Black thunderheads obscured by the oppressive night air. Closer they move; drawn into explosive detonation. The first thunderclap announced a prodigious tempest. The strengthened glass wall shuddered as the sound waves tried to penetrate the quiet interior with their full force. Anka Syzmanski’s step hung suspended for a fraction of a second; the hallway lit with jagged electric blue. She completed the step; started another.
The lights went out.
Another celestial drumroll; quicker now, the storm approaching fast.
Seconds passed; she waited. Fighting against the darkness, the emergency lighting sputtered into action.
Plick, plick, plick, plick.
Spattering against the glass separating wet from dry, the rain began. A heavenly tap opened; grime swabbed down the transparent wall by sluicing torrents; lightning filtered through cascading wash forming eccentric shadows.
Syzmanski’s shoes picked up their clipping rhythm; pounding heels a counterpoint to the drubbing rain, announcing to all nocturnal dwellers: Beware! The night Nurse cometh.
She fell into her routine: step close, depress handle, open door, insert torso, listen, watch, decide; alive or gone? Gone meant a retreat to the Nurses’ station and a quick phone call. Alive meant close the door, move to the next room.
Syzmanski eased the door to room 359.
Listen: the shallow, labored breathing.
Watch: no perceptible movement from the woman in the bed.
Alive… for now.
Windows rattling; another cracking roar as the storm ramped up. Close the door.
* * * * *
Nurse Syzmanski’s fleeting interruption done, a shadowy shape lowered itself from its hiding place under the metal-framed bed.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish