Glyph was lying down, but he wasn’t sure where. He slowly opened his eyes, but could see nothing. He could barely feel his arms, so he tried lifting them. They responded sluggishly, and almost immediately hit a metal ceiling. He crossed his arms, and his flesh was clammy, and cold. He spread his legs, and found metal walls.
‘I’m in… a coffin? A metal coffin?’ He thought, but his mind was too fuzzy to figure out why. A word drifted up into his consciousness.
‘Hypothermia… I’m freezing to death.’ Glyph heard himself thinking.
‘I’m still breathing. I can hear it. What was it…’ He struggled to pull up an old memory from the darkness.
‘Breathing. That survival show on TV.’ A narrator’s voice followed up in his mind. ‘Slow deep breaths warm you up. Breathe slowly in for eight seconds, hold it for 8 seconds, breath out for eight seconds, and hold it exhaled for eight seconds.’
It sounded like a lot of work to Glyph. ‘Easier just to lay here.’ Another memory surfaced, a man in a robe being burnt to a cinder in front of him.
“Osirus…” Glyph whispered the name through barely parted lips.
Anger. Glyph took a deep, slow breath, and held it. After a while, he let it out. He took another deep breath, and another. As the fog cleared from his brain, he started counting each part of his breathing, from one to eight.
Three more deep breaths later, and Glyph’s teeth started chattering. He reached his arm over the top of his head, and found a wall above it. He pushed the wall with the arm, sliding his body towards his feet until they hit another wall.
‘It’s so damn cold in here. Like a refrigerator.’ And suddenly Glyph knew where he was. On a slab. In the morgue. He tried to remember if corpses were stored feet-first or head-first in the refrigerated storage room, but couldn’t. He started kicking the wall below his feet, alternating with banging the wall above his head with his arm.
Kick, kick, kick. Bang, bang, bang. Repeat. At least it was warming him up a bit, though his body was still mostly numb. Light poured in from above his head, and his body slid out into a brightly lit room. Glyph moved his arm over his eyes.
“Son of a bitch!” He heard a male voice yell, followed by “Code blue in the Morgue. Code blue in the Morgue!”
As his eyes adjusted, he looked around and saw a man in green hospital scrubs with a phone in his hand. The man stared at Glyph like he’d seen a ghost. Glyph focused in on his eyes, just to be sure.
“Code blue in the Morgue.” He heard a female voice say over some speakers in the ceiling. Glyph tried to say ‘cold’, but couldn’t get his throat to make a sound. He tried again.
“C-cold.” He wheezed.
“I’m Rick, the orderly. Help’s on the way.” The man in the scrubs told him, while pulling several sheets from a shelf. “They’re never going to believe this one. You were so dead.” He told Glyph as he shook open the sheets and covered his body in several layers. Glyph would have been thankful if he still wasn’t lying naked on a metal tray.
“Death-like trance. One b-b-beat per minute.” Glyph lied in a half-hearted attempt at explaining his re-animation.
A man in a white jacket burst through the door on the other side of the room, towing a cart full of equipment. The orderly grabbed the chart from the top of the tray and handed it to the man in the white jacket, then took a small scissor from his pocket and snipped a tag from Glyph’s toe.
“He was in a death-like trance. His heartbeat was one per minute.” The orderly told the man in the white jacket, who was checking Glyph’s neck. He said something about ‘core body temperature’, and placed a mask over Glyph’s mouth and nose. His vision shrank to a pinhole, and everything went dark.
Glyph was lying down. Again. He opened his eyes expecting to be in a refrigerated metal box, but found himself in a hospital room. He was hooked to several monitors, and had an IV attached to his arm. A large heat lamp glowed from a frame above him. No one else was around, so he pulled out the IV needle and started unhooking the sensors; an alarm on the machine went off.
“Damn! Guess they know I’m awake.” Glyph swore.
He slid off the bed, grabbed the IV bag, and ripped the tube out of the base of it. Discarding the bag, he jumped behind the door, and looped the tubing around each hand. The door opened quickly and a nurse ran in. She stopped a few feet away from the bed, and gawked in astonishment. Glyph pushed the door closed with the weight of his body, as he lunged forward. Wrapping the tube around her neck, he cinched it tight, cutting off her airway. Pulling her backwards, toward the floor, he looked into her eyes; they were normal.
“I’ll take this off, if you promise not to scream.” Glyph spoke clearly into her ear.
