Medical Procedure Chapter 3

1.

“Hello?  Look, I don’t know who you are, but please, please, could you talk to me?  Where am I?  What are you doing to me?  Why did you stick something in my neck?”

The continued lack of response started to frustrate me.

“For fuck sake, will you please just talk to me!” I shouted the last three words. I could feel my self control start to unravel.  I had been put through things that are normally reserved for someone in hospital, with no explanation, and the anger at this lack of response or explanation was beginning to overtake the fear I was feeling.  I started thrashing around again on my back, bucking against my bonds and grunting and hissing with annoyance.

The sound of something metallic, clunking and knocking together, stopped my struggles.  The footsteps approached me again, from above my head, and then I felt vibrations in the surface I was lying on, through the back of my head.  “What are you doing?!  What’s that?!” I demanded.  A low, constant grinding sound started.  I was twisting my head left and right, and trying with all my strength to lift my head, to try and get a glimpse of what was happening, but the strap across my forehead was too tight.  The grinding noise continued for another minute or so, then stopped.  A sharp metallic click sounded on either side of my head, and as I turned my head to the left I saw what looked like a metal arm pointing down my body, about a foot long.  I turned my head to the right and saw the same thing.  As I watched, another noise began and the metal arm started moving toward my face.

“What the fuck?! What are you doing?!” I yelled.  As the metallic arms moved closed to my face I had no choice but to turn my head and look back up toward the ceiling, otherwise the metallic arm would have crushed my nose.  I felt the arms on either side of my head gently press against my ears and then get tighter… and tighter.

As the pressure increased, any sounds I could hear became muffled. I could feel the arms now pressing into my temples and I really began to panic.  I started screaming incoherently and I now could not move my head one inch.  Just as I thought the pressure would surely cause my skull to crack, it stopped.  I was absolutely stuck.  “What the hell is going on?!” I screamed.  I was panicking uncontrollably now, sweating freely and feeling my heart batter the inside of my chest like a pneumatic drill.

I stopped screaming and lay there, immobile, panting like I’d just run hard up a long hill.  My eyes were twitching side to side, trying to make out anything in my peripheral vision that might give a clue as to what was going to happen next.  All I could now see was the bright fluorescent light above me.  I still couldn’t feel anything other than my chest and back, the anesthetic, or whatever he had injected me with, had obviously still not left my system completely.  I was about to start shouting again, and I think I even got as far as deciding that I would need to beg to be given any kind of information as to what was going on, when I heard a voice from behind my head.

2.

“Further struggles are pointless” the voice stated.  “You are now fixed in place, and further efforts to move your head or body will only result in further damage to yourself”.

The voice was calm, composed, with no trace of an accent.  It sounded like that of a lecturer, or a teacher explaining to a pupil why the answer they have given is wrong. “What the fuck is going on?!” I shouted.  The fact that this person had now at least responded to me gave me back the feeling of anger and indignation I needed to overcome the fear.  “Who are you?  Why am I here?  What are you doing to me?” I demanded.

“Who I am isn’t important.  Why are you here?  Happenstance.  Luck.  Fortuitousness. Call it what you will, but it boils down to being in the right place at the right time.  What am I doing to you?  I am giving you the chance to become part of history.  You will be seen as one of the most ground breaking pieces of art that this country has ever had the honour of witnessing”.

“Part of history?  Art?  What the fuck are you talking about you nut case?  Just let me the fuck out of here, you have no right to keep me here, just let me go”.

“I’m afraid that’s quite impossible”, he replied.  “The last stage of this…project, is about to get underway and without you there literally would be no project.  However – so you can see the great contribution you are about to make I thought I would show you where things are up to now.  Unfortunately, it won’t be possible for you to witness the final stages and… let’s say, assembly, but for your selfless sacrifice the least I can do is reveal that which the art world will soon be venerating”.

Before I could say anything in response, something beneath my back made a ‘clunk’ noise, and then a sound like some sort of motor started up.  I felt myself starting to move, my head slowly lifting up. I was obviously on some kind of tilting bed or bench and my tormentor was using some kind of electric motor to lift it toward the vertical.  I still could not move at all, but gradually the ceiling moved across my line of vision as I was transported upright.

