Nobody except him could understand how much I miss them. It was undeniable, especially at that moment when a once simple task became one of the greatest challenges of my life. Even after two good months in my condition, I remained determined to regain my freedom and autonomy. Therefore, drenched in sweat and on the edge of my bed, I decided to give it the ultimate try. Nearly falling, I stretched my trembling hand towards the glass of water on the little table next to my bed.
Have you ever imagined what it is like to be on the other side of the glass? You know, the liar being lied to, the robber being robbed, the Police Officer being arrested, the Coroner being on his own table or in my case, the Doctor being the patient? It comes with a certain feeling I wish I never knew. That is what I was thinking about at that moment, battling with my ill body just to reach the refreshment. I only succeeded in slightly touching the glass when I slipped and fell on the floor. Lied on my front, I felt it deeply, that sentiment of loneliness and helplessness that was even reflected in my posture. I wish nobody could see me in a such a distress but Sofía, the daughter of my housekeeper Arrieta, entered the room in a hurry when she heard the deep sound of my fall and found me there on the floor next to the then broken glass.
"¿Mama? ¡Mamaaaa!" the little girl called with her eyes still on me.
"¿Sofía? ¿Sofía qué pasa?" her mother replied from downstairs probably asking to know what happened.
My eyes started to fill up with tears when I heard her mother rushing through the stairs. As if she shared my pain, Sofía clenched her teddy bear with both hands, pressed it against her and hid her mouth behind its head, while her startled look turned into one of pity. Upon discovering the scene, Arrieta already understood what occurred. She then sighed and approached me with the same look as her daughter's in her eyes.
"Oh Miss Deann. I already told that if you need any—"
"Get away from me!" I yelled at the instant she touched me. "I can stand up by myself! By myself, you hear me? Yes—yes I—I can—stand—" I added, unable to even complete my own sentence, agitated by heavy sobs with my eyes fixed on my trembling hands. Arrieta just hugged me while Sofía ran out of the room.
"Come on Miss Deann. You can do it." Arrieta quietly said, putting my arm around her neck and her arm around my waist. She lifted me as high as she could and helped me sit back in bed. Meanwhile, her lovely daughter came back with a little garden shovel and a mop to help to remove the shards from the floor.
"Thank you Sofía." I just said, smiling. She equally responded and put the tools on the floor.
"¡Ten cuidado Sofía!" Arrieta probably warned her daughter about the broken glass. "Miss Deann. I'm really sorry for everything that has happened. If I could do anything to help you I would. You've done so much for me and Sofía. I —"
"Please Arrieta, you don't have to blame yourself again. It's not your fault at all."
"It's his fault, isn't it? The man in the hospital." Sofía said.
"¡Sofía!" Arrieta yelled, about to stand up and scold her daughter.
I put my hand on Arrieta's shoulder to stop her from doing so and she looked back at me, surprised by my act. My eyes widened since what Sofía just said startled me, and I stretched both of my arms towards the toddler. She immediately came to me and took my trembling hands, plunging her beautiful innocent brown eyes into mine.
"Sofía? Who's that man in the hospital?" I asked.
"Miss Deann please don't mind her. Those are just stories, she's a child with a lot of imagination. She keeps on telling me about that strange dream she had several times and—she thinks it has something to do with what happened to you." her mother said.
"Really?" I said, still eager to know more about it. "Sofía, can you tell me more about that man?"
"Come on Miss Deann." her mother said after sighing and rolling her eyes.
Still afraid to be yelled at, the little girl looked at her mother before she shyly looked down and answered. "He's in a dark room, I can't see his face, he doesn't move. He never moves. And he never speaks. He's covered with a blanket, he's in a bed, like the beds in the hospitals."
"A hospital bed?" I asked.
"Yes. And he wears a dress like when you're sick and you have to stay in the hospital."
"A hospital gown Sofía, it's called a hospital gown." Arrieta taught her daughter who just looked at her then nodded.
I swallowed my saliva before I could ask the next question, fearful about the expected answer that would come out of her mouth. "The—hospital gown, is it dirty and torn up?"
