When Doctor Reves first laid eyes on me, I was being hauled into his hospital on a gurney. I was fat, and recently survived an attack by what equate to zombies– a flash mob of brainless, starved people who will eat anything, including flesh. I only survived because the corpses they were eating were piled on top of me when the army arrived and blasted them all to shit. They didn’t expect any survivors, and I soon learned why: surviving that is usually not a nice accomplishment, but a prequel to a fuck-ton of difficulty.
So, there I was. I was the fat guy in glasses on the gurney, muttering nonsense and using all of my energy to avoid going mad. Blood soaked my clothes, and I had no idea how much was mine.
Mercifully, the doctors drugged me into a nice, cozy little sleep.
Unmercifully, they let me wake up. I was hooked to wires, tubes, and all sorts of electronics. Doctor Reves stood over me. “Ah, good morning.” He smiled. He was a thoroughly average guy in appearances: brown hair, green eyes, a symmetric face– all the normal stuff. “You’ve been handed into my care entirely.” I had no idea what he was talking about, and simply grunted. “That won’t do at all. Use words to describe how you feel.”
“I hurt, I’m tired, and I want to go back to sleep.” I grumbled as I tried to roll onto my side. One of my legs refused to cooperate. That woke me up fast. “My leg!”
The doctor’s ever-present smile grew. “Ah, so it did work. Wonderful.” His appearance seemed to change in my eyes. No longer did he look average and even slightly pleasant, he looked frightening. The man just admitted that he was the reason my leg wouldn’t move– not the attack.
“What did you do?” I demanded as I sat up.
“Just a little extra after I repaired the damage, don’t you worry. There won’t be any trouble at all from this.”
The next month, he took me out of the hospital in a wheel chair. Neither of my legs worked, though I could still feel them and had control over whether or not I pissed myself. He took me into a van, strapped the chair in, and rode off into the sunset. The place he took me to wasn’t very secret. All it took was a greeting to the guard for him to get in, and the parking lot was packed. I was wheeled in and promptly drugged, among other things.
The next time I woke up, It took a lot of energy to move, but I could. My glasses were placed on my face. I was warned not to move too much at once, and I began to retort with ‘shut the fuck up’, only to find my voice saying something else. “Don’t talk to me, please.” That voice didn’t even sound like mine.
Reves didn’t even seem to care that I was acting strangely. “I suppose that means you don’t want to see your parents, then?”
“My parents are here? I would love to see them.” That wasn’t what I wanted to say! I wanted to say ‘fuck you, let me move back with them!’ Why wasn’t I able to say what I wanted to say? It was like there were two of me in my body, and only one of them had any control. “Please have me carried to them, Doctor, and I apologize for my earlier rudeness. The words slipped out against my will.”
The doctor smiled. “Not to worry, Regi. You were simply drowsy. I’ll fetch the bearers for you, and Walden will dress and prepare you.”
A huge guy who had muscles on top of muscles walked in and began to undress me. I looked down at myself. I could see my feet– more than that, I could see my belly button. As the man, Walden, finished undressing me, I saw how pale and thin I really was. There was only the barest layer of fat over top my thin muscles, and my skin was almost day-glow white. For some reason, that other self regarded this as normal while, internally, I was flipping my shit, but externally, I was simply laying back as a strange man gave me a sponge bath.
Finally, the man finished, dried me, and dressed me in what seemed like a many-layered dress. My now-long, straight hair was braided, and a crown was placed on my head. Why wasn’t I tearing all of it apart? Was I some kind of ghost now? I managed to grab enough control to look for a mirrow. I saw one and as my reflection stared back at me, I saw my own face. It was thin, but I could recognize myself.
My mind reeled this way and that during the visit. I vaguely recall hearing my parents say they missed me, and they told me how proud they were that I was myself again. They gave me tender hugs, and the doctor told me it was almost time for me to attend a dinner party. The thought of a meal appealed to me, and for once I shut up as I was carried on a fancy, veiled thing held by a half-dozen strong men. They set me down at the head of a table, but I was a good five feet away from it. The room was filled, and everyone stopped to look in my direction. They all bowed.
The muscle guys lifted me up again and began to carry me out. I was so hungry, but it seemed I wasn’t allowed to eat. They set me down in a private room, and one man fed me some flavorless mush. I wanted to ask why I wasn’t allowed the delicious turkey, steak, or more out in the other room, but my mouth was too occupied, and the other me that was in charge was too polite.
I heard someone enter, but the other self refused to look. I heard the doctor’s voice, and another, unfamiliar one.
“It’s time to end this, Reves.” the stranger said.
“Ah, but if you do, the beloved king will die. You see, he cannot take care of himself, and without me to see to his needs…” He left it hanging.
“He looks fine to me.”
“If he moves too much, he will have a stroke, and he will die. I am very good at neurosurgery.”
“What? You can’t do that!”
“I can. I have legal rights over him.”
“Liar! I’m sure his parents are looking for him!”
“His parents regularly write him letters, and love that I have made their boy respectable and loved.”
“Shut up! You can’t just do that to someone!”
“I already have, and he is the king now, isn’t he? Go, before you ruin his appetite.”
My body spoke separately from me again. “Doctor, I feel ill. Please remove him from the room.” I finally looked over, and recognition shook both of us. The man was one of the police officers who dug me out after the attack. I wanted to tell him to shoot the doctor, more than anything I’d wanted in my life.
The man looked at me, then grinned. “As you wish, your majesty.” He bowed, then drew his gun and shot the doctor in the thigh before he walked out. He got my message! I was fucking joyous, and I even got some revenge. The man was arrested, however, and I was asked if he should be executed for treason.
“No.” The outer me paused. “Instead, have him flogged twenty times, and I will discuss in private with him why he has done such a thing.” My outer self smiled. “I believe I will be completely safe. He could just as easily have shot me, could he not?”
The doctor was in shock, but could only nod. It seemed I outranked him, even if the nice me was too polite to contradict him too often. Once the man was dragged away, Reves walked to me and frowned. “Why did you decree that?” His tone was abrupt.
“Doctor, please watch your tone. This will be a wonderful chance for me to learn about the minds of those below, and to teach him why he must respect his betters.”
“It’s not that voice in your head again, is it?”
“Not at all, doctor. The voice is gone, just as you said it would be. Its language was very cruel…” He trailed off, then forced a smile. “I will be carried to my chamber now.” Somehow, he knew that was the only room without spies or peep-holes. I heard his thoughts now.
“We are the same, aren’t we? The doctor was cruel to you, and created me, who he keeps as a bird. Perhaps if I listen to you and use your strength, life can improve. How do you recognize him?”
I answered, but I couldn’t hear myself as I said “He dig me out from under a pile or corpses.”
“He heard your request.”
“Good. I wanted him to shoot Reves in the head, though.”
“We do need him to survive.”
“Damn shame.” It was the best we were going to get for now. May as well take advantage of it.