As I approached being fully stood up, whilst still being strapped onto the table, the thing that my captor wanted me to see slowly crept into my view.  It looked like a large, very large, fish tank.  It stood about eight feet high, half that in width, but only about two feet deep.  It contained a greenish liquid, similar to that in which I saw the phantom foot earlier.  But this tank didn’t contain a foot.  It held so much more.

“Behold” said the man who had brought me here, “as you can see, the project is nearing completion.  I think you can deduce what the missing pieces will be – and your part in this monumental moment in art history”.

The realization came crashing in on me.  My brain could not process what my eyes were screaming at it to see.  But beyond doubt, what I was seeing was real.  I could now work out why I had no feeling in my feet, legs, arms or hands.

Suspended in the green viscous liquid were body parts.  Specifically, my body parts.  My feet, legs, hands and arms were held in place with wires suspended from the top of the tank.  Each limb and extremity had been separated, as though blown apart by some horrific explosion.  And in the middle of the limbs was a large space – just large enough to fit the missing torso and head.

My blood was pumping in my temples, the tightness of the vice gripping my head magnifying the pain.  My breath was coming in short, sharp, shallow gasps as my eyes unwillingly flicked from one piece to another, making sure that yes, I really was seeing this.

“As you can see, the symmetry of your limbs is quite pleasing.  I feel quite lucky to have stumbled upon someone so blessed” the voice said.

I wasn’t paying any attention… I was struggling with the shock, and could feel my gorge rise as my body wanted to express it’s displeasure at this desecration by vomiting whatever it had left inside it.

And the final piece of the nightmare – there was enough light, and reflection in the glass tank, to see myself as I was now.  Suspended on this table, clamped in place with leather straps and a brace around my head.  Just my head, chest, abdomen and groin were all that was left.  It was this further shocking image that finally sent me over the edge, and I began screaming.  I let loose such a raw, animal screech of pain and horror that I faintly felt something tear in my throat.

It was clear now, what was left to do.  Remove my head from my body, and suspend it in this fluid alongside my limbs.  My screams of anguish finally drove the last shred of sanity from my mind.

I was still screaming as I felt the prick of the needle yet again enter my neck, and as my vision darkened the last tear I’d ever cry leaked from my eye and rolled down my cheek.

End.

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Medical Procedure Chapter 2

1.

Footsteps, coming from behind my head.  The soft clicking told of someone walking unhurriedly but with a purpose.  Straight away I started shouting.  “Help! Hello? Who’s there?! Can you help me?  Please?!”

I struggled against my bonds, twisting my head and heaving my chest up and down but it was no use.  The straps holding me in place wouldn’t give, and all I succeeded in doing was rubbing my forehead until it was sore, against the leather strap across it.

I heard the footsteps approach and stop behind me, but no matter how much I tilted my eyes upwards I couldn’t make anyone out.

“Hello?  Who’s there? Answer me, please!  Where am I?  Who are you? What’s going on?”

I sensed that I was being watched, and I could hear faint breathing and the rustle of cloth.  Suddenly the footsteps moved down my left-hand side and as I turned my head I caught a glimpse of a white coat, like a doctor would wear, but before I could make out anything else the person was out of my line of sight.

“Look, I don’t know who you are, but can you please tell me what’s going on?” I said.  I was struggling with the urge to shout and scream and swear, but for the moment I felt powerless and I didn’t want to antagonize whoever this person was.   The footsteps continued to move about on the left-hand side of my body, and I could hear some metallic noises, like cutlery against a metal tray.

The footsteps moved again back toward the head-end of my body, and this time, I saw more of the mysterious person who had come into the room.  He was quite short, with a build similar to that of a jockey – wiry and slim.  He had a bald head with thin, wire frame glasses. He was also wearing a surgeons mask, which started my heart beating even harder.

“Oi! Who the fuck are you?! What the fuck is going on?!”

He disappeared again from my eye line, and I heard his footsteps stop above my head. Suddenly, a hand was placed on the right hand side of my face, keeping my head turned.  I instantly started trying to twist my head, and my chest and arms were bucking against the straps holding me down.  I screamed out, I couldn’t help it, I was really panicking now.  There was a sharp pain in the side of my neck and then the hand was withdrawn.

