Bogleech.com's 2017 Horror Write-off:
Fern's Happy Ending
Submitted by Louis Badalament
Author's Note: As you've probably guessed by the title, this particular creepypasta is also an Awful Hospital fanfiction. I made sure I had Bogleech's permission before posting it. This story branches off from Awful Hospital's canon storyline at around Page 727, give or take. At the time of this creepypasta's writing, (December 30th, 2017) the comic had reached Page 737. Enjoy!
* * * *
Willis sat huddled inside the bottom shelf of the metal cabinet, right against the Eyeslob. Quiet as could be, hearing Dr. Gynnie welcome Fern to the Maternity Ward. Dr. Gynnie was one of the biggest sweethearts in the Hospital, right up there with Cathy, but Willis had plenty of good reasons for hiding from her. She was a super-strong doctor, and she'd probably kick him out of the Maternity Ward and have him sent back to his mom, even though Mom had given her permission to be with Fern!
She was going to be so sad.
The words Gynnie and Fern were saying washed over Willis; he wasn't really listening all that closely to their conversation. Right now, he was too busy thinking about both Fern and her son. It was the hardest he'd ever thought about anything, ever.
Fern was just the most neato-beans lady to have ever been brought to the Hospital. She wasn't afraid of nothing and she broke all the rules! Instead of staying cooped up in her room like patients were supposed to, Fern had swiped his mom's ID card, then used it to sneak into his mom's office, in order to authorize a super-risky surgery to get another member of the Hospital staff replaced! THAT was top-notch rule-breaking!
And she wasn't even some ginormous jerkface like that one blue meanie, Jay! Fern was super-friendly, and everything she did was because she couldn't bear to be separated from her son!
...Willis really wished his own mom could be like that. Around this point, he could hear Gynnie and Fern leaving the room together, Gynnie talking about giving her a tour of the place. Even though the Eyeslob stepped out once Gynnie had left, Willis kept inside the cabinet for now.
He knew she would eventually find her child. With Fern, it wasn't a question of "if." He remembered the long talk Fern had had with Crash, back when the insane computer had been trying to kill her.
"I don't know if I can do anything for my son," she had said. "I don't know if I can survive long enough to ever see him again, I don't even know what's real and unreal anymore or how any part of the universe makes any sense and every one of those things terrify me so much that it really would be easier to keel over and give up here and now...but even if there's no hope, no chance whatsoever that I can make a difference...I have to see that through. As long as I'm alive to keep trying, I have to... and I have to believe that it's better than nothing."
She was so cool, especially for a grownup. It didn't matter what happened. It didn't matter if the whole perception range conspired to keep Fern from her son. She'd just keep overcoming obstacle after obstacle after obstacle until her body died of old age. Then, of course, the Hospital would give her a new body, and she'd continue on searching. That was determination! That was love!
And he had seen for himself that she wasn't all talk, and she had the strength and resourcefulness to back it up. Already, in the short time that Willis had begun following Fern, he had seen her triumph over the giant slob form of Jay the human. Then Crash, then Dr. Mizer, then Dr. Phage, himself, followed by Dr. Man. At this point, Willis had total confidence that Fern would find a way past Dr. Gynnie, too, and sneak into the Problem Vault. It was just a matter of time!
But when that moment came at last... what then?
Willis had seen the little human one time before. Watched his mother operate on him. The sickest creature that had ever been treated at the Hospital, ever, which really was saying something! Wailing with wordless misery. Too sick to even die right.
When the two of them were finally together again, Fern would finally see, with her own eyes, just how bad her baby's condition really was. And then she'd surely fall into the worst sadness ever. No question about it.
He had seen such things happen to the families of other patients. They'd watch what happened to their sick loved ones, and they'd grow so sad to the point where they, themselves, needed to be hospitalized, and usually have a good long talk with Dr. Froud.
It was so unfair! Fern was a badass hero, the stuff of storybooks! Why did she have to be the mom of such a helpless case? And why did HE have to be the son of a lady so self-absorbed as Circula Tori! Why was life so unfair?!
