The lullaby grew louder as I headed deeper, a woman's voice ringing down the hall. The tune sounded like "Rock-a-bye, Baby" but the lyrics were off:
"Hand for a hand, and tooth for a tooth-"
The knot in my stomach drew tight and I glanced back, sensing a trap.
"Chain down the souls of Abraham's youth."
Up ahead, a pair of double doors hung open, the letters NUS stamped on the one closest to me. I could handle dead adults, but dead infants?
"Eye for an eye, and life for a life-"
Inside the nursery, rust-stained blankets twisted over busted equipment. Shadows sliced the room into sections, light bleeding from the gallery windows. A woman in teddy-bear-print scrubs sat on the floor, her back to me, hugging her knees and rocking herself back and forth. The whole room crackled with ozone, smelling of electricity and ghastly energy.
"Down stabs vengeance, swift as a knife," she warbled.
I stepped inside. Her song trailed away, strangled into a silence that howled in my ears. So much for surprise. The woman turned her head, fixing a glowering eye on my face. Violet sinews twitched inside the hole gouged in her cheek.
"Hello, Micheline." The corpse's lips sputtered the syllables of my name. My muscles locked up - how could she, she shouldn't -
A smile cut her corpse-face open. She spun and lunged for me, grabbing my leg. Her nails bit into my calf, triggering bursts of adrenaline in my fingers and toes. I twisted my leg and wrenched out of her grip, then drove my heel into her cheekbone. Her head snapped sideways. She didn't cry out like a living person would've; dead nerves didn't sense pain. I kicked her again, rotating my hips sending her sprawling.
Recovering, she pressed up to her palms and scuttled sideways. Her cross-eyed gaze latched on me, eyes glowing like black light bulbs behind a hunk ok hair.
She rose up on the balls of her feet, jerking like a marionette controlled by a drunken puppeteer.
Copyright 2015 by Courtney Alameda