Thursday, October 12, 2017

Time for a Short Story. Check out Chooser of the Slain in Prime Peek #1

Something new from the World of the Federal Witch. 

Here's a small taste of things to come. 


 “Let me go! Let me go!” The man looked to be burned over half his body but the scars while still heavily inflamed were old and mostly healed. The psych ward was full and he was considered overflow.

“I’m sorry corporal, I can’t do that. Those are there for the safety of both you and the rest of the patients. Do you remember why you’re here?” I glanced down at the notes.

“No. Maybe.” He stopped trying to pull free and glared at me.

“Will you tell me?”

He paused and looked away. His room didn’t have a window but he stared at the wall like it had one. “I had a fight with Margie, my wife.”

“Do you remember what it was about?”

“Yes. She threw away my things.” He said it as almost a growl.

“Did she have a reason to do that?” I made a note on his file. According to the board he was previously non communicative.

“It was my war stuff. She didn’t have the right! That stuff is there is hell me remember those I lost.” The former corporal barked the words at me.

“I see. You do know the war has been over for a long time, right?” And it had been. What is being called the Demon War by historians was over and done for thirty years now.

“Not for me. I relieve the attack every. Single. Day. All I can see is my squad dying in fire. How I survived is the question I keep asking myself every day. Margie had no right to do what she did! I use that stuff to remember what my men looked like.” Essen hung his head, closing his eyes.

“Did you tell Dr Sirius that story? He can help you if you do.” I flipped the page of his records to check for myself.

“Doctors. They don’t know what’s really wrong. You had to be there when the Demons charged the line to truly understand what I feel. Do you understand me?”

“I don’t have that experience, sorry. I can’t undo the bonds until the doctor signs off on it.” Essen opened his mouth to shout at me and I shut him down.

“But. I will make note of what you told me here and pass it along to him. Just so you know, Doctor Sirius is a veteran like yourself. He has a picture on his office wall of his National Guard unit. According to him they got caught up in the San Joaquin evacuation and were pinned down. You and he might have had similar experiences back then.” I pointed my finger at Essen.

“Interesting.” Essen closed his mouth and returned his gaze toward the walls for just a moment. Part of me for just a moment wondered what he was really seeing.

“Now. Are you going to calm down and wait for the doctor? It’s late but he should be making his rounds early tomorrow. Someone might have mentioned that Memorial Day is coming up. I promise I’ll bring his attention to you. OK?”

Essen nodded. “I’ll be good. It’s just that… All I can see is the flames and my men’s bodies twisting in the heart of the fire. You really have no idea. But I’ll talk to the doc. Thank you.” 

“Good. Try and get some rest.” Setting the file down I filled in the progress notes about the conversation and made a recommendation that the doctor speak to Essen as soon as possible. Looked back at the former corporal I could see he had fallen asleep. Sometimes they only wanted to talk.

As I predicted, the moment I left twenty-five the other room started calling on me. The rest of my shift was filled with hand holding, medical alerts, and one very sad code blue. Too many of those that served our country with honor were dying of the effects of a war that no one could ever believe would happen. It was easy to believe that the Gods themselves had given up on humanity.

A cold hand on the back of my neck gave me shivers and caused me to blot upright in my desk chair. “I’m awake!”

Laughing, Doctor Charles Norton removed his hand and spoke to me. “That is a unique way of catching up on paperwork, Gen. I’ll have to try it.”

“Funny. We were a bit short last night. Christine pulled a no-show on us again. You are going to have to reprimand her this time, Doctor Norton. She won’t listen to me anymore.” Turning my chair I stared up at the tall doctor.

Norton ran his hand over his hair like he was grooming himself. “We’re so short handed on night shift. I’ve got a couple of applicants. Let me do a few interviews and see what I can do. The hospital just can’t afford to get rid of trained personnel right now. You know that, Gen.”

“I do but I have to try.” The paperwork still loomed in front of me. “I’ll work on this tonight and get caught up. It’s a holiday so we shouldn’t get too many new patients. At least not on the Demon wing. Is that OK with you, sir?”

“Charles. I keep telling you to call me Charles, Gen. You’re an RN not a candy striper.”The tall doctor pointed out.

I turned away from him and mumbled under my breath. “They make more money.”

“I’m sorry. Did you say something?” Doctor Norton tapped me on my shoulder.

“Just clearing my throat. Have a good shift. My Thor protect and keep you.” Pulling out a key I grabbed my purse from the desk drawer.

“Do you really believe all that? Thor and Odin? I never understood that about you.”

“Faith is something personal. There is no crime in believing in a higher power especially one that has demonstrated it’s existence. You only have to ask the men back on the fourth floor. It gives me a cushion against the darkness. Have a nice day.” The Doctor was a one of the good ones but he could be like a bulldog sometimes.

He scratched his head and stared at me for a moment. Then the doctor nodded. “I understand. Have a good rest. Before I forget, there is a special patient coming in tonight. It isn’t listed on the delivery schedule but expect the bus sometime after midnight. The new patient will be reporting to your floor and Doctor Sirius.”

Something sounded off about that. “Why the secrecy? Who’s the patient?”

Doctor Norton stepped closer to me. “Floyd Kraven.”

I nearly dropped my purse in surprise. “Kraven? Why are the bringing the Eris killer here? I thought they had him in central lockup under military guard?”

Norton ran his hand through his hair again. “You remember the case then. Turns our Kraven’s a veteran. He was in the California National guard in 1945. Just joined actually. He and his unit got trapped in Santa Barbara.”

“He should be dead, then. I’m surprised the Demons didn’t eat him.” Floyd Kraven was one of the most notorious serial killers in modern American history. His body count was over fifty, mostly young college co-eds. His military service was never mentioned during his recent trial.

“No accounting for taste. He’ll have guards with him but try to keep everyone away from him. Including the press. I’ve assigned him to the high security room. You will have to give him his evening meds but try to keep other interactions with him to a minimum. OK?”

Doctor Norton flinched away from me. “No. It’s not OK. Why is he here? Doesn’t the prison have a medical unit? Just having him here puts all of our regular patients at risk.”

 “You know how it works, Gen. I do what the hospital administrator tells me to do. Do you really think I want him here? According to legal Kraven’s lawyers are claiming he was under demonic control when he killed those girls. This hospital is the only facility that deals with that sort of ‘illness.’ It is what it is. We just have to deal with it. Night shift won’t have to do much, I promise. Go home. Get some rest.” Norton turned and walked away.

I barely acknowledged my co-workers as I left the building. By the Gods of earth and sky how could they do this to us? If. If he was telling the truth that he was under demonic control, Kraven’s very presence could set the treatment back of every man and woman on my floor if they had any interaction with him. Damn demons. As far as I could tell there hasn’t been a public sighting of one since the 1950s. The only reason I know of that one was we got a few of the patients here at the hospital. Death Valley, California used to have a small Indian population. Apparently they preserved several of the smaller demonic entities as pets after the main incursion in forty-five. It was only after the disappearance of half the tribe that they notified the government. No one has officially seen a demon since then.

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