Patient 336

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

An unspeakable wrong that must be corrected !

Patient 336

By Sharief Hendricks

 

“I am done being sick. I am a patient no more. I am ending it all.”

Rhonda stroked her new scalp as a warm sensation brightened her cheeks. Gone are the days when she felt depressed and ashamed. She used to feel like Danny from 6th grade, the boy the mean kids called Baldy. He lost his hair when a dare with a Bic lighter went wrong. Since receiving her new look, she often wondered what happened to poor Baldy, but not this morning. This morning she chose to believe that he was living a happy life with a loving family. He might even be successful and employing some of those mean kids from school. After all, we all did stupid things as kids then we grew up to regret it. Hopefully, the people we wronged found it in their hearts to forgive us, as Danny hopefully did. Rhonda was not Danny. She would not forgive.

The constant nausea side effect left a permanent dry-lemon after taste on her pallet. Her dark chemo-nails had grown back and hardened. She enjoyed the contrast of the fresh thick red stains between her nails as she slowly washed her sins away. Over the past few months, she had gotten better at removing blood splatter and brain tissue.

____________________**_________________

Her awakening occurred many months earlier when she met Rita, a frail petite little thing. Rita’s eyes were buried deep in her skull. Her high cheekbones further accentuated her lifelike skeleton impersonation. They met while sharing a waiting room bench plastered with posters of the largest research-based pharmaceutical company, Drucs Inc. Rita was visibly ill, but her illness could not keep her smile away even during bouts of pain. She was always keen on a naughty chat. Besides Rita's defeated outlook, Rhonda also noticed her medical file was labelled Patient 041. Rita was one of the original Project-Can patients. Rhonda was the newest treatment participant, Patient 336.

The two quickly became radiation-treatment buddies and had developed a close bond ever since. Rhonda was the shy and quiet type. Rita was an outspoken jokester. Rhonda could never understand why there was no talking allowed at the Drucs Inc. Clinical Laboratory. She and Rita thought they were rather clever as they chatted away when the nurses and orderlies weren't watching. Rita was 61 and in good health until a routine check-up at her local clinic changed all that. Her blood test revealed she had a blood cell count imbalance. The clinic prescribed a blood thinner.

"Let me tell ya something, Rhonda, that day I started taking those Can-21 tablets was the day my life changed. Since then, I’m just a fucked up mess, I tell ya, a blood thinner, my ass, it's poison, I tell ya,” Rita said, as she applied another layer of Fast Hair Grower.

Rhonda smiled as she had grown fond of Rita's outrageous but amusing tales. It helped pass the time.

“I will rather take an enema before I take that shit again.”

"Rita, I swear you’re so silly, girl,” both patients enjoyed a light giggle.

Sadly, that was the last time she saw Rita. The lovable little dirty-mouth died a week later. Rhonda was shocked and saddened when told by Dr Rim, but she was not completely surprised, as she had seen and heard how a patient can seem ok one day and be "gone" the next. Rita was not doing well.

__________________**___________________

Six weeks after Rita's passing, Rhonda was attending her weekly counselling and update consultation. That session was different because there were new faces that were in attendance. She braced herself for the worst.

“Rhonda, you must be wondering what's going on today. Well, rest assured, it is only good news. Your body is responding positively to your treatments. The results are rather astounding for a stage 3 patient. Your progress chart was what we were hoping for, finally!” Dr Rim said.

"Does this mean what I think it does, doctor? Can I be cured?”

“Yes, it does!”

The doctors toasted their success with patient 336, as applause filled the room, gratitude-filled Rhonda's heart while streams of relief flowed from her eyes.

After Rhonda left the room, Dr Rim addressed the elated small group. There were some high fives amongst double-checking of data charts.

“Patient 336 is the breakthrough we have been waiting on. Now the previous 335 don’t matter anymore. This achievement is certainly worth celebrating. Inform our visionary CEO and soon to be the richest man in the world that Project-Can is a success. We are under budget and ahead of schedule as it only took 335 unknowing volunteers.”

___________________**_________________

Over the weeks that followed, Rhonda started feeling much better than she had since taking the experimental drugs eleven months ago. She had not felt joy and hope for so long. She savoured the feeling with each breath. Her only regret was that Rita didn't stay alive long enough to receive the cure. Rita had been the closest thing to a family Rhonda had for a long time.

Breaking News!

“This major medical breakthrough is going to save millions of lives. After so many years of failing, the medical world finally achieved what seemed impossible, a cure, aptly called Miracle-336.”

