01 Feb Two Pills…
“You need to take two pills a day. You know this Ray. Two pills…one in the morning…and one about six hours later.”
The doctor finished scolding me, by constantly shaking his head in disappointment. The long, white beard loudly scratched against his lab coat with each side-to-side shake of his head.
“Will you listen this time…please?” he continued to plead.
I felt my head silently nod in agreement, while I blankly stared at him. The doc turned away and began rifling through the papers on the counter. I was left sitting there staring at the back of his head, lost in confusion. I finally shook myself out of the trance, and immediately my vision became confined to a blurry tunnel. A fiery itching sensation started to build on my neck – burning from inside of the flesh. Without a thought, my fingers dug deep into the skin, desperately trying to satisfy the insatiable itch.
I cleared my throat, sitting restlessly in the chair, fighting with the unbearable sensation.
“Hey doc…I got a quick question.”
The old man spun around on his stool waiting for me to continue.
“Um…this may sound weird…ok? But why do I have to take these meds again?”
The old man folded his arms and quietly studied my face. It looked as if he is trying to find an answer in his own mind. After a moment or two, he loudly sighed.
“Ray, you know why…if you can remember it. Come on man…you have to try. Have you been taking the meds? Don’t lie to me, I’ll know.”
I thought for a moment, honestly searching for a memory of me swallowing the pills. My mental rolodex came up empty, so I lied through my teeth.
“Of course I have Doc. I just read an article the other day about different treatments for my illness, that’s all.”
That lie…that lie…even sounded convincing to me.
The man leaned back, almost flipping his little stool over, reading me through squinted eyes.
“Ok, then you tell me…why you have to take the pills.”
Thoughts nervously raced through my head. I had no idea why I took them. Hell, I had no idea why I was in the doctor’s office in the first place. I didn’t even know how I got there. The sweat beads breaching my hairline in a race to cover my face, tickled their way through my scalp. I scratched my head, lost deep inside of my lie-filled mind.
“Because I’m crazy?”
The words manifested without control, shooting themselves from my lips. My own words only added to that current state of confusion.
“We’ve talked about this Ray. Don’t ever use that word again, please. You have a condition and you cannot help it. Crazy people are the ones that don’t take their meds. Got it?”
The old man winked at me after wrapping up his speech.
I was still suspended deep within a state of my own confusion and dread. My entire being was lost somewhere deep inside an infinite, darkened abyss.
The obscure thoughts buzzed uncontrollably around my mind like a swarm of bees. I struggled to find even one rational idea inside the depths of my brain.
Maybe I really am…crazy.
Maybe this is all a dream…a REALLY covincing one…
The sound of the doctor’s voice abruptly snapped my brain back into reality.
“How you doing on your prescriptions? Is it time for a refill?”
With no other ideas, I continued playing the game. Some unknown force propelled me to participate, even though I hadn’t the slightest clue what was happening.
“No, I’m all caught up right now, thanks.”
The doc chuckled at me, playfully smacking my arm.
Can he not see the state of my confusion?
Why can’t he understand what was happening to me???
I can’t even remember his goddamn name!
“Ok…that’s good. But you’re worrying me man. Seriously. Will you take your meds here in the office for me, please? It’ll make me feel better if I know you’ve taken them…”
“What…did you say?” The old man asked with a confused look across his face.
“I didn’t say anything Doc, but yeah…I’ll take the pills here.” I replied while staring at him, still trying to mentally piece the puzzle together.
He continued to study me, with an extremely puzzled look.
Why is he staring at me?
He eventually stood up, nodded at me and walked out of the room.
Left alone in the exam room, my blurry thoughts swirled around inside the neverending whirlpool that had become my mind.
I think my name is…Ray. That part checks out…I think…
This room looks familiar…I’ve definitely been here before…
“Shut up!” I scolded the voice.
The doc…the doc…I recognize him…I know him.
But, what is his name?
“I told you…shut the fuck UP!!!” I scolded it after it tried to interrupt me again.
