Fahad sat at the back of the nursery and watched the nuns scrambling at the door. The women chanted in Latin with their faces in the eerie glow of the black candle. Mrs. Margaret stood behind them with her arms crossed menacingly. Mrs. Cara could not interrupt this scene in the doorway to get to him. Perhaps he was too late to meet with her. He should probably go.
He was about to pardon himself from the scene to the girl in the room who was playing patty-cake with a baby about a year old when the bell chimed.
A cold chill sent a flock of goose pimples up Isabella’s ghostly skin, making her go to put the baby down in the crib. Instead of her normal loving embrace, she held the child at arm’s length like it was radioactive. Then, she stepped into the middle of the floor as far from the babies as she could get. They knew and loved her and would normally laugh and coo or mumble their best pronunciation of Izzy or mama, not truly knowing she wasn’t theirs. But upon the second ring of the bell, they all silenced. All of the color drained out the world. Magentas, greens, pinks, baby blues, all became drab shades of gray.
Fahad stood and looked where the nuns were, but now all that existed outside the door was space. Not empty space but outer space; stars and distant planets.
“Wow! That’s a neat effect. How are they doing that? Is this part of the movie? Am I in the movie?”
“This isn’t make-believe, Mr. AlGhamdi, this is real,” Izzy replied, not looking at him.
“How can…what are you talking about?” He walked to the door with every pale infant face now staring at him, tracking his movements. Reaching his hand up, he found a barrier like glass but hard as steel keeping him from leaving the nursery. He beat the barrier with both fists and became consumed with rage and terror at the realization that he was trapped. He seethed. And with uncontrollable anger, he turned and fell on Isabella, grabbing her delicate shoulders and shaking her violently, demanding to be let out.
Isabella’s porcelain-skinned arm struck the angered Arab so hard he flew through the air. Had Fahad not just received a blow that was akin to being hit by a truck, he’d have noticed the infants in the cribs that he was on a collision course with, jump out of their cribs with the agility of chimpanzees. But it’s hard to be aware of your surroundings while smashing through oak cribs into a brick wall.
A moon went by the outer space outside the door and its reflected light passed over Isabella. Her skin became transparent to show her skeleton before the moon disappeared beyond the door frame.
Fahad pushed himself up with the aid of the wall. He was pretty sure his arm hung limply at his side because his shoulder was crushed. He tasted blood and had to fight back throwing up.
“Please don’t hit me again,” he groveled.
Izzy’s perfect little face took on a look of disgust. “My mother always said bullies were secretly cowards.”
“Where am I?” Fahad realized the room was spinning and he wasn’t dizzy.
“You’ve been excommunicated, cut off from the light of God.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Seven veils, seven worlds, but the light of God only shines on three. Three, the number of completion. Beginning, middle, and end. The first is Celedon, the source. Next are the rifts, the purgatories, the Valhallas. Third is the world you are from; the real world. Those nuns excommunicated you. They lifted the veil and dropped you into this. I am not sure where you are.” She lifted her hand like she was feeling the air and continued, “But there’s no God here.”
Splinters from the crib stuck out of his face and he cringed at the porcupine feel of it. That’s when he noticed all of the babies standing in their cribs staring at him in silence. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but something else was different about those babies besides being in black and white and staring at him.
“What’s up with the babies?”
“These aren’t the same babies,” Izzy said with a smirk.
Fahad moved his head slowly, surveying every set of infant eyes. “Why are they staring at me?”
Isabella’s menacing smile looked out of place on her beautiful face as she replied, “Because they are hungry.”
With that, the final bell rang and every bulbous baby head smiled a sickening smile revealing jagged teeth. The babies climbed out of their cribs like spiders all snarling and hissing towards Fahad.
The man grabbed an oak slat from a crib and swung it, momentarily halting the hungry horde.
Isabella mumbled to herself, “Bad things happen to bad people.”
The insidious infants swarmed over the killer, drowning out his screams as their jagged teeth cleaved flesh from bone. Fahad Al Ghamdi met his end with no one to hear his screams except a ghost who didn’t even stay around to see the carnage.