Monday, August 9, 2010
and for a time we leave the world behind to be with our own kind
When I got to Juryo, I heard infants crying. This did not bode well. No one was at the front desk, and the chairs were overturned. I had had to cross carefully over and between crime scene tape to get into Juryo, so I wasn't entirely innocent as to why things weren't...orderly, for lack of a better word.
The door was on the floor, and I think I saw blood.
Who was the broken woman on the wall? Was this section of the hospital remembering what had happened to a patient before? Or just picking up on what could conceivably scare me?
The sound of heavy, labored breathing filled the cold night air, doing battle with the eternal crying of the children I could not see.
Ghostly women drifted through the room. They seemed unaware of me, drifting slightly above head height. But I heard snarling, and the buzzing of flies. Dread filled me.
I jumped back when I opened the door to the next room. Had one of the former residents painted that terrifying visage on the wall? But then it disappeared, and my eyes were drawn to the blood on the floor...almost as if someone had been...dragged off.
I walked to the far side of the room and reeled back, arm over my nose. I had found the source of the flies. But those bones were old, dried; why would flies be attracted to such long-dead things?
Still, the blood beneath the skull looked disturbingly...fresh. Maybe that's what the flies were drawn to.
More beds, more bones. And whomever it is, breathing in that halting, labored fashion, has returned...or has been following me all along.
I felt as if I was being watched. The occasional appearances on the wall did not discourage this.
I heard a phone ringing, shrill and plaintive. I climbed the stairs towards the sound, only to recoil back at the large room I found myself in. Rats! It was full of rats! A squirming, roiling mass of fur and dark intelligence on sharp-clawed feet.
The phone was still ringing. The rats crawled towards the sound.
Ofuda papers covered nearly every surface in the next room. I shivered, still hearing the slithering of rats from the room behind me, but I did wonder what happened here. What were they trying to ward away?
Watashino kodomomo kaishide, I thought I heard. I don't speak Japanese, but it sounded grim. Her voice cut off as if she'd suddenly been throttled--or killed. The bloodied visage smiling at me did not help.
More stairs up. This large space must be the general ward. Blessing strips again were pasted to every conceivable doorway. I walked back to the charge station, and held my breath, crossing the thin, aged timbers spanning a stretch of missing floor. Why was I doing this again?
I searched the rooms on the floor above. A beheaded soldier lay on one bed. Was it real? Surely the head would have been removed by now if he were...
There seemed to be no other way out save for back across that shaky timbered span. Holding my breath, I walked across it again, and made my way down the corridor I'd thought blocked before by crates and boxes. Sure enough, there was another papered door at the far end--and more haunting childrens' laughter.
No hope beyond that far door. I traced my way back again, steeled my nerves, and jumped into the hole behind the charge station counter. Immediately I fell through another section of rotted floor.
I thought better of continuing, and made my way towards the crime scene tape again, in the front entry hall. The crying was eating into me, the laughter causing shivers down my spine, and who would be calling at this hour?
No one I wanted to speak with.
(There are parts of Juryo Hospital that take a bit to rez in. It's worth it to take the time. There doesn't seem to be an official way out; it's sort of a loop there and back again. Though if you find one, let me know. There are some things for free scattered throughout the build: two outfits in the front room, mostly creepy paintings of dogs playing poker and large-eyed children.
(You can see it for yourself in Aquel sim, and keep in mind I wore a facelight on stun for most of these shots; it is very dim, and very creepily atmospheric. Well done.)