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Dec 19, 2012

First time trying this as I try to get my writing skills up to speed.

I'm IN.


Dec 19, 2012

Thought Gorger
1740 Words

In the darkness, he heard a muffled voice. “Mr. Harris? Mr. Harris? Are you awake?”

My head, heavy. Can’t move it. It’s being held in place. Who’s that? Face blocked. Full-body suit. Want to respond. Can’t think of a word to say. I’m sitting up. Can’t move body. Restrained? What’s on my mouth? A breathing mask? It’s bright. Can’t move head. This is the only place lit. I can’t make out what’s over there. It looks old. This chair feels the same. What’s that humming? There’s a beeping. Where am I? One of my ears feels blocked. Are those tubes? Where are they coming from? There are bags hanging from poles connected to them. There’s a tube leading to a bucket. Why is it stuff coming from it so dark? The floor is stained.

From behind him, he heard a voice, authoritative and also with the same muffle. “Hello, this is Doctor Alexi Artzt of the W.H.O. recording this message. I will be documenting my experimental surgery to remove the parasite I’ve named, Artztia cerebrallis, from a human host. Assisting me is nurse Jamie Wells. For the purposes of this recording and for confidentiality, the patient from here on shall be referred to as Mr. H. Mr. H. was one of many individuals found to be infected with A. cerebrallis. The hypothesized primary source vector of transmission is discussed by me and my colleagues in another recording. Both I and nurse Wells have put on quarantine suits for the procedure as there is a potentially high risk of infection due to transmission of bodily fluids.”

Every thought was a chore. Every word he heard was a puzzle. Nothing made sense. It was like a waking dream. Doctor? Am I sick? One of many? So there’s others. Someone important maybe. I’m infected? With what?

“Nurse, are we ready to begin?”

“Yes, doctor. The patient looks to be conscious, but we can’t get any response.”

“We know he’s past Stage 1 then. Mr. Harris, can you move your fingers for me?”

Stage 1? Who’s Mr. Harris? Is that me? Move fingers. Which are those? Are they these?

“Good. He doesn’t seem to have reached Stage 3 yet. Let’s finish this as soon as possible. The patient has been left conscious for the procedure to monitor their cognitive functions; however their body has been secured to prevent any potential harm to themselves or ourselves in the event of any potential physical spasms or panic by the patient. We have already opened the patient’s cranium to locate and remove the parasite as well as try and reduce the damage it may have caused to the patient’s brain. Initial observations from the exposed portions of brain show that the cerebrospinal fluid has largely mixed with the trademark black fluid associated with the parasite. The viscosity and density of this fluid is much greater than the normal CSF surrounding the brain leading to symptoms that largely resembles standard encephalitis. Mr. H. currently seems to be in Stage 2 of the infection as indicated by a much more severe confusion and difficulty engaging in any significant cognitive activity. Motor function is still possible, but limited.”

“Doctor, I’ve spotted the head of the parasite in the temporal lobe. There are lesions in the surrounding brain matter. The antiparasitics don’t seem to be affecting it however the sedative we used on the patient earlier seems to have affected the parasite. Dissection and removal may be the only option.”

“Agreed. Keep an eye on the patient as I begin extraction procedures.”

From behind him, the nurse returned to his field of view. “Mr. Harris. We’re going to begin the removal of the parasite in your brain now. If you can talk, please do so as it will help us gage your current condition.”

I haven’t been able to speak. I need to talk. Say something. Anything. Just a word. Even a sound.


The doctor paused. “Aphasia. The temporal lobe damage has affected his language centers. It should recover once we’re finished.”

“That’s good at least. Just keep trying, Mr. Harris. Hopefully, it’ll improve as we go.”

“Indeed. As I clean the area surrounding the parasite to prepare for removal, I can confirm that it is the source of the black fluid that is commonly the first indication of infection by A. cerebrallis. It is unclear as to what purpose it serves, but it’s likely it provides protection against the host’s immune system as well as providing a more hospitable environment for it and its offspring. In our patient’s case, it seemed to leak from the ear indicating that the initial infection came aurally, presumably by aerosolized particles from another infected individual entering the ear canal or being submerged in a contaminated body of water.”

