Stumbling [Sophie]

Blinded and choking on my own tears, I tried to get out of the room. The door stuck at first, but I wrenched it open and left in a hurry, stumbling down the stairs away from the Management and their creepy, synchronised speech. "Just leave us alone!" I yelled. "Me and my daughter. Just leave us alone!"

When I was at the bottom of the stairs there was that irritating secretary, waiting for me. She was still smiling. 

"How did you get on with the Management?" she asked coyly, giving me a look. She was chewing gum. A revolting habit, I was so glad that my husband had never taken it up, because I would have had to stop him.

"Don't speak to me," I replied bitterly. "Don't even look at me. You let me believe that you knew nothing when all the while they were up there. Those things. You knew they were in charge, right? Everyone knew. And no one told me."

"It was not what you were supposed to know," she replied. "It was a secret, and we cannot anybody. Not even all of the nurses know that." With another grin, she flashed the gum at me. "Besides, who would send their children here if they knew that?"

"Look, I sent my daughter here because it was the only thing I could do. I did not do it--" I paused. "Are you trying to tell me she's been abducted by aliens and nobody even cares?"

"That is the general opinion," she replied. "But I wouldn't say abducted. More 'honoured'. After all, not everybody gets to be their Queen."

"Oh, you..." I pushed her away from me. "If I ever see you again it will be the worse for you. Never ever touch my family again." She was just standing there so I shoved her again, until she was right up against the wall. "Do you understand?" Then I let her ago, and stumbled down the rest of the stairs to the entrance hall. I looked around. So many people here, innocents ... would they have been harmed by the strange forces fighting over control here? I hoped not. But it was too late for my Michelle.

One thing was for certain. The 'Management' weren't going to get away with this. I was going to tell the police, whether they liked it or not. That much I was sure of, so I left the hospital with a slightly clearer conscience. After all, it wasn't really my fault that Shelley had been through that. How was I to know that the voices were real, and she wasn't mad at all? How was I to know, when we sent her to that place, that it was being overseen by creatures straight out of a science fiction novel? I hadn't had a clue. Surely she wouldn't be blaming me.

If I didn't hurry up it would be too late for her to blame anybody. I sped up and, reaching my car, got in and searched for the phone. It was time somebody took this place in hand before anyone else got hurt.

The End

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