Clinical Trial (Part 4)

I’ve been keeping the journal. I wrote my first entry. It happened when I was washing the dishes. I’m not sure they actually came clean. The water that came out of the tap was thick and red. Normally, I do prefer the dishes to be spotless. I can’t tell but I think they’ve been stained. It’s not really a big deal as I’m not bothered by this nor by the current state of my red-ringed kitchen sink.

At first, you found that you had a difficult time recounting your thoughts on paper. Finding honesty during the last few weeks of the trial shouldn’t have been difficult. You’ve always been honest about who you are; about the world around you. Honesty is important for a writer, after all.

Sharing a diary with your doctor feels like untethering the chains of your darkest secret. Of late, your thoughts have become somewhat ghastly; a gruesome beast soaring free on tarren, blood-dipped wings. That’s quite a dramatic description for your thoughts. Weird. You know you shouldn’t share the joy you feel in this freedom because the freedom seems such a macabre sort. As such, you felt hesitant to unstopper your true feelings in permanent ink onto the pages of the moleskin. You write that idea, the beast one, and many other strange things into your notebook.

Knowing Dr. Grant would be reading every word.
Would be asking things.
Maybe even judging you, perhaps?
Would you be so unashamed of these feelings when you answered him?
Fuck him. Of course you will be unashamed.
You’re free now.

I see the blood everywhere, you write in your journal, I feel like I can almost see it coursing, criss-crossing like a road map, right beneath the skin of every person I pass on the street. It’s exhilarating. I revel in it. I see it smeared on the cheeks and in the smiles of every child; like they’ve been eating particularly large slices of velvet cake garishly slathered in red icing. Red inside and out. Every man and woman in line at the grocery store–the young and the old–every upper lip seeps with the drip of a running bloody nose and the sight surges a hum of elated yet calm contentment through my own blood. The fearless life is a better life.

Your next entry:

A van careened into a fire-hydrant on East Canal Drive in front of me today. It was like bursting an artery that was connected directly to the heart of the city. A steady stream of dark red spraying upward fell back down to earth creating an enchanting pink mist. Looking onward, through that mist, I realized the canal that ran next to the road was oozing along, rather than flowing, viscous thick and deep. I’m not sure how long I’ve been seeing it that way. It’s been that way for a while. I walk this road every day and I’ve only just noticed it.

These and so many other reflections, you write and write.

You’re not sure what to make of these hallucinations. The rules that society has laid out for all of us tell you that these feelings of elation are a deviation from what would be considered normal passing thought. All of this. You shouldn’t delight in the constant oozing orifices in the faces of others passing you on the street–and yet you feel unable to refrain from it.

Blood is everywhere. It was always everywhere and in everything. You didn’t see the larger picture before. Not like you see it now. The world is awash and flowing in an incredible, crimson tinge. You write all of these feelings thoughtfully in your notebook you share them with Dr. Grant during your session the next week.

As the trial ends, you decide to change your major. Freed from your fears you find that you can pursue the path you were supposed to have followed your whole life. Your father cries (bloody) tears as he smiles wide and red, when you tell him of your intent to enroll in medical school.

Rather than continue to evade this fear, now shrugged away, you find yourself lusting after it.

You begin eating your steaks medium rare. Then rare. Steak tartare.

You’ve spent your whole life cringing away from injury; watching horror movies through the spaces between your fingers. In retrospect, this is laughable.

When the month ends, you finish the trial. There is still yet to follow another month of meetings with Dr. Grant. A followup month of evaluations and sharing feelings for the pharmaceutical company’s research. You dread this. Such tedium. The trial is over. The result is success. You are free from the blood, you should also be free from the company. Other than ‘when do you get paid,’ what more is there to discuss?

“I can tell you really honestly,” Dr. Grant remarks to you after the conclusion of your second follow-up meeting, “that most of the people from your group claim to really miss seeing it. They really do.”

You tell him that you are confused.

He explains to you: “well, you know, after you stop the medication, you stop seeing the blood,” he explains. “The hallucinations stop within a day or two of taking the last cycle of pills.”

Oh yes. That makes sense to you that most people would stop seeing it after the end of the clinical trial. He seems shocked when you tell him that the young lady downstairs, the one who matter-of-factly looked at everyone naked on the first day of the trial, you talked to her today, she was still bleeding. She was bleeding a lot.

It’s been almost two weeks since your last pill, but you still see people bleeding every day. It’s cool. You’re fine with it.

That girl, the one who wears the men’s dress shirts. You saw her leaving his offices on your way in. She was bleeding.

You tell him that you watched Richie, from the spider group, bleed and bleed from his face and weeping out from the holes in his gut. He bled until he bled-out last night. It was fascinating. There was so much blood. It didn’t taste like tomato soup or raspberry jam but it was still kind of good, in it’s own way.

Their blood was trapped. You set all of them free of every last drop that you could. Exsanguination. You tell him it’s all in your journal. Towards the back.

As the security alarm begins going off and Dr. Grant begins bleeding too, you realize they must have found one of those poor girls. Either the receptionist in the break room or the one from the trial that you left slumped in the elevator. They’ll find messy Dr. Grant soon too. But they won’t find you. You smear his goo off from your knife and onto his lab coat.

You head out of his office window, and down the fire escape. You slink out, sinking into the open fields beyond, to the treeline at the edge of the medical campus, bathing in the tides of crimson radiance and the dying light of the blood-red sunset.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

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