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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Ow! (01/07/10)

TITLE: A Twisted Slice of Life
By Chely Roach


[Reader discretion advised. Aspects of this story may disturb some readers.]

It’s Showtime.

I always wish I could capture this moment when I meet a new patient. I have tried different means, but they never preserve the raw essence of it. Intuitively, we both know that she will be under my care for awhile—probably the duration of her life. This collision of worlds, patient and doctor’s, creates an unfathomable bond. I stand in the corridor and take a deep breath, mentally affixing my expression: professional, slightly detached. I smooth my lab coat and give a gentle, rhetorical knock on the door.

As I turn the knob I take her chart from the rack on the door. I force myself to focus on the folder and not look at her. Not just yet. She needs to know her place in this relationship. I close the door with the heel of my right shoe, reveling in the soft click as it kisses the door frame. Perfectly executed. After years of practiced routine, this little nuance sets an authoritative tone; the patient immediately knows that I come to our little exam table with gravitas, and more importantly, that I am in control of every aspect of this encounter.

I wait for my cue to make eye contact and speak. It usually takes an average of twenty seconds of tense silence for my patient’s breathing to increase to near hyperventilation. Today, she takes forty five seconds. Impressive. I write this down in her chart.

“Hello, Ms. Reynolds, my name is Dr. Sade. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” I note in her chart how vulnerable she looks on the table: the open front exam gown, the paper cloth draping over her thighs, the brutally cold florescent lighting beating down on her. She is shivering. “I hope you don’t mind if I record our discussion…it helps with my dictation later.” I engage my digital recorder.

“Well, we need to get a thorough medical history on you before we begin…mind if I have one of your cigarettes?” I reach over and pull her pack and lighter from her purse,”Thanks. So, Ms. Reynolds, what’s your age?” I light one of her skinny, white cigarettes. She gives me a pathetic look, and then frantically fixates on the door.

“Now, I understand this situation is upsetting, but you are going to need to properly communicate with me so that I may treat you. I’ll ask again, how old are you?” I lean toward her and briskly rip the duct tape from her mouth. She whimpers like a dog and squeezes her eyes shut, forcing out the tears. Her response is somewhat disappointing.

“Not speaking to me yet, hmm? That’s okay; I have devised my own methods for determining the age of my patients. It’s quite accurate.” I open a drawer on the examining table, and she begins to squirm and sob as I remove a pair of latex gloves. “Do you have any latex allergies? If you refuse to cooperate with the medical history portion of our visit then we might as well move on to your physical…”

I can’t help but pause to savor her reaction. I bite the inside of my cheek as I watch her eyes widen and dilate. I taste my blood when I see her pulse throbbing wildly on the side of her neck. Pace yourself, Doctor. I grasp her bruised, bound wrist into my hand and calculate her heart rate. 125, it’s a good start. I draw a deep, exhilarating drag from the cigarette.

I pull the instrument stand to my side. I lower it so that she may see my choices. I watch her reactions intently as I casually graze my hand across the selection of surgical tools; I pause over the scalpel…

“No, no, no! Don’t do this!”

Now we’re getting somewhere. ”Hmm, that sounds vaguely familiar, but I need to hear the magic word...”

She begins to thrash and scream for help. As the skin on her wrists succumbs to the scraping shackles, the sight of her blood sends me over the edge. Fireworks explode behind my eyes.

“Oh, God, help me! No, please don’t hurt me, mister! Please!

The blood and the power mingle on my tongue, “You’re getting warmer…try again. Tell Doctor Sade the magic word.” I take a long pull from the cigarette, the cherry swells. I open the front of her gown and crush it into the hollow below her collarbone.

Her cry was ear blistering perfection, “Ow!”

I shudder in ecstasy. Ahh, the magic word.

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This article has been read 1285 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Charla Diehl 01/14/10
I fail to see the Christian connection anywhere in this entry--sounds like it was written by the devil himself. I thought your "reader discretion" was for fun--really sorry that I was wrong.
Sheri Gordon01/14/10
The verse that immediately comes to mind is Ephesians 6:12. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

While the images are extremely disturbing, the warning was given at the beginning. I believe that the Christian connection is that this is the raw truth we must battle everyday.

The New Testament is full of warnings and admonitions to fight the devil and his demons. As Christians we cannot bury our heads in the sand and pretend this type of evil doesn't exist.

While I would not want to read this as a bedtime story, I feel the writing is excellent. I was totally engaged, and it is a reminder that as Christians we must put on the full armor of God and be prepared to do battle, sometimes ugly battle, everyday.

Kudos for taking a risk and stepping way out of the box.
D.A. Urnosky01/14/10
I agree that this article is well written, however, I do not believe that the content of this article is not appropriate for this writing challenge.

