“Madison?” nurse Katie Stewart calmly asked, hoping not to startle her as she approached the utterly silent waiting area.

As expected, Madison was sitting there upright in her chair, peacefully resting her head on her hands and taking a cat nap.

“Yes m’am?” Madison responded politely, stirred by the sound of her voice.

“You can see Tony now,” Katie calmly informed her. “He’s down at the far end of the hall in room 100. He’s resting comfortably, but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind seeing you for a couple of minutes.”

“Thank you so much,” Madison exclaimed, not daring to tell her she had already snuck around and visited Dr. Loomis, and that her ‘cat nap’ was fake. She could see the exhaustion on the nurse’s face, and didn’t want to make her night any worse than it already appeared to be. Smiling as brightly as possible given the situation, she collected herself and followed Katie down the hallway.

After showing Madison to room 100, Katie returned to the nurse’s station, eager to complete her latest rounds. With a million thoughts running through her head, Katie signed off on the last couple patients listed in her log book. Her thoughts then immediately shifted to taking a break, and getting some much-needed rest on what was definitely shaping up to be one crazy night.

Setting the log book down onto the desk, she turned to Marissa and Mandy, two of the lesser-experienced nurses on staff, and saw that Mandy was hard at work playing a game of Snood. Shaking her head with a slight smile, she turned her attention to Marissa, who appeared to be text-messaging someone on her cell phone and giggling.

“Having fun, you two?” Katie stated, her voice echoing slightly and breaking the silence.

Startled, both Mandy and Marissa immediately paused and looked at her, the guilt clearly written across both their faces.

“We’re all caught up on everything for the next two hours, so I figured I’d try to pass the time,” Mandy responded first, while Marissa’s phone beeped, indicating a new text message had arrived.

“And what do you have to say?” Katie asked Marissa, but before she could get a reply, her phone beeped two or three more times.

Chuckling, Katie pointed at the phone, saying, “You gonna get that?”

“Sorry,” was all Marissa could say.

“Look, I know we’re all caught up, and that’s great. You guys have done a great job tonight. Just don’t make a habit of your laziness,” Katie lectured, trying to sound as commanding as possible. Being head nurse, new challenges often presented themselves every day, but nothing like tonight. Figures it would be on Halloween, of all nights.

“I’m gonna go on break. You think you two can hold the fort til I get back?”

“Yes, Ms. Stewart, thank you,” Mandy politely answered, but Marissa was not even paying attention. She had their back to them, completely oblivious to the conversation as she continued typing away on her phone.

“And keep her in line, will you? I’m too tired to deal with her tonight.”

“Yes, m’am.”


Leaving her post, Katie slowly strolled down the beige-colored hallway, dimly lit by the evening fluorescent globes flickering across the ceiling. Hanging a left, she glanced inside the employee lounge and then entered, passing through the door which was stenciled ‘HMH’ across the upper half of the glass.

Inside were Barry Balkin and D.J. Starks, the orderlies who were seemingly finished for the night. Barry was attempting to tune in a radio, while D.J. appeared to be sending text messages on his cell phone. Boy, that sure looked familiar, Katie thought as she waved at them both.

“So that’s who she was talking to,” Katie surmised, pointing her index finger at D.J.’s phone.

“What?” D.J. asked, looking up from his gray flip-phone, toothpick still in the corner of his mouth.

“Nothing,” Katie yawned, lying down across the sofa on the far side of the room. “I’m exhausted. I’m gonna catch some zees for a while.”

“D.J., what do you think tonight? Some hip-hop or rock?” Barry asked, his fingers on the dial of his new portable radio.

“That new satellite shit any good?” D.J. questioned, never really taking his eyes off of his phone.

“Yeah, it kicks ass. You can basically pick your poison and get any type of music you want.”

“So if I tell you to play some hip-hop, you will…”

At that point, Barry switched the dial to the hip-hop station, which was playing Jadakiss’ “Time’s Up.”

“Niiiice, how bout some rock?”

Barry complied, and a second later, Linkin Park’s “Papercut” blared through the speakers.

Nurse Katie, meanwhile, was not amused. “Can you guys do that somewhere else? I’m seriously trying to relax here.”

“Relax your crack, sweetheart,” D.J. joked, trying to lighten the mood. “The kid was just showing off his new radio.”

“Sorry, Ms. Stewart,” Barry sighed, turning off his radio. “We can check it out later, D.J.”

“Sounds good, kid. In the meantime, I got some important bin-ness to take care of,” D.J. laughed, purposely pronouncing business as “bin-ness” as his cell phone beeped at him. “I’ll talk to you later.”

With that, D.J. left the lounge and Barry sat down at the yellow cafeteria-style table in the center of the room, taking a bite out of an apple. Adjusting the collar of his light-blue shirt, Barry just exhaled slowly and turned on the TV, which was mounted on the wall above them.

To his surprise, the local TV station was doing a live report from Haddonfield, from just outside Sheriff Robinson’s house.

Barry tossed his apple core into the trash and turned the volume up.

“Um, Ms. Stewart, you might want to see this.”

Proceed To Chapter 12
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