That Elusive Cure 6
By lisa h
I climbed in carefully, wondering if it would hurt when it worked, like nettle stings inside me. Or worse, like the deep consuming pain that I had after the first operation. Or like feathers brushing up against my skin, perhaps I’d feel nothing at all. Maybe it wouldn’t even work on me, I’d had bad luck with every other treatment the doctors had thrown at me. Why would this be any different?
A wave of claustrophobia threatened to make me bolt, but somehow I kept control and lay down. The foam mattress expanded around me, reminding me of memory foam, but with a little bit of intelligence. It gave me a sense of security and the feelings of being trapped were simply forgotten.
“Right, I have a list of instructions here.” Janie sat cross-legged on the ground beside the pod and showed me a laminated piece of paper. “It’s super simple, not sure you even need the instructions, but they made me feel better before my first session alone.”
“You need more than one time in here?” I was comfortable, but didn’t fancy coming back. I guess I’d thought she’d do it for me, and then I’d be off to the cancer centre to pick the next lucky patient.
Janie was nodding. “I needed four sessions. I guess it’s like modern treatments in that aspect. Takes it a while to fix serious illnesses.” She ran her hand over the smooth shell of the pod, a faraway look on her face. “When you’re ready, press your hand onto that pad to your side.
I looked where she was pointing. Inside the lid, positioned roughly above my chest, was a square panel that was shiny metal instead of the buffed silver of the rest of the pod. I’d assumed it to be a decorative patch.
“Go on, I’ll stay here the whole time.”
I stared at Janie. “You sure about this?”
“Absolutely. I owe my life to this machine. Trust it.” She smiled warmly at me. “Go on.”
I still wasn’t ready to be trapped in the pod. “Does it hurt?”
Janie thought about my question for a moment then said, “No… it doesn’t hurt as such. More a sensation of warmth. Kind of like the CT scans, you know the ones where you think you’ve peed yourself and your skin gets really hot? Kind of like that but inside. It’s a nice feeling.”
“The CT scan…?”
“Yup, but without the peeing sensation.” She nodded. “It’s not scary. Honest.”
For just a moment I realised I was in an old abandoned church with a woman I hardly knew, trusting her because I thought her smile was honest. I’d climbed in a machine of unknown origin – at least for me. Maybe she was a serial killer, and this was her modus operandi. She’d trap me in this pod, wait until I’d suffocated and then dump my body in the Mersey. Maybe she thought of it like a mercy killing, because let’s face it, I was on that road already, she’d simply be shaving off a few months, a couple of years max.
The musty scent of the church threatened to overcome me. Beyond my feet the cross that had been left on the wall gave me a small amount of comfort, it seemed to tell me that I wasn’t insane for trusting this woman, and I should let events take their destined course.
“One last question, how long am I going to be trapped in the pod?”
“That’s the best bit. Think of all the treatments you’ve had, the hours of sitting in pain as the docs do something else to your body. The pain, the needles, the side effects that last for months… well forget all that. This takes minutes.” This time her smile came over as smug. “Put your palm on the panel. It’s your turn to get better.”
I took a deep breath and reached up.