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Last Aide on Call

A spot of bother on the third floor...

By Al TreadwellPublished 5 months ago 5 min read
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Last Aide on Call
Photo by Kamil Feczko on Unsplash

The caregiver’s office said CLOSED. I wrestled a large wad of keys from inside my scrubs and noticed a patch of bloody shit stuck to my forearm. Apparently, I was in too much of a hurry and didn’t wash up to my elbows like I was supposed to. This last incident marked the third time today I had to wipe Montezuma’s Revenge from 339’s rear. When she wasn’t shitting her brains out, she was telling me to f-off whenever I went into her room to try and do her meds.

Really, you haven’t experienced such shock and awe until some old crotch cusses you out. Several residents were experiencing similar digestive problems, though, so it wouldn’t be long until the bug spread to the rest of the staff. I was on my second double shift this week, as we were already shorthanded.

I went to the medicine safe and entered the code to retrieve 339’s pills. Hopefully, she would play nice today and I wouldn’t have to bribe her with banana crème pudding. I was exhausted now that it was near the bitter end of my twelve-hour shift, and on top of that, I was fresh out of pudding.

The crusty spot of shit came right off with a Clorox wipe.

After locking the office, I hopped on the rickety elevator that would take me to the third floor. It was going on 9:30 in the evening, about an hour after the facility quiets down and the residents all file into their individual apartments. I descended the elevator and rounded the corner to a long corridor badly lit by fluorescent lights. The pattern on the carpet always seemed to make me nauseous. The dim lighting also set my nerves on edge, making me feel as if I were being watched from some dark, unseen crevice of the dirty hallway. 339 was all the way at the end of the corridor. I trudged past rooms 331, 332, and I had just cleared 333’s doorway when I thought I had heard a low groan.

I shrugged it off. This wasn’t anything unusual; I had become accustomed to the residents’ incessant complaining about body parts that no longer did what they were supposed to.

I continued on my way to 339, stopping cold when I realized I forgot to give 333 his blood thinners this morning. If the morning manager saw that I missed someone’s meds, she’d raise hell and probably give me my third write up. I tried thinking back to the beginning of the day to see if there was a good excuse to snake my way out of getting reprimanded, without luck. In fact, the majority of my morning was spent listlessly helping the office staff set up this month’s birthday party.

Attempting to calm myself, I remembered that this wasn’t the first time someone forgot to dispense medication, and I figured I could easily go back and edit the service log before the next aide noticed and I got shit-canned. 333 had already waited this long and could surely wait a few minutes more.

I pounded on 339’s door, with no answer. That wasn’t a problem. I was digging through the lanyard jumble for a pass key, when I heard the moan repeated, only a bit louder:

“HELP! O—h”

Something told me my mind was playing tricks on me, because I got the feeling I heard that cry with my mind and not my ears. The hair on my arms stood up. Eyes bugging, I turned to look to down the hall.

“O—h, I can’t move!”

Invisible centipedes shot up the back of my neck. The voice was uncanny and seemed to bounce off of every wall, and I found catching my breath difficult.

With my heart pounding in my ears, I started back down the hall. After a step or two, the arabesque pattern on the carpet tile appeared to unravel and morph into long tentacles, pulling me towards apartment #333.

My fingers found the pass key and I opened the single deadbolt. Once the solid wooden door swung open, I was hit with a stench that reminded me of the rotted deli chicken 505 had stashed under her kitchen cabinet for safe keeping. I noticed there was some variety of bodily fluid on the carpet close to the door, so I gingerly tip-toed around it when a cry floated out from the back of the apartment—

“I can’t move!”

Out of habit, I first checked the bathroom. I didn’t find him in there, but I saw the toilet and floor were both covered in the runs. Steeling myself against the lump of vomit rising in my throat, I turned around to check the bedroom, immediately banging my shin into an old walker that was blocking the doorway. I tossed it aside and spotted 333 lying face-down between the closet and a single bed.

I got down and grabbed him by the shoulders to flip him over. As I rolled him onto his side, a greenish liquid purged from his gaping mouth. His face was horribly flattened—his nose was smashed into his cheek, and to top it off, his face had turned into a livid shade of purple. 333 was obviously dead and had been for a few hours.

I swallowed hard again to prevent my retching next to the corpse, as the medical examiner and body techs would have enough to clean up already.

Slightly off-balance, I stood and dusted myself off before heading out of the room. I was nearly in the hallway when I heard a wail behind me that sounded desperately irate. Without looking back, I sprinted towards the exit. I lunged forward to reach the doorknob, just before slipping in something that threw me off balance and flung me forward, face-first into the door.

The blow to my head made my vision disintegrate into a swarm of black stars that accumulated into total darkness as I slumped to the floor. The last image I saw was the dirty carpet rushing up to meet me.

339 gingerly opened her door to peek into the corridor with her beady eyes that didn’t see anything. She thought it was an odd time of night to be hearing someone out and about with a walker, squeaking towards the elevator.

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About the Creator

Al Treadwell

Al keeps a blog over at Medium, @stranger.cabbage. She earned a BA in English Literature, with a focus in gender studies. Her interests include feminism, off-beat history, and the occult.

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