Fane woke to the inside of an MRI scan, his head strapped into a white cage. “Sergeant Anson?” a female voice crackled over the speaker, startling him.
“Yes, ma’am?” he answered automatically. He tried to flex his hands, but discovered both of them had been strapped down. He pulled at his memories of the doctor’s waiting room. There was a blank between it and the cell. He had dozed off there, but he had no recollection of having left the white room. Had they sedated him? His heart hammered painfully in his chest. Black rings circled his eyes and his hearing dimmed.
“If you would please hold still, that will make this process go more smoothly,” the voice told him. He sucked in air, startled. For a moment, he had forgotten the voice. He started counting down from one hundred. His scars itched. His hands were hot and damp. He reassured himself that he was still in the hospital, but that did little to ease the tunnel vision. There was most likely a good reason that they had seen to him being strapped down. He tried to stop fidgeting. For all his fighting with his inner demons, he could not still the trembling in his legs.
“Now that you are awake, we are going to measure your cognitive abilities to make sure you are processing visual images properly and connecting their associates correctly. We are going to show you a series of images and ask you to define them. Do you understand?” the woman’s voice instructed calmly.
“Yes, ma’am. You will show me images. I tell you what I see.” He battled with the sickening nausea that threatened to engulf him.
Images flashed on screen, food, military regiments, flags, it was a wide variety of pictures that made no real sense to him. There was no method to the pictures, but the more they showed him, the more his scars ached, his heart pounded, his hands itched. He gripped the sheet in an effort to dry his sweating hands. Why was he having such a reaction to innocuous images? Maybe there really was something that red room girl had given him that was doing damage. A sharp heat wrapped up his spine and spread a burst of numb desire across his stomach. He stared at the pictures in confusion. He was looking at fruit and office supplies. What had happened to his brain?
He lost count of the images they had gone through. The muscles in his back were seizing up. Hours had to have passed while he was caged to the machine. His stomach growled and pinched painfully. He had not eaten since the party, having missed breakfast, which was regularly served after the annual test.
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