Day One. Night.
The sun rose that morning like it did any other. As the orange light crawled in through the blinds on the windows of the Special Treatment Ward at Hells Goiter Hospital, a man strode powerfully along the corridor.
Strands of his long, thinning hair whipped slowly like waltzing worms as he powered down the sterile, echoing hallway. He had his hands tucked into his white coat and held them out wide like a giant bearded bird, creating a vortex of air that cooled his sweat ridden back. He had been walking for some time. His scrub trouser legs looked weary from overuse, but in spite of this seemed to suit his grizzled demeanour. They were tucked into a pair of motorcycle boots. Which he wore for comfort and authority.
"Doctor" Frightened nurses said, bowing as he passed them. Some escaped hurriedly into their nurse-holes, as he called any room a nurse went into, before he walked by.
His destination came into view. Room 4. The layout of the hospital had always irked Nightblood and he reminded himself to remember to give McSchwartz a piece of his mind the next time he saw him.
Ernesto McSchwartz ran Hells Goiter. He was an intelligent, successful bean counting businessman. Everything Nightblood couldn’t stand in a Managing Director. They butt heads on numerous occasions, most recently over the hiring of under-qualified nurses, but the hospital layout had been a bone that had been picked clean, dipped in meat then picked again over the years. McSchwartz claimed that by moving the vertigo ward (rooms 650 - 800) to the ground floor they could cut down on nausea. The rooms that had been on the ground floor (rooms 1 - 150), used for those suffering from dementia and alzheimer’s, were then moved to the seventh floor in an effort to cut down on escapes. Wards containing tracheotomy patients were moved to a higher floor to discourage quick trips to the car park for a cigarette, while those suffering from depression were moved to a lower floor to discourage even quicker trips to the car park, for suicide. The moving of entire floors quickly got out of hand and the hospital had become, in Nightblood’s words “A retarded mess”.
At last he rounded the doorway of room 4. There was a young female nurse there tending to a very old man. He had a long white beard, thin arms covered in what looked like skin, and brittle looking ankles. He stank really badly of human urine.
"I don’t recognise you." Nightblood said to the nurse. She be one of the new hires, he thought. Curse you McSchwartz, he thought more.
"Oh yes. I just started this week. Anna. Hi. Are you family?"
"Nightblood M.D. That means ‘MEDICAL DOCTOR’ in layman’s terms." Night blood said looking around the room suspiciously.
"I’m…I don’t think that is correct." Said Anna.
She had passed the test.
Nightblood nodded at her extremely slowly to the point it was uncomfortable. She quickly finished fixing the sheets and walked toward the door.
"I’ll give you some privacy, doctor."
Nightblood completed his nod and she left.
"So old man." started Nightblood, resting a motorcycle boot clad foot on the edge of the rickety hospital bed. "I hear you asked for me by name. Do I know you?"
The old man gasped for air quietly and pointed a crooked, horrifically old finger at Nightblood.
"No, Nightblood. Not yet. But you will. You surely will. For you hold a secret. One more powerful than you can imagine. One that could change the world as you know it. The manuscript. You must complete the manuscript before…before…" The old man began to cough violently. "before the dark one finds it! You are our only hope Nightblood. Look into my face…I give this task to you." And with that the old man sighed and laid back. Suddenly alarms began beeping on the machines surrounding the old man. Nightblood M.D. called for the nurse.
"Nurse!" He called.
Nightblood sat in the visitor chair, pondering the old man’s final words ‘Look into my face…’ he repeated. He looked at the old man deeply and made a startling realisation that rocked Nightblood to his core.
The old man had no face.