She nodded, and Glyph began to loosen his hold. Spinning her around, he held his finger up to his lips, and let her go. The woman scooted back several feet and rubbed her neck.
“I’m only going to say this once, so listen carefully. If you make a sound, I’ll kill you before help arrives so don’t even think about it. In a few minutes, all hell is going to break loose, and people are going to try to kill me. You may not believe me now, but you will. You’ll know them because their eyes will be solid black. Look for it.” Glyph informed the nurse as he kicked the wheels off the IV stand and flipped it around like a staff. Reaching behind the machine, he ripped the plugs out of the wall, silencing the monitor alarm. “What I need to know is, can I count on you not to do anything stupid in the meantime?”
The nurse just stared at him. It was obvious to Glyph she thought he was a lunatic, but she hadn’t screamed yet, so he gave her the benefit of the doubt.
“Where are my clothes?” He demanded.
The nurse pointed to a cabinet on the wall behind him. Keeping one eye on the woman, he backed over and found some staff clothing. The thought of killing people while wearing a hospital gown just didn’t appeal to him for some reason. He quickly pulled on some green baggy pants and a smock. ‘Better than nothing.’ he thought. Glyph checked his watch, only to find it was no longer there.
“Give me your watch.” Glyph said, noticing the one on the woman’s wrist.
She reached up, undid the clasp, and tossed it to him. ‘Twelve minutes.’ He thought. ‘Could it have only been that long?’ He wondered and placed the time piece in his shirt pocket.
The door suddenly burst open to reveal a security guard, his gun drawn and his eyes black. Glyph thrust the IV pole at the weapon, turning it just as the gun fired. Rushing in on the man, Glyph tackled him to the ground as they slid out into the hall. Rolling down the arm holding the gun, Glyph pinned the guard’s hand to the ground. Glyph swung his leg up and kneed the guy hard in the face, as he pried the weapon from the man’s hand. The guard struggled harder as Glyph shifted his weight up onto his knee, driving it deep into the neck of his attacker. Glyph glanced around as the guard flopped about like a fish out of water. As he looked over his shoulder, he saw a female patient running down the hall towards him. Glyph raised the gun and shot her in the head. Her brains hit the wall, and she stumbled, her legs going limp in mid-stride. She hit the carpet face first and slid several feet with her legs in the air.
“That’s what I’m talkin’ about!” Glyph shouted in glee.
He eyed up the guard turning blue under his knee, then pounded his skull with the butt end of the pistol until it cracked. He stood up and straightened his smock. It was early morning, and luckily there weren’t a whole lot of people milling about.
A second officer jumped out of an adjoining corridor, pointing his gun at Glyph.
“Freeze!” he shouted.
Glyph turned around and stared at the man.
“Drop the weapon!” he ordered.
“Now, you know I can’t do that.” Glyph replied.
The guard looked confused “What?”
“Deep down you know, listen to what you feel.”
“Huh?” the guard said.
“I can’t put the gun down, people are trying to kill me.”
As if on cue, the elevator down the hall near the nurses’ station opened. It must have been the day shift arriving, as two orderlies and three nurses stepped into the room. One of the orderlies and one of the nurses broke into a run and headed for Glyph as the other three stood in shock at the sight in the hallway. Glyph looked back at the cop.
“You’re going to have to decide which side you’re on, real soon.” Glyph said, nodding towards the two running at him down the hall.
Glyph began to back down the hall toward the guard.
“They’re going to try to kill me. Are you going to let that happen? I need to know, and I need to know now!”
The officer still said nothing, so Glyph raised the gun and shot off two more rounds sending the two in the hall to the floor. He looked back at the guard then at the three by the door who were screaming their heads off. He saw another nurse look around the corner at the end of the hall. Sweat beaded up on his forehead as they all just stared at each other for several seconds. Glyph was suddenly getting a bad feeling about this. ‘Why so many “good” people? Why were they listening to him?’ Glyph wondered.
The elevator door opened again and five possessed people came rushing out directly at Glyph. This was about to get ugly. Glyph opened fire, dropping four of them, as he ran out of bullets. Blood was flying everywhere as the fifth man, with a cast on his left arm, tried to jump past the falling bodies. Dropping the clip to the ground, Glyph reached toward the dead guard on the floor. As he located a spare clip, a shot rang out. Glancing up, Glyph saw the approaching assailant’s head exploding in mid-stride, and felt the now-familiar sensation of warm blood splatter on his face. The attacker flew against the wall a few feet away, chunks of brain sliding onto his shoulder.
“Nice shot!” Glyph commented.
