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Original title: “Karen...” 

Date added: 06/17/13 

Date stored: 06/17/13

Karen was happy to come to her first day of work. During her orientation she had befriended all of her co-workers. She applied as a nurse’s assistant to a small town. The hospital she worked at was a small 2-story building, only holding about 40 rooms for the patients. It was positioned next to an elementary school so when she wasn’t busy, she would walk out to the balcony of the second floor and watch the children play. It was the same elementary school she grew up in.

Karen longed to be a mother. However, she was not able. She got ovarian cancer in her high school years and while she has made a full recovery, she had to have her ovaries removed. The surgery had occurred in this very hospital in fact.

She slowly settled in over the first three days of work. She was positioned on the second floor. However, she noticed that the surgeon who had performed her surgery was never around. She wanted to thank him again, but no matter where she looked he could not be found. She wondered if he quit, but was too nervous to ask the other nurses where he was. She was still rather shy, and while her fellow nurses were friendly, she still had anxiety when around new people.

His name was Steven Miles, and she remembered his face very clearly. He had been very kind to her during a rather traumatic time period. Karen felt as though she owed her life to the man. He brought her through the surgery well and was regarded as a brilliant surgeon. The larger hospitals in the surrounding areas were constantly trying to bring him over, but he always turned them down.

On her fourth date of work, he finally came in. She didn’t speak to him and he kept to himself working on the floor below her mostly. The few times she saw him, he had a huge energetic smile on his face. His skin was a rich golden color and he walked with a jaunty stride. He looked like the brightest person in the world and everyone seemed in awe of his presence when he entered the room. As Karen left work that evening she caught him talking to the receptionist who was goo-goo eyed over him.

The next day, Karen walked into the employee lounge. He stood there talking loudly to one of the main doctors and smiling widely. Dr. Miles turned around. Their eyes locked and the smile on his face disappeared. His eyes bore through her pupils and into the back of her skull, instantly causing a terrible pain in the back of her skull. Hatred pierced her and she quickly looked away. Her heart was pounding and her ears started ringing. She quickly left the lounge and ran straight for the ladies room. She went into the stall and vomited. She didn’t understand why, but that gaze contained a raw and unnatural hatred that she had never imagined was possible, which made her feel a greater level of unease than she ever had in her life.

That night, Karen felt a ubiquitous sense of dread. She locked her front door and applied the inner chain lock. She then slid a large dresser in front of her bedroom door. There were no windows in her bedroom so this made her feel safe. She had heard stories of women disappearing in this town, but most of those women were taken from poor neighborhoods. Still she had the most irrational fear that she was not safe

As she laid down to rest, Karen’s rational mind kicked in and asked her why she was so scared. There was no logical reason for it. Steven Miles probably just disliked new employees and likely didn’t recognize that it was her. He probably didn’t even really hate her. Maybe it was just a misread on his face. Even if it wasn’t, there was no reason for her to be this paranoid. It wasn’t like Dr. Miles would break in and hurt her. That would be insane. She also wouldn’t be one of the women to go missing because she lived in the suburbs; she was away from the outskirts of town. People would notice if weird things were happening here.

She slowly smiled to herself as she drifted away to sleep.

That night, Karen had a dream. She was in the hospital bed having surgery. Dr. Miles was smiling kindly at her. She was fully conscious about having the surgery, but she didn’t feel any pain. She looked to the left and saw a rather strange sight. There was a person next to her. The whole body was covered over except for a flap on the stomach.

Karen watched as Dr. Miles removed her ovaries. He then walked over to the covered body. He lifted the flap and she watched as he cut open the other person and inserted her ovaries into this person. The person then sat up while Dr. Miles inserted the bloody organ into its body. The figure lifted its hand and Karen was able to see its arm. The sight revolted her.

The arm looked like a patch job of a sick homemade doll. Multiple different colors of skin were sewn together. The stitches were clearly visible holding its skin together. The creature had three very different looking fingers of varying lengths. Each one had grotesque overgrown nails that were cracked and coated with a sickening yellow color. It was missing its middle finger and its thumb. The pinky was the longest finger on the hand and looked like it belonged to a rather large man. It reached for the cover over its head and slowly began pulling it off.

Karen woke up instantly as the alarm went off. Her heart was still racing. She grabbed the alarm clock and chucked it at the far wall. It shattered instantly and the shrill beeping died. She slowly sat up so that she could shake off the drowsiness she felt.

She was wiping the crust from her eye when she noticed something. The dresser she moved was back in place and her bedroom door was ajar. Not only that, but when she moved the dresser last night, it had left scrape marks on the floor; but now they were gone.

Karen got up and searched the house. Her front door was ajar. She looked around to see if anything had been stolen. However, to the contrary, the house looked…. cleaner. There was no dust on the tables or lamps. The carpet had been vacuumed, the counters cleaned, and the dishes washed and put away. Well, except for one knife, which was sitting on the counter.

Karen was late for work; partially because she spent so much time looking around the house and partially because she spent most of her morning debating on calling the cops. Unfortunately, she doubted that they would believe her or do anything.