Being with Fern was more fun and excitement than Willis had ever had in tons of layers. But knowing exactly what she was going to find at the end of her quest would be the worst thing ever. Once she found her son, she'd probably just want to stay right next to him in his room and cry a lot and never leave him again. Or she'd want to go to her room, crawl under the blankets, and cry a lot, and never leave her bed again. Or she'd try to unexistify herself. Either way, she was going to be so sad! And she probably wouldn't even want Willis around anymore! She'd be too sad!
Bringing her to her son would be like killing her! Yet Willis couldn't bear to NOT help Fern! It felt like there was nothing he could do.
* * * *
Tamagotchis! Fern still couldn't quite get over it, shaking her head as she re-entered the ramshackle temp office: Tamagotchis, of all things! It was enough to make her wonder what was REALLY going on with Pokémon.
Gynnie had honestly surprised Fern, especially in terms of her personality. After all the things she'd heard about much exponentially worse the Maternity Ward was, next to the rest of the Hospital, part of her had been expecting something especially vile to serve as its head. Some kind of child-hating villainess like Vicky the babysitter from The Fairly OddParents, or Agatha Trunchbull from Matilda. A "final boss," of sorts, standing between her and her infant-in-distress; the sort of monster who'd look at an innocent human baby and say, "We should shove it right back up into its mother's womb."
Boy, though, was it good to be wrong! Although... hadn't Dr. Man said, "her compassion and patience were considered exceptional among the staff?" Nice that he turned out to be so right about this!
Yeah, Gynnie was the sort of lady Fern wouldn't have enjoyed having for a real boss. Another rare stroke of good luck. Now, she had to focus on impressing her. Become the Maternity Ward's Employee of the Year, (or whatever equalled a year with "layers,") by performing every task with flying colors, until Gynnie trusted her enough to allow her entrance into the Problem Vault. This was her only chance of finally reaching her poor baby.
"Hi, Fern! Welcome back!"
She smiled down at the little network of blood vessels. "Hey, Willis! Looks like we're going to be running a few errands for Gynnie!"
Already, she spotted a new piece of paper lying in the tray on her desk. What had Gynnie called it? An "analog task list?" Doctors! Did they think the larger words elevated something simple like a to-do list into something grander? She skimmed it over, hoping the 'ink'wasn't really blood.
"'Check reception canister for egglets regularly,'" she murmured, and glanced at the rusty bucket, currently empty, except for a little bit of green slime dripping from the blue plastic pipe. "Check for now! 'Neutralize minor hazard loose in B-Ward,'guess we're going to have to fight something again!"
"I hope it has blood!" Willis said, "D-neutral would hit the spot about now!"
She read the next item on the list. "'Investigate computer issues in our sector,'don't know how much help I'm gonna be able to be, there, with computer repairs."
"We'll figure something out! We always do!" Willis assured her.
Many of the buzzers in Fern's head were already suggesting doubling back to her bedroom and consulting Chip for help. They really liked Chip. So did she!
"'Reassure visitors to B-Ward that everything is under control...'" She paused. It felt like something was somehow missing. "Hey, Willis? Where's the Eyeslob?"
"Oh, he's still in this cabinet," said Willis, opening the lower cabinet door a little further to show her. "He fell asleep."
Sure enough, there was the Eyeslob, curled in a ball like a big old red dog.
"Well, could you wake him up for me?" Fern asked, reading through the rest of the to-do list. "We got places to go down in this B-Ward place."
"Funny thing about that..." said Willis. "He wouldn't wake up when I tried to wake him! Could you try? Maybe you'd have better luck!
Frowning a little, she bent down in front of the large creature, poking lightly at the side of his face. Right then, Fern felt tiny, not-even-painful pinpricks at the back of her neck. And suddenly, keeping her eyes open was completely impossible...
* * *
Willis was so very lucky Fern had gotten that Sleepy Beverage, back when she'd stopped in the Cafe. He was even luckier that she'd given it to him to hold onto!
Putting the Eyeslob to sleep had been as simple as holding out the mug, and saying, "Here, try some of this! It's yummy!" Two licks, and the Eyeslob was down for the count.
Making Fern fall asleep required a bit more cleverness. Thank goodness his body had a thwalk! Thanks to his thwalk, Willis had a place to store the Sleepy Beverage inside his body, without falling asleep himself! Then, while Fern was distracted with the Eyeslob, Willis was able to reach out with his veins and transfuse the Sleepy Beverage directly into Fern's bloodstream.
