Chapter 5: Natasha
I woke up and the first thing I was aware of was the fact that I could not look to my left. I knew this fact with utmost certainty because the expression worn by the woman to the right of me told me that if I were to look to the left, I would die. The next thing I became aware of was that there was some sort of great something too my left. I could feel the vague sensation of its breath, and I could hear the floors creak under its weight. I could also feel its immediateness, I was aware of its body being mere centimeters from me. Beyond these facts, nothing else came to me. I was not aware of where I was, why I was there, or what situation I seemed to have found myself in.
So I tried to assess my surroundings, at least what was to the right of me. There was the woman, she seemed to be dressed as a nurse, and looked to be in her mid-forties. She also seemed to be too distracted by the Something just beyond me to pay me any attention. The room itself was sterile, certainly a medical room, but the hardwood flooring and lacquered paneling on the walls indicated the building, on the whole, was not built to serve a medical purpose. So I was not in a hospital, but rather some sort of medical office in a building constructed for another purpose.
The artwork chosen to decorate the walls was overbearing and bleak. Very little color, depictions of sad people in naturally eerie settings. A captain behind the wheel of a ship, storm clouds in the distance. A tea party of wealthy woman in elaborate dresses, a storm brewing in the background. The breath of the Something behind me was hot and heavy.
The nurse very slowly reached for something on my bedside table. Her motions were painstakingly slow, long enough for me to attempt to guess what she was reaching for. On the table there was a glass of water, a book (I don't believe it belonged to me), a pair of eyeglasses, and a scalpel. No you do not win any prizes for guessing which object she chose to pick up. Very slowly, even slower than before, she brought the scalpel back to her lap. Then she sat still again, as though frozen by the Something.
I continued to look around the room. There was a phone, but it seemed very old, it was corded and had a rotary dialer. The lamp on my beside table was decorated with a variety of floral patterns on its shade. The book appeared to be a romance novel, and I assumed it was the nurse's possession, as well as the eyeglasses. She must have been reading while I was incapacitated and she was tending to me. This lead to another question though, in what way had I injured myself to the extent that it required medical attention, and how had I done it? As I ponder this, the nurse began moving again.
Very calmly, with a highly professional atmosphere, she brought the scalpel to her neck. Not for even a moment did her eyes waver, they stayed locked on the Something, which, though I may have imagined it, seemed a few millimeters closer than before. The nurse brought the scalpel to her throat, and pressed it against her flesh. A bead of blood welled on the surface of her skin, and inched slowly down her neck. With dull surprise I realized she intended to slit her own throat. Except she reconsidered it seemed. She brought the scalpel back down, and, though not looking at it, seemed to ponder it for a moment. Then she screamed.
"OH GOD! OH DEAR GOD WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU, JESUS!" she screamed, frantically, her entire body shaking. Her face was red, and tears began to stream down her face. He muscles tensed as she gripped the scalpel. "OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD WHY! WHY?! WHAT ARE YOU! WHY ARE YOU HERE?! WHAT DO YOU WANT?! KILL ME, JESUS, PLEASE!" She cried, then, in a swift, near instant motion, she drove the scalpel into her eye.
It didn't kill her, not immediately. It did however hurt her, a lot. She howled, in the most literal sense of the world. The sound that emanated from her was bestial, the moaning fear of a creature centuries of evolution inferior to herself. With a sickening schlick she drew the scalpel out of her eye and swiped it across her wrist. More anguished shrieks of a dying animal. Blood was freely flowing from her eye, or rather the black and red object that had been her eye. Her clothes, which had been a pristine white, were rapidly being stained red. Having already failed twice to execute herself, she decided to take a more urgent route, and drove the scalpel deep into her stomach multiple times, twisting it as she pulled it out. Still alive and drawing ever closer to a death worthy of Rasputin, she drew the scalpel across her throat. Blood bubbled out and streamed down her body, soaking into her uniform. For a few moments, her arms weakly attempted to raise the scalpel again while she gurgled, but finally, after so many excruciating seconds, she collapsed.
I was now alone in the room with the Something.
For a moment I could not decide what to do, and honestly I think I was waiting to see if the Something would make the first move. It did not, so I ultimately decided to see if I could sit up. I found I could, so, doing my best to avoid looking to my left, I sat up. There was a door on the right side of the room which, as far as I knew, was the only exit to the room, so I gently lowered myself off the bed and walked slowly towards it. I was acutely aware of the Something's movement at all time, and so I could feel it following me.
I tried the door knob, and, heartbreakingly, it was locked. So now I found myself facing the door, unable to turn around, because the Something was immediately behind me. Its feet made a terrible clicking noise on the hardwood floor. I took a moment to assess my situation, and ultimately decided to take a step backwards. I bumped into the Something. Ice pulsed through my veins, my hairs stood on end, and my marrow chilled. The Something moved back a step. For a long time I could not decide what to do, or rather, I knew what I had to do, for I only really had one option, but I didn't want to do it. Ultimately though, there wasn't anything else I could do. So I turned around.
Katie stood in front of me. We said nothing for a very, very long time. She held a butcher's cleaver.
"Hello," I said.
"I've seen how this ends," Katie replied, she raised her arm and brought the cleaver up to it. "Full stop. I've seen how this ends, Natasha." With a slow, deliberate effort, she pressed the cleaver int the flesh of her arm, and began to shear the meat off her bone. "You won't like it." A large chunk of her arm flesh flopped bloodily to the ground, she rotated her arm and began shearing another chunk off. Pale, white bone gleamed through the gap in her flesh. "I was there during the last Oktober, when the skies turned red and the rivers ran with blood." The second slice flopped to the ground, and then a third. Her arm was now nothing but a bone with bits of flesh sticking to it. She began to pry the meat off her hand like a glove. "I've seen how this ends." Parts of her flesh were being sheared off by something invisible now, she had dropped her own cleaver. Each slice splattered against the ground with a gut-wrenching meaty sound. "You lost. Your kingdom collapsed. The pillars of sand shifted in the breeze and you came tumbling down." A large slice of flesh was sheared off her stomach, revealing various writhing and beating organs, all of which began to spill out. "I was there. I've seen how this ends. You die, Natasha." Katie was little more than a skeleton now, save for her face. Her face was unmarred. "Do you know what I am?"
"I'm guilt, Natasha."