I walked into the dark kitchen and replicated my usual morning routine. Make the coffee, pour the coffee, grab the cereal, eat the cereal, then fiddle with the toaster until it's set at the correct temperature. Just right so the toast is golden to the perfect crisp. I was a perfectionist after all.
As I sat at the lone kitchen table, I began to flash back to the night before. That women with the glazed eyes, just staring at me, looking almost furious. I swear I recognized her. There was something about those dull, grey eyes that I remember from somewhere. Had she been a patient of mine?
I put the bowl in the sink and checked my watch. It read 6:15, so I was early. I took my time getting my jacket on and walked out to the car. As I sat in the driver's seat, I noticed the clock on the dashboard had said it was 6:50 already. "How the hell?" I muttered. I checked my watch and it said the same time. It was physically impossible, but I didn't question it. I sped down the street over to the hospital I currently worked at.
As I ran through the door, something felt different. The lights were dim, some even blinking on and off. It was as if they were struggling to keep themselves lit. A struggle for their life. There was a draft coming in, and from what it looked like, I could have sworn there was a hazy mist hovering above the ground. The usual busy mood to the place was absent, and there wasn't a soul to be found.
I hesitantly walked slowly down the hallway, checking each room. However, I found no patients residing in the beds. I was about to leave when I heard a faint whisper in my left ear. "Matthew..." the voice sounded old and weary, yet innocent at the same time. "I wasn't guilty." I looked up in confusion, but before I could react, I felt a pair of hands on my back. They began to push me down the hallway, roughly guiding me to the doors at the end.
"What do you want!?" I shouted, trying to resist the urging hands pressing firmly against me.
"Vengeance!" I heard a horrifying scream, and covered my ears. I tried every way to get that blood curdling shriek out of my head. It eventually stopped, leaving me in an eerie silence. I slowly opened my eyes, but to find myself nowhere around the hospital. I was in a small village, but I wasn't in my usual hospital scrubs. Instead I was wearing an uncomfortable coat, and dress pants that scratched at every movement. A crowd of people stood towards the center, and I walked over in curiosity. Everyone turned to stare at me. These were not normal people. Instead of eyes there were big, black holes. They burned into my being as I walked into their huddled crowd.
"Mr. Hopkins!" a large man said, as he stood upon large gallows, "There you are. Let us get on with it, shall we?" He held out his hand, and I took it. I was pulled onto the platform and stood in front of the large group of citizens in a confused state. As I looked to my right at the victim of the hanging, I saw the women. With her glazed over eyes and that same angry look I got the night before.
"Molly Clark," the man began, speaking with a booming voice. "Eighteen years of age. Tried for several uses of witchcraft to aid in her sinful activities." The crowd began to boo, but Molly just hung her head in silence. "Do you have any last words before we put you to justice?" She stared directly at me, and muttered the words vituperare. I watched the wood drop beneath her, and heard the chilling snap of her neck. As I saw her lifeless body hang there, I felt as if I should be held responsible.
A wave of guilt overcame my spirit and hung there. I closed my eyes, then in a flash found myself in my kitchen once again. But this time, I found a perfectly knotted noose hanging from the ceiling, and a stool sitting under it. Without any thought I stood on the stool, and wrapped the noose around my neck.
"Vituperare," I repeated. Through the window I could see her. Her neck was twisted and she had the same black eyes I had seen earlier. She nodded and then, with the kick of my foot, I dropped suddenly, and heard the chilling snap of my neck.