Patient Twelve

Chapter Three

“Bring your knees down,” Sweeney told me.

I lowered my knees so that I was sitting straight with my legs crossed underneath me. Sweeney shifted his weight across the bed. He traced his fingers along the gauze wrapped around my face. His fingers picked at a section of the gauze on the side of my head. He picked off the tape that was securing it.

He unraveled the bandage. My heart was pounding harder in my chest as he took more and more of the gauze off. A dim light was creeping into my complete darkness. The light was pouring in from around the edges, but the middle of my vision was still black. The pressure of the gauze around my head was gone, but I could still feel something over my eyes. Sweeney grabbed whatever it was. I squeezed my eyes shut, and pain ran up my cheeks and into my temple.

Sweeney pulled back the coverings on my eyes and it pulled on my eyelashes. Sweeney gasped.

It seemed as if my eyelids were glued together. I struggled to peel them open. The wider I opened my eyes, the more the pain in my forehead grew. The skin around my cheeks and above my nose was tight.

Everything around me was blurry. I never needed to wear glasses before, but now it looked like everything was in a haze. It seemed like there was a film over my eyes.

A middle-aged man was sitting on the bed in front of me. This must be Dr. Sweeney. He had dark hair that looked like it was sprinkled with grey. He had thin wire glasses on. A large white lab coat was over his plaid shirt. This weird film over my eyes made colours appear softer. Sweeney’s thin lips were spread into a wide smile.

I looked past him to see a wooden staircase leading up to a door. I squinted to try and see better. Far away was so blurry. I managed to decipher that there were two hallways leading to behind the stairs.

I could see my IV pole. I furrowed my brows and turned my head. The metal pole was slightly behind me. I shouldn’t have been able to see that when I was staring straight.

“Can you see?” Sweeney asked.

“Yeah,” I said. “But it’s really blurry.”

Besides me, it looked like a doctor’s office. There was a large counter with a sink, and cupboards hanging above. There was also a large desk, and behind it was a worn-down office chair. This must be the chair that I listened to squeak.

“Look at me, Diana,” he said.

He put his hand under my chin and tilted my head up. His eyes scanned my face. He brought his thumbs up to my cheeks. He pushed on the tight skin, and I hissed out in pain.

“Incredible,” he said, his voice barely above a whisper. “There is quite a bit of swelling, but nonetheless it seems to have worked.”

“What did you do?” I asked.

The beeping of my heart monitor grew faster. Sweeney ran his thumbs up to the taught skin above my eyebrows. I gritted my teeth as the pain radiated into my temple.

“What do you see?” he asked me.

“Everything far away is blurry,” I said. I squinted my eyes to see Sweeney better. His elbows were resting on his knee. He was leaning forward and inspecting my face. “Colours look weird too. They are so…dull.”

I blinked a few times to try and remove the film from my eyes. It reminded me of when I would first open my eyes in the morning and I see the world in a haze. That would usually only lasts for a fraction of a second, but now I seemed to be trapped in it.

Sweeney lifted his finger up in front of me.

“Follow my fingers with your eyes, but don’t move your head,” he instructed me.

I followed his finger with my eyes as he moved it around in front of me. He brought his finger closer to my face, and then further away. The burning pain behind my eyes grew worse from all of this moving.

“Simply amazing,” he said. “How is your pain?”

“It hurts to move my eyes,” I said.

“I’ll give you something for breakthrough pain,” he said. “Lie down, and rest.”

Sweeney got up off of the edge of the bed. He opened the cupboard and pulled out a basket. He searched through a few vials and read the labels. He set one vial down on the counter and opened up a new syringe. He filled the needle with the medication and injected it into a small bag. Sweeney came to the side of the bed and hung the bag next to my IV and I watched as he attached it to the pump.

“Are you hungry?” he asked me.

“Yes,” I said. “Can I have some water?”

Sweeney went around the bed to a small sink. He grabbed a cup off of the ledge and filled it full of water. He handed it to me and I took a sip. My throat was no longer dry and I did not have the urge to gulp the water.

He took my hand in his and looked at the bruises surrounding my wrists.

“You have to take better care of yourself now that I can show you off,” he said.

“I’ll tell them you kidnapped me,” I said.

Sweeney chuckled and strolled around the bed. He placed his hand on top of the heart monitor and leaned forward to read it.

“They have all done the same thing, Kitten,” he said.

“They kidnap people and perform surgery on them against their will?” I asked.

He shrugged. “More or less.”

“What did you do?”

Sweeney reached over and grabbed the top of my gown. I swatted his hand and held onto the neckline. I scurried over to the other side of the bed. He rolled his eyes.