"Yes." she answered.
"What's going on?" her mother questioned, perplexed.
"I think Sofía and I have the same dream, about the same man."
"What?" her appalled mother said.
"And there's that sad song on the old radio next to his bed. I don't know why but it—"
"It stops at some point and starts again? At the beginning?"
"Do you also see the drawing on his blanket?"
"Yes. It's a—it's like—I don't know how to—"
"You can show her the drawings Sofía." Arrieta said.
The little girl ran downstairs to fetch something and in less than a minute, she was back with her little school bag in the bedroom. Instead of browsing through it, she just opened it, held it upside-down and shook the bag to empty it. Among her books and her color pencils, several sheets of paper full of drawings scattered on the floor, and as if it knew it was the main one we wanted to see, the paper with the drawing of the symbol was the last thing to come out of the bag. As soon as I saw and recognized the emblem, I shrieked then placed my hands over my mouth to avoid screaming. I clenched my eyes, and my whole body started shaking, except for my legs as tears slowly escaped from my eyes.
"Miss Deann! What—are you alright?" Arrieta asked, placing her hands on my shoulders.
"It's him. It's definitely him." I quietly said, fighting to retain my tears.
"What? Him? Who's him? Wait, are you—so you're saying Sofía's right about her dreams?"
I did not know what to reply, and we found ourselves immersed in an uneasy silence, only hearing the falling rain outside. "This way too crazy, I can't—I just can't—" I replied, sobbing again as the painful memories I managed to bury in the depth of my soul, gushed out like a fountain of lava, which the sole purpose was to burn the rest of my sanity.
"Miss Deann, you know you can tell me anything. Everything. You know it."
"Señorita Deann. He's not nice right?" Sofía asked me with her little sweet voice.
Looking at her round and sad eyes, I felt the torment the little girl was going through because of the dreams. Arrieta was looking at me with the same eyes, she who almost harassed me every day with questions about the way I lost my legs and nearly lost my hands.
"I'm not sure Sofía. I'm not sure." I almost whispered.
On each occasion, I was reluctant about sharing it with anybody, but that time, the need to be heard by someone who would not see me as a fool right away crushed my resistance and stubbornness. Sofía sat on the bed next to my dull legs; the limbs I never want to even glimpse in that state until now because I miss them so much. And after Arrieta removed the dangerous shards on the floor, I told them the story of how I lost everything.
A successful Epidemiologist just two months ago, my life had reached the peak I always dreamed of. My dream job, a nice white hatchback, a sweet split-level house, the wardrobe of a diva, every woman's dream man at my feet, caring relatives, as well as friends and colleagues that loved and valued me. However, despite all the wealth that was for me, I still found the silliest reasons to complain about the littlest things.
Just during the third year of my career, as if fate wanted to fuel my bad complaining habit then punish me, it broke out in the city I lived in. An epidemic of paralysis that still wreaks havoc to this very moment. The strangest fact about that disease is the pale color of the whole body each victim is found with. It is as if the blood has been drained from the victim, and only a pale and seemingly dry body remains, with yellow colored eyes. There is also the look in an affected person's eyes, something I will never forget; an authentic look of terror, so real that it is almost possible to feel the fear the victims experienced when the illness struck them. That disease or whatever its true nature is one of the cruelest things somebody can go through; being imprisoned in an ill body with no possibility to move, to speak, to eat or drink on one's own will and even to blink in certain worst cases, is a really harsh reality to live in. A condition worse than death itself. Another odd fact about the disease is that most of the victims are found in the morning or later during the day, with their eyes riveted on their bedroom windows, and they are stuck exactly in the position they were sleeping in.
When the disease broke out, although I was at the beginning of my career, the Department of Health placed me in a team of Epidemiologists which itself was part of a larger group. We all had to contribute to finding the causes, a cure and ways to prevent the effects of that paralysis. As a member of the team, my task consisted in working with a specialist statistical computer software when analyzing data, designing statistical analysis plans, performing, guiding and providing critical analysis and thinking on data as well as on the victims. Pretty cool and sophisticated right? After several weeks, we did not find a single clue on what could have caused the phenomenon, and of course, it had me frustrated and complaining about everything a lot more than usual. To remain a little bit credible, we kept on coming up with some hypothesis, you know, the kind of things scientists say when they do not know exactly what is going on with something.
