November 18, 198X
Rex was put in solitary confinement three days after Randy’s murder, despite the alibi Ernie had provided. It was likely for the best. Rex was sullen and prone to angered outbursts after the incident. He refused to answer any questions and when Dr. Thomas asked about Emmet he shoved the table over and told her to go to hell.
She didn’t want to do the interview either, she confided with me.
“I’m not law enforcement or into psychology. I know the mechanics of the brain, not the process, if that makes any sense.” Lois flicked the bangs from her eyes and shook her head as she poured herself another glass. “Rex hates me anyway.”
“Rex seems to hate all authority figures,” I pointed out. Not that I interacted with the boy much but I did see the chip in his shoulder. “Who do you think he was actually talking so? I went through the staff list twice- there’s no Emmet.”
Lois shrugged. “Beats me. Ernie is partially deaf though, he might have just misheard. It is a little strange to have a private interview though. Maybe the doctor’s taken a shine to the kid.”
I was about to respond when the lights went out.
The room was plunged into complete darkness. Being underground with no windows is the most suffocating of sensations. There’s no window to push open, no outdoors you can walk out into. It could probably drive someone insane.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake!”
I heard Lois stand, she bumped into the table and cursed again. I heard my wine glass slosh but it didn’t tip. “Where’s the flashlight? I can’t see a thing!” She complained.
“Well, neither can I,” I teased as I stood and slowly made my way around the room, groping around blindly. I grabbed hold of Lois’ shoulder and gasped. “Oh, sorry, just trying to find the light,” I apologized.
“What are you talking about? I’m on the other side of the room.”
I froze. I reached out again, and I grabbed onto someone’s hand. A very small, ice cold hand.
The lights went on as I screamed. Chloe screamed too, looking around wildly. “Where’s Graham?! How did I get here?!” She cried out.
I rested a hand on my chest, feeling my heart race. The eldest daughter of Dr. Lewis. That was it. Christ, I’d nearly fainted. “It’s all right, Chloe, we’re in Dr. Thomas’ room. Did you walk around in the dark?” I asked, brushing the hair from her eyes. She was still chilly to the touch, like she’d walked around outside in the snow.
Chloe sniffled before she nodded, wrapping her arms around herself defensively. “G… Graham and I were playing hide and seek while Father Carter reads the Bible with Scotty. He’s been having nightmares and wetting the bed. I think the studies are frightening him.” She looked around the room. “When the halls went dark, I was scared, but I heard Emmet’s voice.”
It was like my stomach dropped into my feet. Chloe continued on. “I knew if I followed the sound of Emmet’s voice, I could find my way back to my room. He’s always there, at least, I feel he is. Unless Father is, he doesn’t like father. Where’s Graham? I want to go back to my room, please!”
I swallowed before I smiled nervously. “I’ll take you back to your room, Graham’s likely in there already waiting for you. It’s too late to be playing games anyway.” I set a hand on Chloe’s shoulder and guided her from the room.
We nearly bumped into Hugo, who looked absolutely baffled. “Oh, there you are! Dr. Barbara! I wondered where you’d gone. Bloody power went out again, isn’t that hilarious?” He said, as if it was a trivial matter.
Chloe smiled and waved. “Hello! Hugo, have you seen Graham? We’re playing hide and seek!” She said.
Hugo squatted down a bit, a huge grin spreading across his face. “Well I haven’t, but I’ll keep an eye out for him! You just go on to bed, missie, it’s time for you to sleep! Otherwise Mr. Boogeyman’s gonna find yooouuuu…” Hugo’s fingers mocked claws and he growled. Chloe squealed before racing off down the hall, Hugo chasing after her.
I shook my head before following the pair.
We turned into the bedroom where Father Carter was tucking Scotty into bed. He turned around and nearly jumped out of his skin at the sight of us. “Chloe! Where’s Graham? I thought you two were playing together,” He said, looking around as if he expected to see Graham hiding behind either me or Hugo.
Hugo shrugged. “They’re playing hide and seek, mate, and Chloe didn’t find him in time for bed. Don’t worry, I know all the hiding spots. I’ll find the little bugger.” He bent down to Chloe’s level again and poked her nose. “And you go get in your nightie and get into bed! Remember, the boogeyman!” Claw hands and Chloe shrieked before she dashed off to the bathroom.
I’ll keep an eye on these two, you go find Graham,” Father Carter said.
I nodded. “All right Father. We’ll be back with him soon.”
Hugo and I probably walked in silence for a minute before he piped up.
“So, you’re wearing my cross still.”
I’d almost forgotten about it, but the chain tugged at my neck at that moment. “It’s not too gaudy, I rather like it,” I said, as if that made a good excuse.
Hugo chuckled. “Part of the reason I chose that one to give to you. I got probably over a hundred in my closet, not counting these beauties.” He gripped the chains and raised the several holy symbols to eye level. “Do you know I probably have a cross from every Christian dominated country in the world?”
“I didn’t. That’s rather impressive.” A collection like that was likely expensive.
Hugo looked pleased. “Hey, that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said t’ me! I have other artifacts too, from other religions. Not just Christians have demons you know. I’ve talked with all sorts of people from all walks of life, it’s why I’m a bit of an expert, I suppose. That and firsthand experience,” He chattered.
I chose then to interrupt. “Speaking of firsthand experience. You wouldn’t have happened to mention Emmet to the children? Or members of the B-2 group?” I asked.
Hugo wrinkled his nose. “What? No, no of course not. I don’t even talk with group B-2, I like B-3 better. They might be insane but they’re much more tolerable.”
“I have to disagree- Ernie’s quite pleasant to be around.”
Hugo laughed before the power cut out again.
I cursed under my breath before Hugo clicked on a flashlight. He flashed it under his chin, turning his features wicked. “Boo, time for the ghosty stories!” He teased.
I snorted. “You’re hilarious. Where do you think Graham is, we aren’t out here just-“
At that moment, the flashlight went dead and two hands wrapped around my neck.
My air was entirely cut off, I gasped in desperation and clawed at my attacker, but all I felt was darkness and the grip tightening. My throat was being crushed under the force. My mouth was pried open before three fingers jammed their way inside. The fingernails cut my gums and the roof of my mouth and still dived deeper, as if trying to rip out my tongue.
As suddenly as it began, it ended. I found myself on the floor, wheezing and trying to get a good breath in my lungs. The lights were back on, but everything was still blurry.
Hugo was kneeling above me, his face torn in shock. “Dr. Moore? Dr. Moore! Oh god, are you okay?!” His hand rested on my shoulder, I felt his metal rings press against me.
The fingers in my mouth didn’t have rings.
I barely managed to nod. I couldn’t speak.
“Right, love, let’s get you to the infirmary, get you patched up there.”
I tried to ask ‘what about Graham’ but all that came out with an airy hiss. Hugo shushed me and wiped the blood from my lips. “No, shh, shh, it’s all right. We’ll find the lil scamp later, he’s probably hiding in the kitchen snitching a bite to eat.”
I really had no option to argue.