A Visit to the Doctor
It wasn’t the look, it was the smell. There was a malodorous quality to the small room that was almost visible, even to the naked eye and especially to Bach’s cybernetic eyes, which picked up a haze in the room from whatever dead rotting garbage was polluting the air. It didn’t help that the ‘windows’ hadn’t been cleaned in so long they were now no different from the walls. Some black mold stretched across the length of the room like a scar, jagged and dangerous. Bach wondered whether or not he would die of a bacterial infection.
“Don’t mind the mess, mess the mind! That’s the motto for today. I see you wanted me to examine your head? Quite a day for such delicate work! Yes, yes, indeed.” Dr. Inquis Kratchen opened the door to his office and walked out onto the piles of trash that littered his waiting room. As the door opened, Bach saw a piece of paint peal off the wall to reveal some manner of insect skittering away from the dim yellow light of the EverLast bulbs. Apparently the wall had once been a light blue color. Now it was mostly black, with shades of grey, white, brown wood protruding from some sections, and even a dark reddish purple stain that Bach couldn’t identify. Lovely.
“Yes. And, I should mention, with great care,” said Bach with more than an ounce of trepidation in his voice. Dr. Kratchen waved him into his office. As Bach moved from the edge of the doorway across the filthy room, he flipped up his collar to avoid anything that might fall on his neck. The ceiling looked suspiciously low and seemed to crawl with an unearthly motion.
Dr. Kratchen’s office couldn’t have been a starker contrast from his waiting area. Where mold stretched across the walls hiding insects and disease, white shining bright walls forced Bach to alter the color enhancement feature on his eyes. Tools lay with precise space in between them, all clean and sterilized, and the operating chair was in perfect condition. Bach turned to look back at the room and saw the door as it closed. On one side, a hypochondriac’s nightmare; rotting pieces of food and material working their way like an emblem on a shield all across the middle of the door. But the other side was like the rest of the office: bright and uncharacteristically clean.
“You’ll have to forgive the waiting room, but even the most stalwart inspectors would run for the hills before seeing my operating room. Privacy, as you must know, is a premium in this world.” Dr. Kratchen removed some dark sunglasses to reveal cybernetic eyes that lacked any humanity. Small needles, lights, gears, and lenses were hyperactive in the space that used to be his eye sockets, all enveloped by a fleshy membrane to prevent irritation. As he removed his gloves, Bach saw the same eerie machinery on his hands, which had both been replaced with cybernetic hands that extended to twice the length of a normal appendage. Metallic fingers stretched out and unfolded, the middle, ring and pinky ‘fingers’ all significantly longer than the index and thumb, giving his hands an almost arachnid look. “Sit.”
Bach sat, and the claw like hands reached around him, holding his head in place as small devices extended out of each finger. “Let’s have a look, shall we?” Dr. Kratchen sounded excited and the lenses in his eye sockets shifted to make way for a small computer screen that displayed a three dimensional view of Bach’s head, as defined by the imaging devices that extended from his skeletal fingers.
“Just to be clear doctor, try anything and I’ll kill you.” Bach knew he was bluffing, he couldn’t even access the internet in this office, Dr. Kratchen security and jamming was so advanced. A small needle grew out of Dr. Kratchen’s thumb and jabbed Bach’s neck without breaking skin. “Oh yes, yes of course you will. But just so you know, this is very dangerous and I suggest, though you don’t have to follow my advice, but I suggest that you remain relaxed while I examine you.” Metal claws wrapped around Bach’s vision as the doctor continued his work. In between the rapid beats of Bach’s heart, and through the fractured image of the sterile room and strange claws, Bach looked into his mind to try and remember what the strange device in his head could be. And even though he hated this doctor, discretion was needed and he couldn’t figure this puzzle out by himself.
Dr. Kratchen started chuckling. “Oh yes. Brilliant work here. You are quite special my boy.” Bach tried not to clear his throat, the needle was pressed so close. “Well? Can you remove it?”
All Dr. Kratchen did was chuckle.