My name is Rick Dagless.
I’m a doctor.
I went through three years of advanced and hyper accelerated medical school and graduated top of my class. Some would say that I was a medical prodigy. Some would say that God himself must have placed me on this earth to practice medicine since I am just that good at it.
To that, I would say… Who am I to argue with people’ opinions and conclusions?
I practice medicine at my hospital, Darkplace.
I say it is my hospital only because I work there. It’s not really my hospital of course. The hospital is actually run by Won Ton and administrated by Thorton Reed, a real ball buster but fair boss.
I work at the hospital alongside my best bud, Lucien Sanchez. He’s the kind of friend that always has your backside covered; even though we do occasional have the punch ups. What friends don’t?
I had just finished up a grueling yet fairly routine day at the hospital, dealing with an invasion of robotic dermatologist zombies screeching an unholy cacophony of ‘exfoliate’ as they tried to sand the skin right off of everyone with their sandpapery like tentacles, when I decided to pop by my office and pick up my mail. Having not checked it for several months, the pile was somewhat daunting.
First, I found out that I won the national lottery and was four thousand pounds richer than I was. Since I’ve been trying to build the Darkplace Dagless kiddie wing for the hospital this news was considerably welcomed, but the very next letter I opened was a notice that I had failed to pay back taxes for several years to the tune of four thousand and eleven pounds and the government had seized my bank account.
Oh well, easy come, easy go I thought.
The next letter I opened was a notice from the apartment I had been renting in town telling me since my last rent check had bounced, due to the government seizing my account of course, that I was now without a place to live.
What a bother.
I rarely left the hospital because their need for my great medical skills were always in demand but even I liked to occasionally have a place to go home to, pop open a cold beer and watch reruns of Doctor Who while wearing nothing but a baggy pair of knickers.
Sure I could always use the lounge to watch television during breaks in my shift at the hospital but Liz, Dr. Liz Ashner, a highly strung female co-worker at the hospital, tended to over react when she caught me in my briefs watching telly so it was far from ideal.
As I ponder my now homeless state, I noticed a gold envelope among the other normal drab postal offerings. Wondering if I had won yet another lottery or this was my notice that I had won the peace prize for medicine, I pulled the letter out and looked it over.
There was only my name on the envelope with no return address. Opening the letter, I wondered yet again. Could this be another lottery wining notification, or maybe an invitation to tour some creepy guy’s chocolate factory? If it was the latter, I decided to give it to Liz. Women tended to appreciate sugary chocolate treats more than us men did and it helped to mellow them out when it was 'their time of the month'.
To my surprise the letter inside was neither a lottery winning confirmation nor was it an invitation to tour a chocolate factory where creepy little subhumans toiled day in and day out to produce insulin depreciating treats but a real estate advertisement and a key.
Seems my name had been offered as a potential new client to somewhere called Serenity Hills, one of those planned out housing tract communities. Reading further I found that the letter claimed if I was interested in examining one of their houses to buy, all I had to do was put the key that came with the letter in any door lock, turn it and open the door and if the letter was to be believed, it would open onto the community.
Now an ordinary kind of bloke might have dismissed the whole thing as a scam or a bad joke but having had experience with portals, considering the hospital had been built over a Hell’s Gate, I knew there was a chance the letter was legitimate and the key might work.
Or it might open onto a hell dimension flooding the hospital and this world with demons of all types that would rape, pillage and feed on the innocent souls of those here. You just never could be sure with strange keys.
Having considered for a few moments, I shrugged and placed the key in the lock of the door of the room I was in.
I had been on constant duty at the hospital for two weeks and the law said I was suppose to only work at most 48 hours nonstop before being forced to take time off and Reed under Won Ton’s orders had recently decided to enforce that silly restriction so I had time to waste and I did need a place to hang my hat. Not that I usually wore hats mind you but even the proverbial ones need a metaphorical resting place now and then.
With that in mind I turned the door and opened the key.