“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality.”
― Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House
Confronting a cannibal is frightening enough for most people. However, being chased by that same cannibal, utterly terrifying.
Helene had continued to follow Waylan away from the cafeteria and the horrors that they had seen. She still felt the blood on her face now slowly drying and growing tighter as it crusted over. Helene dared not tell Waylan what was going on in her mind. Would he think she was crazy if she had? Would he leave her behind and run as fast as he could away from her? No, no, he wouldn't do that. He promised he would not leave her behind in this place. Her hands quickly went up and tried to remove the drying blood as it began to cause her skin to itch from the tightness of it—pieces flying off into the air as if it was no more than dust. The blood on her clothes, however, had to wait. Blood was the hardest thing to get out of fabric next to chocolate. She remembered her mother commenting on that after the incident when she was 12.
The police had asked her if she wanted the crime scene unit to try and clean the couch. "Oh no," she had heard her mother said, "throw them away. It won't come out, not completely. There will always be some stain left behind. Did you know that blood is the hardest thing to get rid of next to chocolate stains? In fabric, I mean." The officer had looked at her both understandingly and yet somewhat confused at her comment.
"Helene," Waylan's voice called to her, bringing her out of her mind. He looked at her, noticing the frightened look in her eyes. Her hands now gripped the front of her nurse's scrubs that still had bits of blood on it. Helene's eyes shut tight as she felt the sting of the headache. That shrill high pitch ringing that plagued her ears once more. Her hands were shaking, nearly tearing the fabric in her tight grip. "Helene," Waylan stated again as he gripped her hands, yanking them from her shirt. He could see that this place was taking a toll on the once spunky nurse. The one that yelled at him about calling these people crazy. Was Helene slowly going insane? Not that he would blame her if she did, this place was oozing this-this haze, if you could call it that, that just made everyone who came in here crazy. The shaking fists in Waylan's hands slowly released from the tight white-knuckled fists the had become. There was a dull ache now in her joints as she released her fingers. After a few moments, the two of them continued their walking. Waylan was now keeping a closer eye on his companion. Would his sanity start slipping with every step they took further into this place? The constant headaches were already creating problems.
Problems, always problems, why was it never easy? Waylan sighed as he found the door leading out of this area. They heard the sound of staff members shouting about locking the doors. Yet looking down, they saw a dead man handcuffed to the door. Of course, there was, Waylan thought as he kept his eyes on the dead man. But where was the key? Helene glanced about and saw the only way out was through a broken window above the other door that led into a section that seemed consumed in darkness. A shiver ran up her spine, and she felt like a frightened child again—the fear of what lay in the dark. It was the only way out, but would they find a key? Helene decided it would have to happen. Oh god, she was terrified indeed, but it had to happen if they wanted to get out of here. As she and Waylan grabbed hold of a small wobbly table, she started to feel like a mouse in a maze and continuously looking for the end where that delicious sweet cheese was waiting for her.
Waylan was the first to climb up. He insisted as he stood on the wobbly table and then grabbed hold of the window. Grunting, he pulled himself through before jumping down onto the other side. Helene was next and followed his lead. She felt small pricks of glass on her knees from the tiniest bits of glass left in the shattered out window. Dropping down, Helene felt instantly welcomed by a sense of dread as she looked out into the dark. An iron-framed patient bed lay on its side, mattress, and all. It reminded the two of a barricade, but against what? What would come barrelling out of the dark at them where they would need to hide? Helene gulped and looked to Waylan before they climbed over.
However, no matter how quiet they tried, the bed gave a slight screech against the floor. No matter how small the sound might have been during the daytime. In this dark empty abyss, it seemed to echo louder than usual. Waylan dropped close to the ground as they hid in the doorway. He craned his neck to look around. Quietly Waylan crawled along the floor as his hands kicked up bits of dust and debris. Helene stayed at the door as he looked about before his hand gestured for her to follow. Slowly, she did so as she felt the bits of stone and dust on her palms. It was so quiet she could hear her heart beating loudly in her ears. As Helene was crawling to the room where Waylan was, the sound of the saw, revving reached her ears. She stopped, unable to move as her blood ran cold, and her heart started beating faster and faster. Helene couldn't move. Why couldn't she move?!
Waylan looked up as he too heard the saw. His eyes wide in the dark as he tried to gesture to Helene for her to move faster silently. "Come on," Waylan whispered to her, almost pleading her to move. Finally, as if she snapped out of it, Helene crawled to the room where he was. They hid behind one of the desks that lay crumpled. It was the only cover they had between them and the cannibal. Waylan held her hand tightly in his as the sound of the saw drew closer and closer. Waylan then made a mistake--when he turned his head as the man entered the room. "FOOD," he shouted and charged at them. The two jumped up and ran out of the room. "Feed me! Feed me!" He called out after them as the saw continued to rev.
They were able to find a lit hall that still was surrounded by biohazard plastic. "Run, Helene! Don't stop running!" Waylan huffed behind her as he ran.
"I will eat you! I will love you as I eat you!" the deranged man screamed out behind them. Waylan pushed Helene ahead of him as the cannibal tackled him.
"Keep running!" He shouted to Helene as he kicked the cannibal in the head before getting up and running along with her. Helene continued as she heard the blood pumping in her ears. Her lung burned as she came to a room and closed the door. Then Helene ducked under the bed as the saw was getting closer. Helene clapped her hands over her mouth as she saw the light flashing under the door as the man walked by. Her eyes were wide as she tried to stay quiet.
"Where are you..." he growled and huffed. "I can smell that sweet, succulent woman flesh. Come out. Come out and let me love you." His voice was harsh and deranged. "I'll tear you open. I will eat you. I will eat your womb. How it will feed me."
Helene felt her stomach wretch as she tried not to vomit. His words were sickening and disgusting. She waited and waited. Finally, the sound of the saw was gone. Quietly she crept out of the room and saw that the man and Waylan were both gone. Had the cannibal gotten him? She felt cold inside as she got up and made a break for it. She had to get away and fast. Yet, as she turned around a corner, a hand reached out, grabbing hold of her hair. She screamed, and she saw the bloodied face of the cannibal. "I have you now." He licked her face as she made squeamish sounds. "Now, I will eat you. But where to begin. So many delicious pieces to eat." The blade lay near her pelvis and moved up. "I could slice you from your cunt up to your neck. Starting from your womb and then your liver. Then your breasts...drinking the milk that lay dormant inside. You will be the most nourishing meal." He revved the engine as he cackled, then he held the blade close. Helene felt the saw cut her nurse's shirt before she quickly reacted. She slammed her forehead into his nose, causing an unholy wailing to come from him. He waved the saw about only for it to cut her hair that was in his tight grip. Feeling the grip loosen, she took off running as fast as she could. The cannibal was continuing to wail and sob at his lost meal.