“I turned the heart monitor off,” he said. “I was going to take those off your chest.”

“I can do it,” I said.

I looked down at my chest to see the wires stuck to my skin. I hadn’t noticed that the beeping had stopped. Sweeney was leaning over the railing of the bed, and his hand was still on the top of my gown. I tried to yank it out of his grasp. He tightened his grip so that he had a fistful of the gown. He pulled me across the bed toward him.

He had us close and our foreheads were touching. His face was the first clear thing I could see since the bandages had come off. Dark bags were under his eyes. Stubble ran along his jaw.

“Let’s get one thing straight,” he said. I could hear a growl behind his voice. “You’re mine. You’re my creation. I am going to take care of you. Do you understand that?”

“I don’t want you to touch me.”

I yanked on the gown again, but it did not budge. I tried to pry his fingers off. He brought his other hand up and grabbed a fistful of my hair. He forced my head against the pillow. He was towering over me.

“I don’t have to be so nice, Diana,” he said. “I don’t have to be giving you pain medication, but I am because I don’t want to see you suffer. If you don’t do exactly what I say, I’m going to keep you restrained to this bed. You’ll be forced to have me do everything for you. Do you want that?”

I shook my head and the pain spread across my skull. Sweeney grinned. He let go of my gown. I kept my hands over my chest. He looked down at me and raised an eyebrow. I took it as a sign that he wasn’t going to be patient for much longer. My hands shook as I brought them down to my side.

Sweeney reached into the pocket of his lab coat. He pulled out a small package and tore open the top. A sharp smell of alcohol filled my nose. He pulled down my gown again.

“This is going to be a little cold,” he warned me before rubbing it along my chest. He ran it along the tape holding the wires to my chest. He slowly peeled the tape back, and I bit down on my lip as it pulled on my skin.

I squeezed my eyes shut as he went lower on my chest. I focused on the pain surrounding my eyes to distract myself from his fingers.

“If I let you do this you could have torn your skin,” he said. “You’ve already bruised yourself. I don’t need you doing more damage.”

Once Sweeney took off the last wire, I pulled my gown up. He rolled his eyes as he turned his back to me. He washed his hands at the sink. I touched the swollen skin around my eyes. I winced as the pain shot down my cheeks.

“I’ll bring you something to eat,” he said as he reached for a towel to dry his hands. “I want you to stay in bed.”

“Okay,” I said.

Sweeney didn’t get far away from the bed before he became blurry. He walked up the steps, and his form seemed to mix in with the staircase. I could tell he left his lab when I heard the door click shut. My vision was perfect before this man kidnapped me. Now I couldn’t see and the colours didn’t look normal.

How could he be proud of this?

I tossed the blankets off. I pushed myself to the edge of the bed so that my feet were dangling. I needed to find a way out of here or at least a mirror so that I can see what he did to me.

I grabbed the IV pole and my knees wobbled as I stood. The cold air caused a shiver to run up my back, and I pulled back of the gown closed. I struggled to tie the thin straps behind me together. I shuffled my feet across the floor. I leaned against the pole as I wheeled it beside me. I went to the hallway closest to me. If Sweeney came down while I was still up, I could lie and say I was looking for the bathroom.

I flipped the light switch and a row of lights hanging from the ceiling flickered on. The hallway was lined with multiple doors. I grabbed each doorknob, but they were all locked. I got halfway down the hall before I came across one that was unlocked. I ran my hand along the tiled wall until I found the switch.

The floor and walls were covered in white tiles. There was a toilet in the corner, and I realized that it was a bathroom. If Sweeney came down he would believe my lie.

There was a mirror. I could see my blurry reflection. The first thing I recognized was my mess of dark hair. As I stepped closer, I leaned in to get a better look. I raised an eyebrow when I noticed that my bright blue eyes now appeared to be dark green.

I rested my hands against the sink. I leaned in closer, and my face came into focus.

The skin around my eyes was swollen, and I could see faint yellow bruises running along my cheeks. It reminded me how my jaw bruised after I had my wisdom teeth removed.

My breath was caught in my throat as I looked at my eyes. The change of colour was not the part that alarmed me. My round pupils were now black vertical slits cutting through the green iris.

These were not my eyes.

I screamed and my knees gave out. I tumbled to the ground. The IV ripped out of my arm. I scurried away from the mirror until I hit the wall behind me. I could not stop myself from screaming. I pushed my fingers into my swollen skin. My eyes began to burn and my tears ran over my fingers.

These aren’t my eyes, these aren’t my eyes, I repeated in my mind.

My warm blood was pouring out of my arm, and it soaked my gown.

My mixture of sobs and cries was so loud that I did not hear Sweeney run down the stairs and into the bathroom.

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