*What the actual hell is going on here? This poor girl becomes the target of a psycho, has to watch as he kills himself in front of her, and now he's...he's actually haunting her from beyond the grave. What did she do to deserve this? I couldn't do anything to help her when the door to her room slammed on me. She was screaming. She was screaming unlike any person I've ever heard before. I could hear things banging on the walls, but all I could think about was if this bastard was hurting her...and he was. When I finally kicked my way in, everything had stopped, but she was on the floor and bleeding from all over. Her hospital clothes were torn apart, barely hanging off of her. I would've tried to avoid looking at her, but she was just so scared and shaking and covered in her own blood, and I couldn't help myself from holding her close.
She's being moved to another room now, but not until she gets those scratches treated and a new outfit. They're not sure about what to do about keeping her safe. If they can't just move her to another room in hopes of keeping William away from her, then...what's going to keep her from getting hurt again? This time worse.
A black nurse comes out from the examination room they're treating Luna in. I quickly walk up to her, teasing the brim of my hat. "Is she ok?" I ask.
She shrugs her shoulders. "I honestly can't tell ya, honey. She's terrified. Whatever attacked her, it got her good. Her whole front is covered in scratches. Thin, but many. We're still trying to get all of them cleaned out and bandaged."
"What's gonna happen now, though? You can't just move her to another room and hope things go well."
She shakes her head. "I know. Trust me, I wish there was something we could do. She's not a Christian, and we can't authorize any kind of blessing without her consent. And even then, we'd have to go through our supervisors and the board and-"
"But she's being attacked," I state. "She's being attacked and terrorized, and she came here to feel safe."
She nods her head, sighing. "And I honestly wish the poor girl had gone to another hospital." And then she walks away.
I have no idea what to do. She doesn't deserve any of this. She deserves to feel safe, to be taken care of. Instead, she's being mercilessly assaulted by an unseen force. I go back and look at the room, the original. There's no blood on the door or window. Inside, the TV is gone, but shards of black glass are still all over the floor. The blanket is still on the floor, probably from when Luna left the room. I can't see any other signs of him being here and hurting her. Still, I look around, pulling the blanket up and looking it over. No sign of tears or blood. Same with the bed. I look underneath it, not finding anything strange. I look closely at the walls, finding no scratches or handprints. The bathroom is totally clean, too.
What the hell? I know she's not making anything up. I saw her room when I carried her there. It was just fine. And she was all the way over on the bed when the door slammed shut, and the windows weren't open. And I had to be outside for ony, like, thirty seconds. There's absolutely no way she couldn've torn up the whole room and scratched all over herself in that time. And why would she do that? For attention? No. She doesn't need that. She has doctors and nurses and...and me.
I think back to earlier at the park. She was so bright, so happy, so full of energy. I didn't care at all that she was acting like a little girl. She has a right to be happy. And, God, she was so cute as she ran around and tried to hide from me. Every time I found her, she'd giggled and ran away. The cutest had to be when she went down the slide and I caught her and picked her up. She'd squealed and laughed and she deserves to feel like that all the time.
I go back to the other room, shaking my head at all of the scratches on the walls, all of the blood on the bed...her blood. It makes me so angry to think of how scared she was. And I couldn't save her. The thought of her going through something like this again, without me there to protect her...it infuriates me.
I head back out to wait for them to be finished with Luna. It feels like hours, and when the door finally opens, a nurse is wheeling her out in a wheel-chair, her arms and legs wrapped in gauze. But it's her face that makes me freeze. Her eyes are glazed over, like she's dreaming, and she just looks so...broken. Like she can't handle anything else. God, I hope she doesn't try to kill herself now. Then she'd be stuck with that bastard forever.
Unless...that's his aim. Is that what he wants? For her to kill herself and be trapped with him? Shit. I have to keep her from doing that.
I follow the nurse that takes her down the other hall to yet another room. I help her pick Luna up and lay her on the bed. When I ask if I can stay and watch over her, the nurse nods her head and tells me to take care of her. So I sit on the edge of Luna's bed and pet her hair, wishing she could get some sleep. But her eyes stay open, not even moving.
