Trepanation, Pt. 1

She came to with a bright light shining in her face. It moved from one side of her field of vision to the other, then back again, then flicked off.

“Good. The patient has regained consciousness and is responsive to stimuli. How are you feeling, Miss?”

She winced. Everything was washed out, white from the light that had been shining in her eyes. Even with it gone, the room was still bright. There was a light across from her, and a tall, thin figure silhouetted against it. “Head hurts.”

“I can imagine. I’ve read your file, Miss. Took quite an interest in it, in fact. You’ve had… issues for a while, haven’t you?”

She nodded. “The doctors give me pills, but the pills don’t work.”

Slowly, her vision began to clear. The silhouette slowly turned into a man in baby pink surgical scrubs, complete with a cap and a mask. His skin was fair and his eyes were kind. Smiling, even. “Well, Miss, I think I can help.”

She shook her head. “Everybody says that. Nobody ever helps. Nothing ever works.”

Sadness filled the man’s eyes. “I know. Chlorpromazine, haloperidol, risperidone, quetiapine. So many drugs, and nothing has ever worked for more than two years. It’s very uncommon, Miss. Almost unheard of, in fact.”

The kindness returned to the man’s eyes. “But I think I can help.”


The man in scrubs turned his back to her and busied himself with something on a table at waist height. “In older, more primitive times, people believed that illness was caused by spirits trapped within the body. It’s an outdated notion, of course, but you know how the expression goes. ‘When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

She heard metal and glass clinking together. She turned her head to look around the room. It was dark in the corners and the walls were brick, but it was set up like an operating room. She tried to stand up, but her legs and arms were unresponsive. She tried to move her head, but it was tied down.

“I don’t want to be here.”

The man turned, a syringe in one hand and a drill in the other. “It seems that way now, Miss, but it’ll be worth it. You’ll see.”


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