Closed Doors

There was an obnoxious hum from her bedside table: her phone was buzzing her awake.  And she was having such a good dream.  She snatched the phone and slid the tab to answer the call.  “Hello?”  She mumbled sleepily.

“Karen, we need you to come it right away.”

She knew better than to ask why; it didn’t matter.  She would go in either way, just as she always did.  “I’ll be right in.”  Without trying to shake the bed, she swung her legs onto the floor and rubbed her eyes.  Her scrubs were on the chair next to the bathroom door; they hadn’t even been washed from the day before.  She glanced at the clock before she got out of bed: 1:30 AM.  After she had washed up in the bathroom and changed into her work clothes, she tiptoed out of the room, leaving her husband still sleeping undisturbed.

Arriving at the hospital, Karen grabbed a quick glass of water in the lounge and then went to report her arrival.

“So glad you’re here, both Cindy and Maggie called off tonight.  There’s a rape and stabbing victim in room 16, I think at this point she just needs someone there with her, but you should check her stats anyhow.”

Karen nodded to the head nurse behind the counter and went down the hall to room 16.  Before she opened the door, she had to take a deep breath and prepare herself.  She had worked this same floor for fourteen years, but rape victims were still the hardest to see.  After a moment, she twisted the knob and entered the room, closing the door behind her.

The patient before her had bandages covering both her arms, her forehead, one eye and her left foot, which was elevated half a foot from the mattress.   Her cheeks were swollen and the exposed parts of her face were a deep blue and yellowing green.  Karen tried to take in air as she took in the sight, but it was impossible.  She closed her eyes to try and steady her heartrate and breathing.  There was a soft moan from the bed, so Karen moved over to the girl’s side, ignoring her chart.

“I-I tr-” The girl tried to speak, but her voice cracked and her body heaved.

“It’s ok.  You’re in the hospital now, and we’re going to make everything better.  You don’t have to speak.” Karen spoke softly, trying to soothe the poor girl with her voice, but it didnt seem to work.  Her body heaved again

“I-I tried to- I screamed,” she coughed out.  It sounded like a frog’s croak.

“Shh, shh, it’s ok, hon.  You’ll be just fine.”  But Karen knew better, already she could tell these were her last moments.  Both arms were bleeding through their bandages, and her one exposed eye hadn’t even fluttered yet.  Her body was too worn out to fight any longer.  Her heartrate was slowing and her blood pressure was too low for her to even be alive at this point.  She took in a huge breath of air, and Karen look from the screen to the girl. Her back was arched and from her bandaged body came a shrill shriek.  She screamed and thrashed and flung her head back and forth.  Karen jumped to her feet and held down the girl’s arms, but she was flailing too violently to hold down, so she stepped back.  This was it.  The door slammed open and Nurse Farrah ran in.

“Karen!”  She cried desperately, but Karen only shook her head.  The shrieking stopped, her body lay motionless, blood still leaking from her bandages.  Just as a wave’s power swells, it crashes and spreads and leaves nothing on the sand.  Karen looked over at Farrah, who had moved to pull the sheet over the girl’s face.

“She was screaming for two hours before the police finally found her, thrown into a pile of trash, barely breathing.  She was raped, then left for dead.  Apparantly the sick bastard came back later and stabbed her nineteen times.  She was screaming the entire time.  It was on 5th Street, Karen, Fifth Street.  Between the two hours she was raped and stabbed, they think about forty people could hear her,” Farrah’s voice broke.  “But they did nothing.”


Prompt: The phone rings and rings and rings in the middle of the night.  It keeps ringing after the machine picks up.  Finally you answer it—groggy, irritated, and befuddled.  It’s the call we all dread and yet know will come more than once in our lives … Someone is at the hospital, and will not last until morning.  He or she dresses furiously, jumps in his or her car, get to the hospital, cursing at the slowness of traffic, and the stupidity of parking attendants, and arrive at the person’s bedside.  What happens next?  Describe the scene, be detailed.The person has to die and the narrator has to be a witness.  There can be no miracles.You do not have to use this prompt.  First or third person

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One Response to “Closed Doors”

  1. Warren Rochelle Says:

    Who is Farrah? Look up Kitty Genovese.