It was a quick trip, carrying the two of them from the temp office into Fern's bedroom. He tucked Fern under the blankets, gentle as could be, while setting the Eyeslob down at the foot of her bed. He gave her one last look, before hurrying off to carry out the rest of his plan.
* * *
Fern came awake drowsily in her bed, feeling herself being nudged.. Huh? Had she died again? Somehow, it didn't quite feel like it. The last thing she remembered was being in the temp office, looking down at the Eyeslob. But here the Eyeslob was, fine as could be, right in front of her. He'd been the one to nudge her awake.
"W..." But she stopped. Who exactly was she calling out for?
She rubbed her head. What was going on?
....More importantly, how long had she been snoozing for? Oh God... she needed to get back to the Maternity Ward! As kind as Gynnie was, it would look really bad for "Frannie," to fall asleep on the job, literally right after getting her first assignment!
"Let's go!" she called out to the Eyeslob, who gave an, "EWAAUUGH!" of agreement before trundling after her, toward the B-Ward.
Maybe if she were lucky, it wouldn't've been too long, and she could fill out all her duties without Gynnie being the wiser.. And if she were really luckier, the Eyeslob would be able to continue his little trick of being invisible to all the staff. And Dr. Phage and Nurse Molly and everyone else would do her the favor of not entering the Maternity Ward while she was "temping" there, so her cover wasn't blown. And as long as she was making a mental wish list, anyway, she might as well ask Santa Claus to send her a second companion to help her out with stuff! Extra companions were always great.
* * * *
Unseen by anyone in Fern's now-empty bedroom, the birthday cake upon the metal plaque hanging over the bed grinned wider, with even more smugness.
* * * *
Fern opened the office door. "You wanted to see me, Dr. Gynnie?"
Gynnie uncoiled one of her long, gloved fingers from the speculum part of her body, and used it to point at an empty chair. "Pleashe. Shit."
"Frannie, how long hash it been shince you shtarted temping here?"
"I..." Fern could only give a very awkward grin. "It's very easy to lose track of time in a place like this."
"One thoushand layersh." Fern had to fight a wave of weariness just hearing it said. "Exashtly one thoushand layersh shince you and I firsht met. And in that time, you brought back shixty shtaff membersh of mine I didn't even know were misshing. You not only repaired all our computersh, you gave ush upgradesh to the newest modelsh... cutting-edge technology! You cured Dr. Froud'sh neuroshesh. ALL of them! You convinshed Fleagood to shwitch from dog'sh blood to papaya juish. You've gotten me to shtop saying 'dog'when I meant to shay 'baby.'I didn't even realize I wash doing that! You've improved morale to an incredible degree among shtaff and patientsh alike! You've been a whiz with every egglet we've shent your way. All the babiesh love you, eshpecially with how shweetly you read shtorybooksh to them. You even shingle-handedly fought of George, and banished him back to Toronto! And you alwaysh happen to have a cup of my favorite drink at hand."
"Speaking of which," said Fern, pulling out a cup from her tote bag, and offering it out. Gynnie took it gratefully, spilling its contents all on her tongue. It was a crude form of brown-nosing, to be sure, but every small bit added up.
"Frannie, you are a gift. Nothing lessh than the very embodiment of helpfulnesh.. Resht asshured, I'm going to write a VERY flattering letter to the bureaucrabs about your performansh!!
"That won't be necessary," Fern said quickly. "No need to trouble yourself; they don't need to know!"
"But I have to do shomething to show my appreshiation! I know! I'll throw in a bonush! More penshil shavingsh than you'll know what to do with!"
Sincerely wondering who would accept pencil shavings as currency, Fern told Gynnie, "Thanks. That's VERY nice of you, but what I really want is for you to feel you can entrust me with more responsibilities."
It was always a gamble telling her this. Fern had already been assigned so very many other tasks, every single time she trotted out this stupid phrase, yet she never felt quite confident enough to be able to come straight out and say, 'I want you to assign me Problem Vault duties.'
"I do trust you, Frannie." Fern could not help feeling deeply moved by the volumes of respect she heard in Gynnie's voice. "More than sheveral of the shtaffers who've sherved with me for shpiralingsh."