One evening, I stayed longer than usual in order to run several tests on one of the patients, a young teenager named Jayna. Among all the victims, she was the only one I shared a deep bond with. Maybe that was just my imagination, but I felt attached to the beautiful young girl, to the point of sharing her feelings and emotions. Consequently, as I was running the last test, a rising fear overwhelmed me all of a sudden. When I looked at her, Jayna was looking at me then at the window successively, as if she tried her best to warn me about a danger lurking behind it. Her pulse fastened, and some devices in the room started malfunctioning, along with her radio which mysteriously switched on and played an extremely sad piano music.
My pulse fastened too when I saw the shadow of a man standing outside by the window. He stood still and my heart shivered to the fact that we were on the fifth floor and there was no balcony nor anything allowing him to stand by the window anyhow. I slowly approached, already wondering if it was a collective hallucination or not. Just when I was about to touch the curtain, the shadow slid to the left. Yes, not walked, slid like it was some chess game pawn pushed to the left, and it disappeared behind the wall. I immediately panicked and jumped back. The devices stopped malfunctioning and the radio stopped. I considered calling for security, but as a scientist, I could not let myself go with some unrealistic and unreasonable thoughts. It was surely due to the stress and frustration with all that was going on I thought, so I shook it off my mind and focused on finishing the task.
There was something in her look when I was about to leave. Her eyes were stuck with an expression of fear already as a symptom to the illness but, that time, I really saw and sensed it. She did not want me to leave. Of course, I wanted to stay with her for the whole night, but I really needed to rest, so after I switched off the lights and everything necessary, I kissed her on the forehead and reassured her. "Don't worry Jayna, I promise you, we'll find a cure." I whispered in her ear before I left, thus leaving her in the hands of the Doctor on duty that night.
Most people already left and the building was almost desert. In the outside parking, I checked my phone and saw the tender messages that Kevin sent me. Remember the dream man I mentioned earlier? Well, that man was him. Smiling, I proceeded to reply to each of them while I walked to my car, and it was only when I became close to the car door that I saw him. At some distance in a dark corner, a masculine silhouette dressed in a hospital gown stood straight and looked in my direction, without even moving a single limb.
"Hello?" I said to initiate a conversation with the man, but he neither answered nor moved. "Hello, you okay?" I tried again but still no form of response from him.
With the thought that he could have escaped his room from the laboratory or a psychiatric facility in a worst-case scenario, I swiftly dialed the emergency number and launched the call. When I put the phone on my ear and looked back up, the man had vanished and there was no sight of him anywhere. While I heard the sound of the call in process, I glimpsed a silhouette sitting in the dark inside my car and in the back seat. I quickly jumped back and accidentally dropped the phone. When I rapidly picked it up and put it back on my ear, I looked again in the car to see that it was empty.
"911 what's your emergency?"
"Hulloh? Uh yes uh, in fact, I'm—I'm sorry I didn't mean to—sorry for the disturbance. Good night!" I said with embarrassment and hanged up. "Just relax, it's just the stress and the fatigue." I whispered.
After this other incident, I drove to my home constantly looking behind through the rear view mirror because I somehow expected to see that silhouette sitting in the back seat. Once home, I wasted no time to prepare a warm bath along with a bottle of wine and a bowl full of red grapes. Nothing better than some soft and slow music to relax. Therefore, I knew that a song from my favorite singer would be suitable. Under the enchanting melody of her best track, I plunged myself in the warm and soapy water, embracing the comfort it quickly brought to me. Each grape tasted sweeter than the previous one, and I found myself calm and contained again, reflecting on a few details about the patients, especially Jayna. To completely escape work, I called Kevin on his phone but only reached his voice-mail box.
