From the amount of time that I have spent in the company of hospitals I have come to understand that they possess a distinct personality that can be experienced with the five basic human senses. Upon visiting, their guest is first greeted with the clear similarity between all hospitals; their appearance though individual maintains cohesiveness, their voice possesses a unique melody blending the rhythm of life with lyrics of suffering and finality of death. The lingering perfume of decay mixed with the taste of disinfectant combined with the feeling of sterility elicits anxiety and, on occasion, fear from their visitor. Many humans possess a personality that effortlessly does the same, as is their nature.
Unlike Brittany, I am not disturbed by hospitals but I am not thoroughly comfortable with them either. The memories of my horrible personal encounters are never forgotten and are often triggered by the hospital’s own personality. In the past I was never welcomed by the soothing words of nurses nor was I comforted by their healing touch. Instead I was restrained with straps and buckles and repeatedly threatened with sharp needles filled with sleep inducing drugs. I disliked the drugs as they removed all control I had over my bodily functions transforming me into a puppet to be manipulated by whomever desired.
But today was different. Today I was a guest instead of a victim, a plaything or what the nurses and doctors fondly labeled, a patient. I was entering the hospital freely and willingly, my intention as clear as the many windows along the modern corridor I was walking down. I had given my word to Mother days ago that I would visit Josh and I intended to keep it. I understood that the words we spoke held power so whatever I said I would do, I did. Nothing had ever stopped me from fulfilling a promise before and this situation would not become the one exception. I pushed aside the unpleasant feelings that were slithering out from the murky shadows of my soul and continued on my quest to find patient room 927.
If I am completely honest with you, I must admit that I am most curious to discover how my presence in Josh’s room will affect him. I know I will incite a response but I am not certain what type of response that will be. Perhaps I may profoundly change his condition in a beneficial way … but I find that highly doubtful. Damage him, is most likely. Over the past few years Josh has become afraid of me and what I might do to him and he fittingly should be considering the amount of tormenting he put me through while we attended public school together. And we should not overlook the rumors that are still circulating around town that I am confident originated with him. Oh, Josh should be scared. He should be fearful of his future, of the retribution that I have intended just for him.
“So you can try to tear me down, beat me to the ground, I will see you screaming.”
I’ve witnessed some vicious fights between peers after school on the playground resulting in bloody noses and gaping head wounds with a copious amount of blood. While other students both boys and girls screamed, cried or vomited, I never flinched. In general blood … well, it just doesn’t bother me. Blood fascinates me. My curiosity is peaked when I am in the presence of the crimson fluid of life.
A few summers ago my older cousin, Christian, filled with rage intended to punch the wall in his bedroom, but he miscalculated and put his fist through the window. His gift was a deep gash across his right fingers that needed multiple stitches. My Aunt Rachel fainted. My Mom panicked. But I wasn’t bothered. I calmly found a clean towel in the linen closet and wrapped his hand instructing him to press it against the wound on the ride with my Dad to the Emergency Room. I restrained my secret desire to dip my fingertips into his gash, to feel the consistency of Christian’s blood between them. I didn’t act on that desire, as I knew such behavior would have been the catalyst for yet another unpleasant hospital visit.
I’ve often wondered if my personal fascination with blood is connected in some fashion to the omen that brought me into the world. Is it a coincidence that I was born in a pool of my Mother’s blood? Is it tied to the other “talents” I possess? Is this obsessive curiosity a bizarre curse that has been bestowed upon me? Have any other Williams been cursed in this way? And if so, for what reason? Perhaps if I had an ancestor to query I would have access to the information that I search for. If my Father’s proclamations were accurate, if we are true descendents of the Williams from Salem, those who bore witness to the strange documented historical events of 1692, then it is possible that our ancestors had a comprehension of concepts that are not fully understood today. Maybe they could give me the answers I seek to all the overwhelming questions that I hold within for fear of being misunderstood and ridiculed.
“Aye, your Mother hath been warned, Angie, ‘tis in great misery by reason of The Blood Omen that puts upon you the bewitching of the blood.”