UBC Day 11: It’ll Cure What Ails You

As I searched for the list of prompts I’ve been using for my April posts, I found a piece of free writing that I did a couple of years ago. I don’t know what I was originally going to do with it or what my prompt was, but it was pretty dark. I decided to write where I left off, which is after the line about the human condition. What human condition, I wonder? I have no idea. But I wanted to play with some themes that I normally wouldn’t dare.

Content warning: a doctor who shouldn’t be doctoring, medical horror, torture, and a bunch of inner monologuing about murder.

“Dr. Tomkins, is he awake yet?” I asked as I walked in to the room, my feet making a scuffing noise on the overly sterile hospital floor.
My doctor’s coat was draped around me like a lover and I looked down at the man with tubes and wiring coming out of his body. Fluids could be seen entering his system and the monitors showed strong vital signs.
“Dr. Hamilton,” Dr. Tomkins whined. he always had such an insufferable look on his face, but he was always handy to have around during those moments when I felt that a little unethical doctoring was in order.
“Are you certain that he is a good specimen?”

I sighed, wishing for the hundredth time that I would have been saddled with someone my intellectual equal.

“I am quite certain.” I snapped. Moving to the man’s side, I gently checked for a pulse and watched dispassionately as he opened his eyes. There was always that look of fear first, the pain of a procedure echoing through their bones like a lullaby on repeat. Then came the way that he sighed, seeing that I was a woman. as if I were the lesser evil.

“What…” he asked.

I shook my head. “Don’t speak. I will tell you. I am a doctor. You are my patient and you were in an accident. You are being kept safe as we figure out a cure for your condition.”

“My condition?” he asked, looking around the room and noticing Tomkins for the first time. “What condition?”

I smiled as I began to flip one switch at a time, ignoring his screams as electricity coursed through his system alongside the medical cocktail I fed him. “The unfortunate malady you suffer from, of course. The human condition.”

“The human condition.” His voice was hoarse, likely due to all of the screaming he’d done before.

Why did they always have to repeat themselves? It was bad enough that Dr. Tomkins questioned me at every turn. “Dr. Hamilton, are you certain I have the measurements correct? Dr. Hamilton, do you believe your calculations will produce a better specimen this time? Well actually, Dr. Hamilton, I don’t believe that this is the correct method.” As though I hadn’t specialized in neuroscience while he was a pat amateur. As though I didn’t check and triple check my findings carefully.

I could admit to myself that I looked forward to the day Dr. Tomkins found himself on my table, strapped down, wires protruding from his frame as I turned up the juice while asking, “Dr. Tomkins, are you certain that *your* calculations were correct?” It was a fantasy that allowed me to sleep very well at night. Alas, I needed him.

As for the man, I took a moment to take a good look at him. Brown hair, dark blue eyes that were full of intellectual promise. Maybe. Or perhaps I was seeing shadows where there were meant to be none.

He shifted his gaze toward Tomkins, who was changing my settings on the machine already.

“Leave those alone.” I said as I stepped away, my annoyance hidden beneath a cultured tone. It was the same tone I had to use during medical school to keep my professors from realizing that they were irritating me.

“I did some calculating on my own and it would be so much better, so much faster too just amp it up a little.”

I swallowed back my long-suffering sigh and considered. “Dr. Tomkins, perhaps you are correct, but we must move carefully.”

“I won’t turn it up as high as I did the last time.”

I narrowed my eyes and took a moment to glance back at the patient, who gave a pained smirk as his own gaze met mine. How had I missed this? I wouldn’t have known if he hadn’t looked. The idea was so grating that for a moment, I considered disposing of them both.

“Do not ever do that again.” I said, allowing the careful calm of my expression to slip so that he might see the true woman underneath.

I could almost hear my mother saying, “Just a little malice, now, dear. You don’t want to show your entire hand. Not until it’s too late.”

Dr. Tomkins stepped back, his face paling. I smiled once more and said, “Dr. Tomkins, would you look for the book in the library? The one about scientific hypothesis that I like so much? Then, let us reconvene afterward.”

Dr. Tomkins nodded slowly, his eyes raking over my body and lingering on my breasts. The urge to drive a knife through his heart was so strong that I had to physically step back.

He turned away and left, and I had to take a breath.

“Annoying when they don’t do as you want them to, and then try to screw up everything you’re doing. I bet he plans on saying it was mostly his idea.”

I returned to the patient and took his pulse. He smirked once again and looked directly in to my eyes. It was damnedably disconcerting. His gaze was laser focused, right on me. I struggled to drag my gaze away as I jotted vitals on a notepad.

“You should probably kill him before he kills you. You seem like the type who’d be pissed about that kind of thing.”

He wasn’t wrong. The idea of being distracted and dying because I wanted to string Tomkins along a little longer was an annoying fear I dealt with at times. “So, about this human condition. What do you want? To create some kind of super soldier? A supernatural? What is your goal?”

“I don’t talk about that. But, should you live, you would find the benefits would outweigh the consequences. Unless you died, of course.”

“I would prefer not to die.” His voice was still hoarse, and I silently cursed myself for my eagerness.

I found myself drawn in to awkward conversation with him. The awkwardness was on my part as I disliked most people. I continued to prepare my syringes and slid the needle in his vein more gently than I had others.

“If I make it out of this and you’ve done something to change me in ways that I don’t like, I will kill you. You are aware of that, right? I will end you so thoroughly that I’ll wipe your entire memory out of existence.”

I smirked at him and said softly, “And if you fail at that task, let e assure you that my vengeance will be very swift.”

I remembered what my other first said about when she met my father. “It isn’t a descent in to love, darling dear. But it was a slow slide. A hard pull that told me that should I say no, I would have regrets.”

As my patient’s eyes closed, I had to smile. If he woke up and everything was in working order, then perhaps we’d become more. But if not, at the very least, we could deal with Tomkins first. Slowly and efficiently.

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