Dark Triptych Part II
(see his prompts here)
Puppet strings, invisible but taut, dangle me down the hallway. My colleagues walk ahead of me, setting a brisk pace. Nobody seems to notice my wooden steps. They turn the corner and I hurry to keep up with them.
The fuzz grows behind my neck. I can hear it whispering to me. It is missing its brothers and sisters; the lines of petri-dishes lining my bathroom at home. Shhh, I whisper, Someone will hear you. The fuzz has been impatient of late. They’ve been waiting patiently, but they’re ready for the job they were created, ready to take their place in the world.
I became a doctor for the classic, dumbest of reasons: my mother was a surgeon, she wanted me be one, and I did. It seemed so right. I had the brains for it, the support from home, and the work ethic for those long study sessions.
It seemed so right, except for one thing: blood. I hate the stuff.
The nurse puts the implement in my hand, the steel cold beneath my rubber glove. My hand quivers but I keep it steady enough to make sure it goes by unnoticed. The thin blade slices into the body, and the flesh falls apart neatly, opening up like a sweating cheese. For a brief second the newly revealed landscape is dry but then it starts weeping droplets of spidery blood, tracing whispers down the ridges.
Now, I think.
The fuzz releases from under my shoulder length hair, crawling under my blouse and along my arm. It’s peach complexion melts seamlessly into me as it travels down the underside of my arm. It creeps into the gaping wound, and almost immediately the redness is less severe, then the flesh turns marshmallow pink.
I cut deeper, encouraged and confident. The wound is now large enough for me to work with, so I place my hand inside, feeling for the enlarged appendix that is the star of our little surgery today. I look away, my eyes unfocused, as all of my attention is channelled into my searching fingers.
My colleagues are whispering urgently. I look down at the body. The wound is mottled grey and the patient’s veins are full and pressed against his skin. I stand back; drop the scalpel into the tray with a clang. The flesh collapses into clumps of dust and the peach-stained bones clatter and on the bench.