Established! In! 1917!
I could feel myself paling already, and Hadrian seemed to have noticed this as he came around to open the door for me. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” I said quickly. No way was I going to tell him I was afraid of other ghosts. I was probably being paranoid about this, but what if telling Hadrian made him change his mind about us?
So keep your wits together, Saoirse Sullivan!
I cleared my throat as we headed up the steps. “So, just curious. Is this place spell-protected?” Please, please, please say it is.
Hadrian shook his head. “Just a regular one.” He paused. “Although, it also used to be an asylum, if I remember correctly.”
I managed a smile while fighting against the urge to throw up. Asylum! This place used to be a freaking asylum!
A CSI agent was already waiting at the hospital lobby when we entered, and I ducked my head as the two shook hands and started talking. All I could see were tiles now, and that was good. Safe. It was one of the easiest ways to avoid making eye contact with other ghosts. Just keep your head down and—-
Wasn’t that Hadrian’s voice?
“You can hear me, right?”
I reluctantly raised my head and saw Hadrian speaking on the phone just as his silver eyes locked with mine. “I’m heading to the morgue.”
Morgue? As in…a place filled with dead people like me?
“Would you like to…”
I was already shaking my head the moment he started speaking, the mere thought of accompanying him there enough to send me into a panic.
“Alright. I’ll talk to you later. Let’s meet at the lobby.” He waited until I nodded before turning back to the agent waiting behind him with a polite expression on his face. “Sorry about that,” Hadrian said briefly. “Shall we go?”
I watched them walk away, and it was only when they had already taken the basement stairs that I realized what an idiot I am.
Didn’t Hadrian tell me earlier that his job made ghosts terrified of him? So even if that place had been a morgue, I would have been safer there! Anywhere would be safe as long as—-
Too late, I realized I had been blankly staring at the distance for far longer than what was smart…long enough, that is, to see a ghost cross my line of sight.
Because I told you, didn’t I?
They were everywhere.
I quickly ducked my head just as the ghost started turning his head towards me, as if sensing my stare. You’ve been through worse shit than this, Saoirse. You can do this. Without lifting my head, I slowly and carefully turned towards the direction Hadrian and the agent had taken. Sudden, jerky movements suggested fear, and fear meant you could see them.
I struggled to keep a steady pace as I descended the steps, gaze still fixed on the floor tiles. A long windowed corridor awaited me when I reached the landing, and the doors lined up on one side all looked the same. Shit. Left without any choice, I reluctantly raised my head…and felt my heart rate rocket from sixty to two hundred beats at the sight that greeted me.
A way-finding panel signage was mounted on the wall, with a northwest arrow placed next to the morgue. But in spotting it, I also ended up seeing something else: a ghost who seemed to have found her cozy spot at one corner of the ceiling.
You know how SpiderMan does it, don’t you? Well, picture that, but replace your friendly neighborhood superhero with an old woman in a light blue hospital gown. Her gray hair looked stiff, thick strands clumped together and standing at all directions. Either she had died after a bad day at the salon…or she thought combing was bad for her health when she was alive.
Either way…this pretty much confirmed it. Roger Hills Hospital was indeed a former asylum, and I now had to contend with—-
A door suddenly opened, and I jumped in shock with a little gasp. The sound had ceiling-dwelling granny snap her gaze towards me, and I almost tripped in my haste to catch up with the two nurses that had come out of the room.
They were discussing a patient’s latest diagnosis, and I nodded and murmured sounds of agreement in hopes as I fell into pace with them. “Uh huh. Yes. That’s right.” I could still feel the ghost’s gaze following me, and it was making my knees quake under my skirt. Shiiiit. The nurses turned around the corner, and I kept pace with them while thinking furiously on what to do next. Do I make a run for it? Or do I stick with the girls? The nurses and I were heading south while the morgue was in the opposite direction, where ceiling-dwelling granny was.
I gnawed at my lip while keeping my gaze pinned to the floor. We had reached the end of the hallway, where the nurses’ recreational room was. Lots of people here, which was a good thing, and a parade of sneakers walked past me. Nike. Adidas. Nike. Nike. Puma. Nike. Skechers. Onitsu—-shit!