The first thing I noticed was the dark room. I searched for the light switch assiduously, running both arms across the wall, until, pulp, I turned it on. I shielded my eyes from the glowing bulb with my hands.
I looked around the room, trying to remember how I got there. I saw the comatose body of a dark-skinned man with plenty of needles and plugs attached to his body. There was a monitor with some distorted readings I couldn’t make out. I was certain it was a hospital but how did I get there?
I sauntered out of the room, into the lobby. It was dim and quiet. There was a big clock that hung loosely on the wall. I looked at the time – it read ten minutes past three. Was it three in the morning or noon? I had no idea.
“Is anybody out there?” I called out. No response. I could even hear the clock tick away slowly. My walk down the lobby seemed to last forever, until I came to the end of it and turned to my right. Just then a woman brushed past me. I knew she had to be a nurse because of her white uniform.
“Excuse me. Did you not see me?” I asked, holding my shoulder. But she didn’t reply. She did not even give me a glance, let alone utter a word. I watched as she walked the opposite way, down the path I had just come through. He saw her enter the room I had come out from. I turned to follow her, maybe that could give me a clue as to how I got here.
I had barely taken five steps when the nurse ran out. She was hysterical and in a state of agitation. “Doctor!” she screamed. I wondered what must have happened to her. Then I remembered the dark-skinned man. Could he have died?
Within seconds, the lobby had turned from quiet into a clangorous area. A plump man, with a stethoscope around his neck ran down the lobby, ably followed by two nurses. “What are his vital signs?” The doctor asked. “I couldn’t get any sir. I presume his dead.” I trailed the team as they entered the room. They did not seem to notice my presence. No one seemed to pay attention to me.
“Let’s try to resuscitate him,” one of the nurses said.
“It’s pointless,” the doctor replied, his stethoscope firmly placed on the man’s chest. “Time of death is probably three – o – nine am.”
Just then I realized I had not noticed the huge dressing mirror that stood adjacent the window. I stood in front of it but I couldn’t see my reflection. Impossible! I ran across to the lifeless body and stared keenly. There was a gash on his forehead that had partially healed. I placed my hand on my forehead and felt a deep cut on the same spot as the man’s.
One of nurses seemed to walk through me as she stood by his side and placed a white piece of cloth across his body, including his face. “Hold on!” I screamed. But no one answered. The other nurse began to remove the needles and plugs, while the doctor tried to scribble something in his case notes. “I’m alive doctor,” I said, waving my hands across his face as I moved over to him. He turned away and dropped the case note on a table.
It couldn’t be. I did not want to believe it. I did not believe in ghosts, yet I had become one myself.