Wednesday, 28 September 2011

-Doc- Land of the Living

My memory of the past week and a half or so is fuzzy or nonexistent, so I apologize if what I say doesn’t quite match up with what others have said. I’m typing with one hand and my head’s in a terrible fog, so forgive me if I stop making sense at any point during this post.

I don’t even remember how long ago Spencer told me to go on that delivery to try and save those kids. A sixteen-year-old boy named Toby contacted me, informed me that his friend Roger was very sick and that they were Running alongside Roger’s girlfriend, Patty. She also happened to be Toby’s sister. Kind of odd to be dating your best friend’s sister, but I digress. I was already a bit tired, and my arm still in a great deal of pain from the souvenir I received during my previous delivery. But when the Boss got that desperate look in his eye, told me he was going to be okay, I believed him and departed immediately, planning to go without sleep to try and save everyone. Do the work of five doctors perfectly, and act as if I could be in several places at once.

What the fuck was I thinking?

The 22-hour drive was terrible, and I took my first pill shortly before arriving at the tiny old shack. It woke me up enough to get in there and see what was going on. Toby, a rather tall boy, greeted me; he had brown hair that was dyed green (rather poorly), and the added color was beginning to fade at the top. Toby led me to Roger, who looked for all the world like he was bucking for Boss’s position as the world record holder for “most black ichor to dribble out of someone’s mouth in an hour.” He was catatonic, his brown eyes glazed, several ribs and his clavicle broken, and drooling black. Deep bruises and gashes adorned his limbs and torso, but the most terrifying one was across his face, exposing his zygomatic bone and only about a half-inch from taking out his left eye. I got to work immediately, though Patty’s sobbing from the other room did my focus no favors. Another pill. Another adrenaline rush. The wind started picking up outside, rattling the old windows, sending a whistling breeze through the room.

The hair on the back of my neck tingled, and something terrible lit up in the back of my mind. The Presence, the Presence…Roger coughed violently, his eyes wide, before gibbering incoherently at me. He grabbed at my shoulders weakly before he just started twitching and twitching, his eyes staring miles away. I tried to get him stable, but something in me knew that he was a goner right there. I’ve dealt with my fair share of seizures when treating the Stalked, but this is the first time I’ve had one manage to swallow their tongue and suffocate themselves before I could even move to help them. When Patty saw, she was in hysterics, halfway from the hurricane that had started pounding into the walls of the shack, halfway from the dead boy I was attempting to resuscitate. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen…twenty…twenty-eight…thirty…one breath, two breath…I focused as hard as I could, adrenaline and amphetamines yanking at invisible strings tied to the back of my eyeballs, my entire head throbbing, my wounded arm throbbing even more, the walls quaking more with each moment, seemingly in rhythm with my compressions

The room’s temperature plummeted to a cruel chill, my breath billowing out before me in a great white cloud as I gave compression number sixteen in my third round of CPR. I felt the ropelike tentacles wrap around me before I saw the thin form standing before us. He squeezed me tightly and I started to scream, terrified and mindless. He could have crushed me into a sick, bloody pulp, but instead threw me around like a ragdoll, bashing me in the stomach, on my limbs, and once, a sickening crack to the side of my head. I heard a gunshot, a thud, a boyish scream, and another thud as I smashed into a wall, the left lens of my glasses shattering before I slid to the floor in a daze.

I felt a pair of shaky hands lift me, but I could not move or speak. A door opened, I felt the rain wash away the ooze of blood trickling down my face. The car door opened, and I was placed into a seat. Door slammed, another door opened and shut, the car started and lurched forward…I just sat there and let the scene wash over me. How it felt to be so helplessly ensnared, beaten about like a lifeless toy. Indecipherable voices, barely whispers, started to sound from nowhere as the rain beat on the windshield. Then I realized where I was: Toby was driving, though somewhat poorly. He was covered in blood and his eyes were wide. I heard him try to speak, but the only coherent words that came out were, “P-Patty shot herself in the mouth…god, Roger’s dead, they’re both dead. Oh god, oh god…” I did my best to calm him, the effort bringing me back to my senses. He eventually pulled over near a forest once the rain had let up and turned to me. “Doctor,” he said, looking at me with an empty look in his eyes, “you did all that you could…all that anyone could. Thank you, thank you.”

I looked back at him blearily, popping another pill. “Toby, come back with me. I can help you. I’m part of a group of very skilled Runners, and you’ve saved my life. I…I’m sure my Boss would love to meet-“

He shook his head quickly. “No, no thank you. I’m going to be fine. I’m just fine on my own. Everything’s fine. I don’t need…you’ve already done so much. Too much, Doctor, you’ve done too much. God…I’m sorry. Please take care. I…”

Without saying another word, he left the car, keys still in the ignition. He marched towards the forest, leaving me in the front passenger’s side of my old Scirocco. I took a moment to stop the bleeding on my head and my arm (thankful that my car has red upholstery), and apply an instant ice pack to my head wound. The pill was kicking in, the world growing oddly vibrant and dim at the same time. Once I was centered, I checked the blog, only to find...THAT post. After leaving one of my own, I hopped back into the driver’s seat and continued my journey alone.

