He was a small boy, and so one day, on the first of October, in the waning moments of the afternoon, he snuck through a broken window with ease. The rooms were dark and they still had a lingering cocktail of hospital smells—rubber gloves and IV bags, worn hospital gowns and trash cans filled with needles and human discharge. Danny-Do-Good sniffed in disgust and put his arm up to his nose. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a flashlight. He fumbled it in his hands for a moment, opened up a beam, and widened it.
The light passed over an MRI table. It was covered in cobwebs and brown stains. There was a blue sheet draped over it. A piece of paper in a white clipboard sat atop a nearby desk, and a large, handwritten marking on the paper read, “End of Report.” Danny-Do-Good wondered about the sorts of things that would be in such reports. He had seen the pictures on TV shows-black and gray photographs of brains, blobs within blobs that doctors pointed to as they chatted with sobbing grownups.
He made his way out of the room and into the hallway in search of scrap wood. The flashlight zigged and zagged down the abandoned corridor. It passed over a trash bag and a wheelchair. Then nothing. No luck here. He would need to turn into one of the nearby hallways and keep searching.
But he didn’t want to look too long. Danny-Do-Good had quite the imagination, after all, and those firecrackers could go off at any time. The hospital was not in good shape anymore, and any explosion, even a bundle of firecrackers, might be enough to blow up the whole thing, way way up in the sky. In his mind’s eye he heard a pop pop, pop pop, followed by a loud rumble, and he saw, as if he were looking from a birdy’s eye view, the hospital collapse like a poorly built layer cake. He could almost feel the rubble, now forming into a brown, suffocating cloud, beating onto his chest and smashing his bones, filling his mouth and lungs with debris.
He walked quietly, in deliberate steps, as if he expected to step on shards of glass. He passed his light over black and white linoleum tiles, many of which displayed cracks and holes. Danny kept his eyes on his steps, and on his light, and he tried not to think about the things that might be hiding in the darkness—vagrants with needles sticking out of their arms, animals with rage in their eyes and diseases pulsing through their blood and teeth. If something happened to him in here, he knew, people might very well not call him Danny-Do-Good anymore. Good boys did not break and enter.
Vacant doorways flanked him on each side. Many of the doors had long been removed from their hinges. The hallway seemed to be a trap—two ends of a vice, dotted with black, rectangular eyes. Keep the light at your feet, Danny thought to himself. Keep walking. Find the next hallway.
As he advanced past another set of doorways, he heard a clanking sound, as if something had fallen from a bed or a table and was now tumbling through the hallway.
Clink. Clink. Clink.
Danny-Do-Good aimed his light up to the left, just a little, and saw a ring spin and wobble to a stop. From where he was, a few feet away, he could tell that it was a piece of costume jewelry. His aunt used to wear piles upon piles of such junk. She was practically mummified by it. Her skin was cold and she stank of cheap vodka, and when she would hug Danny her jewelry would press into his arms and neck and hurt him.