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Light Side of Dark

By R. A. Hayden All Rights Reserved ©

Action / Horror


Light Side of Dark is set in upstate New York in 2010 where a group of scientists are collaborating with the Catholic Church to investigate demon possession. This novel will appeal to readers with an interest in controversial religious theories involving the afterlife. It contains many elements of secrecy, suspense, politics, religion, and science while characters form bonds to cope with the unusual circumstances involving possession and fear.

Chapter 1: Accident

Rushing into the busy emergency room on a typical hot and humid Arkansas summer weekend night, two paramedics guided the gurney and were quickly joined by the hospital staff.

“Male. Approximately thirty years of age. Involved in an automobile accident on interstate thirty. Lacerations to the head and face and burns to both legs.” The driver relayed the patient’s wounds that he’d suffered to the Primary RN.

“Has he been responsive?” She asked as she took charge of the situation, recognizing right away that the patient’s breathing was heavily labored, no doubt suffering from smoke inhalation as well as the broken ribs he was suffering from.

“He’s not been conscious since our arrival on scene.” The second paramedic responded.

The seasoned trauma team quickly took over, going about assessing the accident victim’s many wounds as they guided him into the examining room directly ahead of Dr. Perry Resnick, who immediately saw the young man’s wounds as rather odd as they transferred him onto the hospital bed.

Back to the observing paramedics Dr. Resnick inquired as his staff began cutting off his patient’s clothes, “I thought this was a car accident coming in. Why does it look like he’s been in a fire?”

The first paramedic answered, “It was. He lost control of his truck after being sideswiped. Went almost head on into some concrete barriers where they are doing construction by the Martin Luther King exit. No modern day features, no airbag. It was an older truck, ’60’s something model. Anyway, after impact the vehicle caught fire.”

“I see. Well that’s the least of our problems.” Dr. Resnick replied as he examined the victim’s numerous lacerations to his face and saw his blood flowing out of the bandages already applied to his head while his staff continued to hook up his EKG lead wires and set for intubation.

“BP 82 over 47.” One of his nurses called out amid the torrent of activity surrounding the unconscious man.

As the doctor opened up the patient’s eyelids it was obvious that there was extensive brain damage. “At the very least he’s got an intracerebral hemorrhage. Contact Dr. Shuster. She’s on call tonight. Have OR prepped for level one. And I want…”

Dr. Resnick’s attention went to the heart rate monitor as it went tacky and then dropped flat, giving off its constant flat line ringing, the dreadful sound that no doctor, surgeon, or nurse ever hoped to hear.

A consummate professional with decades of experience, Dr. Resnick flew into action, vocalizing all that needed done though his long-standing team hardly needed instruction. “Start chest compressions! Prep the crash cart!”

Like so many times in their careers, the Little Rock hospital team began trying to restart the heart of a victim of a no doubt senseless car accident, which was resulting in the loss of a young man in his prime. They didn’t even know the man’s name nor could they even really see what he looked like with so much blood streaming from his head and face due to the paramedics’ head dressing which was not fully containing the blood pouring out. Not by their fault but by how severe the head wounds were. Unfortunately, his visible injuries were far from the extent of his wounds as he suffered from multiple broken ribs due to the impact he had with his own steering wheel which exacerbated the massive amount of internal bleeding.
Deep in their minds, having seen so many car crash victims, many they lost with far fewer injuries, the trauma team knew this wasn’t going to be one of the battles they would win. Nevertheless, they went to saving the life of the most recent soul who had unfortunately found his life in their hands, as if he was the first to find himself in their ER.

In a move that surprised even the nurses he’d worked around for years, Dr. Resnick decided to try the electric paddles one last time in order to restart the man’s heart. He’d already called clear four times as his team went about trying to resuscitate him and it had been over five minutes since his heart stopped working on its own. While resuscitation efforts had been known to take considerably longer, with a patient as broken up as the one laying before them, they were slightly surprised that the doctor had already given it as much time as he had.