I could still feel His presence as I drove back and popped more pills, more pills, more pills. The more pills I took, the more voices I started hearing and the faster they spoke, but I did my best to ignore them. I knew Spencer was in deep trouble, and that he would die if I didn’t get there. All coherent thought was whittled away by chemicals and nonexistent whispers, and one phrase repeated itself over and over again as my mantra, my chant: “Gotta save Spencer. Gotta save Spencer. Gotta save Spencer.” When I pulled up to the house, I ran inside; Todd immediately found me, said something to me about Spencer. I nodded, feeling my eyes twitch in their sockets. In a flash, I was carrying him down the stairs…he was only staring at me with those obsidian eyes, whispering about how “The Leader is everything. The Leader is void.” Nonsense like that. In return, I just mumbled incoherent gibberish about how I needed to perform surgery. We were both maddened by our ailments, and nothing else mattered to me at that point but his safety: not my throbbing, bleeding arm, not my racing mind, not the world spinning and twisting around me in unison with the chorus of voices screaming in my head. But I got Spencer down there, opened him up, started dumping the writhing ooze into buckets…I remember him laughing, screaming, not reacting to any injections I gave him, dribbling black gunk from his mouth and his nose…

…then nothing but blackness deeper than the deepest sleep. I did not dream; my mind was an empty void. Then I saw the mottled white ceiling of my bedroom above me. August’s voice warbled softly in my ears, and though I was fairly certain he was speaking words, they meant nothing to me for several minutes. I mumbled back, but what came out of my mouth was slurred gibberish. We continued this exchange for some time as I stared vacantly at his blurry form above me. I came to slowly, doing a bit better once I was finally able to ask for my glasses and see his face. The poor kid must’ve kept a vigil, said I was unconscious for a full four days. Judging from the bags under his eyes, I can believe it. It’s taken me some time to finally start turning around, and physically, I’m still working on it. My left arm is in a sling, and I’m too weak to walk very far on my own. For a few days, I had to be carried. I still owe Steele an apology, he had to take me downstairs to care for Spencer once again, and tend to Nemo’s broken fingers as well.

I’ve been half out of my mind on morphine, slipping in and out of consciousness for the past few days. Having Him lift you up with those wretched tentacles and throw you against a wall doesn’t do much for bullet wounds, and I’m not sure how I managed to drive all the way home with a concussion, then perform surgery successfully before finally toppling over. I don’t even remember this, but apparently August came and found me in the operating room staring at Spencer once I’d finished working on him. He tried to get me to go to my room, but days of taking amphetamines, watching people die, receiving terrible wounds, and not sleeping a wink is bad for one’s sanity. I cut him across the face with the scalpel I was holding, screaming nonsense, trying to get to Spencer because I thought I needed to operate further or he would die. Eventually, August gave me a tranq shot to put me out, and that was it for me for a few days.

I hope to be back on my feet soon, but I’m not going to push myself further unless I have to. My body is a wreck. My mind is…well, I’m not sure, but I’m fairly certain I’m hallucinating right now. If this post is up later, I suppose I’ll know I’m not. Either way, I’m going to get some more sleep.

Take care, everyone.


  1. Fuck.
    Fuck, fuck, fuck.
    Um. Thank you so much.

  2. Good god, don't any of you ever have a normal night's sleep?

    "...but this is the first time I’ve had one manage to swallow their tongue and suffocate themselves..."

    That's probably because swallowing your tongue isn't actually possible? Unless you mean the tongue fell back and blocked the airway, in which case you would just need to have shifted the position his head was in....

  3. Or his tongue was disconnected somehow?

  4. Yes, I meant his tongue blocked his airway. I'm glad that people who surely have medical degrees and years of field experience are available to jump on a misused figure of speech I made when I was so doped up on painkillers that I stopped writing my post several times to remind myself of what year it was.

    Just be glad I used spellcheck this time, I almost called it his zyogmanic bone.

  5. Oh, and I'm well aware that his head needed to be shifted. I did so almost immediately, but he had already stopped breathing. That's what I was meaning: by all rights, he should have still been breathing when I shifted his head.

    In hindsight, it's far more likely that His presence stopped the boy's heartbeat and respiration, and that I wrongly attributed his condition to the position of his tongue. Either way, I would have had to move his head to clear his airway to begin CPR.

    I'm not even sure why I'm having this argument, I only woke up to give myself another dose of painkillers. Back to sleep with me!

  6. ...should have to continue breathing know what, I'm high as shit right now. You know what I meant.

  7. You know I think you need to give up this recipe for 'morphine milkshakes' sometime, I always start to salivate when I see that tag. Maybe a malted morphine milkshake. Delicious.

  8. 'morphine milkshakes'? well I guess it might get you that needed sleep

  9. Good job on the fingers by the way Doc. I'll do my best to keep them from getting messed up again.

  10. Wow. I'm glad you're alright. All of you.