Nadia awakened from a deep sleep to rolling echoes of crashing metal. A grey fog impaired her vision, letting up with every eye-roll and blink, but not enough to reveal her surroundings. Straining the muscles in her neck, she fought against an object holding her down. She wiggled both eyebrows, scrunching her forehead, testing the restraint. The strap ran from one temple to the other.
Using peripheral vision, she spotted a figure shuffling from one side of her to the other. Her heartbeat increased, thumping against her gown, the veins in her neck throbbing.
’’Whu,’’ she said, peering through her glazed pupils, her throat too dry to speak.
The effects of the drug hadn’t worn off completely. The constricted muscles in her mouth refused to hold the saliva within. Spit dribbled to her jaw bone, trickling down the back of her neck.
Repeatedly, she blinked to gain focus. A fuzzy object, resembling the sun, hung over her body, swinging back and forth, squeaking. Something wet dripped onto the table, splashing her face. Frustrated with the annoying sprays, and eager to block her face, she fought with the restraint around her wrist. In her failed attempt to free her hand, she ripped through a layer of meat. Her raw exposed skin molded itself to the bond.
Again, she sought details of her whereabouts. Objects, once bleary and doubled, became one. The sun: a hanging lamp; the shuffling figure: a man dressed in a lab coat; and the force against her body belonged to six thick belts pinning down her head, each wrist and ankle, one across her chest.
‘’Now, where did I put that gauze?’’ the man asked.
‘’Here, doctor,’’ a woman said.
What’s going on? Where am I?
‘’Hhheee…mm,’’ Nadia mumbled.
Nadia flexed her neck, struggling to release her head from the strap, and succeeded in slipping it off.
A pipe above had the leak releasing spiteful drops of water, driving her mad.
Once her eyes uncrossed, she observed the lamp’s reflection in the table. Her cheek rested against the cold surface where she laid, watching the doctor fiddle with a bag of tools.
An image on the steel table mirrored the approaching stranger. Tears rolled down the side of her face, her cotton mouth making it hard to swallow. The smell of mothballs and cedar tree oil encroach her senses.
The doctor reached down, putting both of his hands on either side of her head, and grabbed ahold of the fallen restraint, securing it once again. Her nerves cringed at her helplessness. The belt securing her head to the table allowed no room for movement, leaving her no choice but to look at his face, while hovering over her. The pungent smell of oils on his clothes, knotted her intestines, provoking the rise of vomit, inflaming her throat and the back of her nose.
‘’Recap.’’ He spread her eyelids open. Exhausted, Nadia laid there watching the dancing stars still twirling from the light he blinded her with. ‘’Last attempt to evoke. . . Two months ago with basic Deliriant. Failure. Hallucinogens were not strong enough to produce desired results. The subject has gone into hiding.’’ He clicked off the recorder and looked at Nadia again. The whites of his eyes were swallowed up by his empty black pupils. He walked away and returned seconds later. Clicking on the recorder, he continued, ‘’Experiment two: Today we attempt another solution I fashioned for this occasion. I must say, I am extremely excited.’’ Nadia watched him draw liquid from the glass vile into the syringe. ‘’After adding extracts from the plants Death Nightshade and Angel Trumpet, I have no doubt this Datura will lure the subject forth.’’
Subject? Is he talking about me?
‘’The subject has fully awakened, and judging by the size of the pupils and the lack of swelling in the Ciliary muscle, she has fully recovered from the last injection.’’ He ended his monologue and turned off the recorder.
‘’Here, Doctor,’’ a woman said, handing him a stick and rag.
‘’Very well,’’ he said, wrapping the rag around the piece of wood. ‘’Now, return to the observation room, and remain there until I tell you to come out. We do not know what this may result…’’ he said looking at the vial and syringe.
Nadia struggled to fill her lungs with air, between the apprehension of the imminent experiment and the grip of the restraints.
The doctor walked over to Nadia carrying a metal tray, and sat it down on a cart next to her head.
‘’Open your mouth,’’ he said.
‘’MMmm-mmmm.’’ Her jaws locked.
Nadia looked into the doctor’s eyes after minutes passed without him saying a word. Judging by his knowledge of medicines, and collection of tools, she knew he had endless options in forcing her to cooperate. The doctor cocked an eyebrow, shifting his eyes to the tray. Her eyes followed his. Struggling to turn her head, she caught sight of the tray.
‘’Open your mouth or I’ll use force if necessary. I have all sorts of tools here we can try.” He eyed the handsaw
Nadia, reluctant to open her mouth, gave in, fearing the jagged blades of his assorted tools.
