When Alex opened his eyes, he knew he wasn't in his world any more. For one thing, he was in his underwear and he couldn't remember the last twenty-four hours. At least, not clearly anyway.
All around him the scent of death and decay flooded his nostrils. Mould clung to the walls, seeping from the cracks in the tiles. The lights flicked on and off, adding to the eerie feel of the old hospital.
He tried to stand, gripping hold of an old hospital bed as he forced himself to his feet. His legs shook violently.
A noise came from the hall. Alex's knuckles turned white as he gripped the bed. His eyes scanned the room, searching for anything that he could use as a weapon.
Across the room there was a tray with surgical instruments lined up neatly. The flicking bulb was directly above it. Alex grabbed a scalpel and made his way to the double doors.
Peering through the small window, he could see into the hall. It was dark, and the walls were lined with shadows that seemed to be playing with his mind. Alex took a deep breath and pushed open the door.
Looking around wildly, Alex confirmed his suspicions. He was indeed in an old, abandoned hospital. The scent of death was stronger in the hall then what it had been in the room. Seeping mildew and mould flooded his nostrils like a scent from hell, while the floor was littered with papers and upturned furniture. Alex sniffed. He could detect the faintest scent of smoke. Something was on fire, and yet no alarm rang out.
Slowly he turned right and began walking down the hallway, approaching each room with caution. If this was an old hospital, where was everybody? Surely he wasn't here all alone.
His bare feet made a soft thudding as he lightly jogged down the hall. He stopped when he heard a noise. It sounded like someone was crying. Tilting his head, Alex followed the sound. The soft sobbing from coming from inside the morgue. Carefully he pulled opened the door, his eyes adjusting to the sudden brightness.
On the floor near where they kept the cadavers laid a young woman. Like him, she too was in her underwear, although hers was a lot sexier than his simple white tank top and boxer briefs. She wore a lacy white bra and matching panties with a pair of white heels. Her feet were tied together, her hands behind her back and a pillow slip covered her head.
Alex reached out, gripping the pillow case in his hand before pulling it off her. Her eyes blinked rapidly, desperately trying to get use to the sudden influx of light. She was gagged. Alex watched her struggle for a moment before removing the gag. She thanked him and begged him to untie her.
It took him a while to work the knots but eventually she was free. She stood up, flipping her long chocolate brown hair over her shoulders and shaking her legs out to reintroduce circulation. Alex licked his lips as he stared at the young woman.
“I'm Alex,” he said, extending his hand, eyes trained on her ample cleavage that wasn't exactly well hidden by her barely there attire. “Cordelia,” she replied, shaking his hand.
Cordelia gripped Alex's arm, her nails digging into his flesh. He winced, baring his teeth as he watched the door. He held the scalpel out in front of his body, his hand shaking. “What was that?” she asked, her voice barely audible. Alex shrugged. Whatever it was, it was gone.
“Come on,” he said, taking her hand and leading her to the door. Pausing, Alex carefully pressed his ear against the door. Nothing. Slowly he pushed it open, motioning for Cordelia to follow. She did, her eyes scanning the darkened corridors. “Where is everyone?” she asked, as Alex closed the door to the morgue. “Your guess is as good as mine,” he replied, rubbing his bare arms, his eyes roaming over her body.
Cordelia placed her hands on her hips when she caught him staring. “Do you mind?” she asked, narrowing her dark eyes at him. Alex licked his lips. “Not at all,” he replied with a wink. Cordelia rolled her eyes in disgust, folding her arms across her breasts, attempting to conceal them from Alex's view.
Another loud bang made her jump. Alex turned towards where the sound had come from. His eyes scanned the darkened hallway, searching for any other signs of life.
“Someone's down there,” he said softly, nodding in the direction the noise had come from. Cordelia arched a perfectly groomed eyebrow. “No shit,” she retorted. “But I've seen enough horror movies to know this will never end well, so let's get the hell out of here.”
Alex shook his head. “Someone else could need our help,” he reasoned, taking a step. Cordelia didn't move. Alex sighed. “You can stay here then,” he told her. “All by yourself while I go and see if someone else is alive.” With that he turned and marched off down the hall, scalpel in hand.
