Dr. Robert's side burned where Dagon had stabbed him. That was when the rioting started. Ever since, he’d been running.
The sudden, friendly sound startled him. There was a slim dark haired girl in one of the abandoned cells.
She smiled up at him. She was still wearing her hospital gown, warming herself next to a smoldering mattress. Her look turned serious.
“The lights don’t work, neither do the heaters.”
“The damn rainstorm flooded our basement,” Robert lowered himself to the ground, “it turned off all the power in the hospital.”
“What about the bad men?”
What about the bad men indeed? Robert didn’t answer. If she noticed the dark stain on his coat and shirt she didn’t mention it.
“Can I have one Professor Moonpie?”
The hospital figured Carrie would never speak again. He was eating a Moonpie during their first session when she had asked, “Can I have that?”
Now, Robert smuggled them into the hospital for her every chance he got.
“I’m afraid they’re in my office.”
She stuck out her tongue in frustration.
“That means I won’t get one until we finish our session, doesn’t it?” She sounded grumpy. “Well, we’re not going to have our session in here. The mattress has gone out.”
Robert’s legs refused to respond as she strode to the adjacent cell. When he finally propped himself against the wall, she had just finished throwing another match onto the mattress. Soon the room basked in its warm, if somewhat odd smelling, glow.
“Where did you get those?”
She clutched the matchbook to her chest. Her face was red with guilt.
“Are you mad?” she asked meekly.
“No, of course not.”
She smiled, relieved. “Timothy, the nurse, was asleep, so I took them from his desk. I tried asking, but he didn’t wake up.” She looked up thoughtfully. “I suspect he had trouble sleeping last night with all the people screaming and fighting.”
Timothy was dead. Robert shook his head sadly.
Carrie misunderstood. “I wrote a thank you note! I was just so cold in the dark.”
She looked down at her bare feet. “Am I still your favorite patient?”
“Carrie, who else could be?”
She kissed him on the forehead and retreated, embarrassed, back to the corner. Robert was stunned into silence.
“I’m ready to start our session now,” she announced.
“Carrie, I really don’t think...”
She cut him off. “I remember a lot more now.”
Robert paused. “What do you remember?”
“It was cold like this, I remember...” She clenched her eyes shut violently. “I remember the other people in the train were sleeping, like Timothy, NO! Not like Timothy, they were dead. One woman asked me for help but she was dead too, and I was so scared waiting, waiting, waiting.”
Rescuers had to cut their way into her train car. She was the miracle child, standing unhurt among the carnage. But what she had seen, what she had felt trapped like that, had scarred her deeply.
“That was very good Carrie.”
She opened her eyes and smiled weakly.
“Does this mean I get a Moonpie?”
“Not quite yet, I’m afraid.”
“Did the bad men get out?”
She deserved to know.
“Yes, Carrie they did.”
She seemed relieved.
“Good, I was afraid I was seeing things.”
Robert’s heart froze.
Robert turned. At the end of the hallway was Dagon. Behind him, five other men. Not men, thought Robert, if there was anything human there, it was buried beneath too many layers of evil to find.
“What’s up doc?”
The men behind Dagon laughed. He swung a lead pipe lazily as he walked.
“Who’s the cute little mouse you got there, doc?”
“Stay away from her.”
Dagon smiled. “I don’t think I’ll be doing that, doc.”
Robert didn’t know where he got the strength. He lunged at Dagon. Dagon’s pipe turned Robert’s nose into a disfigured bloody mess. Carrie screamed.
“I’m coming love, don’t worry.”
I’ve got to give Carrie time to escape, Robert thought.
“Who are you Dagon?” Robert spoke through clenched teeth.
Dagon turned away from Carrie towared Robert.
“I am the son of Dagon, the elder god.”
“No, you’re not.” Little bits of blood and spittle sprung from Robert’s lips. “You’re the son of a two bit whore and a drunk who beat you for wetting the bed.
Dagon’s smile disappeared.
“You’re a liar.” It was only a whisper.
Run, Carrie, Robert pleaded silently.
“YOU ARE A LIAR!”
Dagon raised his pipe.
“I am the unholy one!”
Robert tried to shield himself.
“The accursed spawn.”
His arm shattered.
With every epithet, a blow. Finally Dagon stopped.
I need to give Carrie more time. It was Robert’s only thought.
The words came slowly. “I. Have. The. Paternity. Test. In. My. Office.” A lie, but it would do.
Dagon raised the bloody pipe again. Robert closed his eyes. The blow never landed.
Robert opened his eyes.
Dagon stared at little Carrie, who held his wrist. Dagon tried to struggle, tried to free himself, but couldn’t. There was a popping sound and the pipe clattered to the floor. Dagon howled in pain. Another man entered Robert’s field of vision swinging a large rusty wrench at the back of Carrie’s head.
She didn’t even turn, just caught it in mid swing with her free hand.
She turned slowly to face her second attacker. She spoke slowly, clearly.
“Do not hit Professor Moonpie.”
She threw Dagon effortlessly. The second man let go of the wrench and ran. She calmly stepped over Robert after him.
A few minutes later, he felt two slender arms under him, lift him.
“Carrie, I always knew you were different, that’s why you were my favorite.”
She smiled down at him. Then stuck out her tongue.
“I’m not that strange, I’m sure lots of women loved you from the first moment they saw you.”
Robert smiled, and closed his eyes.
He was safe.