"The last one." I said to myself as I reached for the remaining grape in the crystal bowl. As I directed the little fruit towards my lips, I glimpsed something at the window just centimeters away from me and widened my eyes to the terrifying view of a shadow standing on the other side of it. I struggled, flailing my arms in an effort to get out of the bathtub and distance myself from the shadow. In sheer panic and fear, I slipped and fell on the floor when I succeeded to get out of the container.
I woke up and immediately looked at the window. There was nobody. The water was then cold and the bowl of grapes was empty. I did not even know at what moment I fell asleep and fortunately, the terrifying occurrence was a nightmare. After calmly getting out of the bathtub and drying up, I prepared to get my beauty rest. The main thing I remember from that night is the fact that I refused to sleep near an opening. After all, most of the victims were found looking at their windows for a reason and I just had that horrible nightmare. Therefore, I dragged my bed to the middle of the room and used folded heavy bed sheets to cover all the windows. I know it was a really dumb thing to do, and I also thought the same, but at that point, I had to feel safe. It took me at least forty minutes to fall back to sleep after that, and I finally succeeded at three o'clock.
The next morning, I woke up and went through my usual routine. First, pop music, resonating in the whole house through the speakers. Second, the hot shower while I sing along to a song of my favorite artist and finally the solemn choice of the day's dress up. Arrieta appeared at the front door at the moment I opened it to leave. We hugged each other and shared greetings before I left for work, but not without a little complaint about one of my furniture being a little bit dusty.
Of course, I also sang along the road while I drove. It somehow always felt good to shine in the middle of other motorists, that almost always drove to work with a moderate or tense mood. Each of them could see how I looked happy with my job and life even though I myself considered it not to be enough. Close to the main gate of the hospital, as I entered the outside parking, my joy vanished when I recognized the Coroner's and the Lead Epidemiologist's respective vehicles parked, knowing that their presence generally does not predict anything good. "Dammit, not today." I whispered. I quickly parked and went inside the building, where I met the cheerful and lively woman I always thought to be my best friend. At least she was before that terrible thing happened to me. "Hey Judith! Hey, how you doing girl?"
"Hi Deann. You okay?" she answered with a freezing coldness I never imagined she could be in.
I chuckled, a little bit surprised by her demeanor. "What? What's that? Are you sick? You seem—you look—"
"Look, uh—I think you should come with me, come on."
"What? What's going on?"
"Just—follow me, please."
"What?" I said and chuckled again, still unsure about what I was going to find out.
We went to the meeting room. There, Vera Delarez, the Lead Epidemiologist in charge of our entire group at the laboratory, along with all the other members of the group were seated. By the looks on their faces, they seemed to wait for me to arrive so that they can announce something terrible to me.
"Good morning Doctor Shelter. Please have a seat." the Lead Epidemiologist said to me in her usual calm tone.
"Good morning everyone." I greeted as I sat but nobody replied.
"Well, Doctor Shelter. We don't have a lot of time and quick action has to be taken from now on considering the issue." Doctor Delarez said.
"Miss Jayna Toranovic is deceased, Doctor Shelter. She died during the night, after your service." Doctor Delarez added.
"What? Jay—Jayna? What happened I—"
"Like I said Doctor Shelter, we're running out of time and we need a report from you in the next hours. The Outbreak Coordinator and the Officials are already aware of the loss of the patient. Do you understand what I mean, Doctor Shelter?"
"What? I—I didn't, she just died—" I said, standing up, breathing heavily and shaking.
"Doctor Shelter. Please calm down." Judith quietly said.
"I understand that it's quite unsettling for you. We all understand your attachment to the patient but we need to have more details about what happened and fast. The Doctor on duty last night has already done his part concerning that. He mentioned some devices left in a quite defective state. He said that the alarm didn't activate when the patient's state deteriorated and was surprised to find her dead when he went to check on her. We need your version of the facts and a report as soon as possible." the second in charge said, looking at me with his piercing eyes.
