Where am I? My head is all fuzzy… Is this a hospital? Am I hurt?
My throat is so dry… Why is there an IV in my arm. Have I been in a coma? What's this tube sticking out of my mouth!?
I try to get out of my bed, only to find I’ve been restrained to it. My arms and legs bound like a psych ward patient. Panic sets in and I struggle against the straps, making muffled grunting noises as I do so. After fifteen minutes of straining myself, I finally give up. I try to think on the bright side of things. When I was taken, they did such terrible things. But now… now, I’ll be okay. I’m safe now, recovering in a hospital, even if I’m strapped down, it’s still better than what I’d been through before.
Where’s that nurse call button? Maybe they didn’t bother giving me one since I’ve been in a coma. I’ll just wait for one of the doctors to come along. I hope I can see my family soon. Mom would be happy to learn that I’m okay. This hospital room sure is big… I wonder why. Maybe it’s one of those fancy new hospitals with lots of room. Oh! I bet they have a huge cafeteria. When I get this tube out, I'm going to have a big meal.
I wiggle my toes a bit, silently running a song I remember from a while ago through my mind, bobbing my head a little to the beat. It was finally over, and soon I'd be reunited with my family. Looking down to bounce my feet around a bit, I notice a large lump in the hospital gown where my stomach should be. Oh god…. I'm pregnant?! When did this happen? Never mind… Considering what happened before I was rescued, I suppose it's only natural. Besides, my family will be there for me. They'll help me through this. I know it. Dad might be a little shocked, but Mom would be happy to finally be a grandmother, even if it happened under terrible circumstances.
I wonder what I'll name her. Or, him? I better start thinking of good baby names. Jessica? Stanley? Adam? Rachel? Ah well, I'm not that far along, by the looks of it. I'll have my family help me think of a good name. I wonder if my friends will throw me a shower? I wonder… If my friends even got rescued. Everything is such a blur…
The lights are so bright in here. Is that a security camera? Oh good. Maybe one of the security guards will tell them I'm awake. I'll just keep my feet and head moving to let them know I'm awake. I'm sure someone will be along shortly.
"Subject is lucid. Time until procedure: 4 hours. Time until next feeding: 20 minutes"
Researcher Garland looked through the security monitor, sighing heavily. Just six more days, and he could be re-assigned. He tapped on a computer keyboard, trying to distract himself. He tried to occupy his thoughts with other, menial things while he waited. His dinner the previous night, what he would prepare tonight. He hated eating at the site's cafeteria. They always did their best to provide a great meal, and it was always a treat, but he believed in the value of a home-cooked dish. The other researchers and doctors would goad him, as always, about his choice of food. Why spend money on food when The Foundation provides free meals? It was the principle of the matter, damnit. Besides, what else would he spend his money on?
The door to my room opened. Wow, that's a big door. I hadn't noticed that before. A man dressed quite professionally entered. Oh good! They finally noticed I was awake! I bob my feet at the man in response, looking at the doctor with wide, appreciative eyes. He approached me, a rather sullen expression on his face. Why is he so glum? I'm awake! Soon, he'll call my parents, and my tube will be out, and I can finally enjoy a proper cheeseburger. I want to ask him what he's holding, but this damn tube keeps me from talking. Instead, I intone at him with a hopeful little grunt. He reaches my bedside, attaching something to my feeding tube. Something slithers down the piping and slides into my stomach. Well, I suppose it's not so bad, I was a bit hungry anyway. He takes my bedpan, changes it, and exits wordlessly despite my grunting. Surely he must have noticed I was awake. Maybe he was having a bad day. What day couldn't be made better with the knowledge your patient had finally awoken? That's weird. Maybe his wife divorced him or something. No matter, I'm sure he's on the phone with my parents right now. Soon, I'll be able to see them. The food made me a bit sleepy, I think I'll take a nap until my parents get here. There's nothing better to do anyway. Slowly, I drift off into a content slumber.
"Feeding complete. Time until procedure: 3 hours, 30 minutes."
Researcher Garland collapsed into his chair, exhaling as he did so, staring into the monitor with the expression of man who has seen decades of atrocities happen within the span of 25 days. These days were the worst. The days she was happy. The days she didn't know. He watched her as she closed her eyes, her breathing slowing to indicate she was dreaming peacefully. His heart ached. He wanted to go in there. He wanted to take her from all of this, but his duty was essential. He would not allow himself even a second of weakness. He only counted the minutes until he too, would be happy again.
I woke up to the sound of my door hissing open again. Finally! My parents were here! I can't wait to hug them, hold them in my arms, cry during a tearful reunion, and leave together to start my life again. Did the lump in my belly get bigger during my nap? I'm sure it's just my imagination. I squint my eyes, trying to make out which of the six was the doctor, and which two were my parents. What's this? All of them are dressed in some orange jumpsuit. Those guys aren't my parents. Maybe they're janitors of something. They all look pretty stupid. Probably give slow folks jobs to help out the homeless community. That's honorable of them. I wonder how long I've been asleep. Ah well, I won't bother the janitors. I'm sure they're busy.
