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The Worst Place in the World

Short story By: R A B Bradbury
True confessions

A trip to the Dentist, with dentophobia. Written for Rebecca1994's Phobia contest.

Submitted:Aug 4, 2013    Reads: 105    Comments: 29    Likes: 10   

The Worst Place in the World.

I'm pulled harshly out of a deep sleep by a piercing ringing. Raising my head off the pillow I look around blindly for the source of the sound. Eventually my eyes fall on the light from my phone screen flashing beside the bed. I have got to stop leaving it right by my head at night.

I pick it up and look at the screen. Through sleep filled eyes the number is blurry, but I don't recognise it. I answer and hope its loud ring hasn't deafened me.


'Good morning, this is Kat from The Dental Surgery, just calling to confirm your appointment at ten-thirty?' Her voice is too chirpy for this hour.

'Yes, yes that's right. Ten-thirty. I'll see you then. Thanks for calling.' I hang up groaning.

Glancing at the time on my phone I notice that it's only seven-fifteen, it may as well be the middle of the night. I try to go back to sleep, my alarm is set for eight-thirty, so another hour would be great, but I can't sleep now. Every time I close my eyes I see a man in white clothes and a face mask walking towards me with various sharp metal implements in his hands.

I feel sick. How can I get out of this? My mind runs through all the jobs that need doing, but there's nothing I could do today. I have no reason not to go to the dentist. I sigh, drag myself out of bed and into the shower. I take my time, trying to calm my nerves under the stream of red hot water. It doesn't help.

Heading downstairs after nearly an hour in the bathroom, I almost jump put of my skin when my phones alarm goes off in my pocket. I must have forgotten to turn it off. I make breakfast but can only eat two bites, before it feels like it's just sitting in my stomach. A solid ball of fear.

Nine O'clock and I'm in the bathroom again, this time brushing my teeth frantically. I'm on my third round of toothpaste, and I've brushed so hard my gums are bleeding. Probably not the best start to the day, but if they're clean and he can see I am looking after them, maybe he wont keep me long. Three rounds of Listerine and almost a whole packet of floss later, and I'm ready to go.

During the short walk to the bus stop I pray for my phone to ring. An emergency at work, they can't possibly cope without me. Maybe my dad needs me? Mum? Anyone? I reach the bus stop right on time, and as the bus pulls in there is still no call. Damn.

I block out the bus ride with loud music, I've opted for heavy metal in the hopes it would make me feel more bad ass than I really do. Eventually, I see the surgery looming up ahead of the bus and I know I should get off the bus. I should press the button and walk off the bus and do what needs to be done. My palms sweat and my stomach turns over in somersaults, as I eventually press the button to get off the bus.

I hope the fresh air will make me feel better, it was stuffy on the bus what with 15 or so people sat close together in a box and all. It doesn't though and I check my phone quickly once again praying someone needed me. They didn't. I stepped off the bus, and thanked the driver, for delivering me to my fate.

For me, this small building on the corner of the high street was Hell on earth. It was a fairly new building, with a wood finish and big windows on the front. Dental Surgery was written across the front, above the window in gold lettering. I wiped my hands on my jeans, hoping to dry off some of the sweat, and opened the door.

Instantly, the smell of disinfectant fills my nose. Making it impossible to pretend I am anywhere else. I check in with Kat behind the desk and take a seat next to a pile of ancient magazines. They are all at least six months out of date. Lifting the top one, not looking to see what it was, I let it fall open on my lap and pretend to be absorbed in it.

Eventually, I hear my name being called and close the magazine, leaving a sweaty hand print on its cover. Slipping into the treatment room and seeing the white clothes, face mask and gloves of the dentist, I begin to hyper ventilate.

The room begins to spin and I feel my body go cold. I need to get hold of myself before I faint again, and that would be embarrassing. My dentist is saying something, but I don't hear what it is because everything sounds like I'm hearing it from under water. Instead I try to smile, and slip into the chair. It's not my favourite place in the world, but I need to sit down.

I suck in two big breaths and hold the second one, lying back and opening my mouth. I close my eyes so I don't need to see anything that may be coming my way, and everything still sounds like I'm drowning.

I flinch every time he touches me, and as soon as he's done (the whole ordeal lasted maybe five minutes, but it felt like a lifetime.) I leap out of the chair and let my breath out. He's smiling, so I guess that's a good thing. I manage to thank him for seeing me, and rush back into the reception area. A few deep breaths and a glass of water and I am ready to leave.

Kat checks my paperwork, and hands me some forms to sign. My signature is shaky and almost illegible, but it will have to do. Once done, I turn and rush out of the door away from the smell and the closed in space. Out of view of the dentist. Round a corner and I'm throwing up, my nerves and fear finally taking over for a minute.

It's over quickly and I head home, proud of myself for making it through the ordeal. That place really is the worst place in the world.


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