And then it happened. As if there had been a power outage caused by the fifth and last jolt sent into the chest of their patient, yet the doctor nor the nurses were aware that it was only the examining room that they were in that rendered to the momentary darkness that engulfed not just the lights, for they certainly didn’t go out due to loss of electricity, but also the power energizing the many pieces of monitoring equipment.

The sudden flash of darkness was not caused by power failure but instead a much deeper and unexplainable phenomenon, the likes of which the world had never before seen. It was not the blinking of power caused by power failure but a wash of impenetrable shadow, the focal point being the very patient they were trying so hard to revive.

Subconsciously, all in the room knew that what had happened was not a typical power failure but its briefness had their brains seeking for an explanation that made sense so of course they merely thought it was an interruption in the electricity. The unknown had their minds looking for the simplest of reasons as to why their eyesight was momentarily robbed from them.

The reality and reasoning for answers or the denial their own minds would reason through would have to wait, as it were. When the lights once more appeared visible to them, the heart monitor blinked and pulsed with a heartbeat. It was incredibly weak but it was clearly pulsing. Within a few seconds they were rewarded with a visible breath being taken by the body on their hospital bed but just a couple seconds later the room filled with a pandemonium that none would have expected nor could they have anticipated.

Everyone’s flight instinct kicked in as the previously dead figure lying prone before them bolted upright to a seated position and his eyes looked upon them, his eyeballs appearing to be entirely black.

Looking first right to the doctor and then left to the nearest nurse, he snatched ahold of her wrist, too fast for her to avoid his grasp or his nails that had become utterly black and elongated into talon-like claws, black like the deep shadows of his eyes. Without hesitation he snapped her arm backwards, snapping both the radius and ulna bones in her right arm so forcefully that the broken bones almost punctured through the soft skin where the forearm meets the wrist.

Shouting, he yelled out in a voice that was somewhere in-between the growl of a predatory animal and a voice undecipherable to them, “Πού είμαι?”

Not knowing what language it was that was spoken or caring that their patient had just yelled out “Where am I” in Greek, two of the trauma team jumped to the defense of their screaming co-worker, Dr. Resnick grabbing ahold of the patient and pushing him back onto his back as he thrashed out wildly.

The third nurse, near the foot of the bed, and the two paramedics still standing at the door, looked on in awe at what they had seen more clearly than those immediately next to the hospital bed. From their vantage they saw the black shadow erupt and flow outward from the injured man but it was so fast that they were having difficulty acknowledging that and even more difficulty understanding the completely black eyes they witnessed. All three felt a sense of complete and utter evil enter their hearts, so deep that it scared them from immediate action.

As his nurse lay on the cold tile floor next to the hospital bed, screaming, Dr. Resnick struggled greatly with the supposed injured man and yelled out, “Sedate him!”

So close in proximity to his patient and fighting to keep him down, Dr. Resnick and a nurse struggled to keep him down while one lay on the floor screaming in pain when the third by the foot of the bed finally acknowledged her need for action and went into motion, albeit nervously and shakily as what she had just witnessed hindered her actions beyond anything she’d ever witness in the ER. Meanwhile, the paramedics witnessed further, a blackness emanating from the patient of what appeared to be shadowy drifts of some seemingly flowing substance that flowed down the side of the bed and onto the floor like a heavy smoke, darker than any smoke they had ever seen.

Hand fighting with the seemingly demented man beneath him as he continued to spout what he thought was gibberish; Dr. Resnick shouted in desperation, “Stick him! Stick him now!”

With rage spoken in unknown words by the man they had rushed to the hospital in their ambulance, the paramedics watched and listened as the nurse jabbed a syringe of propofol into his neck. Within their seeing, the black shadows that emanated from the car crash victim dissipated as he slumped back into unconsciousness, leaving them to wonder if they were ever there at all or a trick of the mind seeing as there was no evidence left behind.

Completely baffled by not only the account of Dr. Resnick as told to her by her long standing colleague and one of the most respected doctors in the hospital, Dr. Annette Shuster could not make heads or tails from the brain activity coming from Keenan Quinn’s X-rays and MRI results. Thanks in no small part to them not being able to keep him still long enough to obtain decent results.

