Night Shift and the HPLFF, night 1
Tonight is the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, Oregon. This is always a fun time, with short films, long films, and general weirdness. To celebrate some horror, let’s play Nightshift again.
The story is that I’m an ER nurse on the night shift. I lie down for a power nap, and wake up in a run-down, mildew-covered version of the hospital. The lights are out and the staff are gone, and someone’s out to kill me! Page 1 doesn’t waste time in starting the action!
I run from the would-be murderer and punch in the door code, getting safely into the intensive care unit while he pounds on the door behind me. The ICU is run down like everything else: rusted, tattered, dripping wet… and full of nightmarish visions. I find a poem/riddle on the computer, which strangely works but has no Internet access. On second thought, I’m not sure I want to know what these weirdos have in their browser history, let alone what Pornhub looks like in this world. No thank you! I also find a strange postcard on the corkboard, and even stranger, I find that the pushpin’s hole forms a peephole into the renal unit… in my own world, with staff and clean rooms and everything! But I don’t have a sledgehammer to widen the hole, so I have to move on and hope for another way through.
From my previous play, I know where the renal unit is: turn, hall, door at the end. But, much to my chagrin but not at all to my surprise, the renal ward is not as it should be. That creepy plague doctor dude from the front cover is there, holding a kidney in his hand; he tells me to get lost. I have a feeling that there’s a puzzle here, something I should know or say… but I don’t know and he shoves me back into the hallway.
I continue down the hall, and at the junction I see ahead of me some sort of wall. I head over to take a look, and it’s a wall of skin pulled across the hallway: tattoos, hair, navels, all stitched together with sutures. It’s a bit horrifying, but I keep it together; I am an ER nurse after all and stitches are nothing new. I pull apart some sutures and make a hole, and I can see the real world through the hole! I keep working at it, until my arm becomes stuck as the skin wall starts merging into my own skin! Argh! Okay, now that’s too much even for me! I tear myself free, with some injury to myself, and decide to try the other hallway.
This hallway connects to yet more labs, treatment rooms, and wards, and to the stairwell to the ground floor. I move from room to room hoping for some sort of clue or progress…
In the first, I find a window and take my first look at the outside world. Yeah, we’re not home: there is dense forest up to the edge of the building. No parkade, no office blocks, just trees and a night sky. Damn. Even if I got out of the building, I don’t think I would get far. And in the bed behind me, is the boneless woman. Yes, boneless. Wow. That is just messed up. I take a break from reading the book for a little bit, cuz it’s kind of getting to me.
First published October 4, 2019. Last updated December 15, 2020.