Cordelia watched as he rounded the corner. She tapped her foot, the only sound filling the corridor was that of her high heel. That is, until something behind her groaned.
The hairs stood up on the back of her neck. Eyes wide with fear, she turned around slowly and screamed.
Cordelia's scream could be heard for miles. Alex froze on the spot, hand on the door handle to a doctor's office. His heart pounded in his chest, threatening to break through the bones and skin. He craned his neck, listening intently for the sound of her heels against the tiled floor. Nothing.
Holding the scalpel out in front of him, he raced back down the corridor, rounding the corner and coming to a complete halt. What he saw made his blood run cold. Where Cordelia had been standing was a large pool of blood, the dark stain slowly inching its way along the floor towards him.
Backing up, Alex fell against the wall, his eyes still trained on the spot where he had last left her. That vomit taste engulfed his mouth and his cheeks puffed as his throat closed up. He shouldn't have left her alone. His hand covered his mouth as horrid thoughts of her demise sprung to his mind. Was she just decapitated or was her body brutally mauled? Where was her body?
Shaking, Alex got his feet. Cordelia was gone. He had to find a way out of here and get some help because clearly something wasn't right.
Alex turned around and began heading back to the doctor's office where he had heard the noise. His shaking hand come to rest on the door knob and gave it a turn. With a creak, the door opened to reveal a grizzly sight.
Blood lined the walls, the room trashed. Papers lined the floor, the desk lamp was on the ground, its bulb flickering, adding to the eerie feel of the room. The filing cabinet had been pushed over, its drawers open, the files scattered all over the floor and desk. A still lit cigarette smouldered slightly in a crystal glass ashtray.
“What the hell happened here?” Alex said aloud to no one in particular. The room was in such disarray that he began to wonder if Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers had escaped the confinements of the television into the realm of reality.
A bloody hand print near the door caught his attention. Alex saw it clear as crystal. He noticed that the hand print continued down the wall, the bloody trail telling him that someone was dragged. He followed the blood over to where the filling cabinet was. The trail stopped.
Alex's mind raced a million miles per second. He had so many questions and no one to answer them. In frustration he let out a cry and kicked the wall. The plaster broke, revealing old wires and pipes.
He slumped against the wall. He shivered. It was starting to get cold. His head turned to stare at the barren desk. On the chair there hung a white lab coat. Alex got to his feet and quickly slipped it on. Much to his surprise, it fitted perfectly.
He sat down at the desk and began flicking through the files. The computer light was on and it was humming away loudly, but the monitor was broken, streaks of dried blood was etched on the glass fragments. Alex sighed. Nothing was ever easy.
Flicking through a file, he stopped cold. A patient file signed by one Doctor Gellar...for Cordelia. “Cordelia Ambrosia Carpenter. Suicide watch.” Alex scanned the rest of her file. She was apparently delusional and often seen talking to herself. Doctors had diagnosed her as bi-polar.
Alex leaned back, the chair creaking with his shifted weight. He picked up another file by Doctor Gellar and began to read, hoping to unearth more clues.
“What the fuck?”
Alex sat straight up, his eyes widening. According to the file he held in his hand the doctors at Oak Hills Hospital were working on a serum that could combat the growth of cancer cells. They had a control group of mental patients that they had tested the serum on, but with dangerous consequences. According to the file, the patients began craving human flesh and eventually began cannibalising the whole town.
Shaking his head, Alex couldn't believe what he was reading. His eyes scanned the other pages, searching for something else. It turns out that national guard was called in, killing the control group with a round to the head and chest of each mental patient.
Alex closed the file. He could have gone his whole life without knowing about the secrets of Oak Hills Hospital. He got up out of the chair and made his way over to the door, pulling it open and stepping into the darkened hall.
A groan from the end of the corridor made Alex's head snap around. Standing in the doorway was a man covered head to toe in blood. Like Alex, this man wore a doctor's lab coat.
