Sanford Hospital: Berkley Street Series Book 4
Sanford Hospital: Berkley Street Series Book 4
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The nurse from hell awaits you...
Sanford Hospital. A Victorianesque monstrosity with creeping ivy and the infamous Ward E, home of the soon-to-be-dead. This is where ghost hunter, Shane Ryan, ends up for his burn treatments. Courtesy of the Veterans Administration system, the retired Marine is cut off from his private doctors and thrust into the arms of a hospital with one special nurse from hell; Nurse Ruth Williamson, who is as dead as they come.
The Nurse is a whole new breed of undead. She has a cadre of helpers who are loyal to the grave. Her twisted sense of mercy is death to the dying … and the living if they get in her way. And Shane Ryan is in her way.
Gathering his new friends and a few ghostly comrades, Shane takes up arms against the unholy regiment to fight the good fight. He can’t allow the Nurse to continue her killing spree. She is not God and her legacy of death must be stopped. Although she has a few more tricks up her sleeve, Shane’s mission is clear. The Nurse must die. And stay dead. Once and for all.
Chapter 1: Waiting for Death
Ray Antonio laid in bed listening to the world around him. He could do little else. In 1945, near the end of the war, a German shell had taken his legs off at the thigh. At ninety years old, Ray didn’t have the strength to use his prosthetics, or even hold himself up in a wheelchair.
Ray was waiting for Death to finish what it had started 70 years earlier.
His room smelled of antiseptic, the mustiness of old age, and despair.
Sully O’Hare had passed away the day before, and they had cleaned out the man’s belongings. Nothing more than a few pictures. A couple of mementos from Sully’s life before ending up in Sanford Veteran’s Hospital.
I’ll have another roommate soon, Ray thought. If I even make it that long. Let’s see how well I handle Stage 4 breast cancer.
Ray sighed and stared up at the drop-tile ceiling. He had long ago memorized the pattern of dots in the panels. The television didn’t interest him. Too many scantily clad women. Too much violence. The America he saw from his bed wasn’t the America he had fought for.
That America was dead and buried, along with his wife and three children.
He drifted in and out of sleep for a while, finally opening his eyes when the sky beyond his window was dark. The parking lot was sparsely populated with the cars of the late night shift, the sickly yellow lights of street lamps illuminating the exterior of his small world. The Hospital had grown quiet, the ambient sounds of machinery filling the crisp air.
Ray looked from the window to the closed door of his room and stiffened.
A young woman stood silently by his bureau. She wore a nurse’s uniform from when he had been a boy. The starched white clothes, the cap with its bright red cross, highlighted and helped to define the woman’s sharp features. Her lips were full, her eyes wide set and almond-shaped. Small curls of light brown hair slipped out from under her cap, and Ray knew she had a hard time keeping it in check. She had her hands in front of her, delicately small and clasped politely.
When she saw him looking at her, the young woman smiled.
It was then Ray realized he could see straight through her to the back of the door where his blue bathrobe hung.
Ray pushed himself upright and looked with surprise at the young woman.
She took a silent step further into the room.
“Who are you?” Ray asked, his voice harsh from lack of use.
“A friend,” she replied. “Just a friend, Raymond Antonio.”
The use of his name sent a chill racing through him, and Ray noticed how cold the air in the room was.
“A friend?” Ray said. “Well, what’s your name, miss?”
“Ruth,” she replied, walking closer to the foot of his bed. “Ray, I’ve come to help you.”
“I don’t need any help,” Ray snapped. “I thank you for the offer, though.”
“Oh, but you do,” Ruth said, nodding her head “You do. You just don’t realize it. You’re too close to it. So was your friend, Sullivan. He didn’t want to leave either, but you have to trust that we have your best interests at heart.”
“What are you talking about?” Ray asked, fear creeping into him. “What happened to Sully?”
“I want you to know, Ray, how I want to help you,” she said. “I helped Sullivan, even though he didn’t want it. He couldn’t see how he needed my help.”
“Sully’s dead!” Ray said angrily. “Did you kill him?”
“No,” Ruth replied. “Well, I helped to set his spirit free. His soul is at peace, now.”
“What did you do?” Ray demanded. “Tell me!”
“I merely eased his passing,” Ruth whispered said. “And do not worry, Raymond. I will help ease yours as well.”
“The hell you will!” Ray barked. “I’m not dying today, and you won’t be the one to decide.”
“But you will,” Ruth said. “And, more importantly, I will. I know my task, and whether you think it’s your time or not, Ray, I have decided it is.”
As she finished her short speech, Ruth headed towards the side of his bed. Ray grabbed the red call button for the nurse and tried to twist away from her. He moved too quickly and fell onto the floor. Ribs cracked loudly, and his head bounced off the old tile. Ray continued to press the button, twisting around to see where Ruth was.
She passed through his bed, anger flashing across her face.
“This wouldn’t have happened,” she said, her voice cold and flat, “if you had laid still.”
The dead nurse leaned over him, reached down and thrust her hand into his chest.
Ray howled with fear and pain as she grasped his old heart and squeezed.
Chapter 2: Brett Goes Running
The call button for room 9 went off and jerked Brett Pelletier upright, causing him to knock over his coffee cup. The tan-colored liquid splashed out onto the floor but Brett didn’t pause to clean it up. Instead, he launched himself from his chair at the nurse’s station and sprinted towards room 9 as the patient howled.
“Hey Doctor Pelletier, he probably just has to go to the bathroom,” Karen said without moving from her seat in front of the television.
Brett ignored her.
In a moment, he was at the door to the room and pushed it open. Faintly, he registered the fact that the wood was cold beneath his hand. The sight in front of him caused him to stop sharply and forget about the curiously cold door.
Sergeant Raymond Antonio, US Army, World War Two veteran, lay on the floor. The call button was in his hand, his faded pajamas loose on his thin frame. The man’s mouth was open, toothless without his dentures. His eyes were wide, back arched. Ray’s dark skin a shade too pale. And a woman was kneeling beside him.
Except she wasn’t whole.
She was more of an image than a reality. Like someone was using the room for a movie screen.
Her hands were in Raymond Antonio’s chest, a frown on her face. She looked up to Brett and nodded.
“He’s fine now, Doctor,” she said. “Better, really, than he has been in a long time. But he should have taken his medicine without complaint.”
Then she vanished, leaving Brett in the room with a corpse and an image that he couldn’t accept as real.
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