"What? I—I have nothing to do with th—"
"We know about your competency Doctor Shelter. Be reassured. But we need a report." Delarez interrupted before we all stayed silent for a moment.
"May—may I see her?"
"Oh, come on Doctor Shelter you know it won't be possible to see the body. Not now." Delarez said, rolling her eyes.
"Deann please. This is very serious, we really need you to get a hold of yourself." Judith said.
"Doctor Shelter! Doctor Shelter!" I heard Doctor Delarez calling after me as I left the room, unable to bear the pain.
"Deann! Hey! Deann wait! Wait!" Judith called, running to catch up with me.
"What is it Judith?"
"Hey. I know it's hard, particularly for you, but it's hard for each and every one of us. We need anything, any info about what happened."
"Judith, I—I don't know but, I saw it in her eyes she was afraid and, there were devices going crazy and that—no I can't. I can't right now!" I said before walking away from her in tears, not caring about Judith calling after me.
Guilt accompanied me from the moment I left the meeting room. I hurried to catch the elevator and once inside, I cried and thought about Jayna's look when I left her after the tests. The so palpable terror in her eyes, the shadow at the window, the malfunctioning devices and the silhouette in the parking. Maybe, just maybe if I had not left her or at least called for the security or did not hang up on the 911 operator, Jayna would still be alive.
Such a level of stress commanded me to leave for the only place I could go. It was still quite early in the morning and even though his house was far from the laboratory, I absolutely had to see Kevin. For some reason, I chose not to call before I arrived at his house and the decision turned out to be one of the wisest I ever took in my life.
Driving slower once I arrived in the street he lived at, I could not be prepared for the surprise before my very eyes. Bare-chested, he stood on his porch and had his muscular arms around her waist, and they were tenderly kissing each other while I stopped my car right in front of the walking path leading to the front door of his house. The goodbye kiss seemed to last an eternity for me and following that, they exchanged some words then the lady happily started walking to her car. At that moment of course, as he watched her leave, they both displayed a surprised look when they saw me staring at him from my car. Without wanting to see more of the disgusting spectacle, I drove off as fast as I could.
On my way home, as if it was not enough, the sad piano music I heard playing yesterday on Jayna's radio mysteriously started on my car's. My heart almost exploded when I heard it, but the surprise it brought to me rapidly left its place to anger, and I almost crushed the car radio while violently trying to switch it off. The mixing of emotions made me speed up along the road so fast that I almost got arrested, and I believe it would have happened if I did not know the officer who pulled me up.
At the moment I arrived, I completely ignored Arrieta who saw my tears and bombarded me with questions about the reasons of my sorrow, as well as the multiple missed calls from Kevin and Judith. Grabbing a bottle of wine and a bowl of black grapes, I locked myself in my bedroom. I covered the windows again with the bed sheets that Arrieta certainly removed while cleaning, and thus plunged myself in darkness. The anger subsided and the sadness alone was left to rule my soul. I was completely destroyed.
Heavily drinking, it took me no time to get drunk and fall asleep. That day, I had my first dream about the man in the hospital. I saw myself enter that very old elevator and descend to the deserted and empty underground. I then walked in the direction of a patient room which door was labeled L -1 : R 14. Inside, I found him in the dark, dressed in a dirty and torn up hospital gown, lied down and immobile in his hospital bed surrounded by still functioning old medical devices on both sides. A dusty phonograph played a piece of melancholic classical piano music which happened to be the exact same sad song that was mysteriously played in Jayna's room and on my car radio. The phonograph stopped at some point before restarting the music at the beginning several times, and at each time it stopped, I could hear the man's painful breathing.
The symbol on his blanket attracted my attention; a hexagon in which there was a six-pointed star, and in the center of the star itself there was a medical cross. As an alumnus of a medicine faculty, I could easily identify it to be the logo of the Hexagon Hospital. It was built in the middle of the eighteenth century and was destroyed in 1959. His face was hidden in the dark, and the moment I made a step in his direction to uncover his identity, the whole building suddenly collapsed, crushing both of us. At the same time, I woke up to Arrieta's knocking on the door.