The security guard stood there, still pointing his gun at the dead body, and nodded.
“How many entrances to this floor?” Glyph shouted, as he slapped the clip into the gun and chambered the first round.
“There’s stairs back down that hall.” The nurse he had first met told him, now standing in the doorway.
“That, and the elevator. That’s it.” The guard said, breathing heavily.
Glyph walked back into his room, picked up the IV stand, and ran out past the nurse and the officer toward the stairs. He sidestepped a patient in a wheel chair who was trying to lunge at him, and reached the stairs just as the door opened. He thrust the stand end-first into a man’s gut as he stepped through the door. As he doubled over, Glyph spun the stand and cracked the man on the back of the head. Stomp-kicking the guy into the far wall, Glyph jammed the stand into the handle of the door. Walking over to the man he had just kicked, Glyph looked down at his face; the eyes were black. He heard someone pulling on the door to the stairs as he pistol-whipped the man in the face several times.
Walking back up the hall, he stepped over the cripple, who was still flailing his arms trying to get at Glyph.
“You’re a sick fuck, Drathus!” Glyph shouted, snatching up the wheel chair.
Swinging the whole apparatus over his head, Glyph crushed the man’s cranium in one blow.
Gunshots rang out down the hall, and Glyph rounded the corner to see four more evil fuckers coming at him. Stopping, Glyph took aim and blew holes in two of them, and the guard shot the other ones. The floor was becoming slick with blood.
“Make sure they’re dead!” Glyph shouted, as he made his way towards the nurses’ station and the elevator. He needed to stop that damn elevator.
The nurse who had helped him before jumped out of a door and began to tie up one of the men the guard shot, who was still alive.
“What are you doing?” Glyph asked as he stopped beside where she knelt. The nurse looked up at him with a pleading expression. “I said to kill him.”
“What difference does it make? He’s bleeding out from the bullet wound, he’ll be dead in a few minutes anyway.” The nurse replied as she struggled to tape the possessed man’s hands together.
For a second Glyph pondered putting a bullet into both their heads, but reconsidered. It would be a waste of good bullets. He cast a glance over his shoulder at the guard, who locked eyes with Glyph for a moment before he kicked another one in the windpipe.
Glyph reached the elevator as the door slid open. He shot one woman who leapt for him, but was hit by the man behind her and shoved against the main desk. The man got Glyph in a bear hug, which pinned his pistol arm to his side. The Guard fired several shots into the group pouring out of the elevator as Glyph grabbed a pen off the counter with his free hand and drove it deep into his attacker’s temple. The man went limp as another one slammed into Glyph, sending them both over the desk into the nurses’ area. Glyph pushed the man off him as they hit the ground. The possessed man spun and lunged, quickly wrapping his hands around Glyph’s throat. Glyph rolled on top of the man and whacked him in the head with his gun. Reaching up, Glyph grabbed the base of a CRT computer monitor sitting on the desk, and yanked it off onto the man’s head, flattening it like a pancake. The man’s arms went limp as an expanding pool of gore formed around the screen. Glyph stood up.
The Guard was standing over some of the bodies; the other nurses had fled. The door to the elevator was trying to close, but the body of the woman he had shot was lying across the threshold, keeping it from closing. Glyph rubbed his neck and cleared his throat a few times. He was safe for the moment.
“What’s your name?” Glyph asked the guard.
“Chuck.” He replied.
“Well Chuck, I owe you my thanks.”
The nurse walked slowly up the hall, and entered the nurses’ station.
“And what name do you go by?” Glyph asked her.
“Jen, call me Jen.” She responded, leaning up against the wall.
“Thank you, Jen.”
“What’s happening, why are they trying to kill you?” She asked him.
“They’re evil, at least on some level. The rest is a bit complicated.” Glyph responded.
Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out her watch and checked it.
“Twenty six minutes. This isn’t over by a long shot. What else you got?” He asked Chuck.
“What’re you talking about?”
“Weapons! What else do you have?”
“I got a night stick and some mace.”
“Throw me the mace.” Glyph told him.
Chuck pulled out the mace and threw it to him. Glyph tossed it to Jen.
“Grab anything you might be able to use as a weapon.” Glyph said to her. “Chuck, I need you to go back to your partner and retrieve any ammunition I missed, and grab his mace and nightstick too.”
Jen turned and bolted down the hallway. Chuck did the same in the opposite direction. It was so nice to have help. Glyph scanned the area; there was nothing of much worth, as there weren’t too many weapons in a hospital. He walked over to the elevator door, just as Chuck came back into the room.
