I wrote this as part of a series on Diane Lee’s blog called, “The Secret Lives Of Writers”. Make sure to subscribe for the rest so you can get tips from better writers than I!
“You do realise we’ll have to take off the whole leg?” The doctor looked at me with his concerned eyes. I looked back, then off to the side, then focussed on a little onyx Ganesha on the side table.
“Yeah. Um, yeah I know. But I’ll die if I don’t, isn’t that right?”
The doctor leaned back in his chair and sighed. He took off his glasses and began to clean them diligently with a cloth he seemingly produced out of nowhere.
“There is a high chance of fatality if we don’t proceed with the operation, yes.” He kept his eyes on his glasses now. I watched as he used his fingernail to trace along the edges where the lens met the frame. They must really get filthy in here.
“So that’s that then.” I said. The doctor looked up.
“Alright then.” He stood, using my bed as a balance as he got up from his chair. I felt myself tip to the side as he did so, and winced as a new bolt of pain shot down my leg. The doctor didn’t seem to notice. He checked the tightness of my straps and then sauntered out of there.
I tried to make myself comfortable. The room smelled like disinfectant, which I preferred to the other prominent smell in this place, excrement. I think I was happier to see the cleaners than the nurses, even though the cleaners weren’t dispensing my pain medication.
“Amputation”, I thought to myself, and couldn’t become comfortable with the idea. I knew it was for the best. I knew that if I didn’t go through with it, I’d probably die. I knew that before the doctor had even told me. “It’s worth it,” I thought to myself resolutely, “It’s worth it for this to finally be over.”
A horrible gurgling noise erupted down near the end of my bed. I bent my head up to try and see what it was but all I saw were the white lines of the bed linen over my legs. The noise calmed down into a series of what sounded like barks, then erupted again in gurgling that sounded a lot like… laughter. I began to sweat. No. The medication was supposed to prevent this. It was supposed to take away this part, the part that wasn’t real.
“This is real”, a horribly wet voice intoned, down where the gurgling laugh had come from. I strained to see and saw a dark patch appear over my right shin. It rapidly spread down till it was covering my foot, then darkened to a dull green. It was like the covers had caught leprosy. Caught it from me. I heard a soft thumping sound come from the end of the bed. It was constant, and rhythmic. Thumph, thumph, thumph, thumph. I saw the sheets move with every one and, after thirty seconds or so, the tail end of my bed sheet partially fly out of place.
A few seconds passed, then I saw movement. A slithering sound as a small object moved under the sheet to the new exit. I could feel a tugging on my hip. It was a little uncomfortable but somehow not as painful as the doctor getting up. The end of the sheet fell away slightly, and I saw a small eye looking at me. It had another eye to the left of it. In fact, upon closer inspection there were a full five eyes looking at me, each attached to a little green tentacle. They rose themselves up higher on their stalks and a larger mass appeared under the tentacles, also green, with a slit along it that stretched to a smile.
“Don’t look so surprised,” it said, still in that horrible wet voice, the voice of a deep sea diver with his foot trapped under a rock at the bottom of the ocean, “you’ve seen me before. You’ll see me again. I can’t just be cut away.”
“Have I gone…”
“The doctor said what I had was a gangrenous buildup caused by… caused by the veins.. umm.. a blockage which…”
“He saw what he wanted to. He saw the effects of our… co-habitation and drew his own medical conclusions.”
“He said I would die.”
I felt my mouth fill with acid. I swallowed it down and my head swam. The tentacle host smiled again. “Oh you misunderstand. Not from this. Later. From something else. You can’t avoid it. No human can.”
I swallowed, then swallowed again. I took a deep breath of the disinfectant and it made me feel like I would throw up for real. “Do you mean of na…natural causes?” I stammered. The horrible gurgling laugh began again, the five tentacle eyes squinting and curling with glee.
“No, I’ll still be the one to kill you. It just won’t be because of bad circulation.”
“Did I do something to you?”
“Not really. You’re just the start. You’ll be kicking off a mass infection of the human race. You should be happy. That makes you very special.”
“Lucky me” I said.
“Very. You should fill out that food form I saw them bring you before. You might as well enjoy your normal human pleasures like eating things. That’s something you get pleasure from, right? The absorption of fuel? We don’t quite understand it but there’s a comfort element I take it?”
“Not with hospital food. Not normally.”
“Do it anyway.” The tentacle mass grinned now, displaying a disconcerting lack of teeth. Normally this would be a good thing, but there was actually a lack of anything in that gaping maw. The abyss stared back at me from within the deliriously happy five-eyed calamari sadist.
I reached over to my side table, being careful not to roll onto my bad (evil, possessed, whatever) leg. I grabbed the menu and read over it. Sandwiches. Generic roast. Fruit cup. All things I just couldn’t stomach right now. Sometimes they had pasta though, I could do with some empty carbs. I optimistically turned the sheet over but no such luck. I screwed up the sheet in frustration. I couldn’t possibly see this week getting any worse.