Nausea hit me. I was in my dark room again. The greedy woman and the wicked bird were fading like the image from an old television screen.
I was beginning to see a pattern to this hallucinations, or visions, or whatever you wanted to call them. It was those dogs. Of course, dogs, was not the right word for them. They looked almost like a Doberman Pincher, but so much larger. There was something strange about the skin as well. It was almost like there was no skin on them at all. It looked like the muscle was bare of any covering. What kind of animal could live like that?
I really had no interest in finding the answer to that question. I needed to get out of here, get to a hospital, get checked out. Of course, that was easier said than done. I still had no working car and no phone. I made it half way down the stairs before the memory of that dog like thing rushing up at the woman froze me in my tracks.
I had two choices. Three if you counted standing in the middle of the staircase until the end of days. I could go back up the stairs and hide in the shabby little room with the possessed lamp, or I could keep moving down the stairs and hope like hell that there was nothing nasty waiting for me in the lobby.
I scolded myself for my irrational fear. There were no devil dogs, no possessed objects, no real danger. I was having a minor break with reality that’s all.
I felt tile under my foot, and was so surprised my foot almost slipped out from under me. I was back in the lobby. I waited for the growling or that horrible coughing bark, but only heard the sounds I was hearing when I checked in. T
I heard the squeak of a door behind me and scurried around the counter to see if anyone was there. At least I told himself that was why I scuttled like a goosed crab. Once again, there was no one there.
It didn’t matter. I was going to my car and that was final. I didn’t care if 20 people came in at that very moment, I was leaving.
My footsteps sounded even more hollow than before as I crossed the empty tiles to the front door. I found myself counting them as I walked. After twelve I was close enough to the door to open it, but there was a problem. The door opened in and I was not willing to touch the handle. I was afraid that one more vision and there would be nothing left of my sanity to save even if I did make it back into town.
I pondered this dilemma for a moment. Maybe if I grabbed the handle with my shirt it would not be the same as grabbing it with my bare hand. If it was direct skin contact with the object, wrapping my shirt around my hand would stop it. If it was any contact with the item, I was screwed.
As always my mind wandered. Why did the door open in? Didn’t fire codes require that doors in public buildings open out? Or was that just a convention and not a rule? Or did it only apply to non-possessed buildings?
“Stop it,” a high pitched voice, obviously belonging to a child squealed from behind me, almost ending any need for leaving because my heart nearly stopped. I whirled around to find the owner of the voice and staggered against the side table next to the door.
The table held a lovely fake flower arrangement that started to tip as soon as my leg touched it. Once again, not thinking, I grabbed the vase before it hit the floor and surprisingly, nothing strange happened. I was still in the poorly lit lobby, and was still myself.
I allowed myself to sigh with relief. Maybe whatever had been happening was over. I tried to set the vase back on the table, but it kept tipping. Right in the center of the table, where the vase had been was a pack of playing cards. Annoyed, and made bold by my success with the flowers, I simply swept the cards aside.
I regretted it quickly. The tingle started in my finger tips and quickly moved up my arm. It was no longer night, but late afternoon again.