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Carmen Stevens: Family Portrait

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The fresh air outside slithered into Carmen's nostrils. She drank the sweet air, allowing it to fill her lungs to its fullest capacity. As blood was smeared across her lips, she curved them into a smile. Some kind of weight had been taken off her; she felt light, free. The wind surrounded her, welcomed her to the dark outside. It reflected perfectly the darkness that grew inside.

As her heart pounded, she could almost sense the same pounding heart of the Ripper. Like a compass, a sharp stab indicated its location and she looked towards the forest in the distance. She debated her next move. A gust whistled through the barks of the trees and whispered her name.

Despite the newfound strength, she shuddered at the thought. She looked down at herself, at her clothes, previously the colour of a pale grey but were now a deep red.

Carmen slowly started to realise what she had done. Like crashing down from the intoxication of alcohol to the rip-roaring hangover, she hyperventilated. The panic attack washed over her from nowhere. She couldn't breathe. Her hand found her chest and she bent forwards, ready to vomit.

Once she emptied her stomach onto the pavement, she felt the sudden panic subside. She shook off some of the vomit that made it onto her clothes, now feeling violated by the blood and gore that covered her. Now she wished she felt that twisted feeling that empowered her earlier, at least long enough for her to change. It was too cold to take her clothes off in the middle of the street.

Carmen tried to think of where to go, away from the forest. She looked back at the hospital, knowing it to be empty of any killer or beast, and ran back towards the entrance. She remembered seeing a rack of hospital gowns in the hallway outside the waiting room.

Now armed with some form of plan, she entered the hospital. The first sight that welcomed her was the bodies of Clarice and her children. She looked down at them as she passed, disgusted at the sight, disgusted at her actions. Carmen did her best to avoid the wet floor, but so much of it was covered that it was impossible not to step on something that originated from one of the dead.

A couple of times she lost her footing slightly, but managed to stay erect. Even after passing the scene of the crime, it was a chore to walk, so she kicked off her shoes once a dry patch of floor opened up to her.

The cold of the hard floor didn't faze her. She found the rack of hospital gowns and rummaged through them. She tried to find the cleanest one, or at least one with the least amount of speckled blood on it.

Once she found what she considered the best one of the bunch, she picked it out and lay it on top of the rack. Carmen struggled to pull off her wet clothes at first as the fabric stuck to her flesh. Several thoughts entered her mind, wanting to find somewhere to clean off, but with the maze of the hospital, she abolished the idea of even trying to look.

Her naked body was patched with the red liquid. She decided to try and get most of it off by wiping one of the other hospital gowns on her body, but all it managed to do was smudge it further. Some of the blood had already dried on her skin.

Giving up on cleaning herself, she slipped into the cleaner gown. She fumbled to tie it at the back with her gritty fingers, and after a minute or so, she managed to tightly tie it.

Carmen wanted to avoid the bodies at the entrance but wasn't sure of another way out that would be quick and safe. She drew a deep breath, shut her eyes tight, then made her way around the corner.

The scene never got better, despite the image already planted firmly in her mind. She knew, now, for the rest of her life, she would have to suffer the nightmares of the moment she burst the throats of two children and the smashing of the skull of their mother. Despite them being demonic, evil people, she couldn't shake it from her head that she killed a family.

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