I read my dead mother's diary. I don't know if I can ever forgive myself. - Chap 6
Once again, I stood in the cold lobby of Tenebris Care. The abstract art with the strange symbols served as the only decoration. I studied them as I waited for Mrs. Crawford to pick me up, trying to decipher their meaning. They were hebrew, I’d figured out that much, but whatever meaning they held was lost on me.
“Laura, good to see you,” Mrs. Crawford greeted coldly. “Where’s your son?”
“I left him at home. He doesn’t need to be here for our meeting. I thought you said we would speak in private anyway?”
“Naturally. However, we do have people here to help watch over children,” she argued, though her worries were clearly not fueled by concern for Alex’s well being.
“He’s being watched. Thanks for your concern.”
“He is with Dawson then?” she asked.
“Look, you brought me here to talk about my mother, and my purpose. How about we talk about that?”
She gave me an empty smile, and gestured for me to follow. Together, we traversed the endless corridors towards her office. That time, I realized just how empty the building felt. There weren’t any staff, nor patients to fill the deafening silence of the facility. It was dead, and I could it had been like that for a long time, and without the creatures to put up a facade, there wasn’t anything denying that fact.
“Where are the patients?” I asked almost sarcastically. I didn’t expect an answer, but she still responded to my inquiry.
“They’re all alive and fine. Thanks to your mother.”
“Because she brought them back from death?”
She stopped dead in her tracks.
“You finally figured it out?”
We finally arrived at her office. I’d only seen it a single time as a kid, as I was being scolded for talking to the patients in front of visitors. I vividly remembered the place as a cold place full of strange, religious artefacts and awards for her extraordinary contributions to the town. There hadn’t been any pictures of friends or family, just a singular one taken with my mother. She’d been a harsh woman in life, but she gave everything for her patients. My mother always respected that, and despite the fact that I never got along with her, she was a role model well worth looking up to.
All of that was a bunch of fragmented memories, because the office I stepped into on that day didn’t have anything more than a desk and some papers. It was plain, depressing, and rid of the life Mrs. Crawford once led. What it had been turned into, was just another room to house the creatures that had taken over Tenebris.
“Are you not afraid?” Mrs. Crawford asked.
“Should I be?”
She smiled again, but though her mouth was contorted into a crescent resembling joy, her eyes spoke the truth. There was not a hint of emotion behind her fake gestures, just emptiness.
“Your mother had a gift. The power to bring people back from the brink of death. She quite literally held the power of life in her palms. She was a Nephilim.”
Nephilim was a word I’d heard all too many times since arriving in Tenebris. Though I knew its most basic meaning, the true intent of the title was unknown.
“What exactly is a Nephilim?” I asked.
“A descendant of the first angels whose powers were transferred to their offspring. Your mother was a child of those angels, which granted her the power of life. As her daughter, you are simply an extension of that lineage. You are special, Laura.”
I looked at her as she spoke the words of praise. My ancestors might have been angels, but that didn’t mean they were pure creatures, because even the first angels fell to earth.
“What did you do to her?”
“We just made her utilize her full potential. Now that she is gone, we need a replacement.”
She stared at me with expecting eyes. I already knew I’d be the replacement, but as long as Alex got out of town, I didn’t care.
“No. We already made that mistake with your mother. She never appreciated her gift. This time, we need someone younger, someone that understands. Our town needs someone that can save the poor people within. As it is, everyone will die, a fact that could be prevented if only we had the right person.”
Her words almost sounded sincere, empathic, but they were just lies.
“So you would just keep me trapped here, like you did with my mother?”
Her fake smile turned to an expressionless face. “Did you not learn anything about compassion during your stay here? Did I not teach you to care about those that suffer?”
I didn’t respond. I just stared intensely at her, hoping to get any kind of information based on her flat facade.
“I was there when you were just a little girl. Trying to guide you towards the truth. I tried to show you that any gift of life, has to be utilized for the greater good.”
“The problem is. Mrs. Crawford was a good woman, and you’re not her.”
As I said that, I decided the time had come to end our conversation. Dawson and Alex had to be a safe distance away, which meant I only had one chance at escaping myself. I pulled out the syringe I’d taken from Dawson’s car, and plunged it into Mrs. Crawford’s neck before she could even begin to react.
Instinctively, she tried to pull it out, but it was too late. She just stared at me in a mixture of shock and apathy. She wasn’t angry, nor afraid. She let out the faintest chuckle as her body started to go limp.
“I’ll never help you!”
“You do not need to. We already have our replacement.”
With that, her body fell back into her chair. She was unconscious, which just about gave me enough time to flee. I exited the office, trying to seem casual as I locked it behind me. The hallways were still empty, which seemed odd. They knew I wouldn’t just go along with their plan, but there was no one there to stop me.
I hurried my way towards the main exit, waiting to get outside before I called Dawson over the radio. As I fled, Mrs. Crawford’s last words lingered in the back of my mind. I had expected myself as the replacement, but she wasn’t talking to me.
As soon as I got out of the building, I picked up the radio.
“Sheriff, you there?”
I was met with another moment of silence, before realizing I had to take my finger off the button.
“Laura, you there? We’re fine. Can you hear me?” Dawson asked.
“I’m about to leave the hospice. Are you safe?”
“Yeah, we’re fine. We’re a couple of miles down Glover Road, just outside of town. I’ve managed to get a hold of a few officers from Greenville, I’ll meet them halfway, drop off Alex with them, then I’ll come back for you. I’ll call you when I – “
He was interrupted by a split second long, loud crash, before the radio fell silent.
“Dawson!” I called out.
No response. It sounded like they’d just crashed the car, but the possibility of it being an accident was slim to none. Still, Mrs. Crawford’s last words kept ringing in the back of my mind as I futilely tried to figure out what to do.
“…we have already found our replacement…”