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Carmen Stevens: Heart Stopper

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Carmen walked to the hospital and watched as Eric drove away with Lena and Zachery. She could now only see the red tail lights as the darkness swallowed the car. Once the lights abandoned her vision, she turned her attention to the hospital.

As she expected, they were running on the back-up generators. That helped spill some light from the entrance down the path towards it, giving Carmen some guidance to the doors. Most of the windows were blacked out while a couple flickered with the embers of light. The dominating building hunched over her as she got nearer, and like every other place in Lakefield View, she did not want to enter.

The scratch marks on her arm burned slightly, reminding her why she was there in the first place. Various body parts and limbs throbbed with residual pain from her torturous twenty-four hours, yet she still did not want to be checked over.

As she pulled open the doors that were supposed to be automatic, she regretted telling Eric she would be alright on her own.

'Only people with emergencies can come in young lady,' an old nurse told her before she had a chance to pull her entire body through the doors. She held a flashlight, though she turned it off once she got closer to Carmen. The light in the corridor of the entrance was painfully bright enough. 'You should be at home.'

Carmen knew this woman was only thinking of her wellbeing, but her manner annoyed her. 'Thanks for the concern but I do have a problem,' she said as she showed the nurse her arm. The marks were tightly bandaged, though the fabric was deeply saturated in blood.

'What happened?' The nurse said in alarm. She held Carmen's arm up to examine the bandage, her eyes surveying it.

'I was attacked by an animal,' Carmen lied. Bringing up the Ripper would have posed more questions that she could not be bothered answering.

The old nurse shook her head. 'You poor dear, come on then, let's get you to the waiting room and I'll see if I can find someone to take care of it for you.'

'Thank you.'

'What is your name love?'

'Carmen Stevens.'

The reception area of the hospital was empty; for the first time, there was nobody behind the desk, or people running up and down in haste.

'I'm surprised there aren't more people here,' Carmen observed. 'With the power outage and all, Lakefield View has really gone down the shitter today. Thought maybe there would have been more accidents.'

'There have been a load of people in but we haven't been able to do much,' the nurse told her. 'A lot of people have died due to the machines failing; the morgue has filled right up. That's where all the people are.'

'Disturbing,' Carmen whispered just as they entered the waiting area. The two lights that were on in the room shone on specific spots, leaving the rest of the room in utter darkness.

'It's not a good time to be here,' the nurse said. 'Wait here and I'll get someone for you.'

Carmen took a seat nearest the door. The steady clicking of the clock echoed throughout the room. It was one of the only sounds. The other was a steady breathing in the shadows.

'Carmen,' a voice said.

The shock of the sudden voice forced her to slide down the seats away from where the voice came from. Once she stopped moving, she tried to make out the breathing. The deep rhythm confirmed something to her – there was more than one person breathing.

Carmen was aware she herself had stopped breathing as two children appeared from the shadows. A pair of hands grabbed each by the shoulder before a woman stood in the middle of them. It was the family from the Sunnyside Hotel – Clarice, Jack and Ivy.

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