Fern watched Gynnie lick the beaklike sides of her speculum mouth; a nervous gesture.
"Okay. I think you're ready to the big league shtuff. Thish doesh NOT leave thish room, undershtand?"
"There'sh been a shtrange new development with Patient Zero."
Sitting up much straighter in her chair, Fern asked, "What kind of development?"
"Hish disheashe hash dishappeared."
His disease has disappeared! Fern trying to quell the screaming intensity erupting inside her, lest some alien sixth sense of Gynnie's alert her. "What do you mean, 'disappeared?'"
"Jusht what I shaid," Dr. Gynnie stated. "All teshting indicatesh that it'sh now gone from hish body. Cleared up, like a shmall cashe of the shpruggsh. But the weird thing ish, the disheashe hash now re-manifeshted inshide another child. The shon of one of our own doctorsh, ash bad luck would have it!" She sighed. "Poor Tori. The whole thing... almosht remindsh me of that time we tried..."
"What?" asked Fern, after Gynnie had left that sentence hang unfinished.
"Never mind." Dr. Gynnie fixed her single eye hard upon Fern. "Here'sh what I want you to do, Frannie..."
* * * *
The first step was bringing the 'cured'Patient Zero out of the Problem Vault. After all, the last thing anyone wanted was for the 'old'Patient Zero to come in contact with the 'new'Patient Zero, and re-contaminating him!
She and Dr. Gynnie were standing before the great metallic sphere dangling over the Abyss by colorful plastic tubing. Its door creaked opened.
She stared at the human child that hopped out, and landed safely on the floor. It was a boy, less than a full year old. They had dressed in a smaller version of the same hospital gown she, herself, wore. His whole body was so very, very red. Red hair, and the most ruddy complexion that human skin could achieve without being seriously ill. Even his eyes had a trace of redness to them. Not in the whites, but in his irises.
But then all the memories popped in Fern's head. Willis! This was her Willis! Her kid, who she had been gone through so much hell to reunite with!
"Hi there, little one! Thish ish my asshishtant, Frannie," Gynnie introduced, bending herself a little lower. "She'll be bringing you to a fun little playroom, while we grownupsh do shome paperwork, okay?"
"Okay!" said Willis, turning to Fern. She saw a quick little wink from him. "Nice to meet you, Frannie!"
"Nice to meet you too!" Fern made herself say. She came forward, took his tiny little hand in hers, and a warmth spread in her heart. They walked out of the A-Ward, side-by-side.
Fern remembered how quickly her Willis had learned to walk on his own, in his very first month of life. He had also mastered talking the next month! Fern remembered this very well. Willis was such a smart kid; not even a full year old, and he was functioning as good as any 9-to-11-year old. He got it from her side of the family, of course!
"Where are we really going, F... um... Mama?" he asked, almost timidly, once they had stepped out of the A-Ward.
"I'm bringing you to my room," she whispered back, tightening her squeeze on his hand a little. "I'm also a patient here. I have one more thing I need to do for Dr. Gynnie, then I'm going to be RIGHT BACK, to see you, okay? Can you do that?"
Willis grinned. "No problem!"
* * * *
"So you're that new temp Gynnie's been raving about!" greeted Dr. Phage. "Fanny, was it?"
"Frannie," corrected Fern. The two of them were standing right at the entrance of the Maternity Ward.
"Mm-hmm! Well, may I say, Frannie, that your face is looking quite lovely! Did you go to the Beauty Salon to make it so super-crinkly?"
"No," said Fern. Earlier, she'd happened to find a plastic shopping bag in one of the recycling bins. What she had done was poke a pair of eyeholes in the bag, then place it over her head as a disguise. It was working like a charm on Phage: this idiot wasn't recognizing her at all.
"Well, that's enough chit-chat for now. Here's the new Zero!"
And then Dr. Phage reached behind his back and somehow produced a little translucent container that looked exactly like Tupperware. Inside... she could see a tiny little being inside. Dr. Tori's son.
This being was tiny. Small enough, that it looked like he could fit comfortably inside an adult human skull. (Dear God! What a gruesome, ghastly thought! Ugh! This Hospital was clearly getting to her!) He almost seemed vaguely humanoid-shaped, in spite of being made of what might have been blood vessels. She said "might have" because whatever he was, he was the WRONG color. Fern would recognize that horrible splotchy greenness anywhere.
