August 7

The Full Moon Effect (Part 3)

[…continued from August 6 entry…]

 

Brianna was huddled in the space beneath the hospital’s reception desk, and she’d even pulled her chair in close to make herself harder to find.

Unfortunately, her efforts hadn’t fooled Dr. Yoshida.  “There you are,” he repeated.  His voice pretended to coax a shy kitten from its hiding place, but the tone was deeper and filled with menace.  Dr. Yoshida’s face appeared upside down, framed between the desk edge and the headrest to her office chair.  His eyes were wide and playful, lacking the serious demeanor he used when discussing patients and hospital policy.

The playfulness didn’t make Brianna feel any safer.

What’s next when coaxing a cat from its hiding place?  The doctor’s face withdrew, and his hand reached into the opening, grasping blind for the lapel of Brianna’s uniform, a wrist or throat, a hank of hair.  His other hand came through, and she caught the gleam of light off a scalpel.

If Brianna was a cornered animal, she’d play the part fully.  She grabbed the weaponless arm, twisted his wrist and pulled it towards her; at the same time, she thrust the whole weight of her body against the chair, pushing it out and into her attacker.

She kept pushing, the chair’s castors and swivel base rolling over him.  Brianna climbed out of her hiding place, pressing down on the chair as she rose, and she heard a crunch as part of the body beneath her gave way.  With a soft plink, the scalpel fell to the ground.

Brianna picked up the small blade, considered how to use it on Dr. Yoshida now that she’d overpowered him.  She didn’t have the medical expertise of her would-be assailant, but she knew she could slit at the soft undersides of his wrists; or, she could cut through his socks to sever his Achilles tendons, making him unable to walk.

Or, simply slash away at his throat as his life’s blood arced up in a glorious fountain.

That image flashed fully formed into her mind, and she imagined herself leaning closer, laughing as warm blood sprayed over her face.

At the same time, she was aware of screams from behind the ER doors, the awful maniacal laughter of patients and formerly calm co-workers.

She considered Dr. Yoshida, now apparently unconscious, held down by her own weight and the ergonomic contraptions of her desk chair.  He’d previously been business-like to a fault — and in fact was one of the doctors who’d spoken against the “ridiculously unscientific superstitions” about the Full Moon.

But the “Full Moon Effect” must be what had taken him over tonight…and it must be what was putting those terrible and violent images in Brianna’s mind, too.

Dr. Yoshida didn’t really want to hurt her.  It was only temporary insanity.  He could shake it off, just as she had.

Because she wasn’t going to hurt him with the scalpel.  She would leave him here, maybe venture into the chaos outside and find any other folks who’d regained their senses.

She scrambled to stand, grabbing the ledge of the desk and trying not to press down too hard on the chair.  She almost lost her balance, but recovered herself and managed to straighten out.

That’s when Dr. Yoshida lurched up slightly, grabbed her arm, began twisting her wrist to try to shake the scalpel loose.  His eyes had that awful mischief in them, and she actually noticed flecks of foam at the corners of his mouth.  She tried to pull away, but the lunatic strength was too much for her.

Another awful idea flashed into Brianna’s mind.  This time, out of fear for her life, she had to follow it.

She tugged back with her arm to change the position of her body, swiveled her hips and…heaved herself into the chair with exaggerated force.  The swivel base of the chair, a curved metal asterisk that spanned Dr. Yoshida’s torso and pinned him in place, lowered with a satisfying crunch.  Brianna heard several distinct cracks, which she knew were bones in the man’s ribcage.

As she stumbled through the two sets of glass doors leading out of the hospital, Brianna tried to convince herself she hadn’t enjoyed the violent actions that saved her life.  She couldn’t let herself think that way.

If she could fight her own way out of the madness, so could others.  There was still hope.

Then she looked at the night sky.

Oh, God.  The Full Moon overlooked the world.  If patients and hospital staff were all driven to varying degrees of lunacy in her small hospital, the effect would extend to other places in the city.   In the country.  Not just doctors, but police officers and other peacekeepers.  Military advisors to world leaders.

Instead of the usual blanket of black and occasional stars, the entire sky was lit up from a series of scattered fires, multiple clouds of small and ominously large explosions expanding in the air, nearly washing out the ghostly face in the surface of the full and malicious Moon.