A to Z 2017: PROGRESS

At this time of night the brightly lit corridors of the hospital were barren. Silent and sterile, lined with standard decor. Paintings of lakes, leaves, and other objects found in nature, meant to promote a calm and peaceful aura. With budget cuts, most units were reduced to skeleton crews, meaning the halls started emptying long before reaching midnight, the Witching Hour. His favorite hour. It was when he felt the most alive.

His heavy footsteps echoed hollowly, his boots connecting with the marble floor. There was the soft jingle of keys with every other sway, a ring of them attached to his belt. His blue uniform indicating to residents and staff alike of his role as security in the establishment. The thought of his weekly appointment excited him, bringing an involuntary smirk to his face. He was running late, but he knew his date would be there. She was patient.

Turning the corner, he soon found himself staring down an orderly who was shifting nervously at the sight of him. The young man was wearing jeans and a light blue t-shirt, covered by a thin, white jacket. Brown stringy hair reaching down to his shoulders. As he got closer, he could see the worried creases forming along the man's forehead, sprinkled with beads of sweat.

"Where the hell have you been, Frank?" The man demanded. "I didn't think you were coming. You're lucky I stuck around."

"You stuck around because you want to get paid," Frank said, offering his hand to the nurse. "Don't try to pretend you give a shit about anything else, Chuck." His hand was grasped and the contents of his passed to Chuck's. A little grease went a long way. "And calm the fuck down. This isn't your first rodeo." He started to make his way past the man, towards the door he was standing in front of.

"You have thirty minutes."

The comment caused Frank to pause and turn slightly towards Chuck, whom he towered over. "I have as long as I want." He made sure that the nurse's eyes met his. Saw the seriousness of the statement he was making, drunk it in with his matching brown eyes and absorbed it.

Chuck swallowed hard. "Forty-five minutes. Any longer than that and it's going to cost you."

Frank maintained the gaze until the other man looked away, causing him to laugh. "Yeah, anything longer and I owe you. Whatever." He grabbed and twisted the knob, pushing open the door. "Just do your fucking job."

The pitch black, windowless room was flooded with light from the hallway. It was a tiny, sparsely furnished room that was sometimes used during patient visitations. Straight ahead was a small, circular table with two chairs positioned around it. A lamp was the only thing sitting on the table. Kitty-corner from the door was his date. His current object of affection.

She was dressed in a plain white nightgown, sporting a deep v-neck collar. It was what she wore on most of their dates, which disappointed him, but he understood the limitations. Her long, flowing dark hair obscured most of her face. Frank knew the woman was ashamed of her scars and appearance, but he did his best to show her how beautiful she was. How important.

She was stretched out, waiting for him, laying on a movable hospital bed used for transporting patients. Her arms, legs, and midsection were strapped down by black belts.

He fully entered the room, shutting the door to give them privacy. The room fell back into darkness, but he made his way to the lamp. Soon the room was lit by a soft glow. He made sure the bulb was swapped out with a lesser wattage. She preferred it that way. The darker the better, but he didn't like his vision being completely severed. He wanted to take in the sight of her. Her gaunt, elegant curves. Her scars.

"How are you this evening?" He made his way to stand next to her. There was no response. He brushed away some of her hair and trailed a hand down the side of her face, stopping at a strap wrapped around her neck, which was holding a muzzle in place. It was an expensive model. One that didn't hide the entire face of its user. He sighed. "It's okay, I understand it's been a long day."

His finger continued down her neck, his hand brushing over and briefly groping her right breast — bare underneath the gown — as he walked the length of the bed. His other hand pulled at his belt, undoing the buckle. His eyes never leaving hers. Or where hers should have been, now just ravaged sockets.

"I asked around, you know." Frank attempted to sound playful. "Everyone says you've been making a lot of progress over the past few weeks. I don't think that's a coincidence, do you?" Again, nothing. "Seems to me this arrangement has been beneficial for the both of us." His hand was now running down her outer thigh and leg. "I'm glad I gave us a chance. I hate to admit it, but at first I just wasn't that into you. Never liked blondes." He scrunched his nose at the thought.

"You must have known, because one day there you were, sporting the most beautiful hair I'd ever seen. And your..." Frank wanted to be mindful. "Your beauty marks made you so..." He searched for the word and continued, "unique. So irresistible. I have to admit, I have a hard time keeping you off of my mind. It's distracting."

He pulled off his belt, his ring of keys falling to the floor in a clatter.

"But there's no need to worry. I'm here now. We're here together and no one can take these moments away from us. I won't let them."

There was still no response from his date. No movement, no muffled outbursts. Frank sometimes found that disappointing too, but as he had stated, it had been a long day. Sometimes the path of least resistance was the way to go. When he thought of it that way it made it easier to shrug off the pangs of dissatisfaction.

Easier to continue wooing the object of his desire. To take what was his.

Thanks for reading! What did you think about the piece? Any constructive criticism is welcomed!