Her sweet Willis had suffered from this exact same disease.
The little one in the plastic box... his body was pulsating and mutating before her eyes in a way that was all too familiar. As well as the stench coming off him, escaping through the tightly-sealed box; a nauseating odor of methane, and sulfur, and much, much worse... it broke Fern's heart.
"Welp, better get a move on!" Dr. Phage advised, his bowtie changing from a pattern of fire hydrants to that of cartoon bisons. "Fast as you can, straight to the Problem Vault! Don't want him waking up and exploding out of there! As for me, I've got docting to do!"
And for some reason, Dr. Phage chuckled to himself as he scuttled off.
Fern opened the door back into the Maternity Ward, removing the bag mask from her head while carrying the Tupperware box. The being inside was curled in a fetal position, asleep, yet coughing wretchedly.
He suddenly awoke.
Even though it didn't have any proper eyeballs, it still looked straight at her. Was that expression it was giving her.... Recognition? No, that was silly, it couldn't be that.
It made a little cry exactly like that of a human infant, and reached its tiny, tube-arms straight for Fern. Pus and worse oozed out of Patient Zero's body, as Fern broke into her fastest run, sprinting for the A-Ward, for the Problem Vault. Cancerous growths erupted suddenly from its head, beating at the sides of the translucent box. It turned out the box was a LOT stronger than real Tupperware, yet still alarming cracks were showing.
Inside the A-Ward, she dashed straight past Gynnie. As the baby creature inside gave one last plaintive, heartrending wail, she thrust it into the still-open Problem Vault. The vault's door slammed shut, and there was a pneumatic sound as the tubes suctioned him up, to God-knew-where.
Behind her, Fern felt one of Gynnie's enormous fingers patting her on the back. "Well done, Frannie."
The baby thing's cry was echoing in Fern head. Part of her wanted to fling the vault's door back open again, and dive in after him. But that was insane! It wasn't HER fault - or anyone else's! - that her Willis'crazy disease had suddenly passed on to someone else.
Better to just leave this in the hands of the doctors from now on. After all, Dr. Tori's son wasn't her child. So this disease just wasn't her problem anymore.
* * * *
"I heard it branches and re-branches even in existovoid!" Willis was once again remembering Scissie the snipper saying. "Can't be schroded, transplanted, or reconceivulated, and it's contaminating streams with no common conceptoroot!"
The word "transplanted" had been what stuck most firmly in Willis'memory. Transplanted. That had to have meant that the doctors had attempted to transplant the core of Fern's original son into someone else, right? A Q-36 Procedure, a switcheroo, just like Fern had done with Jay and Chip and Crash.
From where he sat atop Fern's... no, his mom's... bed, Willis kicked out his new human legs playfully, reviewing all the logic that had led him to this point.
On one hand, the switcheroo clearly failed to cure Fern's original son of his horrible condition. The disease must've carried with him over to whatever new form they'd try putting him in. On the other hand, whoever they'd gotten to switcheroo WITH that kid... HADN'T contracted the disease, had he? Otherwise, there'd have been TWO Patient Zeroes, right? The disease was confined to Fern's original son, and him alone.
The only problem was this: even after the Q-36 Procedure, people still remembered that Joe the Cafe barista had once been Jay the human. Luckily, though, Willis had known of a special variation of the Q-36 Procedure: the Q-36.5 Procedure.
And it was also fortunate that old Scissie and Scissane were a very DIRTY pair of snippers, with a LOT of bad secrets they'd never want anyone knowing about. Stuff that went far beyond doing Q-36 Procedures behind their boss'back. Stuff that Willis, who had never been the most rule-abiding kid in the Hospital, already knew about. As soon as Willis had put Fern and the Eyeslob to sleep, he had gone straight to them, and let them know, in no uncertain terms, that unless they performed a Q-36.5 Procedure on himself and Fern's son, he would tell his mother EVERYTHING.
They had managed to squeeze it in during one of his mom's art breaks, while she was busy painting yet another portrait of herself.
This Q-36.5 procedure reworked reality so that absolutely no one remembered there had EVER BEEN a switcheroo at all. No one except the ones involved in the switch! (How great that Fern's original son had never learned how to talk!)
