The waiter salutes Hannah and pukes into a couple of glasses as we enter the bar. Hannah downs the whole thing in one gulp and they both look at me expectantly. She frowns- ‘Doctor, don’t be rude. Save that for later.’
I down the purple puke and I swear I feel it trying to claw it’s way out of my throat before everything settles and the swirling feeling in the pit of my stomach ceases for the first time since we got out of the sewers. Hannah and the waiter turn their attention back to each other.
‘Scrumpy, have you seen any of them around lately?’
Scrumpy emits a low humming noise from his abnormally large nostrils. He/She/It doesn’t have a mouth.
Three short hums and a long droning one.
‘That close? … Shit.’
She fishes in her pockets and brings out a handful of peanuts. ‘Thanks for your help. Me and my friend really have to go to the-‘ -She hums at an uncomfortable pitch for 10 seconds- ‘-now, if that’s alright.’
Scrumpy opens the area behind the bar to us and Hannah leads me through. Scrumpy studies me with a lime green eye and pats my shoulder. Out of the last speck of Britishness that has yet to abandon me I murmur: ‘Erm, thanks, Scrumpy.’
I thought the door led to the loos, and for once I’m right. I’m a psychiatrist, not a detective. Hannah slides her thumb down the threshold of the door and says, ‘If you need to go, go now.’
The inside of the stalls are entirely too normal for my taste-
‘LINDA SUCK COCKS’
Someone has written over this in red pen, ‘*SUCKS, YOU GRAMMATICAL HEATHEN’
Phone numbers and letters in languages I can’t understand are strewn everywhere. I realise the walls are fuzzy and quite literally breathing as I exit and don’t see Hannah anywhere. The other stalls are empty, and I feel quite like a child who has lost her mother at the supermarket.
‘Hannah?’ I wander out into the oddly long hallway that doesn’t suit it’s own narrow nature and my voice answers me in an echo. ‘Hannah? Hannah? Hannah?’
I walk down towards where there is a single flickering light and stop, listening. Something in the air smells stale, like mould, and the walls are still breathing around me. I’m beginning to think the pink fuzzy wallpaper isn’t wallpaper at all, and wonder what kind of drugs were in that purple drinks.
However, I can’t think too much about it when I’m knocked off my feet. I roll myself over and am met with an empty glare- a shadow once again. The red outline is harder to see against the pink background; the footsteps unnoticeable against the soft carpeting of Scrumpy’s pub.
I look down and see my legs haven’t been swept from under me- they’re gone. Luckily, so is the last fuck I give about being quiet. I scream and punch at the shadow, only to have my hand disappear when it makes contact. The thing doesn’t even recoil. The low gurgling that emanates from it is all-consuming, and so loud it sounds like a buzz-saw in my mind- my internal monologue doesn’t exist- only the sheer desire to fight and have a cup of tea that nothing’s puked up.
I scream, ‘Hannah! Hannah, were the fuck are you?’ And the creature recoils. The red glow flickers as I scream again, ‘Hannah! YOU BITCH!’ It’s not so much that I dislike Hannah, but I could really do with some therapy myself at this point.
I want this cup of tea more than anything.
The darkness that forms the face of the shadow is still hovering too close to mine, almost as if it’s about to give me the kiss of death. I feel cold and doomed as I put my still-existing hand in front of my face. There’s a burst of a green glow and the creature vanishes again. I pass out.
When I wake up, I’m in a fuzzy pink attic, surrounded by candles with a half-naked Hannah hunched over me (I swear, I couldn’t make this stuff up). Her torso is covered with scars and her bra has seen better days (not that I’m one to complain when I see someone elses underwear- that’s a very nice gift).
‘Good. You’re awake. Let that be a lesson to you- don’t. Fucking. Wander. Off.’
‘I’m not the one who disappeared and who’s being all mysterious- and for what? So I don’t ask more questions? I think it’s a bit bleeding late for that, Hannah. I’m supposed to be responsible for your welfare, not the other way around! Now, tell me what the hell is going on or I’ll-‘
‘You’ll what? Wander off again? Yeah, that worked out real well for you last time, didn’t it?’ She picks at a scar on her right forearm- ‘They know your smell now. They’ll find you, no matter where you go, don’t be a fucking idiot.’
I have to admit, she has me there. But…. ‘You owe me an explanation, Hannah. I’m not moving until I get one, okay?’
She rolls her eyes and smirks down at me. ‘You summoned some powerful light, earlier. You couldn’t move if you wanted to.’ As if to prove a point, she pokes my cheek and I don’t feel a thing. I try to move my arm and can’t. I’m about to start panicking before she cuts in- ‘You’ll be fine. Just don’t try to do anything I wouldn’t- actually, that’s stupid advice. Just let me worry about the heavy stuff. I’ll explain the rest when you wake up, okay?’ She closes my eyes and I don’t have much of a say before darkness swallows me.