Prologue?

Madeline sat and held her grandmother’s hand, tears slowing gliding down her face as the old woman ranted about the evil wolves roaming the hallways. The dementia came and went, the dark visions of monsters seeming to get worse each time. Sometimes Mama Evie would give quiet warnings, like the time she urgently whispered to Madeline that they must protect the children at all costs when the village was invaded, looking around wildly to ensure none of the monsters heard her. Other times were like today with her grandmother shouting at her about vile creatures appearing and wailing about the coming destruction of the world.

The nurse came in, syringe already in hand, followed closely by the doctor

”Her screaming is starting to bother the other patients” the doctor said gently. “We’re going to give her something to calm her down.”

Madeline nodded mutely as the doctor made a note in the chart, then left. The nurse approached her grandmother. Mama Evie, seeing the syringe, started to thrash.

“No!” Mama Evie shouted. “Don’t! They’re coming! We’re not safe!”

The nurse made soothing sounds and inserted the syringe into the IV port.

Mama Evie looked at Madeline beseechingly, pleading with her. ”No, my little Maddy, please …”

“Wait!” Madeline cried, “She’s lucid again.”

But it was too late. The nurse re-capped the syringe, having already injected the drug. Slowly, Mama Evie’s featured slackened and her arms fell to her sides.

”Don’t worry, this is really for the best,” the nurse murmured, patting Madeline on the arm and walking out.

Madeline allowed herself a few more moments of weeping before slashing at her eyes with her sleeves and telling herself harshly to let it go. She practised a few of the breathing exercises her therapist had taught her and, once she was calm again, reached out to take her grandmother’s hand once more.

—-

A few hours later, she was woken by her grandmother’s harsh whisper. ”Madeline! Wake up, Maddy! You have to get me away from here. They’re coming, Madeline, and we can’t be here when they arrive!”

Madeline shook her head and said firmly, “You’re safe here, Mama Evie. Nothing is coming to get you.”

Mama Evie rolled her eyes and gave Madeline a pitying look. “No, foolish girl, they’re not coming to get me. They’re coming for us all. We have to get out of here so we can prepare.”

Mama Evie held the button that moved her bed into a sitting position and started to push off the thin sheets. As she swung her legs over the side of the bed, Madeline leapt up from her chair.

“No, Mama Evie, you mustn’t!” Madeline tried to push her grandmother’s legs back up and on to the bed but the old woman refused to budge.

”I’m getting out of here. It isn’t safe. They keeping pumping me full of drugs to stop the visions and without them we’ll never survive. Don’t just stand there, Maddy, help me!”

Luckily, just at that moment an orderly was walking by their room and saw her grandmother stand shakily against Madeline’s protests. He went to the nurse’s station and soon three hospital personnel were in the room. One gave Mama Evie a sedative while the other two got her back in bed and wrapped her arms and legs in restraints.

“Is that really necessary?” Madeline asked.

”Doctor’s orders,” said one of them briskly as they filed out of the room.

 

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