Back when he was a child, Eli had visited a place with his parents and older brother called Monstrous Maze, in which he had gotten lost several times. It was a large labyrinth of shrubbery set out in an intricate and complicated design, intended to confuse its captive. It had earned the name ‘Monstrous Maze’ as it wasn’t just a simple start to finish strategy; it had several hidden elements of horror, which were meant to throw the person off course and let the panic really set in for them.
Eli felt like he was back in that maze wandering the dark halls of the hospital.
Something was wrong; a feeling Eli had told him to stay on his guard. He watched for signs of the ‘Radiology’ unit. He was on the second floor, but finding the actual ward was proving to be a little more difficult and he couldn’t see anyone around to help him, it was eerily quiet despite the bustle from the reception area.
A long tunnel of darkness stretched out to his right. The corridor, completely desolate and a little unnerving, seemed to emanate danger. There was something in there, Eli could tell. Something dangerous.
He stood there for several seconds, staring into the darkness.
The distant sound of footsteps broke the silence. The pattern was slow and haphazard; not like a regular pace. It was coming from within the shadows, towards him.
Eli squinted, trying to see what it was.
A figure emerged, clad head to toe in dried blood and rags.
Eli’s throat tightened around a cry of alarm at the sight of a jagged sleeve stained with red hanging loosely by its side, leaving a trail of blood and pus as it staggered faster towards him. The thing was missing an entire arm, torn off just below the shoulder. It stumbled towards Eli, mouth hanging open and the noise that it emitted sounded like a cross between a snarl and a strangled moan.
Eli backed up several steps until he bumped into the wall. He didn’t have time to arm himself before the thing was on him. The stench was unbearable, rotting sewage and the pungent aroma of congealed blood clung to the inside of Eli’s nostrils, suffocating him. They both collapsed to the floor, a sharp flare of pain shooting up Eli’s side.
He scrambled backwards, kicking his legs out at the thing that was now crab-walking towards him at an alarmingly fast pace.
‘Get the fuck away from me!’
The thing was now snapping its teeth inches away from Eli’s ankle, reaching out with curled fingers, like a deranged child who keeps impatiently grasping for something they can’t quite reach.
A fire extinguisher attached to the wall dug into Eli’s shoulder and he used it to pull himself up, breaking the object free and raising it above his head.
The creature leaped forward, hissing, and Eli brought the extinguisher down with all the force he could muster straight down onto the thing’s head. It jerked for a moment, not quite taken out and Eli repeated this action several times until grey and pink slime lined the walls and covered Eli’s clothes. Bits of brain matter littered the once pristine floor and a steady pool of blood was already beginning to form from its missing arm.
He dropped the extinguisher, fighting the nausea in his stomach.
Had he just killed a man? Or was it already dead?