"Absolute Surreality" by Mozart

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So I decided to try an actual story with actual chapters. This will be trippy in every sense of the word, with happy use of the stream-of-consciousness technique in the Dreamscape. I have a rough idea what will happen--I mean, I leave myself open to surprises, but as my good man E. L. Doctorow says--"You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."

The story soundtrack is "Sleepyhead" by Passion Pit.

One of my original characters will show up sooner or later, but don't worry about it.
It had long been to your understanding that nothing is to be understood. Everything was real, everything was possible--but nothing could be assumed, nothing overlooked. You'd seen things in your life as a young girl that others would never experience in their entire lives, but you accepted it. You had to.

You had to accept everything.

Perhaps this was a good thing. A lesser person, one with no imagination, or one with cynicism or disbelief--they would not have survived what you did.

In the days of your youth, the International Institute of Health was your playground. You skipped carelessly through the restricted hallways. Your father had always been far too busy helping some poor unfortunate soul, and with guilt at his absence, he allowed you free reign of the massive research center and hospital. And you certainly took advantage of that glorious opportunity. Sure, the patients would stare at you, but you would stare back. You desensitized yourself very early.

You enjoyed Sector Two of the IIH--the Anatomy sector. You would watch the patients come in without arms or legs, or their stomachs skewered. You could peek into a room and see a headless body sitting calmly on a table, a doctor nearby. Just a few feet away was the disembodied head, watching you curiously. You'd giggle and wave, and the body would shyly wave back. And then you'd giggle once more, and return to your leisurely stroll. Experiments were the best part of Sector Two.

But what about Sector Five? The Autopsy sector! You didn't particularly enjoy seeing people dead, sure, but you were very interested in the way that they died. How curious some deaths were! Some were failed experiments from Sector Two. Some were unusual or gruesome cases from around the world. Whatever they were, they were incredibly interesting to you. And when the pathologists would turn to see you, watching unblinking from a crack in the door--they would all laugh. "She's her father's daughter!" "Yes, just like the Good Doctor."

But out of all the Sectors--autopsy, anatomy, general health, diseases--your absolute favorite place to visit was Sector Seven. The Mental Health sector. The mind is certainly a curious thing, and Sector Seven proved just how curious it could be. There were patients who found themselves unable to breath without thinking about it...patients who were trapped in the past...patients who were just a moment from killing everyone in the room. Your morbid curiosity was always satiated here. At times, the other sectors could be nearly commonplace, but never here.

When you were still in high school, however, strange things began to happen around Sector Seven. There seemed to be some sort of strange happening that caused the entire wing to get shut down. Oh, it was quite the sight. The police were lined up everywhere, yelling and pushing, making sure that nobody got too close. They entered a hallway of the sector, and one by one they came out with horrible expressions and hushed voices. You remembered one officer--maybe he was the chief?--in particular, who looked especially ashen-faced at what lay beyond the corner.

Occasionally, you'd heard screams coming from around the corner, from behind the secretive yellow tape. "They've gone! They've gone!" And a pale, tall young man, covered in blood, was dragged out and disappeared once more.

No word of the happening reached outside the IIH, and you suspected that those same terrified policemen covered up the whole thing.

Oh, well. The IIH liked to look good. There was nothing villainous about it.

You had befriended many of the nurses, and after some prodding they told you snatches about the incident.

"It was horrible, horrible!" they'd say. "There was this project that Doctor Karpusi and his colleagues were working on...and then some accident happened...and poor Doctor Williams, who wasn't even working on the project, was brutally murdered by...oh, I don't know. They don't tell me anything."

You forgot about the incident when you entered college, and left your playground that was the IIH. After all, it probably wasn't the strangest thing to occur at the IIH. Well--it didn't seem strange to you, at the time. But you didn't know the whole story. You would figure this out, thankfully(?).

College, however, was horribly boring to you. There were no patients with sewn-on limbs, or a prosthetic arm that doubled as a weapon of mass destruction. So you came back to the IIH once, just once, to visit your dear old father--the Good Doctor. And perhaps you could figure out what happened all those years ago.

It was a warm summer day when you returned to your old haunt, and you couldn't have been in a better mood. You were looking forward to the new developments in the IIH--you heard they obtained a sector devoted to the sixth sense!--and you couldn't wait to see all of the new patients. It'd only been a few years since you left, so you couldn't imagine that things were radically different, but you could look forward to a new batch of biological abnormalities. Hopefully, Sector Seven got a new nutcase...

As you entered your favorite sector, you encountered a man sleeping in a chair in the waiting room. You recognized him as Doctor Karpusi, the doctor who worked on whatever caused that incident years ago. He was several years older than you, but his gentle demeanor prevented any sort of awkwardness in your youth. You hadn't remembered him napping often, though, and certainly not in such a location.

The receptionist seemed to notice your stares, and he waved you forward.

"Ah, don't disturb Doctor Karpusi," the receptionist, whose nametag seemed to read "Mr. von Bock," told you. "He goes into catatonia occasionally, and becomes extremely distressed if you try to wake him up from it. It's nothing to be worried about...just leave him be."

"I see..." You nodded. "Did something happen? He didn't used to be like this."

Mr. von Bock suddenly squirmed, and went back to his duties on the computer. "Well, something happened a few years ago, and...well, nobody likes to discuss it."

And that's when you made your resolution to find out everything. You just didn't realize how terrible of an idea that it was.

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