Why are they not cleaning? There's not a mop or bucket between them. What's happening?
This is no hospital.
"Time: 2237. The Procedure has begun."
Researcher Garland tapped away at his keyboard, keeping his eyes on the monitor as instructed by the procedure guidelines. The subject made loud, pained moans of protest and agony for a few moments over the discussions of the Class-D's before he muted the sound. Those sick bastards…. The only thought that gave him a smile was that in six days, he would be re-assigned, and they would be terminated. Although, termination was such an easy way out for them. Even the ones among them who were reluctant to participate… They deserved so much worse. They deserved to suffer as his patient had. They deserved to be fed into the gaping maw of a living hell.
This part always made him nauseous. He was a doctor. He was used to seeing blood, gore, trauma. This was different. There was no healing in this blood, only anguish. This was malicious. It was during these parts that he regretted never taking the Hippocratic oath. There were unique opportunities afforded to a self-taught mob doctor, the money was great, but when The Foundation approached him with the promise of higher pay, a formal education, and the chance to work some of the strangest cases in the world…. Well, who could refuse? Now, he longed for the days when he was prying bullets from wounded mobsters.
Stop…. Please… You're going to kill my baby…
"Time: 2349. Procedure has been completed to 100% efficacy."
"Time until next Feeding: 8 hours. Time until next procedure, 22 hours."
Garland leaned back in his chair, drawing shuddering breaths while gathering his personal effects, stuffing them in his day bag in preparation for leaving when the night researcher comes in. He didn't even know the subject's name. They had redacted every thing about her, her past, her family. Everything. It was a smart decision. If they hadn't, he probably would have risked his career, even his life, to save her. It was easier if he just didn't know.
"Hey Bruce," a voice chirps over the intercom. Garland looks over to another monitor, spotting his relief. He buzzes her in.
"Man, you look like hell. Well, like more hell than usual. What's got you so glum?" Doctor Kanade peered at Garland as she plopped her backpack down on the counter, retrieving a bottle of water and an apple, taking a bite from it and chewing noisily. Doctor Garland only gave her a knowing look, before sighing and putting his eyes to the floor.
"Oh…. Right, Day One… Bruce, you can't be so invested in her. What we do here is keeping all of us safe. You, your relatives, hell even some poor damn kids in Timbuktu or some shit. Don't let it get to you."
"You're lucky to be on the night shift, Amy…" replied Bruce as he walked toward the containment area's door. "I'll see you in twelve hours."
Doctor Kanade hoisted her half-eaten apple in a mock salute before he turned and walked from the area, the door hissing closed behind him. Twelve hours passes so soon when you're dreading the next day.
I'm still crying. Four hours after that horrible experience. I'm still crying. My throat hurts so bad…. They killed my baby… They took it from me… I want to rub my now flat stomach, it hurts so bad. I can't move my arms. Can't move my legs… I don't deserve this. I don't deserve this. I don't deserve this. I don't deserve this….
A female doctor came in this morning and stuffed more food paste in my tube. She changed my bedpan gave me a quick sponge-bath. They know. They know what happened. I can tell. Why don't they do anything? I want to go home… I just want to go home… I… wait, what's this lump in my belly? I thought… Was it just a bad dream? Maybe some drug-induced hallucination? That has to be it, but it felt so real… I breathe a sigh of relief. There's still some pain, but I'm sure that's just psychos-… psycho-something. Ghost pains. But then, why was there some blood in that water after the doctor finished bathing me? Weird. Oh hey, it's the sad doctor! He feeds me lunch, or is it dinner? I can't tell. There's no clocks in here. I can't taste it, of course, but I'm not sure that I'd want to. I hope I can see my parents soon. After lunch, I decide to nap. Not much else I can do in this damn bed.
Day two isn't as a bad as day one, but only just. She still has hope today. She's still able to smile. I think she believes the last night was some sort of crazy nightmare. Who wouldn't? It's too horrific to think it's real. It's a natural defense mechanism of the mind to disassociate from the pain and trauma.
"Begin the procedure."
It'll be easier after this, it always is. Just make it through tonight. He watches as the men begin their work, keeping the volume muted.
Oh, the door is opening. Maybe I can finally see my parents.
That lump in my belly is definitely bigger than before. Something's wrong.
Wait… six figures. Orange jumpsuits…..
It wasn't a nightmare. It's happening again.
