Dark and warm, snug.
Every instant I could feel my body growing new cells. With each new contraction and spasm came a surprise. I wanted to know what organ would be next, but that was a secret buried deep in my core. There was a pre-ordained time for everything, and I had plenty of it… or so I thought.
It began with the poison that made my home stiff and uninviting. Then the honey that I lived off turned to acid. I withered as my body burned.
One day a tiny ray of light came. With them came cold, metal fingers that invaded my cavern and pinched the little flesh I had on my leg. Was it the time already? It could not be, I wasn’t ready. They twisted and turned, wrenching my limb from its socket. My moment of glory turned to one of bright despair.
I recoiled in the little room I had, but there was no escape: one by one all my limbs were torn apart.
Barely conscious I felt the metallic tips gripping my head and squeeze it. Soon there was neither light nor darkness and I had been returned to where I came from.
In my family, we don’t talk about problems.
If we don’t name it, then it’s okay. A name gives power.
If I went outside for a cigarette, I was going for a walk.
Father Whisky never went to a bar. He grabbed a drink. A drink can be anything, as long as it isn’t identified.
Brother Cocaine got coffee.
Mother Tumor had a bellyache.
My cancer is a Bug.
Dad’s beatings and violence are Moods.
Brother Cocaine’s lung trauma and HIV are from a Dirty Girl.
Mother Tumor, we were wrong about her. She had been pregnant, but didn’t tell anyone, and during one of Dad’s Moods, he beat her so hard the fetus died.
When it came out during menstruation or a muscle spasm, she pushed the dead, diseased thing back inside her, squatting over a toilet to catch the dripping. Nobody could know.
No telling how long this necrotic thing bounced around her uterus.
Now, with the doctors peeling back layers of tissue, because she collapsed in the supermarket and some asshole called the paramedics…
No, Doc, no, we don’t know what happened. No, we don’t have anything to say. No, we don’t want to talk about it.
Hilary S. Parry
I blinked away disbelieving tears, not wanted to wipe them away with my blood-smeared hands. The nurses told me to scrub, to wash my hands at the very least as I stumbled out into the hallway, but I half-listened to them, as is my usual way.
That red substance was everywhere. My hands, my arms up to my elbow, both the front and back of the shirt of my scrubs. It was a nasty procedure, and in the end nobody won.
I stank of death, and looked of it. The orderlies wheeled their patients out of my way, averting their eyes, hoping that the ones they cared for would do the same. There’s something fascinating about death when one is so close to it that they can’t look away. Some of these patients would be in my O.R. soon, and would they survive?
I stumbled, tripping over a loose tile on the white floor, and reached for the wall for balance. My fingers left a sticky smear of crimson. I slid to the floor, rolled over, stared up at the white, white lights, as the faint voices hummed. Hands picked me up by the biceps, dropped me into a wheelchair, wheeling me down that hallway I walked through. Voices, ,still chattering.
“How did he even get in here? Why did no one stop him?”
“Isn’t he a doctor?”
Johnny had never asked questions, and it had gotten him far. Maybe a little farther than he wanted.
When the men in black moved a large, gibbering mass that throbbed with the intensity of a monster with 7 hearts, he only saw the white sheets covering it.
That’s usually all that he saw.
And he saw a lot of that.
But before it could be uncovered, Johnny, as always, was told to turn around, and stay facing the wall. If he turned, he’d be shot, but he was more afraid of being eaten. He was there to turn the knobs. More gas, less gas; that was all Johnny would ever know about the procedure.
When the thing stopped moving, which was very easy to tell, as the ground stopped shaking, he would be told to leave. There was always a door right in front of him, for his departure. One that the monster hadn’t come through, and couldn’t leave through. It was only comforting until he saw the gas canisters outside of the room. It always took more than one to get the things to stop moving.
He wasn’t even allowed to know what it was he was pumping. And he was glad. This time, the thing had left a mark on his back.
But the surgery only lasted several, convincing seconds after Johnny left the room.
“Alright guys, good job. We’ve only got a few more to go before he’s ready.” That’s how the conversation would go.
“You think this will work?” One of the surgeons once asked.
“Between the steroids and this thing, wouldn’t you be ready?”
“Indeed,” a voice appeared, “he has already begun to prepare himself for his new reality. He will be ready to hunt soon.”
The surgeons began washing the pig blood off their aprons.
Bathed in the bright light, I sit cross-legged against the tan, steel door with a pair of shiny steel pliers in my hand, red dripping from them onto my plastic gloves. The cameras in the corners of the room whir as they send out every detail of my operation, live.
Think about the car, man, the car. 4.3 liter, V8 engine. Powertrain. ACIS and rear-wheel drive. Double-wishbone fucking suspension. Don’t think about the teeth. The bloody seven laying the dish, twenty-one still in there.
It’s not like it hurts too bad. The room’s well-stocked with propofol, thiopentone, and any number of other barbiturates. I took two valium before they locked the door, anyway.
You’re thinking about your fucking teeth.
The fucking car. Focus. Vee-eight, four-point-three… Six. Six more teeth and I can start on my toes and fingers. I got it worked out, the point values, and I only need one hand, really. Then my legs. That’s almost three hundred points.
I tap the IV needles and make sure they’re in good, then I put the scapel into my mouth and cut the gum around my next tooth. I force the pliars in when I’ve done as much as I can bare, and push them shut around a tooth.
I don’t need to worry about having no legs, no feet, a missing hand. If I… when I win, I’ll be rich enough to pay someone to drive me around in it.
Motherfucker. I shattered it. I feel a tear fall off my cheek as my rubber-covered fingers feel around trying to extract shards. Two points down.
I wish my parents hadn’t had me get my wisdom teeth removed when I was eleven. That’s eight points right there.
Think about the fucking car.
— all photos copyright Helena C. a.k.a. Synthetique 2005; all stories copyright their respective authors 2005. In coordination with the Livejournal Blitzfiction community.