“Holy shit,” Alex mouthed, upon seeing the bloody sight. “Hey, are you alright?”
The man groaned in response, lurching forward at a slow steady pace reserved only for zombies in movies. Alex took a couple of steps closer. The stench of death was so strong that he began to choke. The man lurched forward again, black tar-like substance fall from his chapped lips while his flesh was rotting with a horrid yellow texture.
Alex turned on his heel and ran back the way he came.
He rounded the corner and came to a screeching halt. A wall of people had appeared before him, moving at the same pace as the man Alex had just encountered.
Trapped, Alex began backing up slowly until his back was pressed against the wall. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. Zombies. Zombies were real and the doctors at Oak Hills Hospital were responsible.
Desperately searching for an escape, Alex noticed an air vent on the opposite wall. He rushed over, pulled open the grate and hoisted himself up. Pulling himself into the vent, Alex noticed that the scent of death was getting stronger as the zombies advanced.
Crawling along on his hands and knees, Alex followed the vent as it twisted and turned around the hospital layout.
A loud droning noise flooded his ears. As he crawled along, the noise became louder. He rounded the corner only to come face to face with an industrial fan. “Great,” Alex said, rolling his eyes. “Dead end.” He wiggled his body backwards, when his foot hit another vent entrance.
Kicking out, Alex's foot broke through the grate, sending it crashing to the ground. He climbed out of the vent, his eyes trying to refocus on the lack of light. He was in what appeared to be an operating room. Instruments of medicine were shelved, the overhead lights blinked repeatedly and a small fire was raging in a bin full of medical waste. Blood lined the walls and floor along with a black tar-like substance. Alex remembered seeing the same black substance foaming out the mouths of the zombies in the corridor.
Not wanting to stick around and take his chances, Alex pulled open the double doors and sprinted down the main corridor. His bare feet thudded against the cold and blood stained tiles.
He stopped when the corridor came to a dead end. He swore, slamming the palms of his hands against the wall. A steel door caught his eye. Well, to be more precise, the word 'Basement' that aligned the door caught his eye.
Taking a deep breath, Alex pulled open the door. The sound of dripping pipes echoed as he slowly descended the stairs. He craned his neck around the corner. “Hello?” he called. “Is someone there?”
He took a step. Then another. The hairs on the back of his neck began to prickle, his sense of paranoia heightened. He scratched his neck, which he always did when he was nervous, as he approached the centre of the room.
A single hanging light bulb dimly lit the area directly beneath it. Alex could see a table covered by a sheet. There was something under it. With a shaking hand, Alex reached for the sheet...
Alex turned around. He was standing in his office, his back to the door. The office was brightly lit, his computer hummed softly, his desk was organised, his cigarette smouldering in the crystal ashtray and his potted plant was growing at a healthy rate. "It was a nightmare," he sighed, staring out the window at the sun and the bluebirds chirping in the courtyard. "Just a nightmare."
The young man stood in the doorway, a frustrated scowl on his face. “I asked if you were ready for the presentation?” he said, impatiently tapping his watch. “The board is ready and waiting.”
“What presentation?” Alex asked, a perplexed look springing to his face.
The man sighed and rolled his eyes. “The presentation on B1980. You know, the drug that could possibly end cancer as we know it.”
Alex's mind flashed back to the deserted and derelict hospital, the blood and the zombies. The report that he read flashed through his memory. The cannibalism of the town hit his memory like a ton of bricks.
Shaking his head, Alex sat down at his desk. “No,” he said.
The man at the door groan. “No what?”
“No, I'm not ready. B1980 isn't ready to be tested. There's too many questions left unanswered.”
The man stared at him, arching an eyebrow, his middle finger pushing his glasses up his nose. “What the hell are you talking about?” he demanded. “We've tested the drug. Remember, Doc, we administered it to me two weeks ago. I'm what you're presenting to the board. The fact that B1980 is curing my bowel cancer. The cancer cells are dropping and my life expectancy has risen.” The man scratched his arm. Alex stared at him, his mouth gaping open.
For as he scratched, chunks of his rotting, yellow flesh fell swiftly to the floor...