running down her cheeks in steady streams as she then realized where she really was. She was in a mental hospital. She was in a loony bin. She was where the crazies go when their sanity clocks stopped ticking.
Lord, why couldn't you have just let me die?! She cried silently as despair blanketed over her once again, draining out any derision she had left in her. She kept her saturated eyes shut tightly, not even wanting to see the hospital room, refusing to look upon the people who had brought her in here. It was pointless now. Everything was just pointless now.
Why couldn't you have just let me go?!
Punishment, that's what it was. It had to be. She was being punished for what she attempted to do. She was being punished for attempting to take her own life.
Those who have sinned will never go unpunished.
"Press this…" A remote was slipped into her now untied left hand. "…if you need us. We'll be right around the corner." The female instructed as she affectionately wiped the rivers of tears from her face once again. "Get some rest," The woman reassured her as her warm hand left her face.
"Everything will be alright."
And with that, both presences left the room, followed by the echoing sound of a door being shut.
The echoing sound of loneliness.
Her chest finally heaved in a painful sob as everything within her – every last strength, every last will, and every last hope – simply broke down in a flood of tears.
* * *
"This way," Nurse McCarthy led them through the familiar halls and back to section E of the mental ward – the section where the homicidal and suicidal patients were being attended to. "Right down this hall." She instructed fretfully, as if they hadn't been there a few hours earlier, as if they were heading straight towards their doom.
Mark found the young woman visibly tense, nervous and frightened as he followed her down the hallway with Jacob close behind. She had grown horribly pale, her skin nearly matching the white scrubs that she wore, her fair complexion virtually glowing under that mop of chestnut hair. It was apparent that she was literally scared out of her wits.
This deeply unnerved him.
Another thing that caused the reverend to become even more apprehensive was the fact that Jake had grown extremely quiet. From the moment he had picked up the phone back at his apartment, Mark knew something was wrong. Although he hadn't known Jake for a long time, he could sense when a person was troubled or upset, and Jake certainly was. However, Mark felt that Jake did not want to inform him of this due to his perturbing silence since they arrived at the hospital – no questions, no answers, simply a nod of acknowledgement and they were on their way. Mark decided it best not to question him about it, at least, not yet.
Right now, his priorities were set on one person and one person only.
"Here we are," Nurse McCarthy announced as they arrived at the stark gray door of Tina's room. Files upon files sat in the transparent black plastic casing sealed to the center of the door, labeled 'Tina Delgado, room E105'. There were probably several presumed verdicts of Tina's current physical and mental conditions by several different doctors within those files, all trying yet failing to explain what diseases and disorders were afflicting her. But deep down inside, they all knew exactly what was wrong with her. After all, that was the reason why he was summoned…
…why he was here right now, standing before her confines.
Mark cast Jake a sideways glance, Jake's dark eyes meeting his own. He was wondering if Jake was feeling what he was feeling, sensing what he was sensing…
…that pulsating vibration in the air that felt as if a massive amplifier turned up to full blast was sitting right in front of him, yet it was absolutely soundless. An atmospheric interference that was so eerie and unnatural…
The utter intensity of it sent chills up and down the priest's spine.
Jake had an unreadable expression upon his face, his features remaining blank of any sort of comprehensible emotion. However, by the way he shifted awkwardly and uncomfortably, Mark could tell that he was dreadfully nervous yet trying to hide it the best he could. He was trying to blanket the fear that was slowly enveloping him, trying to conceal his true emotions and preparing himself to enter the room before him…
Mark wondered whether or not he was feeling it too.
The nurse unlocked the door hastily with a quick turn of a key that she had clenched within her fist. It was a wonder that she hadn't drew any blood by how tightly she held onto it the entire trip here, as if she was holding her life in the palm of her hand.
"The door's unlocked," She stated timidly, her voice low and filled with anxiety, fearing she would awaken the beast within its chambers. "You can go in whenever you're ready."
Mark once again looked over at Jake as Jake gave him a tight nod. The reverend turned his gaze back upon the door as he slid his hand into his trench coat pocket, feeling the cool and almost comforting silver crucifix between his fingers as he grasped it tightly.
Lord, guide me through this.
"Let's do it." Mark stated finally, taking a deep breath as he reached for the door handle and turned it slowly, hearing the metallic 'click' of the door disengaging from it's frame.
"Don't worry ma'am," Jake reassured the nurse as the door slid open.
"Everything will be alright."
TO BE CONTINUED…
A/N: I know, I know, it's been awhile since I've updated. I'm sorry everyone for the delay, this semester was hell and it is finally over! Whoo hoo! Hehe. You should be expecting more updates from me, now that finals are almost done. J Hopefully, you're all enjoying reading this story as much as I am writing it, and I hope this chapter wasn't too rushed or anything (cut me some slack here, hehe). Thank you all for putting up with me and my lack of updates. Until next time…