"I'm so sorry, Luna. I wish I could've been there to help you," I tell her. "I wanna protect you. I can't...I can't explain it, but...I really just want to keep you safe. I'm gonna do my best now, ok? I won't let him take you."
I freeze when she reaches up to grab my sleeve. Her eyes are getting red. "Hold me," she whispers.
I take off my shoes and hat, then move around to lay behind her. I wrap my arms around her and kiss the back of her head, pulling the blanket up around her. She feels cold. But she relaxes in my arms and closes her eyes. If me being here can help her feel better, I'll do anything.
While she sleeps, I look all around the room, looking for any sign that William will make another attempt to hurt her. Not even a sound. Maybe he ran out of energy from everything he did earlier. I wonder how much about ghosts Luna knows? Maybe she knows how to get rid of him. The nurse said something about a blessing, but that would take time to go through tons of higher-ups. She may not have hope till then.
After some time, a nurse comes in to take Luna's vitals and rewrap her scratches. At least they don't look like they're getting infected or anything. Still, she got so hurt. It's not fair at all. When she wakes up, she rolls over and curls up against me.
"I'm not a Christian," she admits. "It's not because I hate Christianity or anything. It's because I don't think it covers the vastness of life and death. There's so much more than just living and dying and going to a kind of heaven."
"After what just happened, I don't blame you," I say, running my hand over her curls. "So, what DO you believe in?"
"The power of Nature," she says. "The balance between things, and the mysteries of the world."
"That sounds like some epic religion."
"It's the oldest in the world. Paganism."
"Isn't that...witchcraft?" I ask.
"Well, yes. Witchcraft isn't actually bad. At least if you use it properly. It's about harnessing the power both outside and inside of you and using it make positive change in your life."
I blink in surprise at that. "That sounds...amazing. I mean, that's kind of how they describe prayer."
"It's essentially the same thing," she tells me. "A spell is prayer, just with a little more flair."
I chuckle and kiss the top of her head. "You should trademark that. So, is there a spell to get rid of an angry ghost?"
"Probably. But, it's not just a simple, 'go away forever' and it'll go away. It takes time and effort, but it's also not that crazy to do it. Really, blessed salt water and bells can do the trick. And the confidence and power in your own voice."
"I had no idea it was that easy. I could probably get a bell, and salt water we can get right in the kitchen."
"Now you sound sad again," I say as I hold her closer. "What's wrong?"
Her little hand grips my shirt. "I don't know if I'm strong or brave enough to do it. And it might just make him madder. If-If I'm not confident enough, it'll only make things worse."
"Hey now," I coo, pulling her hand up to kiss her knuckles. "I swear to you, I'm not gonna stop until you're safe. That's why I'm a police officer; to keep you safe, even if it means endangering my own life."
She looks up at me with those big, hazel eyes, and she looks like she has all the wisdom in the world behind those eyes but no one to share it with. I smooth her curls back again, smiling down at her when they simply bounce back. She's so beautiful and I just know she's ridiculously smart; she probably hasn't done a bad thing her entire life; and she's being tormented here, the one place she was supposed to feel safe from even herself.
Then she looks away, and the intensity in her eyes fades. "You'll be kicked outta here by nighttime," she mumbles.
"I'm a policeman, ma'am, I'm here to protect you," I say. "Especially when no one else really knows what's going on. My boss'll understand if I tell him I'm learning more about William here than at my desk."
She nods her head and purses her pouty lips. "Will you stay here? A-At least in the room?"
"I'll have to see if it's ok. Don't want anyone getting in trouble in case they realize a man stayed in your room," I smirk.
She gives me a little smile, tiny but gorgeous. "Yeah, that makes sense."
"Hey, I swear I won't let anything hurt you, especially not me," I promise her. "I'll be there with you if you want."
"Yeah," she sighs. "Maybe with you there, it'll give me more confidence, especially since you're so protective."
"Does that make that big of a difference?" I ask.
"You'd be surprised how much the energy you give makes a difference. I think that's why I feel so safe with you, 'cause you give off such a protective aura."
At least I can make her feel something other than scared or oppressed.*