“Now wait here for at two hours. We want to make sure you are not going to have a post-surgery reaction to the modifications.” The nurse patted my arm and started their rounds.
I was lying on a gurney in the hallway with several other patients. Each of us had undergone some transformative surgery. They had submitted willingly. The restraints on my arms keeping me prone on the gurney testifies I had not.
The only part of my body that felt altered was the skin and socket around my right eye. I didn’t need a mirror to know it was bruised, cut, and stitched. The pattern of itching and soreness revealed that to me.
As I looked around, I was able to switch between human sight and othersight just as I always have been able to in my dreams and journeys. The wounds then, were superficial. I surmised “they” attempted to remove the eye, and when unable to, made their failure look successful.
The nurse reappeared. “Oh good, you’re looking around. The doctor was worried about the replacement eye, that it might not take to you well. So if your sight is clouded or obscured, he will have to replace it again. No cost to you, dear! So please let us know if and when you are willing to submit to the replacement.”
They left without removing the restraints.
My “dead” eye looks clouded over with a stone-like appearance. I recognized the nurse’s bluff. I know what my dream body’s “normal” appearance is. This eye has been “dead” for decades, even before I gained understanding about the relevance of my dreams. I know what entities “killed” the eye, though I’m still not sure of the reasons for it.
I do know it’s very important that I keep it.
The setting of the dream is a ruse to make me think the plot is the reality. If a nurse says the eye should be replaced again, then that means it was already replaced, and I should not feel attached to the one currently in my head.
Let’s see how much of this dream is in my head.
I pulled slowly against the restraints. They tightened against my wrists. I looked with othersight at them and saw they existed only in normal space. A subtle smirk and a subtle shift of my body, and the restraints closed against the rails as I lifted my freed arms.
Sitting up, I looked around. There were more people in the hallway recovering. One had his legs removed. The permanent prosthesis was poorly fitted and his stumps were already bleeding from new injuries. He saw my inspection and bragged about not having to deal with stinky feet anymore and how great of an improvement he will have.
The woman beside me had her right arm removed from the elbow down. A metal rod with a fixed hook had been attached in her place. She stroked it with extreme sadness, telling herself over and over that she had done the right thing.
I asked her what was wrong with the body part that was removed.
“It did not conform and I could do things they said I should not be able to do. Now I’m normal like everyone else! Isn’t that great!”
A loud cry pulled all our attentions to a shrieking baby. The tyke was throwing an impressive ten pound temper tantrum making noises that almost sounded like speech. Like expletives, actually. A nurse was showing the man standing next to her how to change the baby’s diaper. She shifted her position, and I saw the head of the infant.
An old woman’s eyes rolled in her altered head. I could feel her mind shattering into madness at the realization that her head had been transplanted onto a baby’s body.
“Mom doesn’t look well… this isn’t what she… what we… expected. Was it really necessary to make her a baby again?”
“She lived too long and exceeded statistical expectations. Either she conform, or she would expire. But now you can care for her as she cared for you!”
I had seen enough. I’m fucking out.
I hopped off the gurney and went looking for an exit. I was around the corner when my empty gurney was discovered. I slipped into the shadows as the nurse and two security personnel ran past looking for me.
“They couldn’t remove the nonconformity. She was unwilling to release it and they broke scalpels against the flesh. We have to find her and convince her to allow us to remove it!”
Damn. They want the eye really fucking bad. I wonder why they didn’t try for the hand as well since both were replaced by the same folks.
I walked through a door marked “No Patients Allowed Past This Point”. Altered people in various states of physical healing were working in silent rooms. When I looked with othersight, I could see that all of them had their minds locked down. They perceived themselves as “whole”, “fixed”, and “normal”.
They were going through medical records, ranking unaltered people by degrees of nonconformity and recommending various procedures to remove what made them individuals. They were also determining which people would have to be talked into voluntarily submitting for the procedure and which would have to be forced and by what degree.
I moved deeper into the complex.
“Perception, while having no moving parts, can strike deeper against our goals than any hurled missile or thrown punch. Those with eyes to see must have those eyes removed and placed in service to us!”
The speaker was angry behind the closed conference room door. Still moving through shadows, I paused to listen.
“We know that.” A different voice, tired as hell. “But more and more who see are either avoiding us or teaching others how to see.”
“Or both.” A softer voice. “I propose instead of coercion or conversion, we isolate them. Instead of trying to convince them to yield to us and use their sight for us under the banner of the Greater Good, than we declare to those who believe us that all seers are nonconforming, abnormal, and a direct threat to the way of life they believe is right.”
“And by right, you mean what we tell them is right.”
I heard someone take a breath as if to speak, only to be interrupted by a tinny speaker. “My apologies, Elders, but a hostile nonconforming patient has escaped into the facility. Please evacuate the compound until she has been apprehended.”
“We’re safe here. No one can get past the outer doors without our mark upon their mind.” I could hear the first speaker relax smugly into his chair. I was reminded of the Tower tarot card by the tone of his voice.
“What is her nonconformity and what has been attempted?” The softer voice again. They are not panicking, but they are taking the issue seriously. This is the one I’ll have to be wary of, I’m sure.
“Initially, sight. Manifesting in the form of a petrified eye. We tried to remove it, but the surrounding flesh dulled the scalpels and the eye itself shattered any instrument that touched it.”
“Initially?” The softer voice sounds upset. “That implies subsequently. What else?”
“Eh… Based on eyewitness accounts, her hand is also nonconforming, and we suspect she is able to manipulate form.”
The tired voice groaned. “Of course… those that can see often can do as well. My fellows, if this seer and doer is active, then she proposes a threat. We should evacuate.”
“What can a flesh-bound spirit do against us?!” The pompous voice shook the walls with his emotion. I watched vertical structures in the hallway bow outward from his ire. I realized I was in greater danger than I had accepted.
What I thought was an allegory was an illusion. The only thing that kept the “elders” in the room from seeing me was their assumption that there was no one in the hallway. The facility was a construct used to interface with the minds of those altered into “conformity”. As I was not attempting to modify any part of the facility, I was not touching the minds of the “elders” themselves.
I did not want to find out how great their spirits were. I have no idea what reputation they knew of me, but I was sure it was greater than my reality. Which meant any reprisal would be greater than I could bear. I prepared to silently backtrack to where I entered the dream and depart from there.
“She can do enough. No more talk. We leave.”
The departure of the elders manifested as the sudden removal of all air from the environment. I heard workers in the distance fall to the floor as their lungs moved helplessly. I fully transformed my dream body into spirit as I prepared to eject myself from the dream by will.
The dream world suddenly collapsed as their control over the environment fully released. I heard some of those trapped into the bubble cry out for their god(s) of choice.
I woke with their pleading ringing in my ear.