"I bet you're wondering what you're doing here," the voice said. Mark tried to open his eyes, but his world remained enveloped in darkness. The only sounds he heard were the familiar sounds of a hospital room: the rhythmic beeping of a heart monitor, a respirator, and of course the indistinct, male voice. "Well, it's simple, Mark. You're now my patient."
He tried to remember what had happened. The shifts in the ER all started to run together year after year. He recalled waiting on a car accident victim to arrive and then… nothing. He was here, listening.
"It's amazing what a little medical knowledge can do. Just a little bit of drug A can cause a seizure. A little of drug B and you lose complete control of your skeletal muscles. But you know what's really amazing? Lawyers."
Mark tried to open his eyes again. A hazy light slowly filled his vision, but everything appeared to him as blurs. The voice was more distinct now. Mark realized that whatever had happened to him was starting to subside, whether that was a concussion or something more sinister.
"Do you remember, Mark? Ten years ago, when you killed my mother? Oh, sure, you said she was a lost cause, but I know my mother. She was strong, she was a fighter."
Mark's head rolled to the side. He vaguely became aware of waves of pressure on his chest. He'd never felt what it was like to be on a respirator before. And there was something else. Pain. It started as little more than a tickle, then sank into a deep ache in his bones.
"Oh, you're finally coming to, hmm? Well, that's good. I don't want you to miss any of what I have in store for you. You see, I've been learning ever since that day. I knew that someday I'd have you. The years of schooling, the debt, it would all be worth it. And befriending you, oh that was the best part!"
Mark felt a sharp pain in his belly, followed by warmth flowing into his chest. His side began to swell. But now he knew it was friend of his. This wasn't an accident.
"I never expected you to actually sign over your Medical Power of Attorney to me. That was truly my finest hour, though I have a feeling this next one will be up there, too." The voice was clear as a bell now, and very close. Mark wanted to cry when he realized who it was, Jonathan Bieser. Jon was a groomsman at his wedding and a sympathetic ear at his wife's funeral. Jon was the kind of guy everyone loved. They had worked together for years. Jon was often his anesthesiologist.
"First, I knew I had to get rid of Ellie. So I experimented on her with the same drugs I'm using on you. That's how I learned how much to give so you still feel everything, and how much to give you so it'll look like a heart attack. But I'm not going to give you a heart attack, Mark. That's too easy. What shall I do with you, hmm? Let's look at your medical charts."
The pain from his belly took second stage to the unbidden fear Mark felt. He tried to move an arm, an eye, a finger, anything, but his entire body felt like it had been detached from his brain.
"Oh look, it says here you have appendicitis," Jon said as he scribbled something onto a paper in Mark's chart. "Tsk tsk tsk, that could be fatal, especially for someone in a coma like you. I guess we'll just have to take that out. Oh, and of course I'll approve of the surgery. As your medical attorney, I'll approve any and all surgeries to save my dear friend's life. Oh, and look here, we won't even need to anesthetize you. It seems you've already been prepped."
Mark's heart started to race. He put all his concentration into moving his arm. There was an emergency button somewhere next to the bed. If he could just get someone to see that he wasn't in a coma, he'd be safe. His arm moved and fumbled with the small beige controller beside him.
"Oh, no you don't! We can't have you waking up now, can we?" Jon plied his hand away from the controller. A moment later, another sharp pain, this time in his arm, told Mark that he had lost. "There we go. It'll be time for your emergency surgery soon, doctor. You go have fun while I think up of more ways to torture that body of yours. So many organs to play with."