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In My Own Skin

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As many people come to realize in their lives, high school can be a difficult time. People can be cruel, unforgiving, and ruthless. And if you're any different from the crowd, they'll cast you out like a freak. I was one of those people. I never really had any friends, but more like people who decided to sit with me at lunch out of pity. You know, the do-gooders who feel some sort of self-righteousness after simply eating their food in my general vicinity.

I didn't care about them. They all scorned me when I wasn't looking, anyway, and I wasn't about to give them fake kindness back. Whenever anyone would come up to me like a dangerous animal, I'd give them a reason to, by snapping back at them to leave me alone.

That doesn't mean I never liked or wanted friends. In fact, I felt horribly alone. You can tell me that beggars can't be choosers, but, if you were lost, would you go through the colorful flowery field or the dark, dangerous forest?

True, I wanted friends. I was never really a people person, I guess. A few months ago, my parents took me to a psychiatrist where I was diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder.

Go figure.

On top of that, my anxiety was about to kill me. I've found that it's harder than people bring it up to be to not care about what people say. I'd hear words like "freak", "psycho", "vampire", "creep", and the like all the time. And so, I turned to self-harm. I know it was never good, but I felt like it was another way to express my emotional pain. Plus, I always thought of my skin as a canvas. The lines I'd draw with a pushpin would usually make some cool design, and although it hurt, I liked it.

People noticed. And they cast me out further. I hated that they did. I felt so ultimately worthless in life. It seemed to me like suicide was the only option. What did they know? What did they care?

Not a fucking bit.

I decided I was going to simply overdose on a bottle of my mom's prescribed pain medicine, and then I'd just be gone.

Like that.

But it was while I was writing my suicide note that I got the call.

I felt my cellphone buzz in my pocket. Can't hurt to answer it one last time, I thought.

It was the suicide hotline.

I would've thought I'd be the one calling them.

The sound on the other end of the line didn't sound like any other 1-800 hotline. It sounded like a faint hustle and bustle of a hospital ward. The only discernible sound that could be heard was a heart monitor, beating steadily, but slowly.

Then, a voice started talking to me. It sounded like any old automated phone service, but with more emotion and tone. I could tell it was a human, but whoever it was sounded like a robot anyway.

"Hello. Are you happy with your life?"


"Are you happy with your body?"

No. I hated my body. I always thought I was too fat for friends, on top of the scars.

"Do you want to just escape it all?"

I noticed in the background that the heart monitor was beating faster, and so was mine. They seemed eerily in sync... This was the one question I decided to answer.


The heartbeat was beating much faster than mine now, at a steadily increasing pace.

For about 10 seconds, there was no talking, just the sound of the heartbeat getting faster and faster

I think it was also getting louder. My ears were starting to hurt.

Then the voice spoke up.

"That's all we needed to hear."

The heartbeat stops, and the stereotypical elongated beep followed, indicating that the heart was no longer beating- did I just hear someone die?

The hell?

I felt dizzy, like the kind you get with a migraine headache. My vision started to blur, and I reached for the prescription drugs. Yet, as I did, my balance would fail me, and I'd slip away from it.

I heard three pounding knocks on the front door of the house. Odd. It was 9:30 at night. We don't usually get visitors.

Then, it sounded like someone busted the door down. Was I being robbed? I was home alone that night; my parents were wherever doing I don't care.

Footsteps throughout the house. Yes, there was an outsider in the house. I was too dizzy and disoriented to do anything about it. I simply stumbled around my room, trying to gain my balance.

Then, a foot through my door.

Then, no more door.

The door was on the floor.

Five men, all dressed in black, stormed in, each armed. Their outfits were all black, except for what looked like a surgical mask on all of them.

I cowered in the corner. Who were these men? What were they doing here? They reached for me, and I screamed. I tried to punch, but again I was too dizzy, and they were too quick. Two of them seized my arms, and two seized my legs. I kicked, and squirmed, but to no avail.

Before I knew it, I was being forcibly strapped to a stretcher, like the ones they load into ambulances.

I screamed "No! NO! Don't take me!"

It seemed like none of them would listen.

My screams continued as they pulled me downstairs, and out the front door, where a black van was waiting.

Again, I screamed "NO! NO! NO! YOU CAN'T TAKE ME!" and through my tear streamed eyes, I saw two figures I recognized.

My parents.

I screamed "Mom! Dad! What the hell is going on?"

After finishing a conversation with one of the men in black and surgical masks, my mom said, calmly,

"This is for your own good, honey."

Then, I felt a sharp pain in my arm. An injection needle.

What the fuck were they doing to me?

Next thing I know, my muscles start spazzing out.

My arms are convulsing, my legs contorting, my heart beating.

I had no control. I was having a massive seizure.

After a minute of pulsing violently in the stretcher, it stopped.

They loaded me into the van, and I blacked out.

When I woke up, everything was white. A bright light shone above my face, nearly blinding me. All I could remember from the night before was that I was being taken and had a seizure. As my vision adjusted, I could see that now, I was tied to a hospital bed. And the men in black were now in white.

But their surgical masks were black now.

I couldn't really move any of my limbs, but I could tell my legs were sore. Probably from struggling last night, I assumed.

Then came the heart monitor sound.

I noticed on my hand, the usual sensor and wires that hooked me up to a heart monitor. I was hearing my own heartbeat. Just like on the phone call. All of the men, who were now in white, were hustling around, until one with a clipboard stopped at the foot of my bed and spoke aloud:

"Begin the procedure and removal."

Removal? The fuck? First of all, what the hell were they going to do to me? I never consented to this.