“Here.” he said.
Glyph took the stick out of Chuck’s hand and swung it back and forth a few times.
“Hold on to the mace.” Glyph said to him.
A sudden crash down the hall made them both jump. It was followed by the sounds of footsteps, lots of them. They must have gotten through the stairway door.
“Alright Jen, let’s go!” Glyph screamed down the hallway.
Chuck pushed back the elevator door, put one foot inside, and leaned against the side frame, keeping it open. Reaching down, Glyph grabbed the body of the woman and pulled her out of the opening.
“Right now, Jen! Right now!” Glyph hollered down the hall, just as the first of about a dozen black-eyed killers swept around the corner. Several slipped on the slick wet floor, but the rest kept coming. Glyph pulled up his gun as Chuck burped off several rounds into the mass of bodies. The first three dropped and were promptly trampled by the others. Glyph shot several times, stripping off another layer of red-stained bodies, as Jen leapt from a side room and came flying down the hall. Glyph stepped into the elevator and continued to fire. As Jen dove in past Glyph, the possessed people were nearly on top of them. Chuck leapt back and the door began to close, but not before two evil guys in suits squeezed in. Chuck wrestled with the one; the other had fallen into Glyph as the two doors met. Jen reached over and slapped the buttons. The elevator started going down. Glyph’s attacker rabbit-punched him in the face. Stars lit up Glyph’s vision as he twisted his leg and knocked his attacker off balance, who then fell into Chuck and smashed him into the wall. Glyph kicked up and hit the other one in the groin; as he doubled over, Jen reached up and jammed a syringe into his backside, pumping him full of something. He turned as if to smack Jen, and then fell into the wall. Glyph jumped to his feet, snatched the guy off of Chuck and pinned him to the wall. Swinging his gun in barrel-first towards the evil fucker’s head, he pulled the trigger on impact. Letting the dead body drop to the floor, he stuffed the gun in his pants and turned back toward the one Jen had stuck.
“What was that shit?” Glyph inquired.
“Is he alive?” Glyph questioned her.
“Yes” She replied. “He’s just unconscious.”
“Good.” Glyph said and began to laugh. “Hit the emergency stop.” He ordered.
Jen jabbed at the button and the lift stopped.
Glyph stepped over to the unconscious body, and wailed on its face repeatedly; stopping only after it took on the appearance of red Jell-O.
Standing up straight, Glyph rolled his head once around clockwise, then rolled his shoulders a few times, like he was getting ready for a work out. Glyph stepped over to the control panel.
“Which floor has the least amount of people?” Glyph asked them.
“The roof, or the sub-basement.” Chuck said shakily.
“You alright dude?”
“Yeah, yeah, I think so.”
“Just stay cool, we’ll get through this.” Glyph told him, checking the time.
“Thirty seven minutes, damn. I was hoping fifty-something.”
Pushing the sub-basement button, Glyph pulled the E-stop and the elevator started to descend once more. Stepping to the back, Glyph raised his gun and pointed it directly at the crack in the door. The lift slowed to a stop, as Glyph realized they had only gone to the first floor.
“Quick, hit the close door button, now, now!” Glyph shouted, as the doors started to part. Glyph fired five more rounds into the evil hordes as they tried to claw their way in. As he shot off his last round, Chuck began to fire. The doors started to close, but stopped on one of the evil fucker’s heads, and reversed direction. Jen pushed at the button over and over, as Glyph pulled his billy club and began to smash the fingers of the people holding the door open. Then he thrust the stick into the man’s head that was in the way, and the door finally closed, and they descended toward the sub-basement.
Glyph stretched and yawned, rubbed his aching nose a little, and then steeled himself, and faced the door opening once more.
“You got anymore bullets, Chuck?”
“I got about three left.” Chuck answered
“Make sure they count.” Glyph shot back, as they slowed again to a stop, and the doors began to part.
A man in a maintenance uniform rushed in, a pipe wrench raised above his head. Chuck leapt forward and caught the man’s arm. Glyph ducked and hit him square in the ribs with the nightstick, baseball style, and relished at the sound of the breaking bones. Side stepping around their attacker, Glyph pummeled him on the back of his head and neck until he collapsed at Chuck’s feet. Turning, Glyph beat on the control panel several times until it cracked and pieces of circuit board spewed out. Then, with Chuck’s help, they kicked the corpse into the door opening, just to be certain it couldn’t be used again.
