Hell Oh Darkness My Old Fiend
Hell’s End Nursing Home evokes many sensations, from goosebumps skittering over my skin, to the need to constantly look over my shoulder, certain someone watches me. Named after the mining village, the home was converted from a semi-derelict building that had stood empty for decades. There’s only a handful of residents – perhaps they pick up on the same negativity as I.
I’m the new night matron. For the first few weeks not much happens, other than items going missing and turning up in random places. Eventually the night shifts get more… interesting. Doors bang, pictures fall, cups slide across level tabletops.
All the overhead lights in the building suddenly go out. I reach into my pocket for my pen torch, just as every emergency buzzer sounds from the unoccupied west wing of the building, red lights flashing wildly.
We all hate the west wing, with its shadowy corners and icy cold spots. It gives us all the creeps. Dotty, one of my auxiliary nurses, describes it as ‘black as the Devil’s back passage’.
She isn’t wrong; it feels… demonic. Anyway, we go through the rooms turning off all the buzzers, until we reach room 12a. The door refuses to budge. None of the doors lock from the outside and the room is supposed to be unoccupied. I push down on the handle and Dotty and I push against the door with all our might until it gives enough to squeeze through. I reach for the buzzer and swivel my torch around the empty room, shadows dancing in the beam of light. My torch alights onto a heavy oak wardrobe that had been pushed up against the back of the door. We are mystified.
Suddenly, a voice roars “Get out!” The floor shivers and rolls beneath my feet, windows rattle in their panes. Dotty grabs hold of my hand and pulls me back through the door. We run together through the west wing, as the building shudders, collapsing behind us.
Above the cacophony of falling masonry, I hear fiendish laughter in the darkness… followed by the sound of silence.