![image.png](https://files.steempeak.com/file/steempeak/carlgnash/z691arU4-image.png) He felt lightheaded. Spots drifted across the psychedelic mandalas exploding behind his eyelids. He thought perhaps he was floating above his hospital bed. It felt like he was floating up, his legs and arms, weightless, sprawled out. All the sound in the room was circling around a whirlpool, carried farther and farther away from his ears. A tinny echo bouncing back. That was the doctor's voice. *She is not a doctor. That is not a human voice. I am not in a hospital.* Cold sweat beading up on his forehead. He felt her breath on his face, she must have leaned in very close. "Listen to me. I don't know who or what you are. But I can't just let them... I have to tell you something." Her voice felt different this time, a rope that the man used to drag himself back. *That is a woman's voice. She is a doctor. I am in a hospital.* He opened his eyes. "We don't have much time. The military knows you are awake. I have to tell you something." She was fumbling with the folder, thumbing through it while she talked. "Here, see here - this... substance coming out of your eyes and nose." She laid a photograph on his lap. He had never seen the man in the picture. A man with twisting multi-colored tentacles emerging from the corners of his eyes and disappearing into his nostrils. "And here, the substance was trying to reject your... jack." She handed him another photo. Was this the same man? The man in the photo lay face down on an operating table, but the unmistakable tentacles wrapping around his head... definitely the same man. The tentacles had ripped open a weeping wound around a cybernetic implant in the man's brainstem, and had wrapped themselves tightly around it. *Why is she showing me these pictures? Am I supposed to believe the man in the pictures is me?* "It is still inside you. That... part of it... is still inside you. I had to tell you. There was no way to remove it all." *Why is she telling me this?* The man looked at the folder she clutched against her chest. There was a blank where the patient name should be. The patient number had been marked over. His eyes did not like this light. This red light. Her skull was glowing red, glowing from the inside. Something inside her head was glowing red and shining straight through her skull. *There is something inside of her.* It surprised the man how easy it was to push his thumbs through her eyes. She did not scream. Her skull did not stop glowing even when he smashed it open against the tiles in the shower area in the attached bathroom. But there was nothing inside? He picked up the folder from her lifeless hands and slumped down next to her body in the shower. *There is something inside of me.* He vomited suddenly. Wiping his mouth he was struck by how much she looked like his mother. Smashed and bloody but still, the doctor looked like his mother. *What is my mother's name?* The man began to cry. ![image.png](https://files.steempeak.com/file/steempeak/carlgnash/GZE8zNCa-image.png) #### All words and art by moi. <hr> <hr> This is part five of a multi-part series. [Part 1: A crumbling machine found in the desert](https://steempeak.com/art/@carlgnash/a-crumbling-machine-found-in-the-desert-pt-1-of-9) [Part 2: Surface Expedition Report](https://steempeak.com/art/@carlgnash/surface-expedition-report-pt-2-of-9) [Part 3: Disorientation](https://steempeak.com/scifi/@carlgnash/disorientation-part-3-of-9) [Part 4: Her eye glowed red](https://steempeak.com/fiction/@carlgnash/her-eye-glowed-red-part-4-of-9) <hr> Yeah yeah I [said I wasn't going to be making any more posts on Steem](https://steempeak.com/hive/@carlgnash/so-long-and-thanks-for-all-the-fish). I have realized there is no reason I shouldn't try to milk as much reward from Steem as possible while I am powering down my accounts. I will be reposting some of my fav old posts over the next 13 weeks (or sooner if JSun pushes through a short powerdown!) and then I will remove all the contents of my posts when everything is powered down and converted to the buzziest crypto around :) Join me [on the flip side](https://peakd.com/@carlgnash) for fresh content!