The scalpel quivered ever so slightly in the sterile, gloved hand. The spiking lines on the monitor next to him beeped rhythmically, but even this usually comforting sound didn’t spare his own heart from rebounding in his chest like a rubber ball on a sidewalk. He took a deep breath and lowered the scalpel to the healthy gray mass webbed with veins and sinew. The knife sliced ever so gently, and for a while it was like a normal, low-risk surgery; the knife curved at the most minute adjustment of his fingers, and there was a calming silence in the room.
But suddenly blood began to pour from the slit, flowing bright and sticky over his glove tips. His breathing spiked, and his eyes widened, as if unprepared for the sight of so much blood in so small a space. He had to act quickly if this surgery was to pay off at all. The presiding nurse handed him two small electrical pads the size of quarters, and he pressed them gently against the patient’s brain. A small, weak shock zapped through, and all at once things began to go haywire. The monitor began to scream, the heart was beating so fast the usual mountains had become rapid fire lightning strikes. The body that was lost to his view by blue surgical paper began to convulse on the table, each time making a sickening crunch that might cause the steel legs to collapse.
The nurse hurried over to hold down the body while he tried to clean the blood off the brain, which was beginning to dry around his precise cut. It had clotted so quickly after the electrical charge – inhumanly quickly – that he didn’t have to worry about having to alter the brain any other way. He nearly touched the brain while he cleaned the red mess away, trying to ignore the wailing heart monitor and the scrambling of frazzled assistants and clanging of tools to the floor. After what seemed like hours but must have been only be mere minutes, the wailing stopped. The silence was stagnant in the air, brushing his face and clothes as he continued on, mopping away the blood and uttering a prayer that it would be his last swipe. This patient had come too far to die of internal bleeding. No one could get to him now; it was just him, the sponges, and the beautiful golden scalp poking out from under the blue surgical paper.
He was shocked out of his focused surgeon’s calm by the presiding nurse, who tapped him on the shoulder. “Dr. Parker, the patient is flat lining.” she said, eyes brimming with anxious light, waiting to execute his next command to the letter. He nodded, his hands frozen in the act of setting down the bloody scalpel from the successful operation. He hadn’t even noticed the heart monitor had never actually stopped blaring; the patient was still dying. The redheaded nurse held up two mitt-like pads, charging them with electricity. She was going to shock her back.
“Wait!” he spluttered almost incompetently, “If you shock her back, the current in her brain might be diverted from its circuit. We only need to wait a few more seconds.” The nurse looked at him as though he had suddenly sprouted another head in front of her, but she stood there calmly, watching the monitor’s line occasionally spike. The spikes became more and more frequent, and the body on the table relaxed, lying there now like an unsuspecting, sleeping animal. The monitor now began to beep joyfully, and everyone in the operating room let out a collective sigh of relief. “Stitch her up,” Dr. Parker said, snapping off his bloody gloves smartly. “Congratulations, ladies and gentlemen, we have successfully performed a cranial enhancement surgery.” The others clapped, and then set to work, cleaning tools, monitoring the anesthesia intake, observing the patient like their own child. She sleepily blinked at them, blue eyes looking exceptionally intelligent and sharp. They roved around the room and out into the hall as she was wheeled into her recovery room. Two men stood there, talking in the center of the room, watching their new ward.
“…Dr. Wiley, her surgery was successful. You understand what will happen now?”
“Yes, Dr. Parker. I’ll take her back to the compound with me to monitor her progress. With luck, she’ll be better than she was when we found her.”
She looked sleepily at the two white-coated men as they crossed the floor at a quick speed, barely maintaining their calm semblances, and then towering over her oversized bed. She memorized their features; the one called Dr. Wiley was by far the more pleasing to her mind, with brown hair and warm blue eyes, while the other stood coldly next to him. “Can she speak?” asked Dr. Wiley to the other.
“I don’t know, but I’m sure she does.”
The brunette leaned in near her face and asked slowly, “Can you hear me, Jessie? How are you feeling?”
She blinked, waiting a few seconds before her lips could form the words. “I hear you loud and clear, and I feel fine, but…who’s Jessie?”