Light elevator music played in the clinic's waiting room. It was a simple orchestra piece, with a quiet piano undertone. The chair under me was one in a row of five, which was in turn one of two rows. My row was lined up against the left wall, facing its twin on the right wall. A small wooden table was placed in between the rows with worn magazines strewn on top of it. Fluorescent overhead lights lit the place in a bluish white light. Their humble buzz could be heard clearly in the thick silence of the seating room.
Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, Bzzzzzzzzzzzz, Bzzzzzzzz.
The comatose secretary sat behind a desk that was built into the wall next to the door to the exam rooms. Small knickknacks and a jar of pens sat next to a pot of flowers. They were pink lilacs, planted in a miniscule clay pot. The secretary sat behind her little desk, separated from me by the wall and glass, typing on her keyboard. She was young, fit, and had long, braided, midnight hair. Her skin was beautifully pale, and she sat with an excellent posture.
The petite clock on the wall above her read, "9:16." Two hours since I entered the office. A second dragged by, crawling like a newborn. Tick. Another Tock. The hand of the clock thudding, heavily, each second. The time dragged by, as I waited in the waiting room. Isolated. Across the room from me was my only compatriot, a bedraggled old lady, wrapped in layers of cloth. She looked like she was dozing, not looking at me particularly. The last person to go through the door had been in there for well over an hour. What were they doing in there? Maybe they'd gone out the back.
Lethargically, the secretary looked at something on her desk, and raised her head. "Loretta? Dr. Ankou will see you now."
The old woman awakened and got up slowly. She shambled towards the door, opened it and walked through. I paid no mind to the door or what was behind it. I simply sighed and sunk back into the tacky, worn waiting room chair. It had little red and green spirals, all grainy and machine-made, swirling against a dark blue backdrop. The arms were hard, black plastic, affixed in an arc to the legs. The carpet was well vacuumed and tidy, with no visible spots all across it.
Wait. Ankou? The secretary had said that his name was Dr. Ankou. I was supposed to be seeing my usual doctor, Dr. Samson. There must be a mix up.
"Um, miss? Miss?" I asked in the direction of the secretary. She ignored me.
"Miss. Miss... Um (the name on her desk plate read Ms. Dullahan. Dullahan? Must be Irish or something...) Miss Dullahan?"
She rolled her eyes, breathed out heavily, and made a point of finishing her typing before lazily raising her head to bore her dark, nearly black, eyes into me.
"Yes sir? What do you need?"
"Um, I think there's been a mix up. I was here to see Dr. Samson, but you said that Dr. Ankou would be seeing the last patient?"
"Dr. Samson works with Dr. Ankou. Samson is out today. Please sit down sir, I'll call when it's your time." My time? That's a weird way to phrase it.
I waded back to my seat and resumed my stasis. Might as well read the magazines, I thought to myself. Let's see, Vogue, Chicago Times, People... Wait what? The dates of the magazine were off. They said that they had been printed in the years 2015-2016. That... That doesn't make any sense.
Out of the blue, I asked myself, "Why was I here? What had I come in for in the first place?" My train of thought was interrupted by the sound of dogs, scratching and growling at the heavy wooden doors, their shadows barely seen through the glazed glass. I shot up, and went to the door to see what it was. As I reached for the door knob, Ms. Dullahan commanded me, "Don't open the door. Damn black dogs, always trying to get in."
"Yeah, those damn dogs, they're always trying to get in. I keep telling the doc we shouldn't feed them", Dullahan said before trailing back into her usual silence.
This... something was really off here. I looked at the clock. 11:02. This was getting ridiculous.
"Dammit, I'm going to be late for my daughter's play. I'm going to see the good doctor, right now," I said as I moved towards the exam room door. I reached for the brass door knob, my hand ready to fling it open. I knew something was screwy here. It was damn unsettling.
"Sir, sit back down. The doctor isn't ready to see you yet." Dullahan stated strongly as I grabbed the knob, her stare stabbing into me like knives. The commanding force in her voice made me step back a step. And I noticed I had left blood on the door knob.
I looked at myself in the reflection of the door knob. My right hand was deformed, crushed, and burned. slashes from covered my body, revealing the burnt and frayed suit I wore. My entire right side had long stretches of burns and scrapes, and there was a giant hole through my chest. The right side of my face had been grinded off.
I was dead.
"Dammit, I hate it when this happens..."
Dullahan's voice sounded from her mouth, which was now affixed to the head she held to her side. Her black eyes glared into my very soul as she reached down and tapped the intercom, "Dr. Ankou, he knows."
The door opened a second later, revealing the impression a skeletal figure, covered in a heavy cloak. Behind him light poured out, silhouetting his bony figure.
The cloaked figure gave me a gentle grin, or at least attempted at one, and rasped, " Sorry about this man." He raised his hand, and the door behind me flung open.
Huge, black dogs surged through, claws of cold steel digging into my burned flesh. Their fangs gripped me, their unearthly chill flowing into my blood. They hauled me back, kicking and screaming through the door, into the unfathomable darkness behind it. The last thing I remember before the darkness is the secretary pronouncing calmly, "Next patient please." Then everything went black.
Written by Erlkoeneg