I asked him precisely that, and I received no answer.

I asked again, but almost screaming, "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING TO ME?!"

The man with the clipboard spoke again,

"Proceed with the sedative."

One attendant hooks me up to an IV in my arm. Little prick in the arm, no big deal. But when I look where the cord is going, the heart monitor speeds up. It didn't end in some fluid baggie on top of a pole. It went into a tank. Which I'll guess was full of whatever sedative they were using on me. I heard the flick of a switch, and I felt a surge of liquid through my body. It felt stimulating at first, like I was getting drunk or high, but then I realized:

I can't feel anything anymore.

I can't move.

I tried to speak, but my mouth wouldn't open, nor would my vocal chords produce any muffled sound.

My eyes wouldn't close either. And I could hear everything.

No control. My only choice was to let them do whatever they were doing.

No stopping them at this point.

My thoughts were my only screams at this point. 

I saw one man, or doctor at this point, pull out a long, shiny, metal object.

No, no, no, no, no. This isn't happening. This is a dream.

Shit. This isn't a dream.

The doctor with a clipboard said "Execute first removal." He lowers the object towards my body, and I feel a forceful tugging on my right leg. I can't feel anything, but I see blood spurting everywhere.

My own blood. 

I want to vomit, but I can't use any muscles to bring anything up.

More forceful tugging on my right leg. Then, a sharp crack, like snapping a branch underneath your foot. I look, and to my horror, my entire right leg is being carried off' before my eyes. My internal screams could not be heard, yet the only fear I could physically express was through my eyes. What the literal fuck? My right leg was now gone, forcefully cut from my body in front of me. 

They're fucking dismembering me.

The process continues with my left leg, and so I'm left there, a bleeding mess, without any lower half to convulse, kick, or run away with. All I see are two bloody stumps, with bone protruding, where my legs used to be. 

Oh my fucking god.

I see one of the doctors inject another IV into my other arm. Coming from another tank with a visibly red substance. They're feeding me blood, so that I can stay alive throughout this entire process. 

My pelvis is still there, perhaps if I escape, I can still live in a wheelchair, I thought. Then, the clipboard doctor commands,

"Proceed with laser removal."

A switch goes on. A bright red light on top of my midsection. I can't feel it, but I know it's getting hotter and hotter and hotter.

I'm not sure the heart monitor can go any faster before I have a heart attack.

He wasn't kidding when he said laser removal. Next thing I know, from where my diaphragm meets my pelvis, there are scorch marks. And a line, going across. After it finishes drawing across the other end of my midsection, two doctors grab on to it and yank. 

This was more forceful than feeling my own fucking legs being taken off me. I can see my own intestines stringing out in front of me. And more gushing blood. Most of the hospital bed that was going to be my death bed was a dark shade of red instead of white now.

With a puddle of my own entrails in front of my diminishing figure, I was becoming silently delirious. I still couldn't speak.

How the fuck was I alive at this point?

The doctor says, "Execute chest cavity removal."

Oh my god. They're pulling out my organs, one at a time. One of them reaches for a scalpel, and then at me.

All the while I'm thinking, "Fuck you! Fuck you all! Why the fuck are you doing this?"

He makes a small incision, just above my left nipple, then cuts all the way across my breast to the opposite side. He then goes down, about to the length of my belly button. I guess I never realized just how skinny I was. He cuts with precision to the left across my belly, and up again where he started. 

He has to tug a little bit, but I can feel it ripping off of me.

He pulls the skin, and little by little, it tears away from my ribs, stomach, and intestines, which nearly spill out in front of me due to lack of support.

I have no choice but to accept this now.

No skin is left over my chest, and I can see my lungs, protected by my rib cage, and my heart, which is still miraculously beating.

The doctor reaches for my chest again. I try to consciously look away as I hear snap, after snap, after snap, until a pile of white sticks, which at this point I assume are my ribs, are carried away from me. My lungs are pulsing in front of me, as I breathe, and I would feel nauseated if I had any stomach left. 

I hear the same voice that's been commanding my execution, saying

"All vitals remain. Proceed with extraction."

I see them out of the corner of my eye stick a needle in my head. My vision is now blurred, but I can make out what looks like a spoon, and a hand reaching for my face.

Oh god, no. 

Just as my vision went black, I felt a tool insert itself behind my right eye, tugging, a snap, and then nothing. The same with the other eye.

They scooped out my eyes.

And although I couldn't see anything, I mentally blacked out on the order of "Begin vitals transplant."

I woke up after an indefinite period of time, which I assumed was many hours, considering the massive sedative I thought I was under. I was still in a hospital bed. 

Thank god, it was all a dream.

I had full movement of all my limbs, and I wasn't even hooked up to any IV's or heart monitors. I felt whole again. Still dazed and confused, I stumbled around the white hospital ward, until I found a bathroom.  I tried to wash off my face with cold water, so I'd wake up and come to my senses. And then I looked in the mirror.

That was not the face I recognized. At least I thought I was a scrawny, blond-haired fifteen year old, with a head that slightly resembled a pickle jar. The face I saw was more round, brown haired, with a more pointed nose. 

I lifted my hands to feel my face, to confirm it.

Then I noticed the scars.

But first, the absence of scars. 

My arms were completely clean. 

But there was one big scar, lined with stitches, that ran all the way up the underside of my arm. As I visually followed it, I noticed it ran down my side.

And down my leg.

And back up my leg, into my thighs.

I finally threw off the hospital gown I was in. The scar, which was lined with stitches throughout, ran the same direction on the other side of my body.

It was like it separated me in half.

I stood there, naked, and screamed.

This was not my body.

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