Willis would not just become human, but Fern's own flesh and blood. And Fern would remember Willis always being her son. Everyone else would too! Assuming they ever returned to her home in the gray zone, reality there would also change to reflect this. And Fern's original son would now have Circula Tori as his mother.
Of course, the switcheroo hadn't been NEARLY as smooth as Willis had hoped. He'd found himself shut in the Problem Vault, shut in a diseased human body... THE most diseased body in the whole Hospital, being operated on by no less than his ex-mom.
The pain had been beyond the worst ever. Like the kind of great cosmic punishments, which the more religious patients always spoke of, whenever they warned you against doing bad things. He hurt everywhere, and nothing worked right, and he wasn't in control of himself as something within him was causing zones and stuff to meld together. But as time went on, the sickness started to fade away from him.
Within 100 layers, the pain had gone from way beyond unbearable to just unbearable.
Within 500 layers, it was down to moderately tolerable. Willis'ex-mom had actually started to relax a little and look happy, confident that they'd finally reached a turnaround pont.
Within 525 layers, she had realized that something was seriously wrong with her own child, and was panicking all over again.
Within 700 layers, Willis'agony had gone down to a slight itch.
By 800 layers, he was completely well again, and just waiting for Fern to come get him out of here.
Right now, the Eyeslob was nuzzling the side of Willis'shoulder, and he patted him with his new human fingers.
In many ways, becoming human was a HUGE step down. Just for starters, he was missing a whole LOT of senses: he was down to sight, smell, hearing touch, taste, and a few others. He couldn't even sense pulses anymore! He was so much physically weaker, too. Probably even more deadable than Fern, now. Would blood even taste the same anymore?
But it was still WORTH it. Because he and Fern would be happier.
Fern might be a gray zoner, and ignorant of whole lot of things, and needing a whole lot of looking-after. But Fern was a wonderful mom. She cared about kids! She appreciated Willis being with her. She loved to talk to him. She really listened to the things he said and took him seriously! She included him in almost everything. She was there for him, and took time to teach him and steer him right.
Completely the opposite of his now-former mother, in every way.
Fern didn't deserve some problem child with an incurable condition who would only break her heart forever. And he didn't deserve even one more layer of Circula Tori's neglect.
There was Fern right now, in the doorway, tears in her eyes. Before Willis could even move, she had crossed the distance over to him, flinging her arms around his body, kissing his forehead and cheeks. It made him feel so special. So loved.
What would they do now? Would she stay in the Hospital? Her skin was still that green color, and he was pretty sure she had buzzers in her brain. Or would she try and get herself discharged back to the Gray Zone? Or maybe she'd try to escape the Hospital to some completely new zone? Well... it didn't really matter!
Wherever Fern went, whether it be to the Gray Zone or a garbage dump, or down in the depth of the Abyss, Willis would be there too! Fern would never need to feel sad again, and their adventure together would continue forever!
* * * *
"Come on!" Dr. Circula Tori begged her son, slowly chopping her way through twelve new abnomalous interzonal conduits which would've connected The Cinema to The Landfill. "Stop this! Please? Do it for me! Do it for your mommy!"
At this, her son let out his shrillest shriek, and twenty new conduits shot out, linking the Green Zone, the White Zone, and the Quasi-Acoustic Zone, all at once.
Dr. Tori's unending nightmare had bottomed out to an all-new, all-horrible low. It had been bad enough when it had been that gray-zoner creature. But now, since it had transported over to her son, she was now fighting not just the disease, but the patient as well.
What a brain-ache her son was! Six and a half spiralings old, and so developmentally disabled. Still the mental age of a baby. But ever since he'd been brought into the Problem Vault, her son had contracted an attitude of outright fury, even hatred.
He squalled and he thrashed, and the conduits just kept coming, faster and harder to hack through, branching together things that were never meant to be branched!
Dr. Tori tried hacking through a new conduit linking the Para-Olive Plurazones with The Sub-Seething, but this new one... this new one wasn't even cuttable. She'd... she'd need to get herself stronger snippers. Somehow. She didn't know how much longer she could hold out...
Unseeable and imperceptible from right behind her, all the members of the Parliament watched her struggles and laughed uproariously.