• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 01

Imagine that

I sit back in the treatment chair. I look at my hand. Is this another test? Dr. Smith tells me to imagine I'm holding a small box. A box? I ask. Yes. Or a Rubik's cube – do you know what that is? Yes, I say. I remember them from my childhood. I imagine the Rubik's cube resting on my palm. Can you manipulate it, rotate the lower section? I flex my hand. I don't feel like I'm holding a Rubik's cube. I feel nothing, then a sharp bitter sting of nerve pain snaking out from my wrist. Dr. Smith looks at the screen. A stylised image of a hand shows up on there, the palm flashing magenta. Let's try again, suggests Dr. Smith. Imagine your childhood. Imagine a bright summer's day. I take an involuntary deep breath. I feel like I'm pinned to the chair by a restraining band across my chest. I look at my hand and I see it. It's as if I'm holding a field of ripe corn, complete with fluttering butterflies. I hear birdsong and the bees humming. I feel the heat of sunshine on my skin. It's emanating from a blue sky sparsely dotted with high wispy clouds. That's good, says Dr. Smith. Reach out. Can you touch the sky? Can you grab hold of it? I stretch my fingers, farther, farther. I try to pinch the clouds between my thumb and forefinger. The sky stays out of reach. Try harder, encourages Dr. Smith. I reach and grasp. I concentrate. I can see steeply rolling green hills on the edge of the field, some still with snow-caps despite the summer heat. I smell an electric tang like ozone before a storm. I hear a sizzling, thrumming noise, slowly rising in intensity. I look over to the screen. The image of the hand is flashing yellow now, gradually changing to green. Just a little more, says Dr. Smith. You're doing really well. Try to grab hold of it. Keep going. I concentrate on the cornfield in my hand till the undulating waves of ripe grain fill my vision. I feel the ripe plumpness of each ear of corn. The thrumming, buzzing sound rises to an uncomfortable level, then suddenly snaps off. Well done, says Dr. Smith and turns back to the screen. Take a moment to rest. The limb regeneration program has completed successfully. Tomorrow we'll work on your other hand.

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