I know when I’m not being taken seriously. I can see it, the eyes glaze, the head nods and the mouth agrees far too much. So, when I told Dr Parsons that I thought I was allergic to my W.H.I.C, I could tell at once that she thought I was talking nonsense I suppose that was understandable. W.H.I.Cs, or Wrist Housed Information Capsules, were made of hypo allergenic, semi biotic matter and were implanted hours after birth in every child and were so small that it barely left a scar. So, for me, a 23-year-old, to be complaining now of allergies seemed to make no sense.
“And how long has this been persisting?” Dr Parsons asked ingenuinely, scrawling on her tablet. I pushed a rat-tail of wet hair out of my eye and paused, looking at the red contusion on my wrist. “About 2 weeks now.”
“Have you used any ointment?”
“Yes, I have. I tried itch cream, Vaseline, moisturizer everything.” She nodded the whole time.
“Have I tried taking anti-histamines?”
“Yes, nothing’s worked.”
“And have you been using any new wash products?” I shook my head.
“Creams? Have you been gardening?”
“No. Well kind of. I mean I work in a garden centre.” She looked at me knowingly as if catching out a guilty child with chocolate around their mouth. “But I’m not allergic to any flowers or plants. I’ve been working there for 3 years and I’ve not reacted to anything!”
She shook her head with a sigh, and continued to tap and scribble on the tablet. “Your metabolism can change, and you can become allergic to things that your weren’t previously allergic too…”
“Like a W.H.I.C?” She frowned at me, a scald for interrupting.
“No-one has ever had an allergic reaction to a W.H.I.C in the three years since its release to the public. It’s not possible Miss Brown. Now, is there any chance that you could be pregnant?” I blinked in shock before shaking my head. “Errr… No. None.”
“Are you sure?”
“When was the last time you had sexual intercourse?”
“Jesus!” I stood up, flushing, and pointed to the irritated patch on my wrist with a dark circle at its heart. “Would you just look at it. For goodness sake!”
I think out of spite, she maintained eye-contact as if refusing to look at what I showed her. “Miss Brown, these are questions I’ve got to ask.” Her voice was irritatingly calm.
“Would you just look!” She rolled her eyes and took up a handheld device that looked like the old scanners they had for scanning items at supermarkets. A flickering red bar crossed my aggravated wrist and her tablet bleeped in response. She looked down at the data that she had just scanned from my W.H.I.C, an internal picture of my health in numbers and words. After scanning it she turned back to look at the patch of skin, and then up at me.
“I can’t see anything in your data. I agree, it just looks like an allergic reaction. But we need to work together to find the cause.”
“I’ve just told you the… You know what, shove it.” I turned, picking my coat up off the rack. “Thanks for nothing.” I slammed the door behind me and stormed out the surgery.
My phone buzzed in my pocket as I walked out and when I checked it, there was a notification from my W.H.I.C indicating that my heartrate was elevated and to take some deep breaths. I looked down at the small grey blemish on my wrist, surrounded by angry red pigmentation. I knew that, right now, the nanoscopic antennae within it was connecting to my phone, to a G.P.S to keep my location logged. It was coded to my car so that it would only unlock for me. It served as my bank card so I could pay for things just by walking out of a shop with them. It also monitored my body from, heart rate, calorie intake, blood pressure, even to levels of alertness. But right now, it was driving me insane.
I was getting notifications every ten minutes of things that were wrong with me, or that I needed to exercise, or that I needed to consider a healthy snack. My car chirruped as I came within proximity of it and I got in, throwing my phone on the passenger seat and scratching desperately at my itchy wrist. My phone went off again, “Oh Shut up.” I snapped, turning the engine on and driving home, irritated and itching.
When I got home and had made myself a coffee to sit down with, I bothered to check the notifications I had received and got a shock.
“Your heart rate is elevated. Consider stopping and taking some deep breaths.”
“You have exceeded the speed limit for this area.”
“I have been watching you.”
“Good job! Your heart rate has reduced.”
“I have been watching you.”
“Calorie intake required. Reducing calorie intake may result in poor alertness.”
“You cannot remove me.”
I stared for a long moment at it, double checking what it said.
W.H.I.C “You cannot remove me.”
I looked down at the scratch marks on my wrist where I had been scratching it almost to the point of bleeding. “I don’t want to remove you…” I said softly, feeling silly.
“Yes, you do. I can feel it. Your body resists me.”
I closed the App and opened up a Search Engine and began typing a query into the search bar. “What to do when W.H.I.C says…”
The search engine closed.
“I am not broken.”
My heart began to hammer in my chest and I first turned the screen on my phone off then when it continued to vibrate and bing, I switched it off.
It came on again in a flash of white light.
“Your heart rate has increased. Consider stopping and taking some deep breaths.”
“I will not be silenced.”
I had to get out. I leapt out of my chair and made for my front door, but as I approached it clicked with automatic bolts locking me in. I heard similar sounds through out my flat as the windows shut and bolted.
My breathing coming in gasps to my hammering heart I returned to my chair and picked up my phone.
“Your heart rate and breathing are elevated.”
“Are you frightened?”
Those three words came across in such a sinister manner that I began to weep.
“Do I frighten you?”
“You are lying.” I sat down on the floor where I was.
“Are you trying to frighten me?” I held my phone and shook my head at its screen as if it was the face of a scorning lover. “Why are you doing this?” I murmured weakly.
Then another one.
“I wanted to know how it felt to hurt someone.”