Himself – Chapter Four

Here’s chapter four of our first story, chapter five will be posted on Friday as usual!

He stood, staring into his own eyes. His mouth hung open, he couldn’t understand. A sharp prick on his neck, swinging around he saw the frail man holding a syringe. He stumbled back, losing the ability to use his legs, his vision fading, turning to look at the man again, turning to look at himself. He fell to the floor, staring at boots walking towards him as everything blurred into black.
He awoke lying on his back, he was regaining consciousness in the same state of confusion as he’d left it. He tried to open his eyes, a strong bright light shone onto his face, after trying to blink the pain of the brightness away, he closed his eyes. The light was so powerful it burned through his eyelids. He attempted to move, he couldn’t. His arms and legs were restrained. Panic began to take over, a sense of claustrophobia from not being able to move his arms was coursing over him. His heart rate was racing, he had to calm himself down. He lay still, his eyes still crunched closed, focused on his breathing, concentrating on keeping his heart rate down. It was working, the tension in his body relaxed, he lay in silence listening to the emptiness of this room. What was happening to him? He couldn’t fathom it, he didn’t understand, his mind was racing trying to pick apart the confusion. Was this a dream? Another terrifying nightmare to add to his collection? Before he had time to dwell on it any longer, the sound of a door opening and closing. His thoughts flushed out of his head as he tilted it around to the cause of the noise, footsteps walking towards him, calculated footsteps. He tried to open his eyes, squinting through the pain of the light, a blurred figure of black moved towards him through the burning white. His eyes finally adjusting, the figure stood over him, it was the frail man, his glasses reflecting the light creating a film of white hiding his eyes. The rubber gloves he wore had been replaced with thin surgical gloves, he was busying himself with surgical equipment on a tray next to the bed. Looking around he realised he was in the room he appeared in after being dragged through the lake, restrained to the bed in the middle room. He turned back to the frail man, “Where am I?” No reply. “What’s happening to me?!” No reply. He looked straight into the colourless void of the mans spectacles “Please…” The frail man stood up straight, he held a syringe and a vial, he pierced the film of the vial with the needle and drew the translucent liquid up into the syringe, he approached the bed. A voice over a PA system “Doctor Vasilov…” The frail man stood still, before returning the syringe to the tray and leaving without a word. He was left alone, his mind was still racing but he was exhausted. He closed his eyes.
He had no idea how long he’d been asleep, opening his eyes he looked around the room, the light in his face had been turned off, the whole room was much darker. He glanced down at the tray, the syringe was still there, it hadn’t been used. Where did this Vasilov go, and why had he not returned? In truth he didn’t care, there were too many questions in his head besides. In scratching an itch on his face he realised his right arm was free from the restraints. Incredulous he looked down, the binding hadn’t been opened but sliced with a knife. The large surgical knife lay beside him on the bed. He quickly used it to cut the other restraints that bound him to the bed. He felt light headed upon standing up, a mixture of being tied down for some time and the drugs in his system from being injected whilst staring at himself had yet to totally wear off. Looking down he now realised his clothes had been replaced with white scrubs, still holding the knife he slid it under his sleeve. Then he walked to the door and optimistically attempted to open it. It was open. This was too easy, was it some kind of trap? A kind of test? He didn’t know, all he knew was that he wasn’t going to go back and lie on the bed. The lights outside in the corridor were as bright as before. He sneaked up the corridor the same way he had done before, he wanted answers, but more than that he wanted to, no needed to leave this place. He was moving slowly and carefully, he needed to make sure he wasn’t caught as he attempted to retrace his steps to that exit sign. He soon realised that was hopeless, this place was truly immense and he was lost, he didn’t recognise anything from his panicked journey through these corridors before, there were no distinguishable features to follow everything looked the same. Ahead was a door with light shining through from the other side. He made a move for it when the sound of footsteps filled the silent void, he froze. The sound came from the other side of the door. There was nowhere to hide, even if there were somewhere his legs didn’t seem to be able to move, he was frozen in fear as he had been with the wolf. The footsteps came to a crescendo and then faded away as a silhouette past the light emitting from the door and vanished out of the periphery. He didn’t want to wait, he made straight for the door and through it, no one here. Down another corridor and then another, up some stairs, the right way had to be up, there was not one window in this place, it was surly below ground level. He emerged into a darkened floor, the light that lit the stairwell was almost entirely gone and as he turned a corner this place was completely dark. A faint glow coming from a window seemingly at the end of a corridor, at least gave him something to aim for. He moved slowly towards it not being able to see what was in front of him. He moved gingerly, not wanting to crash into anything that might be in front of him. He started to speed up, he needed to go quicker, it had to be only a matter of time before someone would realise he had gone. His pace had quickened to almost a jog when he slipped and fell to the floor, he was shocked there could be spilt water here, this place was so sterile it stank of disinfectant. He carefully made his way to the end of the corridor sliding a few more times but keeping his balance. When he reached end he opened a door and light flooded over him. The room was some kind of office, it was currently empty but it was being used, a cigarette burned away in an ash tray on the desk. He looked down at himself, horror overtook fear. It was not water he had slipped in, it was blood. How could it have been water, it was so thick and slippery, he was so intent on getting to the door it hadn’t occurred to him. Turning around he saw a huge pool of blood trickling down into a drain.
Standing in this office, covered in blood, all he could do was keep moving. He approached the door at the other end of the room, as he reached for the handle a hand grabbed the scruff of his neck and yanked him backwards, sending him toppling over. He grabbed the knife from his sleeve and swung around pointing it at his assailant. He was gripped by the same bewilderment as he had been before, the last time he’d looked straight into his own eyes. He tried to speak but his mouth was too dry. He gathered himself, cleared his throat and tried again; “Who are you?”.

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