This story was originally published on my old blog site on October 21, 2016
“So, is this treatment going to be painful?” Moira asked.
“There is a very mild discomfort.” Dr. Webb said, leaning back in his office chair. It creaked under his weight. “Some say it is like slight burning sensation.” He smiled. “It’s nothing you have to concern yourself with.”
Moira had been seeing Dr. Webb for the last 6 months for treatment for her eczema. She had spent thousands of dollars on other doctors, creams, and homeopathic remedies all to no avail. Dr. Webb had contact her on a web forum. She was part of a message board community for people with skin conditions. He told her that he could cure her.
And he had.
His method was a combination of medicated baths, pills, ointments and even meditation. Her skin was glowing. She couldn’t remember the last time her skin was this clear. Today was her final session. A heat treatment. She wasn’t sure exactly how it was supposed to help, but Dr. Webb had yet to disappoint.
“So, can you briefly explain this procedure to me one more time?”
“Of course. First, I’ll inject you with a mild sedative to relax you. This is because the treatment requires you to be in a confined space and it will reduce any anxiety that may arise from that. It also makes it so you can’t move too much. The treatment works better if you are still.”
“Yes. Think of it almost like an enclosed tanning bed. But don’t fret. I’ll be in the room with you the whole time.”
“I see.” Moira said.
“Do you have any other questions for me?”
“What exactly does the heat do?”
“It kills bacteria on the skin and just awakens the new skin cells that are developing. Anything else?”
“No. I think that’s it. I am a little nervous though.”
“That’s perfectly normal and the sedative should help with that.” Moira nodded. She was ready.
“I’m going to administer the sedative and then have you sign a few things while it kicks in.” He walked out of the room and came back with a syringe and a clipboard. He gave her the sedative. She winced as the needle went in. “Okay. I just need a few quick signatures at the highlighted parts. It’s just a waiver, but I promise you’ll be safe.”
Moira’s vision was already starting to blur. She tired to read the waiver, but all the letters melted together. The only thing she could make out clearly was the title of the waiver:
“Um…I…” Moira started, but she couldn’t quite get the words out.
“I see the sedative is kicking in already. Please finish the form quickly. I’d hate for you to fall out of your seat.” He chuckled.
She scribbled onto the form, hoping it looked something like her signature. She moved into a wheelchair and he wheeled her down the hall.
“Go ahead and dress down to your undergarments.” Dr. Webb said. She undressed, wobbling the whole time.
He helped her to lay down on a narrow, cold metal table.
“This table will move into the machine, like a drawer, and I’m going to close you in. But don’t worry, I’ll be in the room the whole time.”
She stared at him from over her feet. Something didn’t feel right, but the sedative was so strong, she couldn’t protest. He pushed and a door by her feet slammed shut. She could just barely see Dr. Webb’s silhouette outside the door.
Dr. Webb walked away and turned on the heat.
Immediately, Moira could feel blisters bubbling up on her skin. She couldn’t breathe. She was so suffocated by the heat that she couldn’t scream.
Dr. Webb turned on the second column of flames and sat back and watched the fiery glow through the door.