Mason!!! His name is Dr. Mason…
The mental audit was interrupted when the door suddenly clicked, swinging open. He walked in, smiling…holding two paper cups. After he had placed them both in my hand, returning to his stool, I stared at his face.
“Hey….Doctor…Mason?” I asked cautiously, testing my own memory.
“Yes…Ray. What is it?”
Quickly, I thought of some bullshit question. My eyes landed on his wedding band.
“I forgot to ask…how’s your wife?”
The doc’s eyes squinted, as his brow furrowed. He didn’t look pleased with my question.
“Ray…she has passed away.”
He finished speaking with a small tear forming in his eye. It immediately made feel like shit. I searched through my brain for a tactful response.
I felt my mind drifting back into the tunnel. My sight shook wildly as the scene around became blurry and obscured. The unbearable itch returned, crawling across the back of my head. As soon as I scratched, it burned – then transforming into a searing pain.
I forgot what the hell I had even said to him.
A loud clap drew me back out of the blur. I shook my head, focusing on the doctor’s face again.
“Oh…I’m sorry to hear that, doc.” the words spewed from my lips, as I desperately tried to focus.
He sighed, wiping the tear away from his eye. The itch returned, and the fingernails scraped back into my skin. Doctor Myers stared at me for a moment. His mouth opened but no words came from it. He looked like he was frozen.
Violently, I shook my head trying to focus my thoughts. I scratched the itch, as it left my neck, going into my scalp – my fingers closely following.
“Ray, she has been dead for 20 years. Now, please…take the pills..” Doctor Michaels said. His voice seemed aggravated, but anxious. The words didn’t even seem to be coming from his mouth though, which was still frozen shut.
Maybe the words are in my mind…
I looked down at the two, tiny cups. One had water, the other had two massive pills.
I looked back up at Doctor Mason, as he was starting to shake his head again.
My focus returned back to the hands…my fingernails had blood caked under them.
My eyes shot back to the cups…the pills stared back me.
They are judging me…
I closed my eyes, wincing from the stabbing pain in my mind, and threw the pills against my throat. The capsules bounced and tumbled down. I listened as they slid down my esophagus.
I looked up after swallowing them… Doctor Myers was right in front of me…his hand on my neck…
He’s fucking trying to choke me…his fingers feel cold as ice. His eyes look…evil…Get Out!!!
Doctor Mason is the last thing I see before blacking out.
Cue the darkness…
I next found myself aimlessly floating around a void of darkness. I couldn’t see my body, but I could feel it. I could somehow feel something touching my skull. An excruciatingly loud noise invaded my brain. It felt like someone started drilling a hole in my head.
God…it hurts so bad…
After what felt like an eternity, my eyes slowly opened. My vision was immediately flooded by a bright light. As I fought to focus, I could see that I was sitting in a room…a living room.
It smells familiar….it feels…right. I know this place…
I felt the presence of someone sitting next to me.
“Dr. Michaels!” I screamed out, as the darkness tried to pull me back in.
I don’t want him…he tried to kill us…
“Shut up…I don’t need your shit right now!”
Once my eyes were able to fully lift open, they didn’t find the doctor or the exam room. Instead, there was a woman there, sitting next to me.
Who is she?
“Stop it!!!” my voice screamed out from the depths.
She looks scared…really scared…Ray…
That name…my name…was being shouted from inside the depths of my thoughts, as the words appeared in between each burst of the drill.
The drilling noise faded, transforming into a faint grinding noise that crawled across my skull. My head ached with every involuntary movement of my body.
I’m not in control…
No…you’re not…I AM!
My name was still being screamed through all the noise.
I tried…but couldn’t…shake my head. I kept fighting until felt it start to move.
The screaming was still echoing from deep within my mind. It was getting louder and louder as if it was coming closer to me.
I felt my head start to move..slightly.
My eyes twitched, but eventually focused once more.
I saw the woman still sitting there, rubbing my arm and sobbing.
The noise stopped all at once…but my name continued to be shouted.
I finally broke through…coming out of the blurred state. I cautiously studied my surroundings, realizing that I was still in the room with the woman.
