In the distance the door crashed open and everyone’s ears in the common room perked up. Nobody should have been outside, but yet the door had just slammed open. As we exchanged perplexed looks, the howling and desperate cries began to echo through the old hallways. The screams were filled with the pain and agony of a dying beast. My imagination started to envision some monstrosity that had crawled out from the sea, but my stomach and the horrible feeling within it, quickly brought me back to reality.
I looked around and the feeling intensified deep in my gut. The sudden urge to vomit overtook me as cold sweat started to bead on my forehead. My head kept spastically turning trying to find Lawrence, but he was nowhere to be found. The screams intensified as they reverberated through the edifice and the dying soul approached us. I dropped the plastic cup of water I was holding and started to run in the direction of the screams. With every agonizing step the voice behind the lamented cries became clearer, and my panic increased.
I negotiated with every deity, promised my soul to every demon and hoped my ears were deceiving me. I moved as fast as my old body would propel me, following the sorrow filled cries. The figure finally came into view as I turned one last corner and it was slowly dragging itself down the hallways, each movement obviously sending intolerable waves of pain through its body. Behind the broken soul on the ground, the door to the outside was still open. The harmless looking but deadly rays of the sun shone into the darkened hallway. No one should have been outside, no one.
My run had slowed into a deliberate walk, as I both wanted to run towards the body and still not face the reality that awaited me. The figure looked up and the grunts and cries reached an intense crescendo. I had heard and said the expression “My heart sunk” a million times, but had never truly felt it. It took all my might not to fall on my knees in despair as I reached the body, my Lawrence. No one should have been outside.
Adrenaline kicked in and I went into emergency mode. I carefully rolled him onto his back and his once handsome face grimaced in pure agony. He tried to speak but I just hushed him and tried to comfort him. The whole left side of his face was almost melted off his skull. Muscles, ligaments and melted skin hung from him, ruining what once was a beautiful face. His left blue eye rotated in his socket desperately looking for the eyelid that didn’t exist anymore. The melted, destroyed skin stretched down most of the left half of his body. I held his right hand and his desperate eyes fixated on me. Tears ran down his face and whimpers escaped from deep in his chest. My heart truly fell and there was nothing I could do for him.
Others soon made their way down the hallway. They could not hide the repulsed and horrified looks from their faces. Martha made her way through the mass of gawkers and took over. Martha was the closest thing we had to a doctor. As soon as I saw her I gave in to the catatonic state I had been fighting. I could hear the screams and they took Lawrence away. I felt his hand slowly slip out of mine as I remained there kneeling, tears streaming down my face. He was all I had; he was all I had left. No one should have been outside.
The pain and hurt became too overwhelming and soon my brain turned it into anger. The hot feeling exploded from the pit of my stomach and flowed through me like lava. My jaw and fist clinched and without knowing it, I was storming down the hallways once more. This time I had a destination and a target, Omar.
I don’t know if I kicked, punched or pushed the door to his office but it almost recoiled back and hit me from the force. The old man sat behind his humble desk, his eyes wide open from the surprise. I wanted to say a million things at once, but my clenched jaw and overwhelmed brain would only allow me a few words.
“This is your fault!” My voice filled with so much pain my ears almost didn’t recognize it. The blinding rage grew to protect me as I flipped the old military metal desk with a flick of my arms. The old man quickly rolled back on his chair, getting himself out of the way of the flying desk and sat there bewildered. I stormed out of the small office and headed toward the infirmary.
I could soon see the blocky, red cross painted outside the room. The agonizing screams coming through the door assured me my Lawrence was in there. I focused on the red cross, its paint was old but still stood red and proud. I made it to the door but could not bear to go inside. Instead, I kept on walking all the way to the end of the hall and back. I don’t know for how long I did that, minutes or hours, but it wasn’t until my boy’s sobs stopped that I was able to even look inside the room.
I stood just at the door and looked in. Martha was still working on him, applying creams and bandages to the melted skin. Most of the medicines were plants from the island, but at least the old military base had an insane amount of bandages, gauze and other medical supplies. Lawrence laid still on the bed, he must have finally passed out from shock. I didn’t know if that was a good thing or not, but at least I knew he wasn’t in pain. He shouldn’t have been outside.