Visiting Hours

Prompt Day #43: Write about a character who mistakes a disembodied intercom voice (e.g., “attention S-mart shoppers”; “please step away from the doors”) for the sinister command of a ghost or an inexplicable message from (a) god.


Visiting Hours


                “Attention Please; Visiting hours are now over.” The voice poured into the room from the speaker in the ceiling. The boy, who had been sitting, holding his mother’s hand stood up, took her pillow and smothered her. He walked out of the hospital whispering under his breath “Visiting hours are now over, over, over. Visiting hours are over now”.

He walked home. His grandmother would be there. She was staying there while his mother was recuperating. She was putting dinner on the table when he arrived. She looked over at him.

“Boy! What have you got there in your hand?” she said.

“Visiting hours are over, Grandmother.” He said and shot her. The casserole she was holding fell to the floor. Chicken and stuffing mixed with the blood and brains now pooling there. Bread sat on the table. He slathered it with butter and sat down to eat. His father would be home soon.

His father arrived and soon after succumbed to the same fate his grandmother. Now it was time to see his sister, her husband and his young niece. Their home had always been a warm and welcoming place for him to go when his parents were less than understanding. She was a kind and loving sister. Her husband would often take the boy with him on outings. The boy’s niece was just one and worshiped her uncle. The boy loved the sound of her giggles when he made faces at her and put on silly shows for her amusement. He decided to do her last.

His brother in law would need to go first. He was so much larger than the boy and unless taken completely by surprise, he might be able to stop the boy’s mission before it was complete. To leave his sister and niece alive was unacceptable. Visiting hours were over after all. The time had come. He sat on the porch swing. He did not go in or let his presence be known in any way. He sat and waited. He listened but heard no more voices. The boy’s brother in law arrived home from work, looked up to see the boy and had time to lift his hand in a salute before his head was blown open right there on the front lawn. His sister naturally came running out to see what the noise was all about. The boy turned and put a hole in her heart. There would be no more pain for his dear sibling.

He stared down at his niece in her crib. She sucked on a bottle and smiled around it at him. He brushed her hair from her eyes. She looked so much like her mother. The child stood up and lifted her hands to him. He picked her up. She laughed and he bounced her around the room singing “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.” She laid her head on his shoulder as he sang and bounced her around the room. Her breathing changed and her little hand dropped from his shoulder. He took her to her crib and laid her down gently so as not to wake her. She was too beautiful to be shot. He wanted her to enter heaven complete, like the angel she was. He picked up a pillow off the rocking chair in the room and like his lovely mother, he smothered her.

The police were waiting for him outside. He was taken away but not to prison. The hospital room was different from the one in which he’d killed his mother. There was no IV or beeping monitors. This room was clean and white. He sat on the mattress which sat low to the floor. There was nothing else in the room. It was very quiet. He sat all day listening. Some hours after he arrived in the room, the voice spoke to him again. “Attention Please; Visiting hours are now over. We wish our patients a peaceful night and our visitors a safe trip home.” The boy smiled. He’d done well. He’d given his visitors a safe trip home today. Tonight would be peaceful, tomorrow the world would end. He knew that God would take him tonight, after all, He had given the boy fair warning, just as He had given Noah and Lot.

The boy had been waiting for a sign. He’d been hearing the whispers from the angels telling him the end was near. The Earth would soon be in the throes of death and those still living on it would suffer as no people had suffered before. God had sent a flood and his people didn’t learn, he’d sent plagues and still they sinned. The angels had told him that God was angry and this time, he would wipe out the entire planet. He was told to wait for word from God himself. He knew God worked in mysterious ways. He knew he would need to be smart and listen carefully. The boy had been vigilant for months. But now, visiting hours were over and he would have a peaceful night.