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'Respawn'.  That was what they called it.

'It' seemed like nothing more than a supply room, with a cold tile floor, and a fairly boring tile ceiling.  The tiles seemed to shift, move, and waver, but it was the bright lights that Fleischer finally closed his eyes against.  He forced them open again when he heard someone enter the room – heard footsteps approaching him.  It hardly mattered, though; the figures – three of them – were entirely too blurry to make out their faces.  He could only assume that the one that kneeled next to him was a Medic, given the blurry white blob that seemed to occupy the space from his neck down, in the vague shape of a lab coat.

The other Medic said something, but the words were lost in the low, pulsing thrum that seemed to be coming from inside of Fleischer's own skull.  The sound of the three figures talking amongst each other was entirely too much – as were the lights, and that incessant buzzing, and he finally just closed his eyes again, trying to drown everything out.

When Fleischer opened his eyes again, the lights were just as bright – but the tiles on the ceiling looked different, and considerably more familiar.  He blinked his eyes a few times, and tried to sit up so that he could get a look around the room.  He couldn't quite manage it, though, and when he tried again, he realized that he was being met with considerable resistance.

He tried again – tried to lift his hands to feel what was on his chest.  His arms hadn't moved more than a few inches off the – the bed? – before he felt a tug at his wrists.  He was strapped down.

/"It's for your safety,"/ a voice said in short, clipped German.  Its owner caused Fleischer to start by rather suddenly looming over the bed.

The other Medic was older – maybe sixty – graying more than a little at the temples, and looking entirely too pleased with himself.  /"You kept thrashing around in your sleep,"/ he continued, frowning slightly.  /"How are you feeling?"/

Fleischer had to think about that for a long moment.  He was exhausted, for one – and dizzy, and maybe a little nauseous.   There was a deep, dull ache in his chest, and in his knee, right where the bullets had…

…right where the bullets had hit.

Fleischer tried to place a hand on his chest – to feel for blood, or some kind of wound.  His arm just wound up jerking against the strap cuffed to his wrist, though, which caused that pulsing thrum to return full-force.  The thrumming was soon joined by the sound of his heart pounding in his ears, and he tried, unsuccessfully, to turn his body so he could sit up.  Turning his head did afford Fleischer a view of the IV line in his arm, which his eyes quickly followed to the stand next to the bed.

"Herr!" the other Medic started, sounding almost more amused than worried, /"please calm down, you are going to injure yourself.  I doubt the League will want you damaged when they come to pick you up."/

The idea of his employers 'picking him up' was bad enough for Fleischer, but it was a touch – a caress – against the side of his face from the older Medic that truly set him off.  His thrashing started anew, but the straps over his body and around his ankles and wrists didn't afford him enough movement to build the momentum he would need to break free.  His panic-stricken mind didn't know that, though, and wound up telling his sore, exhausted body to fight harder.

Fleischer was vaguely aware of the other Medic saying something, and very aware of the man removing a loaded syringe from one of the pockets on his lab coat.  He didn't want to think about (couldn't think about) why his older counterpart was carrying such a thing around in his pocket, but the needle being drawn closer to his IV line did nothing for his confidence.

The sight, in fact, only drove Fleischer to thrash harder, twisting in his restraints, chest heaving, and heart pounding.  He was quite certain that he was protesting quite loudly – could feel his lips moving – but the sound was drowned out by that thrum, and the loud beating in his ears.  His pleas were ignored, though, and he soon saw the needle slide home into the IV line's injection port.  He gave one final effort, a hard pull against the straps, as the plunger was depressed.

It wasn't an effort that could be sustained.  Fleischer's limbs suddenly felt even more ineffectual against his restraints.  His arms and legs were slow to respond, and his brain was becoming equally sluggish in even trying to command them.  The thrumming remained, rapidly drowning out the sound of his pounding heart and gasping breaths, and growing into a low, almost pleasant buzz.  His limbs felt incredibly heavy, and his eyelids followed suit.

Fleischer was distantly aware of being lifted and moved – of the ceiling tiles passing by overhead.  There were muffled voices – yelling – and a blue light that prickled over his skin.  He wasn't sure at what point his vision wound up going entirely black.

This story is actually a couple of years old. I was feeling very nostalgic and decided to pick it up and re-read it, and I wound up realizing that it had actually been very well-written. This was also my first real attempt at a horror/thriller piece. I'm posting on here, now, because along with being nostalgic, I would also appreciate any thoughts or critique on it. I wrote this not too long after I published Bedside Manner, and haven't really written up anything particularly longer than drabble, since.

Post-Modern Prometheus is a sort of alternative/hypothetical sequel to First Do No Harm… and Comorbidity…

If you want to delve into the back story, I would definitely recommend reading FDNH before Comorbidity. Both of those stories are relatively old, though, and I feel like I have improved my writing and characterization a great deal since then. As a result, if you do like Doctor Fleischer, or my writing in general (which, if you do, thank you very much - my main hope when I post my writing is that people will get some enjoyment out of it) then consider picking up my book, Bedside Manner, in paperback or on the Kindle.

Fair warning, though, this being a horror/thriller piece, expect some disturbing content, though I am not really prone to using a great deal of blood and/or gore.

As a final note, the thumbnail image is in the Public Domain, and was downloaded from Pixabay…

KlayBird Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014
YEAH, Back in the saddle!! Can't wait to see where -this- one takes us!!
I've enjoyed FDNH, Comorbidity and I have the paperback of Bedside Manner...Glad to see SOMEONE'S muse is actually working...TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE!!
Will be eagerly waiting for more. *wicked grin*
shadowfire-x Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Haha, I wouldn't necessarily say 'back in the saddle'! Like I said, this story is about two years old ='D I'm glad to finally be putting it up somewhere, though, and glad someone is actually interested in reading it.
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September 8, 2014
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