(An alternate side of last week's story.)
Angelique couldn't move.
Angelique couldn't even open her eyes.
Angelique was strapped down and sedated.
The chaos of her mind had been tamed by the drug, and she'd fallen into a dreamy sleep. It happened often enough. Sleep was a respite from the fighting voices and moods that tried to take over her thoughts and actions in every waking minute. But this was a deeper sleep induced by a strong sedative.
As her gurney rolled with occasional rattles and squeaks through hallways, and dropped in the elevator to the main floor of the New World Psychiatric Center, Angelique dreamed she was flying. She floated through space until she landed on a boat. The boat was in the middle of an endless sea and the gentle rocking met the squeaks and squawks of seagulls soaring in the sky above her.
As Angelique and five other patients lay in repose in the lobotomorium, their caregivers had a final discussion confirming their choices. Dr. James had no qualms about her status. "Angelique's behavior is erratic. She has posed a danger to herself and to others on more than one occasion. She started a fight in the cafeteria just the other day."
As was common in these kinds of organizational meetings, one person was the designated "Devil's Advocate" - there to ask the hard questions that were uncomfortable to ask or answer.
"Is 'starting a fight' a reason to take this action?" the D.A. asked in his usual matter-of-fact way.
"Violence, especially repetitive violence, and inciting others to violence, is a good reason to take this action, yes," responded Dr. James. "This was just the most recent fight that has broken out in her wake. She has not responded well to other treatments during the course of her eight months here. We only use this course as a last resort, and that's why I have recommended this patient."
No one in the room would ever say the word "lobotomy".
Another doctor, not the D.A., posed the key question: "You have exhausted other efforts at rehabilitation?"
"We have. Drugs, counseling, art therapy, music and movement therapies, even electric shock. She is not just unresponsive, but often openly hostile to the doctors and interns administering treatment." Every head around the table nodded in approval and the D.A. made a note on his pad. They moved on to the next doctor in attendance.
Angelique's ship was stalled in still waters. There was no movement, no calling of the birds. The boat she was on was empty. She was alone. It was terrifying to be so alone in the middle of a watery expanse she could do nothing about. Her heartbeat increased as in her dream Angelique raced around the - was it a yacht? - opening doors and crying out for anyone to hear, but hearing only her own voice echoing back.
After a time, noises of doors and footsteps calmed her. Someone was there, and that was better than the isolation.
Up above, in the conference room, food had been ordered and the curtain pulled back on a two-way mirror so the doctors could watch their patients being treated by their students, who were beginning to arrive. This was for two reasons: First, the students still required supervision in order to get their grade. Second, knowing they had to watch the procedure was meant as a deterrent to a doctor's careless prescription of this drastic action.
The doctors poured drinks and filled their plates as they chose, some nibbling, some piling on their favorite foods. In The Tank below, the students were arriving and checking out their patients and instruments, not talking much. One doctor nodded in approval at the focus of his student. In the conference room, they couldn't hear the murmur of spectators arriving beyond the glass wall, and they'd only see a corner of the bleachers after the curtain was opened. The announcer was on their time schedule, so they didn't require any audio, just watched a countdown clock on the wall above their viewing window.
As Owen positioned himself against her gurney, Angelique felt the slight movement and thought the boat might get moving again soon. Her breathing calmed and heart-rate settled once more.
The curtain opened with a sustained "Sssshhhhhck" which Angelique's brain registered as an attempt to start the boat's engine. Short bursts of cheers and applause for the students turned into noises from an island that suddenly popped up in the midst of the vast, empty sea.
There was a brief silence, then Angelique felt piercing pressure behind her eye and her dream-self screamed in horror before falling overboard to the roar of a crowd cheering.
The dream ended. Angelique's brain was functioning, but there were no visions, no emotions, and nothing mattered.
It's FICTION FRIDAY!
Every Friday I write a new flash fiction piece. If you have a writing prompt you'd like to see turned into a story, just leave it in a comment.
This story is the patient's perspective from last week's post, You can visit it here to see how I came up with that idea.