“What the fuck?! What are you doing?!”  I was spitting as I shouted this, my heart now racing, fear and the effort of movement bringing me out in a sweat. My head was twisting side-to-side, in a vain attempt to try and see my abuser.

Then,  a growing sensation of cold, starting at my neck, worked it’s way down my body.  My eyes started to feel heavy, as I began to lose sensation in my arms and hands.  I turned my head once more to my left, and saw my attacker with his back to me.

“What have you done?” I moaned.  I found that my lips had grown numb, and my words sounded slurred, mushy, as though the tendons in my jaw had grown too loose and I could no longer control my mouth.  As he turned and walked away, his footsteps moving back from where they originally came, they echoed, as though I was listening to them underwater.

But my eyes were fixed on what he had left on the bench to my left.  My vision was starting to blur and darken, as whatever he had injected me with began to take hold, but as I slowly sank down into darkness I saw a large, glass jar with a faintly green liquid in it.

In the jar was what looked like a bare foot.

2.

The same noise brought me round again.  The slow dripping sound of a leaking tap.  For a few, blissful seconds I forgot where I was and what had happened.  I lay there, eyes closed, carrying out an internal audit of how my body was feeling.  Then it all came crashing back into memory – lying on my back, the man, the injection… the foot!  My eyes flew open like a broken window blind, and I twisted my head to the left.  There it was.  The glass jar with a single, bare foot floating in it.  I felt sick.

I was still strapped down as before, unable to move my head other than left to right.  My chest felt as though the binding that was holding it place had been tightened – there was less give, and when I attempted to draw in a deep breath it proved almost impossible.

I tried to move my fingers again, to form two fists, but I couldn’t feel anything.  Just numbness.  And still no feeling from my legs, or feet.  Feet.  That word brought my focus back to the foot in the jar.  I stared at it, wondering who’s it was, where it had come from.  The faint green tinge to the containing liquid and the distorted shape of the jar made it difficult to make out much detail but it was clearly amputated just above the ankle bone, and at the top I could see what looked like strands of flesh, or nerves, floating like seaweed in a rock pool.

As my body slowly became more awake and alert, I considered shouting out again, trying to attract attention.  But I started to make some connections; I had been restrained without consent.  I had been injected by a stranger against my will, and even though I spoke to him he hadn’t responded once.  It was unlikely that there would be someone here to help me considering what had gone before.

Instead, I concentrated on trying to move my arms and hands.  I could still feel nothing, and I assumed that whatever I had been injected with was still working it’s way through my system.  I was sweating, more now with the realization of my predicament, and as my efforts to move became more futile my heart beat increased and I began to pant like an overheating dog.

I stopped moving and tried to compose myself again.  I closed my eyes, and started taking long, slow breaths through my nose and out of my mouth.  After a minute or so of this, my heart rate had slowed and my breathing had returned to something closer to normal.

As my mind cleared, I could think a little more clearly about my situation.  It was not good.  Held against my will, being drugged with no explanation, and at the mercy of what could quite possibly be some psychopath doctor.  I’d assumed he was a doctor because of the coat he wore and the surgeons mask, but maybe he was just crazy.  My only hope, I realized, was to try and talk rationally and calmly to him when he next appeared – if he did – and try and get some sort of response from him.

As I came to this conclusion, I again began to hear footsteps approaching.  Judging by the sound it seemed safe to assume it was the same person.  I cleared my throat, and got ready to try and start up a conversation with my captor.

Medical Procedure Chapter 1

I.

It was a noise that brought me to my senses.  A slow dripping sound, obviously made by a tap leaking slowly into a sink.  I didn’t dare open my eyes, for fear of the pain that was no doubt awaiting me, inflicted by my throbbing brain.

My mouth tasted sour, like a night on the drink and then bed without brushing my teeth.  When I ran my tongue around the inside of my mouth, I tasted an undercurrent of copper… had my mouth been bleeding?

