Saturday, March 16, 2013

"Bad Medicine"

A tourist bolts down an unfamiliar alleyway. The metal box is biting into his chest, the liquid inside sloshing everywhere, but he clutches it regardless.

This man doesn't know where he is, or the majority of what happened after he drank what was apparently a spiked cocktail. Escaping a total stupor and a medical gurney in the absence of his host, he'd only had a moment to arm himself and run.

The box, which is now his only possession, was once painted white, but now the paint has chipped, and the latch rattles as he runs. Bits of it have been peeled away, revealing black-red rust. It’s decorated with a series of stickers with pictures of skulls and biohazard warnings.

He rounds a corner and tries to open the box quietly. He smashes the lock against the brick of a nearby wall, and the box creaks open.

The sound of clogs tapping stone nears him. The air suddenly smells of uncooked chicken and ashtrays.

Inside of the box is a murky, colorless liquid. It's strong-smelling, and he steels himself against it.

Another man, masked, cloaked and carrying a bonesaw, turns the corner. The tourist throws the liquid onto him and runs, not daring to look back. He hears the sizzling of acid grow quiet behind him.

He keeps running, but he's getting lost. Graffiti litters the walls, and all of the legible pieces are of corpses and medicine. The clogs continue behind him, methodically. He refuses to believe that his pursuer is still alive.

But the truth doesn't care what you believe. It's precise and surgical, and eventually his body will fail him. It’s already starting to. He supports himself on a wall and listens to the beating on the ground.

Then, the saw is upon him.

The mask burned away minutes ago, but the skin is untouched. He sees a face malformed by imprecise stitches and a dozen untreated infections, milky eyes wide with glee.

He falls, bleeding, as his assailant prepares for another surgery.

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