by Bob'n Around
Invisible matters of the mind turned real into the written word.
|Phyllis Walton’s phobia made her want to jump out of her skin. She couldn't stand to be touched. Doctor after doctor hadn’t been able to do more than label her and send her on to the next specialist. “ A negative thigmotropism is a response away from the touch stimulus.” It sounded so clinical.
The reality was a rage response attacking anyone who approached her personal space. “I’m not trying to hurt people,” she’d explained to the judge, “my therapist says it’s an avoidance reaction that is completely unconscious.”
If it hadn’t been corroborated by her psychiatrist in formal writing and appearance in her defense, the court would have put her in a group holding cell. Either she or the other inmates wouldn’t have come out of it alive.
“You can come out now.” The guard held his taser bar ready. Apparently the news had spread about what was in her report.
“Thank you. Back up please. Thirteen feet is the limit I can take.” The isolation cell felt like a cocoon. It was safe as living in your own skin. It took her off balance when another inmate was prodded past her towards the door. Phyllis Walton saw red.
When she came back to herself, the red she saw was the coating of blood she wore. “I’m back,” she sighed. “It happened again.”
A look through the tiny observation window revealed the inmate she’d passed judgement on for coming to close. “I literally tore his guts out of him.” The man, a tattooed behemoth now had his eyes dug out of his head as well. He lay in his own feces, clutching his intestines while prison staff waited for a physician. There was no way the poor fellow was going to be put back together again.
“Hope I didn’t hurt that guard. He was kind of cute.” The taser lay broken on the hallway floor. Phyllis paced, thinking things out, wondering how they’d put her back in.
Her life had changed dramatically when she’d been abducted by three hopped up crazies. “How they mistook me for that billionaire’s daughter and kidnapped me on impulse I’ll never understand. Wrong place. Wrong time.”
She’d had only a passing resemblance to the heiress of that fortune. By then it was too late. The things they’d done to her were so bad they were locked away into her subconscious.
When the authorities got involved. They’d reprised what they’d found. Phyllis backed up against a stone wall with three torn and bleeding broken bodies barely still breathing. One lasted long enough to explain they’d finally seen their mistake walking her way into the same bank Phyllis used.
Hysterical wasn’t a good enough word for her. It had taken their best trained crisis response crew to wrestle her down like an animal, shoot her up, before she settled down into numb withdrawal. Comatose, they’d delivered her for a twenty-four observation in a lock up ward.
“I’m perfectly fine, so normal I’m ignored, It is just . . .” when her phobia kicked in the world went mad along with her.
“Phyllis? Can you hear me?”
It was that handsome guard. “Yes. I’m fine now. Really. What are they going to do with me? I know I’m lucky to be alive.”
“That’s just it. I’m in school. I talked over your situation with one of my advisors. He wants your permission to try a satiation procedure with you. If you are willing, I’ll push a gurney in there. Just lay down. Otherwise, God help you. Are you keen?”
She wasn’t sure if she nodded yes, or it was just a head jerk reaction to the last thing he had said. The door was opened. She reacted like always, clinging to the far wall. Men with clubs stood in the doorway, waiting.
“All right. I’m doing it.” There was a place for her neck, arms and legs. When she lay down automatic clamps snapped shut and tightened.
The rage reaction at being touched shredded her clothing where she fought the restraints. Muscles bulged with inhuman strength. The gurney began to dance across the floor to the waiting clubs.
“It’s O.K.,” we’ll take her from here.” The friendly guard pushed his way through to Phyllis’ side. “This is Doctor Sieverts. He’s a Ph.D. at the college specializing in behavioral medicine. I’m Mark Everts.”
Phyllis could breathe normally again, weak from the reaction of the adrenaline kick turning her into a ravaging beast. No-one was touching her. Still hypersensitive she could feel herself being pushed. She began to panic.
“It’s a robot, Phyllis. We’re all thirteen feet or more distant. Take it easy. You’re not going far. There’s a medical room we’re taking you to. The procedure will shortly begin.
It was dark. It was quiet. Nothing to see, hear, touch or smell. Phyllis felt the shackles unlock themselves. She sat up, feeling her blood begin to flow once more where her arms and legs had gone asleep. “Is anyone there?”
A motion sensor turned lighting on. Before her was a small metal table with a document and pen. It had her name on it and a place for her to sign a release.
“Read it, Phyllis. The language is simple. We’ll be doing a positive thigmotropism satiation procedure. If it works you’ll be cured.”
It was too impossible to believe. What then? Would she be allowed to live a normal life? All the horror she’d caused forgotten and gone? She read even the tiny print.
Phyllis found herself signing. “All right. I’m ready. I’m done.”
The lighting dimmed into fathomless darkness. Hissing sounds coiled around her through what had to be vents near the floor on the walls. The first slithering caress of a snake sliding up her ankle inside of her torn pant leg froze Phyllis in place.
The rage reaction kicked in. The snakes coiled around each other. They were everywhere, piling higher. No matter how many she tore at, there were always more. “You bastards.”
High up revolving cameras recorded each second with stereo pickup sound. They were the same X27 night vision optics used in Las Vegas offering color in dark places day and night. “She’s wearing down. Amazing stamina. There are snakes ripped open waist high.”
“There she goes. She’s fallen over into them. Look at her arms. They aren’t poisonous but they still can bite.”
Mark Everts waited until Phyllis Walton stopped moving before entering. He wore high boots and long rubber gloves to pull her from the room. Another student kept sweeping snakes back from the doorway.
“Phyllis? Can you hear me? How do you feel?” Doctor Sieverts, took her pulse.
Phyllis’ eyes fluttered behind closed lids. “She may be temporarily isolated and withdrawn inside herself. Catatonic would be the worst case scenario. I’ll test.”
Pin pricks and blunt rubber hammer taps brought no knee jerk or winching reaction. Phyllis watched and listened, remote, hiding deep within herself, waiting for her rage to mend.