Suggested Audio Candy:
John Carpenter Halloween II
Bed pans and soiled linen; this was the aroma which filled both nostrils as I regained consciousness. Bearing in mind I had just vacated a harem heaving with oily naked Amazonian cannibals, hell-bent on sucking my marrow dry, it appeared to be a favorable exchange of surroundings despite any pungent odor. Moreover, I was tucked up tightly in my bed sheets, in relative comfort and mercifully pain-free, so I wasn’t about to complain. However, I still hadn’t made any headway in my mission to decipher Whatever Happened to Bleeding Lotus. Having twice already proven my coolness in times of crisis; it was now time to play detective and solve this crime before any more heartbreak or sorrow. Thank heavens that I’m a genius. What do you mean you don’t believe me? Here; I have a business card to prove it. Feel free to cut yourself a slither of humble pie but not before feasting your eyes on this bad boy.
You see. 100% authentic and even watermarked. Anyhoots; back to my story. My surroundings were clinical to an extent; although the elderly chap in the next cubicle along seemed to be emitting a not-so-faint hint of week-old urine, but at least piss is sterile. His face was not discernible from my somewhat obscured vantage; any movements were labored and it appeared as though he was in severe discomfort judging by the wispy groans he was releasing in short bursts. It was also apparent that others weren’t entirely enamored with their locality, as they writhed around in discomfort, providing ominous accompanying audio with their every vague whimper. I was reasonably assured that this wasn’t a private healthcare hospital; at closer inspection paint was peeling away and there were large rotted fissures right across the walls.
I decided it was high time I surveyed the ward a little more thoroughly as I felt restless and still perilously close to harm’s reach. Historically things took a turn for the worse about now, so I remained vigilant as I slid my legs out of my bed, placing my bare feet on the cold floor. Hoisting myself upright, a fresh scent teased my nasal passage. This was most discouraging as there was nothing lily fresh about the stench which I rose into, indeed, it damn near sent me into a voluntary coma.
Flesh. Putrefied, blighted and apparently charred; not exactly the aroma my sinuses had been hopeful of, but then, I had long since given up the notion of pleasant surprise. As my posture straightened the smell appeared to dissipate. It was probably still as potent but another of my senses had now been assaulted. I had seen some rare sights over the years, and a fair few back at the harem, but nothing could ever have prepared me for this. With eyes bulging; I cast my eye over the other suffering patrons and it made my fur go cold.
My widened peepers were inadvertently guzzling in a far less pallid vista now; regimented bedsteads were populated with patients appearing to be veering dubiously towards terminal. Limbs had vacated sockets and their stumps cauterised without a hint of anesthetic. Their bloodied linen had clearly never seen laundry day and were a brownish hue. Meanwhile, the venerable gentleman closest to my coordinates was mid bleed-out, ruby red streams gushing from a sizable aperture just below his abdomen. He appeared crudely hacked open with no tender loving care and discarded without even a whiff of any bedside manner. Clearly the wound had not been treated and, furthermore, it looked fresh. That wound was the only thing in this godforsaken place which could make such a boast.
This poor bastard’s entrails were spilling off the side of his bed like fleshy spaghetti and thrashing about in what would likely be his death throes. He muttered something back in what appeared to be Hungarian but, alas, I had never visited Hungary so I took it as a request for me to prod his intestines back in. I pondered for a second as to whether or not I had the mettle to grant this old man his parting wish, but the decision was taken from my hands as he finally surrendered to his hideous injuries. As he proceeded to release his final gasp; his bowel excavated before me. I’d heard somewhere that shitting oneself was the final action of a dying man but that didn’t make it any less distressing to witness first-hand.
It was then, as I witnessed death’s cruel process for the first time in my life, that I heard vague footsteps. They were presumably emanating from the next ward along and, disparagingly, heading straight towards my coordinates. Fate exactly hadn’t been kind thus far and my skewed trajectory had placed me in peril on each occasion, so I took no chances and crouched cowering behind my cubicle curtain, where I commenced my prayer for divine intervention. How foolish; God plainly had no hand in anything taking place under this decaying roof. Something truly unholy was at work here.
I figured that I was embroiled in some kind of Nazi experiment, which concerned me as I always carry my your donor card in the event that tragedy strikes. As the steps gradually became nearer, so his ramblings gained clarity, and this confirmed his German origins. My heart instantly sank to the pit of my stomach as I knew only too well of the shit that went down in establishments such as this, that being unspeakably nasty shit! I was going to be made to suffer in a way so horrendous that no living soul would ever dare to repeat it. Any hopes of survival were beginning to look well and truly dashed and my doom all but sealed.
Nevertheless I remained muted and statuesque behind that sheet of tarpaulin, nestled behind the bedside table so as not to leave the vaguest hint of a silhouette. This guy was about to teach me the true feeling of hurt. Hurt never before contemplated and administered without the slightest bit of remorse. It was my bowel now threatening to give away my location, my pouting sphincter was losing its battle to remain airtight, and even my bladder had started to seep.
He wasn’t alone either. Three shadows fell into my line of sight and my tentative grasp of German language was enough to recognize the gist of what was being conferred. An inventory of body parts was being listed, presumably to supply the resident surgeon with instructions as to which organs were required to be transplanted. The shuffling suddenly ceased. I know precious little German but I do know that “Augen” means eyes. That could only mean me; they had designs on using my polished peepers for some depraved purpose, likely with the aim of assembling a super soldier of sorts.
I’m not entirely sure why Bleeding Lotus popped into my head at the precise moment I was at jeopardy of being harvested but it suddenly dawned on me that I no longer appeared to be in possession of the leather stool. As well as getting me into this mess in the first place, that perch had saved my ass on two occasions now and was key to my fading prospects of making it out of this hellhole in one piece.
As I aimlessly pondered the whereabouts of said stool, the curtain was suddenly yanked from around me, revealing my exact position to the three rather diabolical tyrants. One was clearly a high-ranking officer as he was dressed to kill, while the other two were wearing scrubs, both brandishing bloodied bone saws in one hand and a half-necked bottle of whiskey around in the other, presumably the closest I would come to anesthetic. Alcoholism hadn’t calmed their jittery hands and I doubt either were licensed surgeons as I’d seen their handiwork a moment ago and there was nothing precise about that.
All three appeared marginally disgruntled by my lack of bed rest and the officer earned his stripes by shouting his primary order. I had no idea what “Erfassen Sie ihn” meant but the fact that it was promptly followed by “Snell” suggested it was time to make tracks before things turned really ugly for me. Thankfully, instinct kicks in rather swiftly with two Nazi war criminals looming over you wielding a serrated blades and this afforded me use of my getaway sticks.
I was like a greyhound out of the trap but, regrettably, didn’t make it not my feet as I felt the blunt edge of both weapons make contact, rendering me unconsciousyet again. I was growing weary of this constant oblivion as every time I came around I was in an even more dire position than previously. Meanwhile, I was still no closer to sussing out Whatever Happened to Bleeding Lotus.
Truly, Clearly, Really, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2013 (Revised 2015)