_________________**__________________

Rhonda could finally afford to move out of her one-bedroom apartment. After a year at her new job, she could finally get a bigger apartment in a better area. She finally had her first stable income since she became ill. She skipped her usual Tuesday self-defence class to finish packing up her old life. While emptying her pharmacy-like medicine chest, she found an empty vitamin bottle. She half-remembered taking it before she was diagnosed with her terminal illness. It was a struggle to read the small print on the bottle. Without warning, her heart rate suddenly increased. A sickening feeling took over her stomach. She clenched the vitamin bottle so tightly that the lid popped off and somersaulted across the table. Her flustered face glistened from an instant cold sweat. She sat down and drowned herself in a cold glass of water in a feeble attempt to stop her hands from shaking. A painful scream filled the half-emptied room as the vitamin bottle and glass of water smashed into the wall. When the bottle came to rest, the label magnified in a piece of broken glass …Can-21.

Rhonda had always been a gentle soul, and even killing an insect would give her cause for guilt. Even so, she was dead set on correcting the despicable wrong done to her and the healthy 335. As an experienced project planner for 26 years of her working life, she meticulously planned every step of the much needed corrective action. She vowed that the creators of Project-Can and their greedy helpers would meet their end. Can-21, the twenty-first trial cancer-inducing drug developed secretly and administered without the consent of the user. They needed to test their trial cancer-curing drugs and their effectiveness. To do that, they needed test patients.

__________________**__________________

Breaking News!

“In a bizarre twist of what was, hailed, the most important breakthrough in the medical fraternity just over a year ago. The five most influential people behind Miracle-336, made by the biggest research-based pharmaceutical company, Drucs Inc., died in what police described as suspicious deaths. The deaths ranged from an unconfirmed suicide, a hit and run, a robbery that went wrong, an accidental drowning caused by severe blunt force head trauma. The company CEO is the latest bizarre death. It appears that he died from an overdose of an unclassified drug. The pathologist who performed the autopsy claims the deadly cocktail does not exist. Speculation is rife that the CEO might have tested an unproven drug on himself, as reported by the police in today's press briefing. More on this developing story in our next bulletin.”

Rhonda switched off the flatscreen and closed her eyes as she sunk into the luxury leather sofa. The news bulletin triggered flashbacks of disturbing Images that raced through her mind. A greedy, soulless man bound to a chair. The large vial containing liquid Can-21 that she emptied using an oversized syringe. How arrogant the CEO was when she confronted him with the evidence and Rita’s patient file that detailed the long term agony she suffered at his hands. 

"You have to look at the bigger picture Rhonda. This drug will save millions of lives, so what if your friend died. In the greater scheme of things, she doesn’t matter.”

The final image that played out was the shocked expression of disbelief on the face of the cold CEO when she plunged the lethal dose of Can-21 poison into his neck…

Rhonda was grateful that Miracle-336 cured her of the induced disease that ravaged her internally. She must live with her version of survivors guilt, but she pledged to fight for all those who can’t fight for themselves. The evil and greedy men of this world better watch their backs. Project-Can was only the beginning of her retribution.

The secret laboratory experiment was dead, along with all the real “sick” bastards who created it and intentionally tortured and killed 335 healthy souls.

“Rest in peace, Rita, and know that you mattered.”

 

The End

 


Submitted: April 16, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Sharief Hendricks. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:

Comments

bloodman

Great to read your work again. Good flowing read to the end.

Fri, April 16th, 2021 8:14pm

Author
Reply

Thanx so much bloodman...

I was away for 2 months but I'm so happy to be back and to be welcomed by such kind comments ...

Fri, April 16th, 2021 2:28pm

LE. Berry

Great story build up in your descriptive Sharief...captivating read.

Fri, April 16th, 2021 8:46pm

Author
Reply

Thanx so much LE.Berry !!

I am so grateful for your kind comment...

Happy to be back writing !!!

Fri, April 16th, 2021 2:31pm

Vance Currie

This is excellent work, Sharief. You don't need any more help from me. From here on, you can only get better and better. This story is clever and well structured, and I enjoyed reading it very much. There is nothing like a good revenge story. The writing style that you have developed is so easy to read. Write on.

Fri, April 16th, 2021 11:04pm

Author
Reply

Oh wow, thanx soooo much Joe...

That means so much to me sir !!!

I have been offline for a while and to be welcomed back with this generous comment is amazing...

Sun, April 18th, 2021 10:13am

CuriousOne

It's good to read your work again Sharief.

Another great story! Love that ending too!

Sun, April 25th, 2021 1:38am

Author
Reply

Hey CO

I was offline for a few months due to work relocation...hectic brother...

I am so glad to be back and to be welcomed by such a kind comment from a writer as yourself that I hold in high regard !!!

Thanx again CO !

Mon, April 26th, 2021 12:48am

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