Tuesday, 3 April 2012

No words

Nurse Hearse stared out of the window.  Five storeys below was the Gorillamumps quadrangle, and in the gap between Simmons Hall and the Towers of Lore she could see the Wyrmball pitch.  Wyrmball was the official sport of Gorillamumps and usually resulted in casualties every game and a fatality or two every season.  She'd had no casualties in from it so far this year though, possible due to the new Wyrmball teacher, or perhaps that they had a new referee who seemed to be a lot better at spotting fouls and potential rule-infringements.  It had made her job a lot more dull.
She turned away from the window and looked down the length of the Infirmary.  Only four beds were occupied at the moment, and none of her patients needed waking, or blood taking, or even medication applying until the morning.  Sprockett, the orderly, had disappeared with the gurney, and she suspected that she'd find him in the mortuary doing something unwholesome, possibly with a corpse, possibly with one of the kinkier zombie students.  The doctor, who was resisting her advances far too successfully, was also missing, probably hiding somewhere else in the Infirmary.  She wasn't allowed in the potionation and decoction rooms, and she had a suspicion that the doctor had set up a bed and small library in there.
There was a soft thump, and she scanned the ward again.  The student in bed seven had fallen out of bed and was tangled in the sheets on the floor.  She started down the aisle towards it, a little puzzled as she'd made sure to strap all the students to the bed before telling them that it was time to sleep.  She was barely half-way there when the student jerked as though an electric current had been applied to them, and then arched up off the floor into a stretched, taut, upright position.
"No words!" it shrieked, blue light falling from its mouth as it spoke.  When it closed its mouth up again the light disappeared.
"..." said Nurse Hearse, discovering that she was incapable of speech.  She tried again, and a third time, trying to force her throat to produce even a moan, but no sound came out at all.  It was as though all the sound were being drained away before it ever made it out of her mouth.  Worried now, she slowed her pace towards the student and checked her notepad.  Bed seven was supposed to be occupied by a young mummy that was showing signs of pregnancy, though that was physiologically impossible, mostly due to the embalming fluid.  There were no additional notes there, and the doctor hadn't provided her with any warnings earlier in the day.  She continued on to the student, wondering what was happening.
"There shall be no words," said the student, it's voice still a high-pitched shriek with a hint of authority and lot of bitchiness about it.  "The silence shall ascend and campus shall be quieted; in the quietude shall come the Angel of Steel with its attendant horde; no life shall be unjudged; no student shall remain bored."
Great, thought Nurse Hearse, unable to speak out loud still.  Prophecy, and the kind that's self-fulfilling by the sounds of it.  That rhyme is terribly forced, and clearly is from someone who has no idea how attractive boredom is to students.  She was only six feet away from the student now.
"Stop!"  It held its hand out in front of it and she felt the force of its will opposing her.  Like a heavy gale an unseen force whipped at her legs and tried to bind her, holding her in place by sheer strength of thought.  For a moment it seemed like it might succeed, and then Nurse Hearse was moving forward again, her thoughts filled with the number of occasions that students had, out of fear, tried to resist her ministrations.
"Stop!" tried the student again, now holding both hands out and pulling the tangling sheets out from its body.  Nurse Hearse noticed that the bandages underneath – a sure sign that this was a young mummy – looked yellowed with little black dots scattered everywhere.  Almost surely a sign of a fungal infection, and probably meant that the young mummy was possessed by an opportunistic spirit.  The force of the command to stop, doubled now, broke over her like a wave and divided, flowing past her.  The student looked worried now.
"Sto–" it started, but Nurse Hearse had her hands round its throat now, choking down on the word.  As she seized it she felt something else shift, and knew she could speak again.
"No words, you said," she said, pushing it down on to the bed.  "No words, so that the silence might ascend."
"Bleeeergh" The student was struggling to speak now.  "Well, I have things to help you there," said Nurse Hearse, smiling with tombstone teeth.  "Starting with duct tape and some anti-fungal wash for those bandages of yours...."

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