I am a Christian who does not hide his head in the sand and am well aware of the evils in the world.

I do not find a Christian message on any level in the kidnapping and torture of a woman by a pychopath.

Mona Purvis01/14/10
Totally out of place here. The Challenge Rules say that, "the entry should not be overly sensual OR VIOLENT IN CONTENT."
What were you thinking?
Anyone as creative as this writer proves to be has many other options to have written on topic.
Phillipians 4:8 tells us to think on the list of good, pure things mentioned. Paul didn't give us a blow-by-blow of his prison atocities.
I'm hoping this entry will be removed.

Anita van der Elst01/14/10
While I agree this is definitely an out-of-the-box treatment of the topic and that these kinds of horrible things do happen in our society, my vote's with Mona.
Mona Purvis01/15/10
Lisa is right. I have been in touch with the writer who is feeling bad about the reaction to the entry as well as second thoughts about entering it here.
The writer had been challenged to write from the POV of a bad person, someone very unlike themselves. I think we all agree that it was successful it that manner. In fact, brillantly so.
It may be too disturbing for some of us for this challenge and too violent.
But, the writer has a good heart and tried something different. I make no judgment of the writer, just that the entry is inappropriate here.

Rachel Phelps01/15/10
I'd like to point out that were this on another touchy topic - drug use, for example, people would not respond as violently.

As a relative of someone who dealt with sexual abuse from her husband, I feel this is yet another example of something people too often dismiss as an issue that is too distasteful and disturbing to address.

I agree this us unusual for the Challenge and may have been a bit much for people. However, I applaud the author for taking the personal challenge to address this issue.
Catrina Bradley 01/15/10
I have serious chills and a sick feeling in my gut. It takes guts to step out of the box in this way, and it takes a talented writer to do it this well. How difficult it must have been for you getting into the head of this "doctor". My hat off you - congrats.
Dee Yoder 01/17/10
I agree that this is talented writing. And though it is SO offensive to read what a sick person's thinking is, I was not offended that the writer chose to write from this POV. It is chilling to be reminded how such evil exists in this depraved, fallen world. In the end, the story was on topic and well-written.
Chely Roach01/18/10
If you were one of the many people that read this and were shocked, offended, or merely left curious as to the “who” and “why” of this piece of writing, you are welcome to read my Leah Nichols 01/18/10
Chely, I think you really stepped out of your comfort zone to write this, and you did VERY WELL. It's quite sadistic in nature, and evokes emotion perfectly. As far as writing for the Challenge goes, I think we are just a little more accustomed to some kind of redemption in the writing; some clue to the goodness of God in the midst of evil and sorrow. Perhaps that's why the response has been less than supportive.

Reading yours, I am reminded of Maxx's BOB entry (which Shari pointed me to after the conference) which evokes a lot of the same emotions and probably will disturb the average Christian reader. He did an excellent job of tying hope into his story, and I think yours may also have that potential to do so as well. Think about revising it, and please don't throw away this exercise in stepping out. I think you have learned a lot, and isn't the Challenge about stretching, growing, and receiving feedback on our writing? Thank you for sharing. Seriously. :)
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/18/10
Chely, as always, I'm impressed by your outstanding creative abilities. Now,I'm even more impressed by your willingness to be humble before the Lord. May He bless your giftedness.
Yvonne Blake 01/18/10
It's hard to write from the antagonist's POV. We don't want to enter that part of our mind. Personally, I find it very hard to develop the villians in my stories for that very reason. You certainly pushed beyond the comfortable zone. We know this isn't "you" but just a stretch of your writing skills. You showed the ugly side of this sinful world that we need to reach with the light of God's Word.
Michael Joshua01/18/10
I agree it is edgy - but it fits the challenge. I am myself working on a novel that involves kidnapping and sale of children - I have one friend that reads all of my work that refuses to read this one. I was gripped from beginning to end. Thanks for taking the risk.
Peter Stone01/18/10
I couldn't read all of this, (should have taken more notice of the warning.) It is difficult to define where to draw the line. Although such things are common place in the world, for myself when writing, I prefer to hint at such an event, or infer it happened, without showing the disturbing details.
Lisha Hunnicutt01/18/10
Very disturbing. In my opinion this piece, although well written, doesn't fit the rules for writing challenges. It is very violent in nature.
Chely Roach01/18/10
For a more indepth explanation of this story, you are welcome to read my open letter at my blog.
Noel Mitaxa 01/19/10
I agree that this is ugly stuff, but it reminds me of CS Lewis' masterful book "The Screwtape Letters," in which a senior devil intructs his protege in how to develop his skill. Lewis later said that it was his hardest work because he constantly had to refer to God and how he works in totally negative terms.
I'm sure that Lewis also copped some flak, but you are in good company.