Alice let out a scream and ran to her mother's bed. Marianne hadn't woken up with the noise, but was caught up in a nightmarish dream that made her squirm and sweat while babbling incoherently.
"What was that?" Alice asked. She rushed over to the window and looked around, but only the stillness of the night answered her frantic question. She looked down at the shards of glass, trying to see what had broken the glass, but found nothing. The nature of the conversation that she'd been having with the nurse, along with the spontaneous breaking of the glass, made her hair stand on end. She turned to the nurse, intent on asking her if she'd seen anything, when she noticed the nurse praying.
"Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." The nurse stopped for a second to catch her breath when a sharp slap broke the silence and the nurse fell over the sofa cushions.
The screech that Alice had heard two nights prior pierced the calm, and Marianne tossed. Her mumbling turned into cries of horror or pain, and the expression on her face got more and more tense. The covers on the left side of the bed moved as though something pulled at them; Alice quickly kicked at the spot and felt something hard beneath her shoe. She let out another cry and staggered back.
"Oh father, who art in heaven-" Whatever it was, it slapped the nurse so hard her feet left the ground and she hit the wall on top of the sofa.
The glasses beneath the broken window scattered, as if something had passed among them. The screech faded away into the night, and the atmosphere around them returned to normal. Alice spent a few seconds trying to recover her breath, until nurse's gasps turned her glance to the sofa. She helped the woman get into a sitting position, and watched as the nurse closed her eyes and tried to regain her breath.
"It was the demon," the nurse said. "It is the demon that is eating your mother. You need protection." Alice wanted to argue, to explain how ridiculous the idea was, but the shattered glass glared at her from the ground, forbidding.
A full minute of silence passed, in which Alice waited, helpless, for the nightmare to stop. She'd wake up to the voice of Dr. Travis telling her they'd finally figured a rational explanation for her mother's disease, and a way to cure her in a science-based way. Her racing mind presented her with the image of a vampire hunter, armed with a test tube filled with holy water. The image, ridiculous under any other circumstance, brought Alice to tears.
"I can give you the number of a woman that helped my brother three years ago," the nurse said. Her maternal ways had been replaced with a robot-like attitude, even her tone of voice had something automatic to it. She stood up and grabbed a notepad with the hospital letterhead, and wrote an address. "It is all I can do for you."
The moment Alice took the piece of paper, the nurse went out of the room, sore from trying not to run away. She looked at the scrawls, trying to make out an address, but decided she was better off not knowing, and threw the paper into the depths of her purse. She did not want to be tempted into going to that address. Not knowing what else to do, she crawled into the bed with her mother, careful not to touch her legs, and fell asleep from exhaustion against the warm comfort of Marianne's body.