Lisa loves being an ER nurse. She dreamed of being a nurse since she was a little girl. She always wanted to help people. She enjoys her coworkers, they are like family, they made her feel safe. Lisa likes that they give her the security she needs, being a girl from a small town, working and living in the city, she felt out of place for a long time.
The ER is fast paced, dangerous at times, intense and challenging. There have been times that she has needed to use all the strength of her heart to help families through the worst times in their lives. Sometimes she is rewarded with the warmth of seeing a family united after a traumatic experience.
Leaving the ER for her trip home always gives Lisa anxiety. The 2 AM, fourty minute ride on the subway always included load of characters. Everything from other late night workers, to partiers, to street people and drug users. There was also the street walkers and gangs. It was everything that Lisa was used to seeing in the ER, but in the ER she has the security of her family, out here she is alone with no protection.
The walk home during the day is quite beautiful, two storey brownstones along one side, with a cobblestone roadway, next to the cobblestone is a wrought iron fence just before a walking path, all of which is followed by a slow river.
Tonight the ride was uneventful, Lisa breaths a sigh as she exits the train onto the platform. As usual she is hit in the face with smells of the train, oil and grease, and the heat radiating from the brakes. The all too familiar smells from the platform of musty moulds and sewer gases cause her to wrinkle her nose. The lights still half burnt out, it’s been weeks already, but had she really expected them to be working? Not really, but she hoped. For once she wanted a well lit walk way before she had to start her walk down the street.
Tonight, it’s cloudy with no moon, the river has a layer of fog that has rolled across the walking path and the cobblestone. The street lights look like stars through the haze of the fog. The cobblestone is covered in puddles, they share what little reflections that are available from the street lights.
Lisa looks down the long block knowing it should only take ten minutes to walk home, but that’s when she can see everything. Tonight is different, she can’t see ahead more than a dozen feet. Lisa could feel her anxiety growing, but she couldn’t stay here, she had to get home. She started her walk slowly, sliding her feet, not stepping and listening carefully, trying to hear anything that might be a warning noise.
Lisa starts running scenarios through her head if she hears a noise that signals danger. Should she run for an alleyway? Logic tells her to stay in the open, panic tells her to hide. Her training tells to be cautious, she deals with dangerous and violent people every day in the ER, but there she always has her family to back her up. Tonight in the middle of the street in the thick fog, she is all alone.
Lisa takes a step, her shoe enters the middle of a puddle distorting the light reflection, causing the puddle to ripple and the light breaks up into rings and spreads across the puddle. Lisa stops dead, was that a noise somewhere behind her? It sounded like a scrape, she listens carefully, would there be another one? Nothing, she starts walking again, disrupting one puddle after another. Then, there was a noise, it sounded like a metal can falling over and rolling. Lisa’s heart is pounding, she can feel it banging against her ribs. She walks a little faster but it’s hard not being able to see far ahead.
Another noise, this time it’s a shuffling sound, Lisa listens but can not tell where it is coming from. It seems to be coming from everywhere. The fog is distorting the sound making it impossible to track its source. Lisa picks up the pace again, but she stumbles on the cobblestone and falls to her hands and knees. Her hands are scraped and burning, she can feel small stones in the cuts. Lisa stands and pushes forward again, tears in her eyes, she whispers “Please” to herself. She quickly scans the brownstones as she goes by, looking for some indication of a light, none.
Finally she is almost home, she can’t see the numbers on the doors but she is sure she is close. A few more and she will be there. Lisa can feel her heart beat in her ears, her breathing is louder then her footsteps now. There it is, the door, all she has to do is climb four steps and unlock the door and then she’s safe. She stumbles on the second step, but recovers quickly and reaches the door. Lisa digs for her keys in her pocket and in her panic drops them, one more moment of panic as she retrieves the keys. She unlocks the door and slides in and pulls the door closed. Facing the door, she presses her forehead against the door trying to regain her composure.
Lisa, being so focused on getting past the door, didn’t notice that the light in the hall was out. Lisa feels a large hand, cold and wet, slide across her mouth. Her eyes open wide as she is pulled away from the door. Lisa screams in her mind “No!”. Lisa raises her right leg and kicks off from the door, pushing her and the owner of the hand backwards. They land on the floor, the hand loosens it’s grip on Lisa and she rolls off the body. With out thinking, Lisa grips her keys between her fingers and lashes out at the controller of the hand, the keys rake across the throat causing a muffled scream. By instinct alone, Lisa crawls to the corner as she watches a dark patch form on the floor as the air fills with the aroma of iron. Lisa knew exactly what was happening and how long the bleeding would last if she didn’t help soon. Lisa sat in the corner with her knees pulled to her chest, tears running down her cheeks, her body shaking.