They called that particular wing of the hospice “the gang” because all of the people there, slowly wasting away from ailment of the body rather than ailments of the mind. They had known each other, it seems, since childhood. And now, lifetimes lived hard and mean had led them to have every similar expiration dates.

And they were angry.

Nurses reported constant verbal and even physical harrassment. Bedpans were thrown, sheets were soiled, and every insut imaginable was bandied about in severl languages. The checks kept coming, and kept clearing, but the abuse continued to escalate until management had to serve the patience notice: “the gang” would be evicted in one week for creating a hostile environment.

The first death happened one day later.

Two more followed the following morning, and another that night. Code blues were ringing around the clock, and the nurses were as harried as they’d ever been. By the day of the hospice managements’ ultimatum, all 13 members of “the gang” were dead and their husks were parceled out to various and sundry funeral homes or potters’ fields.

A collective sigh of relief went up from the staff, thinking that they had survived one last spiteful terror from those elderly delinquents.

And then the noises began, the toppling and moving of objects in the still of the night. And the staff came to realize that their ordeal had not yet truly begun.

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