It was a quiet night as she walked the halls. Most of the patients slept as she carefully checked their monitors and IVs. In one room she paused to study the milky rays as they filtered through the thin curtains covering the wide archaic window. From the 16th floor of the aging building overlooking the city-that-never-sleeps, she could barely hear the sounds of the street life below.
She used to find comfort in these quiet moments, but that was before the Suitcase Killer which she barely survived some ten years ago. Her body shuddered at the image of a hand reaching out of the suitcase she'd packed earlier in the day for her red-eye flight home. Other than that, she remembered nothing of the three-day ordeal with the sadistic monster (which her psychologist had labeled "Dissociative Amnesia " ) but it left her infertile and with a mountain of medical bills.
Over the eighteen month span, there would be twelve victims before he was caught, tried in court and sentenced to death by lethal injection. The state invited her to witness his demise, but she didn't attend. She couldn't bring herself to look at his face again in fear of triggering the traumatic memories. Memories she would just as soon forget, forever.
The execution had taken place two years earlier. With him gone from the earth, she'd thought she'd moved on with her life until she turned to check on the comatose patient.
Sitting on top of a chair nearby was a suitcase.
Her breathing hitched and held.
It looked strangely familiar. No, it couldn't be.
She had it destroyed in an incinerator immediately after she was discharged from the hospital.
Her head began to spin as the darkness encased her.
Breathe. Don't forget to breathe as she forced the air to move in and out of her burning lungs.
Her eyes fixated at its brown leather body until they zeroed on a flaw. The same flaw her suitcase possessed. A circular shaped white patch on the upper right corner. They said hers was damaged during the manufacturing process, and because of this, she got a steal of a deal on it.
What were the chances of finding another with the same damage?
Next to nothing?
She wanted to tear her eyes from the bag, but couldn't. Her feet were rooted to the spot. Her skin felt frozen and yet she was sweating under the white uniform.
Pain radiated through her chest as she tried to slow her hysterical panting, but was failing miserably.
The deafening roar in her head blurred everything around her until the suitcase was all she saw.
Oh god, oh god.
Horrific images pricked somewhere from the deep recesses of her mind threatened to explode into her conscious.
The voice sounded so far away at first she'd thought she was imagining it. Then it repeated her name.
Blinking several times to clear the fog that seemed to have enveloped everything, a woman's form came in view.
"Are you okay?" She was asking, in her hands a tray of carefully measured meds.
Nancy slowly shook her head and returned her attention to the object on the chair, and had to close her eyes for a moment before looking again.
The chair was empty. Void of luggage of any kind.
"Nancy, you're scaring me," the younger woman's voice rose to a higher pitch.
Nancy forced herself to meet the woman's wide-eyed expression with an unquivering smile, "No worries, Beatrice, he's not here anymore," and walked away.