After his initiation into the hospital and the harrowing ordeal that the trauma team went through with stabilizing him, the hospital had learned that the man’s name was Keenan Quinn from the identification in his wallet, but little else. His driver’s license indicated that he was from Billings Montana but they could not confirm an address nor did they have anyone to call since even if he did have a cell phone, it likely burned up in the vehicle fire from his accident.

Considering all of the unknowns about Mr. Quinn and his relentless condition he was suffering from, he’d been transferred to the psych ward where he could be monitored around the clock. There were a few rooms fitted with twenty four hour video surveillance and since most of the time he shook uncontrollably, as if he was suffering from persistent and massive seizures, it seemed prudent. Due to these strange seizures they were unable to assist his body with any sort of intubation or feeding tube. All efforts in attempting had him choking and in one try he bit completely through the plastic tubing.

Stranger still is when he awoke. The staff could not see how that was possible, not with the amount of tranquilizers they were putting into his system. Dr. Shuster was surprised they alone hadn’t killed him. Nevertheless, on a few occasions he did wake. Only on one such instance was he coherent enough to speak legibly and in English but he soon passed back out before he could answer any questions. Other times he shouted out in a variety of languages and with the briefness in such times they had been unable to discern which languages it was that he was speaking other than one of the doctors recognizing a few phrases of Latin.

Dr. Shuster was considerably concerned about him injuring himself even though he was restrained just to keep him from bouncing off of the bed but baffling her was the speed in which he was actually recovering, at least in terms of his body. From below the knee on both legs he had suffered third-degree burns that were now almost completely healed and the lacerations to his head and face were completely closed.

As she looked again at the X-rays, she muttered, “What are you?”

Little did she know that that statement was to be partially answered if she had the wherewithal to understand what was happening to him. As she looked back to the monitor she witnessed Mr. Quinn levitating above his mattress at the full extent away from the bed that his arm and leg restraints would allow leaving nothing under him but empty air. Some strange black energy appeared to be flowing out of his body, hit the sheets, and continued to flow onto the floor where it dissipated to nothing like a black waterfall of nothingness.

Dropping everything, she ran out of the monitoring room at the end of the hall only to see two of the wing’s nurses rush into Mr. Quinn’s room well ahead of her. As she neared, she could hear that the monitoring equipment was going berserk with every possible alarm going off simultaneously but that was the least of the turbulent activity transpiring within.

As she rounded into the open doorway, she came to a screeching halt, her senses overwhelmed with what her eyes were reporting, to the point where she couldn’t even scream out. Both skilled and brave nurses had hurried to his bedside and attempted to push him back onto the bed but before either could put a hand to him, two shadow formed arms had reached out from the black void beneath Mr. Quinn and latched onto their respective throats from either side of the bed. There and in her seeing, both were hefted into the air and flung back against the wall with the appendages still holding them aloft a few feet off of the ground, despite the male nurse being a large man of considerable girth.

Piercing claws at the end of the arm’s digits sprang out, gouging deep into both nurses’ throats, sending gushes of blood shooting out in multiple directions.

Aghast, Dr. Shuster finally managed to scream “no” but found her voice was not the only accompaniment to the sentiment as Mr. Quinn’s voice rang out the same utterance as well, except his was much louder, defiant, and angry. Angrier than anything she’d ever heard. The voice was not that of a simple man but a growl of an unknown beast mixed with that of a human.

Then, as if blinking out of existence, the black arms and the dark flowing shadows beneath Mr. Quinn disappeared and he fell back to his bed. Quiet ensued for even the monitoring equipment went silent; leaving Dr. Shuster’s heavy breathing as the only sound in the room.

On her left, both nurses lay dead, the only movement coming from them was the blood still flowing out of their opened throats as it continued to add to the pools of crimson slowly flowing away from their bodies as it mingled and engulfed the white tiled floor.

The unexplainable and horrific scene had Dr. Shuster drop to her knees, where she covered her mouth in complete shock to what she had just witnessed. Tears of terror and sadness ran out of her tear ducts. Then she gasped as a voice broke the silence.

“What happened?” The oblivious sounding Keenan asked from his bed and looked quizzically down at the restraints around his wrists.

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