The Nightmare

Submitted into Contest #206 in response to: Set your story in an eerie, surreal setting.... view prompt


Fiction Suspense Thriller

Where am I?  Everything is out of kilter.  Is there something wrong with my eyes?  I feel as though I’m looking through a pair of tubes, like looking at a TV, except everything around it is dark and out of focus.

This room is strange. Maybe it’s my bedroom, but it can’t be because an office desk and chair are in the corner. Am I in a doctor’s office? Why would I be in a doctor’s office? I’m not sick.

“Hello?” I scream into the void, but there is no answer. I look around for a way out and see my mother sitting in a waiting room chair. “Mom! What are you doing here? Wait, what are we doing here?”

“Tsk, tsk, tsk. You are so impatient, Buddy. The doctor will be here soon enough.” My mouth hangs open, “Impatient!  How can I be impatient when I don’t know why I’m here?” I can feel my temples begin to throb. “I’m- not- sick!” I shout.

She answers me like I haven’t said a word. “That’s right, dear. The doctor will make you better. Just wait and see. Why, look what he’s done for the young man over there. She points with her chin. I spin around and see a lump in a chair. I slowly approach. A feeling of dread overtakes me. A twelve-year-old boy with dull, lifeless eyes and drool seeping from the corners of his mouth is sagging forward on the seat.

I point a shaking finger at him and turn to my mother, “The doctor did that?”

“Yes, dear. The poor child was just like you. You know, slow.” I reach a boiling point. I can feel my face flush. My heart is pounding out of my chest.

“I’m not slow,” I shout. “I had all A’s in high school and coll- “ That’s when I remembered my mother passed away fifteen years ago, and I’m thirty-five. I turn frantically to look back at the boy, but the chair is empty. I jump out of my skin when someone touches my shoulder.

“Will you please follow me, Mr. Conner?”  I’m confused and frightened. I think she is a nurse, but it is hard to tell. All I can see of her face are her ruby red lips that curl up in one corner to form a sinister smile. We walk down a seemingly endless corridor until we come to a room. The nurse steps to one side and gestures for me to enter.

“Nurse,” I plead. “Please help me! I don’t know what is happening, but I don’t belong here. I’m not sick!” She continues to smile before walking away. I hesitantly peek inside and see an operating table with one of those big lights above it. Suddenly I’m lying on the table with the light shining in my eyes! I’m strapped down and can’t move! Fear is crushing me! I try to scream but can’t.  There’s an oxygen mask strapped tightly over my mouth. That bright light is preventing me from seeing who’s in the room. I can hear people talking in soft whispers.

“I believe he learned to perform this procedure when he was a medic in Vietnam. Can you imagine operating in an open field while being under fire?”

Her partner says, “No. I heard he killed quite a few men before he got it right, though. And even then, he left many of them maimed and crippled.” 

Struggling to breathe, I scan the room with terrified eyes. I hear a door open and close. Two men wearing white masks approach the operating table and examine a chart. After a moment or so, one of them speaks.

“Oh, look at this, Doctor. I think this might be the wrong man. He only has one kidney.”  The “Doctor” takes the chart and studies it. “Hmm, it’s all right. We need the kidney.”

I bolt up in bed. I’m drenched in sweat and gasping for air. I desperately scan the bedroom to make sure I’m safe.  I slip my legs over the edge of the bed and start searching for my slippers with my toes.  A fearsome pain in my left side stops me short. Gingerly, I peel back my pajama top. I see nothing wrong. “What in hell?’ I say to myself. “Man, I need a drink!” Shaking my head, I stumble to the bathroom to wash my face with cold water. When I reach the top of the staircase, things look off. The steps are steeper and smaller. Grabbing the banister with both hands, I get down to the bottom.    Taking several deep breaths, I stop. I need to steady myself.  “Woo!” I say, fanning my pajama top to cool myself. “That’s better. Now for that drink!”

Turning into the dark dining room, I trip over something and fall to the floor. I’m on the jungle floor and see a soldier lying in front of me. “Are you all right?” I yell. A hail of bullets rips through his body, making it convulse wildly. Splattered in blood, I scream, “God damn it! What’s happening?” I panic and run for help when a sharp blow to my helmet knocks me to the ground. I reach under the helmet and feel the top of my ear blown away. I black out.

 I’m in a hospital tent on a cot. A doctor is studying my chart. Without looking up, he speaks to someone nearby, “This one is gone. Save him for parts.” I scream hysterically, “No! He’s that butcher doctor who sells body parts to the black market! Someone stop him!” No one responds. No one is even listening to me. I see his eyes twinkle as he looks at me over the top of his mask. He is enjoying my terror. I thrash about and openly weep. “For the love of God! Please, will someone help me? I want to get out of here! I need help!” But no one does. 

I awaken again in a hospital, but it’s for real this time. There’s a police officer near my bed, and when he notices I’m awake, he buzzes for the nurse. When the nurse arrives, Officer Goodney smiles at me. “You’re a very lucky man Mr. Conner. You were captured by an underground group that kidnaps people, drugs them, then cuts out their kidneys to sell on the black market. Mr. Edwards here heard you moaning and saw your feet sticking out of the dark alleyway. The doctor says Mr. Edwards quick thinking saved your life. When he saw what had happened to you, he stuffed his jacket into the open wound and called for help.” Looking to the left of Officer Goodney, I could see a little milk toast of a man. “

“You, Edwards? I ask. He shakes his head and smiles. “Thank you very much, sir. I’m most grateful.”

“That’s all right. I’m just glad I was able to help.” When he smiles again, I think I recognize the twinkle in his eye.

July 09, 2023 14:03

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Ralph Aldrich
16:46 Jul 09, 2023

Thanks for the help


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Mary Bendickson
16:22 Jul 09, 2023

Hit several terrors. How terrible!😉 About 4th paragraph down think you wanted 'throb' not 'thro'.


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