The Warden

Valerie Thomas, a 55 year old woman, has been admitted to hospital having suffered a stroke in her home town. She is taken to the Prince John hospital where she is treated by a team of ward sisters who, Valerie believes, will nurse her back to health. But, just a few rooms down in the same corridor, the hospital's secret screams through the walls. A case that will test the boundaries of human nature and the true meaning of what can only be described as a crime against humanity - bullying.

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9. Holding The Hearbeat

Nurse Ingrid Vaughn burst through the door with a burly thud and robust clatter. She soundlessly cursed the key’s inability to succinctly turn as it should in the lock. Like two dozy puppies, Martha and Valerie unfurled, startled by the clamour. Their faces were calm and placid until their gaze met with the grinning icicles peeling through Valentine red lips.

Consecutively, both gasped in shock and tucked themselves up and out of bed to stand before the banshee.    

One single sound proved to all that this couldn’t end well.

“Ha.” Ingrid breathed. Her right hand curved maliciously around the knob of the door, the other hanging high on her rolling hip. 

Martha let out a childish whimper and then a wolverine howl. Valerie slipped her hand behind her to squeeze hold of Martha’s hand.

“Shut it, baby!” Ingrid spat.

Martha choked another whimper before she stopped.

“You!” Ingrid screeched pointing a menacing, red polished finger at Valerie.

“WHAT…did…I…tell…you? What did I tell you just days ago? Hum?”

There was silence.

“I told you not to come in here ever. EVER!”

She lunged forward to take a swing at Valerie who lurched out of the way and the blow punctured Martha head on. She smacked to the ground and writhed in discomfort. She screamed and Valerie turned to see what had happened. She gasped. Martha wailed and lolled on the tiles. A passing nurse patrolled the ward, no doubt to attend the commotion and became sucked into the hurricane force winds of the scuffle.

“Mrs. Vaughn! Mrs. Vaughn!” she cried.

Ingrid whipped around; palm fanned out and struck her upon the face. She stifled backwards with the severity of the strike and she panted whilst caressing her cheek. Ingrid turned back around to face Valerie. Her nose was flared like that of a bull and her eyes were scarlet with malevolence.

Valerie was stooped over Martha, her hands struggling through the tussle of Martha’s own. Ingrid staggered zombie-like towards her.

“Conniving…you conniving…CONNIVING!”

Valerie lifted her head and was met by a brash push in the pool of her back. She toppled forward over Martha and reached an out-stretched hand for whatever may lay in front for stability. Valerie’s hand touched down on the side of the bed mattress and it slipped down to meet the cold ground. As it did, her head buffeted against the leg of the bed. She laid face down, stunned. Martha screeched. The nurse behind Ingrid gasped quietly as though afraid to show disapproval to what Nurse Ingrid had committed.

Ingrid shuffled to the door and slammed it shut. She turned to face the scene and brought the side of one hand to her lips, the other resting on her stomach. She ‘shushed’ Martha austerely but to no avail.

“Anna…urm…Anna could you please…” she motioned toward Martha.

Anna nodded once plainly and skipped to Martha. She touched hands with Martha and she let out a hurt whimper. Ingrid sighed tiredly and walked over to Valerie. She bent double over her and touched her back.

“Anna…” she called.

Anna came over to help Ingrid and together they rolled Valerie onto her back. Ingrid suddenly turned white. Valerie’s eyes were bloated, bloodshot and the rim was turning black. She face was a volatile white and her thin lips peeled back to reveal crooked teeth and a slender dribble of blood at the corner.

“Crap!” Ingrid cursed under her breath.

Valerie was quivering and the tremors rocked through her.

“What do we do?” cried Anna.

“Quick!” whispered Ingrid.

They raised Valerie onto the bed and she lay there shaking whilst Ingrid charged up the defibrillator.

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