by Laurie Razor
SCREAMS Contest Entry. Prompt - Stitched Back Together. ~1018 Words
|"I can hear the ocean, isn't it beautiful? The waves lapping against the sand. Ooh look, a shell. Wait, why is it like that? Have you ever seen anything like that John? John?"
His wife's dying words haunted John as he sits alone in his dark office.
In Robin's last weeks, the cancer had eaten away at her brain, and she became like someone else.
He loved her all the same; with her final breath, she reached forward as if to grasp something then fell backwards, her fist still clenched.
That last day shook John to his very being.
John's fellow doctors from the city took good care of his small practice in his absence, although he knew that these fantastic people had to get on with their lives, and after a month, it was time that he got on with his.
Being the only doctor in a country town was a big responsibility, leaving Dr. John McGuire to arrive early for his first day back to mentally prepare for the day ahead.
The harsh fluorescent lights blink into luminescence, thrusting the good doctor into reality.
An attractive woman of around thirty enters.
"Hello? Doctor McGuire, I presume."
The bereaved gent stands to his feet.
"Yes, and you are?"
She saunters over to him, her stiletto-heels click-clacking with each step on the tiled floor.
"I'm Suzy. Suzy Smith, I'm the new receptionist."
John hadn't heard of anyone being hired, although he decided that she was telling the truth as she had the keys.
"Oh, well it's nice to meet you Suzy. Please, call me John."
"Okay John. Well, I'd better go and finish opening for the day, it looks like you may have a few patients waiting outside already."
"Are you ready for them?"
"Send them in Suzy."
She opens the door, and a well dressed family of three strangers, all completely soaked, hop into his office, leaving a trail of small puddles behind them as they do so.
The father, a big burly man, helps his wife and young daughter, who doesn't look older than five, on to the padded table.
"Hello, I'm Dr. McGuire. How can I help you today?"
"Feet cut, oysters maybe? I no know."
The man's thick European accent makes him hard to understand.
"Okay. Where were you near oysters?"
The closest beach is over a six-hour drive from town; John thought this man had to have confused his limited English skills.
"Are you sure it was at a beach?"
"Yes, beach. Is what I tell you!"
"Okay, what are your names?"
"I Ivan, this wife Mary, and this ďábel Brooke."
John's surprised as the little girl puts her hand out and shakes his hand; as he was there, he lifted Brooke's foot and saw what looks like a fresh oyster-shell cut that ran the length of her foot.
Odd considering the only other body of water nearby is the Hillview pool, nearly three hours away.
"How did you all cut the same foot?"
"Accident. Jump from molo."
Mary spoke up.
"He mean pier-wharf."
The fury on Ivan's face is terrifying, leading John to stop asking questions.
"Well, I think I can fix all of you up. all you need is a few sutures, and a round of antibiotics to prevent infection, then I can send you on your way."
Ivan limps over and sits in the doctor's chair.
"You shooter me first, then wife, then you deal with ďábel. Okey-dough?"
Not wanting to cause a scene, John does as Ivan states; as he is stitching their feet back together, he notices that all three of their injuries are perfectly identical, running the entire length of their sole though he doesn't say anything though.
As soon as he finishes fixing Mary, the couple swiftly limp into the waiting room, abandoning their young daughter.
"This is going to pinch a little, are you going to be a brave little girl?"
"I'm not a girl, I'm a lady."
John chuckles as he cleans the laceration; Brooke looks around his office.
"Is your name John?"
Stumped, he looks at the girl with a smile.
"Now how did you know that?"
"It says John on that paper thing on the wall."
"Aren't you a smart little lady?"
"Do you know Robin?"
John drops his needle and thread, before standing to his feet, and turning a pale shade of ivory.
"What did you say?"
"Robin was at the beach, she told me to tell John that she wants him to meet her there. Then she started screaming."
The poor doctor clutched at his heart, as the girl raised her leg higher, revealing something moving under her wound.
"Robin's hurting doc. Don't you want to go to her?"
Clean skin miraculously peeks through her wound, pushing out a large mass which quickly drops to the tiled floor.
John looks down to see a disembodied thumb sticking out of a coned-seashell, crawling towards him with a hellish speed.
"Oh look, a shell. Wait, why is it like that? Have you ever seen anything like that John? John?"
Robin's voice echoes from Brooke's open mouth; John backpedals to the other side of the room before collapsing against the wall.
The shell-thumb thing climbs his pants, then ascends to his shirt.
John closes his eyes expecting the worst.
Though soon opens them as he feels a sharp pain in his side, Brooke had kicked him in the hip.
"Pick up the shell John."
Not seeing any other way out of this, John did as she commanded.
As soon as he touches the base of the shell with his fingertips, a bright light shines from the pad of the thumb.
"This is a beacon. One of many. If you ever wish to join us at the beach, we will know and we will come for you."
The thumb recedes into the shell in his palm, then darkness.
A few minutes later, Suzy shakes the doctor into consciousness.
"Are you alright John? You were passed out."
He feels the shell still clenched in his fist.
"I'm fine Suzy. Absolutely fine."