“Nobody’s going to follow us down this way.” Glyph commented as they cautiously stepped out of the elevator.
The corridor turned and Glyph peeked out into another hallway. Jen stood and waited, as Glyph and Chuck stepped out slowly.
“So far, so good.” Glyph said as they moved down the hall.
Jen suddenly let out a yell, and Glyph and Chuck turned to see another maintenance guy grab Jen from behind. She jabbed another syringe into his thigh, but the man twisted her neck grotesquely, and she fell limp to the floor. The man took two more steps and fell at Glyph’s feet. Glyph stomped the man’s head into the concrete, then fell on him, clubbing him relentlessly.
Glyph started to laugh again as he pulled himself up off the mutilated body.
“Holy shit!” Chuck said excitedly, taking several steps back from Glyph, who was now covered in blood.
Glyph glanced over at Chuck and smiled “What’s up, Chuck?”
“She’s…she’s…” Chuck stammered.
“Dead. Yeah, that sort of happens… a lot. You’ll get used to it.” Glyph interjected. He stooped to pick up the can of pepper spray she dropped, and continued on down the hall. “Besides, you already killed at least half a dozen people yourself, remember?”
“But she was one of us!” Chuck replied, trying to get a grip on himself.
“No, she was one of you, she was only part of me. I don’t like it myself, but that’s life.”
They moved silently down the hall, passing rows of doors on either side of them.
“Are there stairs coming down here?” Glyph asked.
“They’re up around this corner. Shit! There’s a service elevator too, over by the wash rooms!” Chuck replied.
They got to the corner and cautiously peeked around. No one was there, yet. He checked the watch again. Forty-six minutes.
“Where’s the washroom?” Glyph asked Chuck
“Over there.” Chuck pointed down the hall to his right. “Through those double doors.”
Glyph ran over and pushed the door open. There were several giant washing machines running, and what looked like dryers along the wall.
“C’mon.” Glyph nodded.
Chuck crossed the hall and they entered the washroom. It resembled a laundromat, only with giant machines that they couldn’t see over. They went to the left of the first set of machines. Glyph ducked around first, and was greeted by a laundry cart slamming into him at high speed. Glyph was momentarily lifted from the ground and knocked to one side, as a woman jumped onto him and scratched at his face and neck. Struggling to get her off him, Glyph raised the can of mace to within inches of her face and let it fly. She screamed and reached for her eyes, as Glyph pivoted and shoved the evil bitch into the wall. Scrambling to his feet, Glyph saw Chuck shoot three more as they rounded the corner. Glyph swung down with the nightstick, catching the howling woman’s head between his club and the wall, popping it like a grape. The sound of it echoed through the room, as gray matter, and plasma oozed out of her skull like maple syrup.
Pushing the cart aside, they headed for the back of the large room. Glyph could see the service elevator, and the doors were open. He ran towards the door to make sure it didn’t close. As he got to it, two orderlies jumped him and forced him to the ground. He bludgeoned one in the head and the orderly rolled off him; the other punched him in the ribs twice before Chuck’s stick intersected with the orderly’s head. Glyph rolled over onto the one he had hit, jammed the nightstick into his mouth, and pushed upward using the top teeth as a lever. The man’s jaw cracked, and several bottom teeth pelted Glyph in the chest. Sliding the stick across the man’s neck, he bore down with his weight until he crushed the windpipe. Glyph jumped up into the elevator and turned to see Chuck being dragged to the ground and beaten. He casually kicked the dead body of his attacker out into the room, stepped back into the elevator, and hit a button. The doors closed to the sound of Chuck’s shrieks.
Glyph sighed, and after rising up a floor or so, hit the E-stop. The lift came to a halt, and he checked Jen’s watch. ‘Fifty-five minutes’, Glyph chuckled to himself, coughed a few times and slid down the wall into a sitting position. His knee was swelling up rather quickly from the impact with the cart, and he was pretty sure he had a few broken ribs. He sat there breathing heavily for a few minutes, before he heard muffled voices coming through the door.
“C’mon, damn it! A few more minutes!” Glyph said out loud.
He checked the watch again ‘Fifty-eight minutes’.
At fifty-nine minutes the door began to shake like someone was prying it open. Reaching up, he pulled out the E-stop, and sent the car to the top floor. It began to move slowly upward, and Glyph watched the lights as they moved from floor to floor. Before reaching the top floor, he felt the sudden whoosh of air escape around him, and he smiled broadly, as darkness filled his vision.