Back in Arizona as of last night! This morning, I woke up after sleeping for 3 hours out of the last 31. It always takes my body a few days to resolve east to west jet-lag across 8 time zones. Luckily, the weekend starts tomorrow.
So, France. We had a good visit with everyone despite the somber circumstances. In an extension of “funerals bring people together,” I got to meet several of Callaghan’s cousins from his Mom’s side, even though Papy was his father’s father.
One of the cousins had her baby the day of the service. The next day, I went with Callaghan, his sister, and his mother to visit her at the hospital in Antibes.
Little did I know.
Walking into the hospital, I had no reason to suspect that the place wouldn’t resemble any other hospital, medical clinic, or urgent care center. You know what I mean… a place brightly lit and charged with the hectic energy of people working and visiting, information desks and nurses’ stations, and the background noise of beeping, clicking, and clanging sounds… machines, doors opening and closing, patients shuffling down the hall with their I.V. poles, people talking, phones ringing, alarms, voices over the announcement system… normal hospital sights and sounds.
Even the quieter hospital areas feature sounds and human activity of some kind.
Naturally, I was taken aback when I found myself in a hospital that resembled the abandoned hospital in the horror video game Silent Hill.
First, the interior of the hospital opened to a vast, cold emptiness.
It was surreal. So silent, and so very strange.
Where is everyone? Why is it so quiet? What’s wrong with this picture?
Let me explain about Silent Hill. I generally don’t play video games. Silent Hill was the exception years ago because when I looked over my then-boyfriend’s shoulder and saw that the game he was playing was a 3D survival-horror-type deal with an eerie atmosphere, it hooked me, of course. You know how I can’t resist the thrill of any kind of horror! Silent Hill sucked me in. Next thing I knew, I was up playing it in the dark in the dead of night, every night… because 2:00AM is the best time to maximize the game’s creeptastic effects.
The game’s intriguing narrative involved an old hospital in the abandoned town of Silent Hill.
I felt like I was in the game.
It was bizarre how the inside of Callaghan’s cousin’s room seemed normal, with the right people stationed in the right places – mother and newborn in the bed, baby daddy and visiting family members standing around – but when we left and walked back through the hospital and it was still unnaturally quiet, dimly lit, and devoid of human life, I found myself listening for the spooky static noise forewarning of approaching malevolent creatures.
There wasn’t even a nurses’ station in sight of the maternity ward! There was literally nothing and no one. A nurse did come into the room briefly while we were visiting, but where she came from was a mystery.
I found an evacuation plan posted on a wall in a (deserted) general area. Who was there to evacuate, exactly? At that point, everything about the hospital seemed sinister to me.
I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the hollow corridors on our way out. Callaghan and his sister jumped in to photo-bomb the pics.
(Maman joined in on the monster act, cracking up with the rest of us, but I’m not posting her pic because I know she wouldn’t be okay with it.)
Impressed with the interior’s resemblance to Silent Hill’s hospital, I rushed out to give the hospital’s exterior a good look as we headed back to the car, since I’d been oblivious going in.
I swear the only missing elements from the game were snow and monster birds swooping in to attack us.
Here’s the exterior:
And here’s the hospital in Silent Hill:
In fact, the hospital in Silent Hill looks less creepy than this one in Antibes, on the outside, at least.
AND THEN. We passed a certain building, and suddenly the whole thing merged with American Horror Story: Asylum.
The picture was complete, but of course, Callaghan and his sister ran up to pose.
At the end of the day, I can honestly say it was the weirdest hospital I’d ever seen.
Callaghan’s cousin and her baby were sweet, though.