Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Mental Ward -- Emery Meets Beastly (7)


      Beastly had lost the innocent look of a child.  She crouched like a wild animal on the desk above Emery.  In her hand she held a bloody shard of glass, poised over Emery's chest.
      Emery threw her hands up to shield herself.  Her hands were trembling.
      A different look passed through Beastly's eyes -- confused, maybe.  She shifted the glass in her hand, and her eyes went dark and crazy again.  For a moment, Emery was sure she was about to feel glass plunged into her heart.  But then that confused look appeared again and Beastly's hand faltered.
     "You're the...you're the one who sang."  It was half-statement, half-question.  The voice had a tough quality to it -- like you might expect from a child who has grown up on the street -- but it was a girl's voice.  
      "I did."  
       For a moment, Beastly's eyes went wild again, full of the most horrible fury.  But the expression passed, and Beastly dropped to a sitting position on the edge of the desk and softened her grip on the glass.  She looked around the room as if visiting a place she saw once a very long time ago.
      Emery rolled to her side and pushed herself into a sitting position.
      "She's not dead, you know."  Beastly nodded at Pansy's motionless form.  Then she dropped her eyes to look at the glass shard.  "But some of them are."
     Every so slightly, Emery shifted so she could see the intercom button.  Whatever Beastly was talking about boded nothing good for her.  Emery wanted to live and to go home to her family in one piece.
     "IT did it."  Beastly said, rubbing the flat of the glass against her thigh.  "I couldn't stop it."
      "It?" Emery glanced around the room.  Was there another foe?  How many had escaped?
     Beastly didn't answer.  She stared blankly at her leg.
     It was then that Emery noticed the gash in Beastly's hand.  Whatever damage the glass shard had inflicted in others, it had also cut Beastly.
     "Beastly, you're bleeding!  You need one of the nurses."  For a split second, Emery wanted to reach out and scoop up the girl like she would one of her own sisters, but something held her back.  The best thing she could do for Beastly was to get help for her -- professional help.
     Beastly dropped the glass shard onto her lap and gazed at her hand impartially.  "It does that to us," she murmured.  Then she hopped down from the desk.  "Want to see what I got?"  She reached under the desk, tugging at something that was covered with a sheet.
     Emery saw her opportunity.  She leaped to her feet, diving toward the intercom button.
     But before she could reach it, she felt hands grasping her collar, dragging her down with surprising force.  Emery was shoved into the carpet, but she rolled to face her attacker.
     Beastly held the glass shard to Emery's throat, but the crazy girl's eyes were wide with terror.  "It's got me!  No!"  Then her eyes gripped Emery's and she curled her lip in disdainful pleasure, pressing the edge of the glass against Emery's skin.  Emery had this horrible feeling that the girl was about to kill her and enjoy it.
     From somewhere deep inside, Emery heard the song.  It wound its way up from her heart to her lips.  And then, with tremulous voice and a sharp edge pressed to her neck, she started to sing.  "Amazing Grace, how sweet..."
      The eyes above her went dark with fury and then wide with fright.  "A story!" Beastly gasped.  "You have to tell me a story!  Quick, or it will kill you."

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