Tag Archives: surgery


One night, my roommate walked in on me,
Knife in hand, cutting away
(I had a sliver of glass in my skin,
And it was easier to cut to the bone
Than to live with the sting)

The other day, I dropped a lead weight
On my foot, and as soon as I convinced myself
It wasn’t broken, I went back to work
(At four in the morning, when the ache
Had grown too great, I drilled through
A toe to relieve the pressure from the bruise)

(Which is all to say,
There is so much I have excised
From my life,
So much I have cut away for making me weak,
So little I hold onto after the first time it hurts me)

(Which is all to say,
For me to keep you so close to my heart,
I must want you more than I want my own blood)


Wholesale, Pt. 6

Her eyes are worth something?” the woman asked.

“No,” the sniffer said. It grinned, its teeth perfect and white and straight against gums that had grown red and puffy and tender from constant surgery. It gave her a warm, friendly look of what Alyxa could only call adoration. “They’re compatible.”

The woman furrowed her brow, her mind working to parse out the sniffer’s words. After a moment, she frowned. “Oh, goddamnit, you’re not getting paid for that!”

The sniffer looked back over its shoulder, its face blank. “You said you had enough. Are we done or not? And if we’re done, then surely you don’t mind if I help myself to some of the leftovers, do you?”

The woman stood there in silence, her arms crossed, her face twisted up in a frown. “Make. It. Quick.”

“Of course,” the sniffer gurgled. It turned to one of the crew members standing next to it, a man in disposable surgical scrubs with an assortment of implements on a rolling cart. “Dope her.”

Alyxa screamed again. She thought she might never stop.

“Stop,” the woman said. “If you’re off the clock, you don’t get to use my men. You do the work yourself. And anything you use is coming out of your paycheck.”

It snorted. “Please. Is that supposed to stop me. You think I don’t know how to do a little elective surgery? You think when I decide I want a new nose or dimpled cheeks, I go to the hospital and wait for some hack?” It pulled an IV bag off the cart, a scalpel, a syringe full of some clear fluid, and some hideous wire thing that looked like it was meant to pry eyelids apart.

Alyxa struggled against the chair’s restraints, but they wouldn’t give. She screamed, begged for mercy, but the sniffer paid her no mind. It slipped a drip chamber and tube onto the IV bag, a needle onto the end of the tube. It grabbed her wrist and squeezed impossibly hard, cutting off Alyxa’s blood flow and turning her hand numb. It slipped the needle into a vein, and it waited until her body started to sag, the world growing soft and dim. She felt the prick of the syringe on one side of her face and then the other. Her face went numb. She felt metal poking at her, prying her eyes open, but still the world went dark. The last thing she was the sniffer before her, a look of concentration on its face, a set of impossibly small scissors in one hand and impossibly small forceps in the other.

It was the last thing she ever saw.

And that was “Wholesale!” Longer than I intended, but I’m reasonably pleased with how it turned out. Come back tomorrow for something new!

Trepanation, Pt. 2

She struggled against her bonds. “I want to leave.”

The man clucked softly behind his surgical mask. His eyes were pitying, his voice soft. “I know, Miss, I know. But you must trust me. And if you cannot, then you must at least not struggle too much. This is delicate work.”
The man drew closer. She whimpered softly. He was right, of course. There was nothing she could do. There had never been anything she could do. She saw things and she heard things and the doctors gave her pills and they never worked. This wouldn’t work either. There was something broken about her, something broken inside her, and it had always been that way for as long as she could remember.

“I’ve taken as many precautions as I could, Miss. I’m not an anesthesiologist, so I didn’t want to put you under, but I’ve shaved your head, disinfected your scalp, and applied a local anesthetic to the area where I’ll be performing the operation.” The surgeon’s eyes went sad. “I won’t lie to you, Miss. This won’t be pleasant. But I’m trying to hard to keep the pain to a minimum.”

“Doesn’t matter,” she mumbled. “Won’t help. Nothing helps.” The man’s hands and head disappeared above her. There was pain. She could feel blood running down her face, although he had taken cares to keep it from running into her eyes.

“Won’t help. Won’t help.”

Pressure. The whine of an engine. A tapping that echoed throughout her skull. The sound of something screeching. More noises. Always with the noises and the visions.

She whimpered again. The man cooed. “Almost done, Miss. Almost done. I was right. They were right. Thousands of years of myth and superstition, and it was all right.” The screech again, and then something pale and slick with gore and squirming held before her eyes. It writhed, helplessly waving something that might have been a tail or a leg, and there were so many more, so many pale tendrils all waving in the air.

“Behold, Miss. The stone of madness.”

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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