"Miss Deann please. I know life's difficult sometimes but it's really in these moments that you need to open up. Please Miss Deann, open the door por favor."
Despite Arrieta's insistence, I was resolute not to answer anything to her and not care about the meal she left at my bedroom's door. Even when she announced her departure around seven in the evening, I kept silence, locked inside my bedroom. She should have left earlier to fetch her daughter at a friend's house, but I guessed that she was really worried about me. I kept on drinking and the wine started to take effect again half an hour after she left, and sleeping or fainting appealed to me as the perfect getaway to escape all the pain. Therefore, I abandoned myself to Morpheus's arms once again.
With the windows covered, I felt safe enough to sleep. Little did I know that what is supernatural cannot be stopped by walls and doors, or anything material like bed sheets. I wished it could be another nightmare just like the one I had the day before, and as to extend my pain in the already hellish day, I saw it as soon as I suddenly woke up from my slumber. The shadow stood next to my bed. A dark mass with a human form dressed in a hospital gown. I wish I could jump and run to the door, but I could not move, not even blink nor say anything nor make any sound. I was completely petrified.
Less than one minute had elapsed when the shadow transformed itself into me. A macabre version of myself with sunken eyes, dry lips, and very pale skin so dry that it seemed to have cracks on it. The terrifying doppelganger was immobile, staring at me with a look of hatred I will never be able to imitate.
"Miss Deann! Miss Deann it's me, Arrieta. Miss Deann! Please answer me!" Arrieta said behind the door with concern in her voice, back in the house just thirty minutes after she left.
At the instant I heard her, I felt an unbearable pain starting at my toes, then progressing to the whole feet, then to my calves. It felt like my nerves and tissues were being pulled then peeled off with a very sharp object like a scalpel. I know it sounds like a very doctor-like description but it is the best way I can explain it.
"Miss Deann! I don't know if you're hurt but I can't just let you in there like that, I'm very worried. Pardon me if I insist but since you don't want to open I'm going to force the door."
The pain progressed and reached my knees. I wanted to scream so loud, not to call for help but at least to scream in pain, and the more it progressed, the more my evil doppelganger intensified its hatred look. Its pupils started to glow in the dark with a yellowish color, and its hair started to grow longer as the pain slowly made its way towards my hips. I heard the door handle shake as Arrieta desperately tried to enter the room.
"¡Señor por favor! Please I hope you—didn't hurt yourself Miss Deann—I'm going to—open the door—just hold on!" Arrieta said while banging on the door repeatedly.
I started to feel the pain at my fingers as the eyes of the doppelganger completely turned to pitch black. Cracks appeared almost everywhere on its skin and I could even hear the sounds they made each time they formed. The aging of the evil entity fastened and its then very long hair turned to gray. I was convinced that if the pain reached my chest, it would affect my heart and I would instantly die. Although Arrieta was still struggling with the door, I had already given up at that point.
Suddenly, I saw the light switch on and the entity rapidly turned into a black smoke then vanished. I immediately pushed a scream and tried to jump out of the bed but my legs were pale and not moving, while my hands were constantly shaking. Even though I did not hear her succeed, Arrieta had opened the door and had switched the light on. Upon seeing me, she ran in my direction and hugged me for comfort.
"It was—it was there Arrieta—it was there and—it tried to kill me, oh no Jayna no." I hysterically said with tears in my eyes.
"What? What was there? It's okay Miss Deann. It's okay calm down. Oh, I was so afraid, I thought you locked and hurt yourself. It's finished now you'll be—"
"Arrieta my legs. I don't feel my legs Arrieta. I don't know—what—"
"What happened? What happened to your legs?" she said, looking at my legs then at me, visibly concerned.
"I can't move them, I can't feel them at all! Oh no! Oh no no it's happening to me, the disease, it's—it's happening to me Arrieta! And my hands!" I said, sobbing.
"Don't worry we'll find something, we'll find a solution soon Miss Deann. I'll call help." Arrieta said, hugging me again.