Doctor Garland watched the procedure again, as ordered. He watches her twitch with horrible pain, convulse in agony, sob uncontrollably. The Class-D's rotate in their roles once a day so everyone takes a turn performing specific parts of the procedure. Just four more days after today… Count the minutes. He'd be getting a well-deserved vacation after this, and then he'd be re-assigned to a different project. Anything would be better than this.
"Time: 2259. Procedure complete to 100% efficacy. Time until next procedure: 22.5 hours"
His relief came early tonight. Probably to give him a break from the previous day. He buzzed her in, gathered his things, and left.
I woke up today crying. Only crying. My hospital bed must be stained by now from all the tears. They all know what they're doing to me… My belly has a lump again. I'm pregnant again. But they killed my baby again last night. They took it from me again. But I'm pregnant again. Again. I'm pregnant again. They'll come again tonight, and do it again. All of it. Every sickening second of it. I don't want to eat. I want to die. Let me die, please. I want to die… I want to die… Is it morning, or night? I'll just try to sleep…
"Begin the procedure."
Oh god… They're here again. It's happening again. I want to die. Please, kill me! Kill me!
I must be in hell. That's it. I'm in hell. I died already, and I'm in hell. That's why I keep getting pregnant, that's why it grows so fast. That's why they delight in killing it day after day.
I'm in hell.
They're here again. They're doing it again. Just bear with it, and I can sleep again. Sleep is the only thing that lets me escape from this. The one slice of sanity I have left. Just hurry up so I can sleep again.
Doctor Garland was counting the minutes, the seconds now. Just a few short minutes more, and he would be able to leave this place, take his amnesiacs, and forget all about this place. He sipped from a coffee cup, watching what would be his last viewing of the procedure. He vaguely wondered what they'd replace this month with. He hoped it would be something boring.
"Wakey wakey, Bruce." Finally, it was done. Amy was here to relieve him, he buzzed her in, quickly gathering his belongings, stuffing them into his bag. Amy clapped him on the shoulder, giving him a wide grin as she bit into a pear, chewing loudly.
"Been a hell of a month, huh? Well, this shit's over for me too. They're sending your replacement to me tomorrow, then I'm outta here too." Doctor Kanade mused between chewing.
"I can't say it's been good working with you, because it hasn't," replied Doctor Garland, who received a hearty guffaw in response as he left the containment area for the last time.
Bruce Garland set his backpack down on his dorm's desk, collapsing into his bed. On his bedside table, lay a manilla envelope containing two small pills, and a letter. Immediately he swallowed the pills without water, and pulled open the letter to view its contents.
Dr. Bruce Garland
POST PROJECT BRIEFING
Included with this briefing is one (1) Class-A amnesiac and one (1) Ambien brand sleep aid. Take both at once. The memories you are to receive are of a field assignment assisting MTF-Lambda-P ("Whisperers") in the recapture of an SCP following a containment breach. The work involved the treatment of injuries for wounded personnel on the field assignment. It was noted by the Commanding Officer that you had performed admirably under duress, and a commendation regarding your performance will be added to your permanent personnel file. You are also entitled to a raise of $6,000 USD onto your yearly salary. You are hereby ordered to take four weeks (31 days) vacation to rest, and report to Site Personnel Director Bright for re-assignment concluding your vacation.
This concludes your post project briefing.
Doctor Garland smiled for the first time in a month, crumpling the letter and tossing it in his empty wastebasket. He pulled a small flask of whiskey from his bag, taking a long draw before climbing under his covers and drifting into a peaceful slumber, anxious to begin his vacation.
Doctor Garland awoke with a headache. That was a hell of a hang-over. He shouldn't have drunk so much on his last day of vacation. But, he'd deserved a hell of a good time after his two-week stint with that MTF unit. Those guys got it pretty bad. That skip wasn't easy to recover. He opened his eyes groggily and stretched. He stood, picking up a pair of slacks from the floor, reaching into its pocket to retrieve the phone number of the hot researcher he'd talked with the night before. It wasn't there. Damn, he thought. He must have dropped it during his drunken stumble back to his dorm. No matter, he'll run into her again, he assures himself.
He walked to his door, finding a manilla envelope had been slid under it the night before. He reached down, picking it up. Why couldn't they tell him his assignment personally? No matter, such is life within The Foundation. Opening the envelope, he found only a small note regarding his new assignment.
Dr. Bruce Garland
Dr. Garland is to report immediately to the transportation annex of Site-19 for assignment to a one-month project regarding SCP-231-7. Class-A amnesiacs will be provided if requested following the conclusion of the project. Any questions regarding the project should be addressed to your Site Director.
Dr. Jack Bright
231, eh? Garland had heard the rumors surrounding it. Something about some terrible procedure. No matter, whatever it is, it's only a month-long project. He crumpled the note and tossed it into his empty wastebasket, slung his bag over his shoulder, and headed to his new assignment.