I have been to hell and back. I have seen many frights that the world has to offer. During this time of ghosts, vampires, and such, I enjoy a good scary story. Usually I seek out said story in a film, book, or frightmares at lagoon. Never did I expect that these horrors would find me at work.
On a busy day, I was given the task of receiving patients from the waiting room and showing them back into their individual rooms. I enjoy this assignation from time to time...I walk out to the front with a smile on my face, call a name, and make small talk as I show them to their room. Approximately two o'clock in the afternoon, I walk out to the waiting room. I call the name written on the chart. No one answers. I call it again. From the corner of my eye, I notice a woman recognize the name and give me a toothless grin. She walks into the child play room to gather what I assume to be her children, but was surprised when she emerged with a tall adult man with a matching toothless grin. He gives me a goofy wave and holds a finger up, which I assume is meant to tell me to hold on for a second. He and his significant other turn their back to me and face the tv in the children's play room. I wait, and wait, and wait. The people are not talking. The are not moving. They motionlessly watch the television.
After about two or three minutes, I grow a little restless. I call the name again, louder this time. Both of the adults slowly turn to look at me and slowly turn back to the tv. I look around the crowded waiting room and see a mirror image of confusion staring back at me. For the fourth time, I call the name. Finally the mom begins to walk toward be followed by her toothless husband and two children. I start leading them back to their designated room.
"How are you doing today?" I ask, trying to mask my irritation.
Mom stares at me like a deer caught in the headlights. Dad continues picking at a mole he has spotted on his finger. The two children stare ahead like a really awkward pair from 'Village of the Damned.' I immediately abandon my conversation and show them to their room.
I inform them that the doctor would like new x-rays. At this information the dad looks at me and tells me that his child will not cooperate without a parent there. "That's fine," I reply. "You or your wife are welcome to go with him." With that having been said I told them that it wouldn't be too long of a wait and I left to continue on with my duties.
Five minutes later I pass the x-ray room and pass the odd parents staring at the wall. These people weren't looking at anything in particular, just staring blankly at the wall. Soon after seeing them, I remember that they had a smaller child who wasn't present during the fascinating wall stare. I hurried back to their room and find the four year old sitting on the floor, playing with his shoelaces, and singing to himself. He noticed I was there and smiled at me. Smiling is nice, but a little creepy when given by a child with a foot long head with a four inch face. It's creepy. I smile back, ask if he is ok, and resume my job.
After I room a few more patient, I hear loud talking from the hallway. I peek my head outside of the room I was in and see this strange family in a huddle in the middle of the hall. I close the door and move closer to investigate. I approach the family and make out what is creating the loud noise. Mom was reading aloud from a book to her family. As she read the boys and dad had their hands clasped and their heads bowed. I took a closer look and saw that she was reading "Mouse Soup." I cleared my throat. Slowly they all turned toward me.
"Hi. Sorry. I need you to be in your room, please."
Silence. The family continues to stare.
"See, the doctor will be coming soon and it will be easier for him to see you in your room."
Mom looks astonished. "But, I'm reading," she proclaims.
"Yes. And you are welcome to continue. It would be great if you would continue your reading in your room." I smiled hoping she got the point.
"But, I'm reading," she stammers.
I realize that this could go on for a while. I walk past the family and open the door to their room. I put my arm toward the door to show them that I wanted them in the room. Silently, the family walked single file into the room. I shut the door and wash my hands of them completely.
I continue to have nightmares.