When she arrived her supervisor began lecturing her. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Dr. Steven Miles approach. He once again had that kind golden smile on his face and Karen instantly felt better. He asked Karen’s supervisor what the problem was. They talked back and forth and in the end, he convinced her not to write Karen up. Before walking away, he looked at Karen and gave her a wink. Karen felt much better about her day. All thoughts of the previous night vanished from her head.

A couple hours later her shift ended. She started walking toward the door when she felt a hand on her shoulder. It was Dr. Miles. He offered to walk her to her car and she obliged.

It wasn’t until she got home that she remembered the previous night. Paranoia engulfed her. She once again locked and chained the door. She also slid the couch from the living room and put it in front of the front door. She once again slid the dresser in front of her bedroom door as well. She was quite tired from work so she threw her dirty clothes in the hamper rather than running them through the laundry. She set her alarm early so she could wash her uniform for tomorrow before work.

That night she started dreaming that she was sleeping in her bed. It was odd to her, as she had never had a dream like this. She tried and failed to move her body. She knew she was dreaming, but even with this knowledge, she could not overcome her paralysis.

Slowly she felt the covers behind her lift up. Something slid under the covers with her. With every fiber of her being she tried to turn around and look at what was getting under the covers with her, but no matter how hard she tried, she was fully paralyzed. The intruder slid up next to her body and its skin pressed against her skin. The intruder’s flesh was cold as ice and had a spongy texture. The scent of rotten flesh filled the air. If she could have moved, she would have vomited over herself.

Slowly an arm reached over her body to hold her. She felt the repulsive creature cuddle up to her and begin spooning her. The abomination opened its mouth and as it spoke, a rancid smell filled the room.

“He is here now. I want you to meet him. He is beautiful.”

A long tongue extended to the back of Karen’s neck. The intruder licked the back of her neck and chills shot down her spine.

Tears filled Karen’s eyes. She was given enough control of her body to look down at her stomach, where she saw the intruder’s hand. It was the very same hand that she had seen in the previous night’s dream. One finger and one thumb missing.

Suddenly, Karen was able to move and she quickly flipped around to see this ungodly creature. However, it had disappeared instantly. It suddenly occurred to Karen that she was not asleep anymore. She wondered if she had ever been asleep. Part of what made her suspect this was that the dresser was once again in its original spot. That and there was still the faint scent of rotting flesh. It was so faint that Karen questioned whether she actually smelled it, and soon it disappeared entirely. A screeching noise sounded next to her as her alarm went off. She hit snooze, but something perturbed her. She had smashed the alarm against the wall the previous morning. Yet here is sat in perfect working order. She had set her alarm last night without this fact even crossing her mind.

Karen got up and once again checked the house. Everything was pristine as before and both doors were once again ajar. The scrape marks from moving the dresser and moving the couch were erased. She expected nothing less. The only difference from the previous morning was that where the knife had been the previous day, her Uniform sat. It was perfectly clean, pressed, and folded. A stain she had gotten on her second day was completely gone. She had been unable to remove it with bleach.

She managed to get to work on time, so she avoided another lecture from her supervisor. During break she went out to watch the kids play on the playground. She just watched them play until recess ended and the teachers helped the students inside. Karen felt a pang of sadness as she watched the kids go, but knew she had to get back to work.

She only saw Dr. Miles once during the day. However, just like last night, he showed up as she was clocking out and offered to walk her out to her car. She obliged.

Then the sound of crying woke her up. She was not home. She had never made it to her car. She doubted she had even made it to the door. She tried to sit up, but all of her limbs had been strapped to an operating table. The smell of rotting flesh proliferated the room. She looked around. She was in a curtained off room: a hospital room. Beside her was a tray of tongs and scalpels. The shadow of a man’s body approached from the other side of the curtain.

Steven Miles opened the curtain and looked Karen directly in the eye. The happiness he normally showed was amplified, if that was even possible. Gold wished it was able to gleam with the same intensity as him. His eyes were wide and his mouth had contorted into the most sickening contorted smile she had ever seen.

“Ah you’re awake Karen. That’s incredible,” he stated. Behind him, someone started coughing and hacking.

“She is awake now, you can come in my love.”

Behind him, Karen heard the sound something slowly stands up and begin walking. The sound of an infant crying got clearer as the unknown entity approached. However, it did not approach in a natural way. She could hear it limping, and every other step, she could hear a spongy squishing sound.

The curtain opened, and that familiar arm was holding a bundle. The two of the fingers wrapped around the form, while one hung limp. Karen watched as a maggot poked out of the creature’s wrist and began crawling across the bundle.

S. Miles had the largest of smiles as he grabbed the baby from the love of his life. Her maggot covered face beamed. It was made of the face of several different women. She had one brown eye, and one blue. Both were bloodshot. The faces were sewn together covering the entire skull underneath except for a patch where the cheek would go. She recognized part of one of the faces as a woman who had gone missing two and-a-half years ago.

S. Miles kissed his love, and smiling, he handed the baby to Karen.

“This is ours Karen. We all helped to make this. This is what you wanted.”

The baby stopped crying. Two different colored eyes locked with Karen’s eyes. The baby’s mouth contorted into the most sickening smile.

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