“Ray..baby..what’s happening?” the woman’s voice caressed my ears.
I turned my head…again in full control…and saw her face for the first time.
I recognized her, but…I couldn’t remember her name, no matter how hard I tried. As she continued to shake my arm, the loud drilling started back up. Except it was much heavier than it was before. It caused my eyes to cross, making it impossible to see anything clearly.
My brain had become a fucking construction site!
An arm brushed past my face and I caught a small hint of a familiar smell.
“Help me…Katie!!!” my mouth motioned but no noise came out.
She could obviously see me, because it appeared that she read my lips.
My neck feels wet…
My hand autonomously reached the back of my neck. As I drew it back around in front of my eyes, I see the blood puddled in it’s palm. The pool of blood looked like it was dancing on my hand. The bright color flooded my eyes, making everything around me eerily covered by a crimson hue.
I tried to look away from the blood, my eyes shifting down to my shirt. Flakes of dried skin were scattered all over the gray cloth.
I fluffed the shirt, to make the skin flakes vanish. They shot up into the air and started slowly floating back down.
It looks like snow…it’s snowing…its snowing Ray!!!
The voice returned with another loud scream, but it wasn’t from the girl.
I looked up at her, but saw Doctor Myers’ face staring back at me with bloody fangs hanging from his mouth.
Nervously, I scanned around the exam room, finding that the girl was there too, sitting in a chair. She was staring at me, still crying like in the other room. Lines of black mascara were trailed down both her cheeks.
Doctor Mason started to touch me. I flinched, remembering when he choked me…trying to kill us.
My eyes jumped back to the girl’s face…her eyes were completely black as she opened her mouth wide, brandishing her own set of fangs.
What the fuck is happening?
I dont know Ray, but sure is a fun ride, right?
I jerked away from Michaels so he couldn’t hurt me again. The cold floor lifted up in front of me, grabbing my face. It felt good…the only good feeling.
The tunnel consumed my mind again, refusing to let it go free.
Cue the darkness
Words appeared right in front of my eyes from within the darkness:
I struggled with shaking away the thoughts once more, as the words became increasingly louder in my mind.
I’m not….seeing them…I’m hearing them echo through my brain.
If they’re in your brain, then you’re not hearing them…idiot…
Finally, my eyes win the battle, springing open in a rush.
“The CT scan results are back, Ray.”
The sound of actual words and a familiar voice grabbed my attention. I looked up to see Doctor Mason’s eyes, inches from my face.
A smile crossed my lips at the realization that I was back in the real world.
My body bolted from the chair, grabbing Doctor Mason in a tight embrace. I peered over his shoulder, spotting the woman from my dreams. Her face was still stained with black lines by the running makeup. She smiled at me through tears, when the doctor pushed me back in my seat.
Doctor Myers…Michaels…Mason began to speak, pulling my attention back away from the mystery girl.
Where is his white coat?
“The test results revealed what I thought to be true. Turns out, you will not be taking the meds anymore, Ray.”
My eye rapidly twitched back and forth while I stared at the doctor’s lips. I struggled to focus on anything. I watched Mason’s lips, as his words reached me. There was a delay between the movement of his mouth and the words hitting my ears. Everything sounded like an echo.
“Ray…you were stationed in West Africa recently, right?”
His words swirled around my ears. My head nodded involuntarily.
“Have you ever, um, heard of Encephalopathy?” Doctor Mason said right before the drilling started in my mind again.
My eyes went blank, my thoughts swirled around uncontrollably, but I could still hear him talking from the distance. I could hear the loud sobs from the girl in the room.
For a moment, I appeared back into the room. The doctor was talking to the girl…Katie…
Fragments of the conversation reached my ears as the darkness sank back over me.
“I’m afraid that right now Katie, the only viable option is surgery. It took me this long to figure out what truly was happening. The last time I saw Ray, he was a mess.”
The sounds of her cries became louder, before the doctor’s voice started again.
“Well, it’s crazy, but sometimes the eggs hatch and the larvae spread into the brain. It’s called the Loa loa Worm…”
Cue the darkness…