For the next ten minutes at least, I kept on crying. She stayed there all along with me, comforting me to the best she could, till we heard the sirens of the rescue. She knew that she did something good for me that night, but she never realized how important and crucial her attention and concerns about me had been a life savior. I never revealed it to her, but after I told the story to Arrieta and her lovely daughter, she deserved to hear it from my mouth.
"Yes Arrieta. That night, you just saved my life. There's nothing I can do to repay that debt. Thank you Arrieta. Thank you."
"Miss Deann." she said with a tender voice and tears in her eyes.
Sofía looked at her mother with a little smile and a lot of admiration. When I saw it, I also smiled for a moment, but my positive emotion quickly vanished when I remembered that the sweet little girl could be in serious danger and could go through what I have been through myself since we had the same nightmare about the same strange man.
Following the intervention of the rescue at my house, I faced the first steps of my hellish downfall. It was quickly reported that I was affected by the disease and I soon faced my colleagues from the Epidemiologist team at the Public Health Laboratory. I tried. Just like with the Police, I really tried to say it best and use the most convincing words to explain to them what I saw the night Jayna died, as well as how I lived my attack by the mysterious entity. The only reward I almost earned from that attempt was a one-way ticket to an asylum. I successfully avoided that by modifying my story in the best way possible and refused to be examined by my colleagues just like the other patients, not able to stand to be on the other side of the glass. As a result of all that, the team members, including Judith, turned their backs on me.
Kevin tried to reconnect with me and even came to my house armed with some prince charming set. You know, the bottle of wine, the bouquet of roses with the small cute card inside and you name it. However, as soon as he saw that I was one of the victims of the new disease, he just made up his mind, apologized and left to never come back in my life again. It hurt me more than losing my dream job since I cannot use my constantly trembling hands. All I can do now is praying for the discovery of a cure.
Despite my hope, I myself always think that the answer to the whole mystery and the discovery of a cure to the disease does not lie in the hands of medicine. The illness has been named 'Medusa Paralysis' because of the Greek goddess that turns into a stone statue whoever gaze upon her face, and it soon spread to other cities and continents. As for my own way to prevent any return of the nightmarish entity, I never let myself be in the dark anymore, whatever my mood, day and night. It seems to be the wisest thing to do since it never struck anyone during daylight, and I saw it vanish that night when Arrieta switched the light on.
The nightmares about the man in the hospital still haunt me and I have them each and every time I sleep. Because of the growing fear he inspires me each time I dream of him, I named him the evil patient. I do not know if he was abandoned there and actually died crushed by debris the day Hexagon Hospital was destroyed, but I strongly believe that he is responsible for the Medusa Paralysis outbreak. Somehow, I think that he is born with that condition, and I also feel the deep anger, hatred, and grudge he holds on people in general. He does not stand anybody who looks down on him or even pities him. But I still feel sorry for him anyway and somehow understands his resentment though I absolutely do not support it. Like everybody else, he is just filled with the desire to live and to be free.
When I thought about the victims, I noticed that each one of them was either depressed or unsatisfied with something or their whole lives overall just like me. Among them, one man and another woman were both unfaithful to their respective partners, one lady was always complaining about her looks and wanting a perfect body, one single father always found the silliest reasons to be away from his child so he could party, one lady was lazy and preferred drug consumption over everything, and many more like that. He cannot stand such people he finds ungrateful and unworthy of the gift and faculty to live. Therefore, he plunges them in the same condition like his, before finishing them off after some time.
I myself, still have to come to terms with my condition and the new life that it imposes. Why should not I strive to live and be happy? I keep on looking back at my previous life and realize that I have been an idiot for not being fully happy at that time. There are people in worst conditions way much happier than me. I still can live. I still can smile. Problems are always there, they just change forms and scales. You see, I understood that the only way to happiness is avoiding complaints, any forms of depression and just live, by any means necessary. Strive to catch any moment of happiness or anything that can make you smile. If you cannot do that, at least, survive the evil patient, and do whatever is in your power so that he does not target you. And remember, do not switch the light off at night.