Black fluid? That tube. It’s coming from my ear? How much is there? So it’s infectious. That’s what the – are they space suits – are for? It went through my ear? When? How? Was I swimming? Maybe in a lake? No, I was a kid then. My father was teaching me how to swim. Not a lake. A pool? I never learned to swim at a pool though. The first time I went into a pool was in college. I can’t have gone to college. Wasn’t last week the prom? That doesn’t make sense. I had a wedding. Or was I just at one?

“Doctor, he seems to be straining and his EEG readings look to be increasing.”

“Good. The more of this fluid we drain and replace with the body’s CSF, the better the affected areas of his brain is functioning. It’s actually quite interesting. Once this is all over, I’d like to take the opportunity at some point to analyze this creature and its secretions if this doesn’t land me in too much trouble.”


“Excuse me. Let’s continue. I’ve finally gotten a hold of the parasite in a pair of forceps. The body looks to continue down into the internal auditory canal. Strange. Was it trying to move out backwards as it grew? Or did start growing inside the ear canal while its tail remained outside of the brain? This is also something to study further at another time. Complete removal of the parasite is necessary, but it may also damage part of the inner ear in addition to the already damaged temporal lobe. While it is risky, it looks to be our best option to minimize damage to the patient.”

“Is there any other way, doctor?”

“Our resources are limited and if we were to try and extract it more carefully, we run into the possibility of running out of something while also trying to remove the lesions and drain as much of the secretions as possible. It is possible to leave that for another surgery, but there may be unforeseen complications between then and now and given the number of other people that may need to have the same operation performed, I would say the risks are outweighed by the potential benefits. Agreed?”

“Yes, doctor.”

It’s getting easier to think. I guess what they’re doing is working. What happened to me? I was driving, right? To the hospital probably. That would make sense. I was sick. Was I with someone else? I think so, but who? I was in a hurry too. When did I get infected? It could have been at any time I guess. Where am I now though? This doesn’t look like a hospital. This chair is made of wood, and the tile on this floor looks ancient. Where the hell am I?

“Primary extraction of the parasite has been completed. Nurse, the status of the patient?”

“Everything is reading fine and he seems to be conscious and thinking. Should I examine the patient to determine their full cognitive level?”

“We’ll have to do that after we finish. At this rate, we won’t have enough time to put back this equipment before the staff find out they’re missing. Administer the sedative at this point as well.”


“Mr. Harris? Are you awake yet?”

He groaned. It took some time for his thoughts to collect, but they eventually found themselves. He was in a cot and there was an aching in his head and his back. He touched the part of his head where it ached. Bandages. All around him was the hum and whir of vehicles mixed with the chatter of people. There was no one else there besides the person who called out to him standing at the tent flap that served at the only way in. “You’re the nurse, right? How is everything? Is it gone?”

“As far as we know, yes. We’ll have to run some actual tests to see how well you are, but given the alternatives and how prepared we were, it’s a miracle we can get you talking in complete sentences.”

“What do you mean?”

“I guess you don’t remember. There was a sudden outbreak of parasitic infections. Thousands of people in the area suddenly having the same symptoms you had and all ending up, partially brain damaged and eventually they either succumb to infection or end up in a coma with a large chunk of their brain being food for a parasitic worm. You were just lucky to come in at the same time me and Dr. Arzt were looking for ‘test subjects’ at the hospital. While it was probably not the most ethical thing to do to someone, given how you turned out, I’d say it turned out for the best.”

“Where am I?”

“A W.H.O. camp. Too many people, not enough beds. Me and the doc pulled some strings to get this place all to yourself since we still need to check you motor functions and everything. It’s looking good though.”

He sat up in the cot. It was still hard to think. Trying to reach out for certain memories was like trying to remember a dream. The harder he tried to recall it, the further it slipped from his mind. He knew he was forgetting something, but he couldn’t figure out what. “Do you remember why I came in? I remember rushing to the hospital because I was sick, I guess. I can’t really remember much else afterwards.”

“You actually came in talking about your wife. She was already in late Stage 2 when you arrived and the doctors there were already swamped.”

“I never had a wife.”

Dec 19, 2012

I'm planning on moving out of my apartment this Saturday and driving to Florida over the weekend, but gently caress it, I'm In.

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