Altered State – Part Four

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Short Story

My senses felt like they were failing, and I was pretty sure that I started screaming. I felt a prick in my arm—Doctor Wilson or Karen must’ve stuck a tube back in. My hearing was going, but I could still faintly hear Doctor Wilson shouting something.

There was another prick in my leg and I shut my eyes. I must’ve passed out, because when I opened my eyes again I could see and my head wasn’t pounding anymore. Doctor Wilson and Karen in the corner, looking over some paperwork.

“What the hell was that?”

Their heads snapped up and Karen darted over.

“Are you okay? What happened?”

I looked down at my arms; there were twice as many tubes than before. “Shouldn’t I be asking you guys that?”

Doctor Wilson was still messing with one of the machines. “We can’t figure out what went wrong until you tell us what you were experiencing.”

“Can I have some water or something first?”

Karen immediately produced a water bottle from behind her. I chugged it down and handed it back.

“Everything was fine, at first. I actually felt kind of normal. But then everything went white and I thought my brain was going to break through my skull. I don’t remember much after that.”

Doctor Wilson nodded. “Somehow you overpowered the restraints, so we had to re strap you in. And it you wouldn’t stop screaming.”

I noticed the earplugs scattered on the counter and felt kind of bad. “Was that it?”

“Pretty much. You stopped screaming about twenty minutes ago.” He turned back to Karen and whispered something. She scribbled whatever he said down onto the clipboard.

“When do you think I’ll be able to go home?”

They looked at each other and Doctor Wilson shrugged. “At this point, I’m not really sure. It seems like no matter what we do, something goes wrong.”

Karen got me another water bottle. “We might have to bring someone new in.”

I paused. I wasn’t sure if I was keen on the idea. By this point, I’d gotten used to Doctor Wilson and Karen. Sure, Doctor Wilson seemed kind of shady, but I trusted him to do the right thing. And Karen was way nicer and less creepy than I had originally thought. Whoever the new person is may not have my life at the top of their list of their priorities.

Karen could sense my hesitation and said, “We’d still be here, obviously. We’re not going to let anything bad happen to you.”

I was still hesitant, but Doctor Wilson left to make the call anyways.

Unconsciously I tried to get up, but was held back by my restraints. It was weird that I’d gotten so used to them that I barely noticed they were there anymore. As I plopped back down, another water bottle was thrust in my face.

“Drink this, you’re really sweaty.”

I grabbed the bottle and thanked Karen.

“You know, I think you’re gonna be okay.” Karen gave me a tiny smile.

I rolled my eyes. “I know you believe that telling me that is helpful, but it’s not.” Her life wasn’t the one at stake here.

“You’ve made it this far,” she sighed. “And you’re stable. The rest of them never were. As long as you’re stable, you’re gonna be okay.”

I disagreed—I could technically decline at any time. She knows that. Doctor Wilson knows that. Even I know that. But before I could dispute, I heard Doctor Wilson on the other side of the door.

“Thank you very much sir, we’ll prepare for her arrival.” He hung up the phone and came back in.

“They’re sending in Doctor Lawrence. She and her assistant will be here within the hour.”


Read from the beginning: Altered State – Part One

Read the second chapter: Altered State – Part Two

Read the third chapter: Altered State – Part Three

Photo by Joel Filipe on Unsplash

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