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I Pray the Lord My Soul to Keep

The ICU ward of Tacoma General was unusually busy. Normally, there were only a small handful of patients, recovering from surgery, or spending their final days after some horrible accident. Mille flopped on the couch in the ICU break room, to get off her feet. The ICU ward was overflowing for the first time in the five years since she had started working there.

Twenty-eight patients were in there at present. They had an upper capacity of thirty. Some would already have been shipped over to Western State Hospital, but they too seemed to be getting an unusual amount of patients, not to mention the fact that many of these people were too delicate to be moved much at all. All Mille knew was she got suddenly assigned on a double shift, something unheard of in her time there.

Then she heard the alarm. All staff in the ICU knew that meant another of their patients had succumed to the Grim Reaper's call, and would be meeting their maker. She sighed, and got up to look at her boards.

The patient was Chad Knibb, 42. According to his records, he was there because of an animal bite. That alone seemed unusual to her, but she passed it off. It wasn't any worse than the child slowly dying of an inoperable brain tumor. She had thought to herself the man would likely make it, but the child didn't seem to be faring well.

She looked at the monitors, and saw he had gotten out of bed, and his leads had disconnected from the machine. She sighed in disgust at the dark thoughts she was having, and went to go get the man back to bed. Usually by the time they made it to her ward, they were unable to get around at all, so she took it as a good sign that he was on the mend.

As she turned to go get the man back in bed, she heard another alarm. This time, it was little Peter Mallar, the boy with the brain tumor. Mille picked up the intercom, and called "Code blue in ICU. Code....."

She dropped the handset in horror at what she saw. The man was bent over the boy, then flipping up, obviously chewing on something with delight. She saw the man smile greedily, then plunge his hands inside the child's belly, then pulling out a steaming, spurting handful of writhing snakes that were intestines. She choked back a gag, then she bolted into action. "Doctor Allcome to ICU stat. I repeat, Doctor Allcome to ICU stat!" With that, she hit the panic button for Security as well, as she wasn't sure if they were going to be needed or not.

As the code was meant, every available doctor, nurse, orderly, and even the janitors came on the bounce. All Mille could do was watch in horror at the unholy feast Chad was having, unable to look away. One doctor came around to her and demanded to know what was going on. All she could do was point to the monitor, unable to utter a noise.

As several attendants and nurses entered the ICU room, the boy sat up, and Chad suddenly spat out the mouthful he was worrying. They decided the boy must still be alive, but in a state of severe shock. Deciding to take care, they tackled and restrained both the boy and the man. They were finally able to do so, and they carried the child to the operating room, in the hopes to save his life.

Several of the staff walked away with scratches, and three were bitten more than once.

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