First time I woke up after the surgery, my vision was blurry. I could still hear raging fire around me, but I didn’t feel any heat. I didn’t think too much about it.
The second time I woke up, I felt better. I looked around my bed to look for burned objects, but everything was spotless. My chest stitches where I had undergone a bypass surgery were tingling. I decided that I had imagined the heat from last time.
The third time I woke up, I felt scratches on my back. My calves were screaming in agony. I could tell that they were bruised. I got out of bed worried I wouldn’t be able to walk. I walked fine. There were no bruises on my calves. But they hurt like someone very strong had grabbed onto them and didn’t let go.
I recalled my dream, one where I was being dragged into a burning fire. Nails biting into my back and powerful hands gripping my calves. I shook my head, dismissing the similarities as medically induced hallucinations. The alternative was too scary.
My doctor checked on me that day. He smiled to see me recovering well. I asked him if sensation of scratches and bruises after the surgery was a side effect. He assured me this was the morphine surging through my body. I didn’t believe him, I felt that something may have gone wrong in my surgery. They did something to me.
The day of my discharge as I walked past all of the families in the waiting room, I saw my reflection in the glass windows. I screamed and backed away.
I saw myself, bloodied & battered. My hair had been pulled out, my face had been partially burned and my chest had missing skin. I could see my chest muscles pulsing, every heartbeat sending shockwaves through me. After I couldn’t take it anymore, I looked beyond me.
There was the fiery pit from my nightmare, one that I was being dragged into. There were humanoid shapes moving in front of the pit stabbing the fire. Someone walked close to me, I could hear their footsteps.
The figure had a full foot on me, leathery skin resembling burned rubber. It came next to me and leered at me…
I looked away from the glass instantly. I couldn’t take it anymore. My doctor stood in the place of that thing. He smiled back me, placing a hand on my shoulder reassuringly. But I could see the gleam in his eyes.
‘Mister, are you okay?’ he asked me.
I didn’t say anything. My mouth was dry and my knees had locked up.
‘Sir if there is an issue, I can assure you that you can always come back. We will have you back.’
It was then that I noticed that his eyes were red.