I then started to smell the faint scent of bleach, or disinfectant.  And something else, something quite sweet but… off.  Like week old milk left out of the fridge.

I realized that I was laying on my back.  I couldn’t really feel anything from my extremities although my neck and back told me I was lying on a cold, hard surface.

I couldn’t get any proper saliva in my mouth, no matter how much I swallowed, and the constant struggle brought a tickle to the back of my throat which grew into a cough.  My natural instinct was to lean forward as I coughed, doubling up so to expel the maximum amount of air and phlegm, but I couldn’t move.  I felt a tight, leather like strap across my forehead and as the cough made my chest heave I realized that, at least from the neck up, I was restrained.  What the fuck?!  I slowly opened my eyes and the glare from the overhead fluorescent lights bit into my head and made me squint.  As I went to lift my right arm, to shield my eyes from the light, I found to my further surprise that I couldn’t move that either.  Further investigation revealed both my arms, and chest, were bound in a similar way to my head, although I couldn’t really feel my legs or feet.

This was starting to get quite worrying now.  I attempted to clear my throat, in preparation for a shout to try and get someone’s attention, but after another brief cough all I could manage was a husky, “Hello?”.

I cleared my throat and tried again.  “Hello?  Is anybody there?”.  Better, a little louder.  Although the effort had made my head pound just a little harder.

I received no response.  I discovered that I could rotate my head a few degrees off the vertical either way, so I managed to have a closer look at my surroundings.  On my left was a long, metal workbench.  There seemed to tools of some sort on in, with a large tray covered in a dirty, off-white cloth.  There were lumps under the cloth, although I couldn’t make out what they were.

Turning my head the other way, I discovered the source of the noise that had brought me round.  It was a large, deep, old-fashioned sink with one cast iron tap above it.  As I watched, a drip of water formed at the spout and then fell into the sink with a deep ‘gloink’ sound.

“Hello?!” I cried once more, louder again this time.  Still nothing.

I started trying to move my fingers and hands.  Although stiff, I seemed to have full movement in all my fingers, and I slowly made two fists.  I repeated this a couple of times and was gratified to find that the joints in my fingers eased somewhat.

I still couldn’t feel anything from my legs or feet, and combined with the lack of response from anyone nearby, beads of sweat started to form on my forehead underneath the restraining belt that was holding my head in place.

II.

I attempted to calm myself by trying to remember what had happened prior to waking up to a dripping tap.  It was hard to piece anything together – all I could see in my minds eye were a collage of images, mostly blurred, with a soundtrack of a heavy, deep beat, like the heartbeat of a whale, but sped up.  The harder I thought about it, the more some of the images became clearer.

There was a big room… some loud noise which I worked out must have been music.  Yes, that was the ‘thump-thump’ that sound-tracked the pictures in my mind.  I could remember laughter, some shrieking as though a woman were in pain.  No, not pain, I remembered, there was a woman there and her laugh reminded me of the witch from The Wizard Of Oz.

It was a night out!  That was it!  It was Michelle’s birthday, and we had gone out!  Fuck!  That’s right… so how the hell had I ended up here?!  I was getting worked up, thinking too hard, making my head ache and more sweat was running down either side of my head.  I needed to calm myself again.  I took some deep breaths and worked on slowing my breathing.

OK, so now I had a clearer picture – we had all gone out to celebrate Michelle’s birthday and it was at a club somewhere in town.  I started to remember more.  I had needed a piss, so had gone downstairs to the basement, where the toilets and fire escape were.  I remembered standing against the urinal, because someone had drawn a massive cock & balls on the wall in black marker right above it, with the words “if it’s this big, call this number” underneath it.  I then remembered turning to my right, as there was someone stood next to me and I was going to point the graffiti out to him, and then… and then…

A sudden twinge in the left hand side of my neck reminded me.

Something sharp had hit my neck, had made me cry out and slap at the place where the pain was!  I looked at the guy stood next to me, but the light was behind him and I couldn’t see his face clearly.  My legs had started to feel heavy and weird, I started panting and then… nothing.  Then the dripping tap.

Oh. My. God.  Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.  Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck oh fuck oh shit oh shitshitshit….

Where the hell was I.