He snatched her bottom jaw with one hand, shoved the wrapped stick into her mouth horizontally, forcing her jaw shut, shoving her teeth into the wood, cutting through the material.
‘’You’ll need this,‘’ he said, with a sideways smile, wiggling his long haired owl-like eyebrows.
He picked up the syringe, pushing the needle into the lid of a small vial. A sinister giggle escaped his thin wrinkled lips.
‘’Hold still. This will only hurt a lot,’’ he said, with a mocking sneer.
The needle came closer; she thrashed against the leather restraints, twisting her head side to side, burning her forehead and pulling hair free. Clammy gloved hands grasped her arm, and a tourniquet tied on her bicep above the elbow, cutting off circulation to her hand.
Whimpers escaped through the tiny opening between her lips and the gag.
‘’S..t…mmm,’’ she said, trying to speak through the rag and tears.
‘’I’m sorry. Did you say something?’’ he asked, approaching her arm with the needle.
‘’S..mmmmmmmmmmm,’’she cried, her body shaking.
Liquid ice slithered through her veins from arm to neck. A crick developed in the slope of her shoulder, pinching the nerves along her spine. Sharp needles stabbed their way into her bones, creeping to her hips, setting the joints on fire. A burst of energy exploded within, igniting her chest, breasts inflamed with stabbing pains. Gnashing her teeth, the beating drums thump violently against the inside of her chest.
What’s happening to me?
‘’Hhhhhhhhhhh..’’ she said, holding back unfamiliar desires, hungering to surface.
A sudden release of vitality exploded from within. Where pain resided, now lived and appetite for stimulation. Her eyebrows took an arched shape, one cocked higher than the other. The muscles around her mouth loosened from a nervous pucker to a slight pout, and her chest no longer pounded due to fear, but a craving. A craving for what?
The room spun in circles. Her eyes rolled, slipping in and out of consciousness. Her mind’s eye revealed an image similar to herself. The woman grinned at Nadia, whispering for her to fall into the grips of an imminent coma. Running her tongue over her teeth, Nadia let out a sigh of ecstasy.
What’s going on? Why can’t I control myself?
Random objects in front of her, once blurry, now crystal clear. The doctor standing before her not only looked ugly but goddamn ugly. She flexed her muscles, gathering strength to set herself free, swimming in supremacy.
Her fierce jolts drove the straps deeper into her wrists, soaking them with blood. Her new-found strength made progress. The restraints along her ankles twisted and cut into her skin.
Saliva saturated her mouth, her loins rolling flames of desire, thighs throbbing, aching, her nipples piercing her gown. Never before had she experienced horny, violence, nor hunger for control. Torment no longer existed, only the exhilaration of pain.
(Give into it.)
Nadia’s slip into unconsciousness increased, lasting longer each time.
Help. Help m.. h.hhh
(That’s right. Come to me. Let go. I’ll take care of you. Come to me.)
Between the rage during consciousness and blacking out, she grew weary. Tears ran down her face, into her mouth, stinging the open sores. She wanted to give up. The woman within Nadia, tugged on her, pulling her inside the unseen walls of her own mind.
Nadia woke up in a windowless room of grey walls, and a cushioned floor of the same color. Nothing else. A light from an unknown source shined on her, revealing another figure in the room.
Its features were similar to Nadia’s, both sharing the same mouth, jaw line, body frame, but their eyes were different – Nadia’s brown, the woman’s green.
‘’What are you doing here?’’ Nadia asked, staring her down.
I live here. Remember? We met a few days ago?
‘’That’s yu… That was yoo… Oh my god,’’ Nadia’s eyes ached with fear, her heart bursting with ineptness. The gouges in her scalp prickled, reminding her of yesterday.
‘’Wait. You’re the subject he was talking about, aren’t you?’’ Nadia asked, her voice shaking.
‘’Where are we?’’ she asked, pacing around the padded room, searching for a way out.
We are in our mind.
‘’Wha… our mind?’’ Nadia asked.
The drugs he gave you have rendered you unconscious, allowing you to become weak and me stronger. I have pulled you out of the driver’s seat and I will be taking over from here.
‘’No! no no no no! This isn’t happening! You can’t do that. It’s my body, not yours!’’ Nadia said, shouting as the phantom walked towards the wall on the far side of the room.
Who do you think has been living in it the past 20 years? Oh by the way, have a seat it’s about to get interesting.
Nadia fell to her knees in disbelief, and watched the Phantom disappear through the wall.