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Report 1: Meredith Koenig—Insects

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The patient's name is Meredith Ellen Koenig; aged twenty-one, female, brown eyes, blonde hair, approximately 125 pounds, height: 6 foot 7, no family history of mental illnesses and no personal history, either.

I was contacted in regards to Ms. Koenig's case by an associate who shall remain nameless. Said associate knew of my skill in dealing with unusual subjects and believed that I was better suited to handle her case. A case which has, apparently, led to many sleepless nights for him.

I find that rather pathetic. He's a doctor with a suitably high IQ and he should know how to confront unusual problems with as much care and intelligence as he would approach a cancer or AIDS sufferer.

But, despite my contempt for his lack of nerve, I wouldn't pass up this case, not in a million years.

My associate told me that, when she was admitted, a full month after having been through as many physical tests as her budget would allow, she was a nervous wreck, unable to pass more than a few minutes without scratching or fidgeting.

She said that she'd become infested with these insects during a hike in the upper reaches of New Hampshire, that she'd fallen down an embankment and crashed into their nest, tearing it open and getting swarmed and bitten by them.

The full transcript of her testimony is enclosed in this document, but, to give you a taste of her general mental state, I've copied what she said in answer to my associate's question as to why her body was found unmarked.

They crawled in through my scrapes and sealed the way behind them. They're there, though.

...I see...and can you feel them right now?

Yes.

Do they hurt you?

Only if I try to cut them out. They bite me, sting me inside, they know where it hurts the most.

Alright,so they leave you alone if you don't try and remove them?

No. They never leave me alone. I can always feel them, even when they're not stinging, they're doing things to me. Moving things, laying eggs, making nests all over....talking to me.

They speak to you?

"Yes.

"What do they say?

...I don't want to talk about it.

It wasn't long after giving that testimony that Ms. Koenig began taking extreme measures to get the insects out of her body using sharpened bits of plastic. This resulted in her being sent to the intensive care ward and placed under suicide watch.

This ward, which shall also go unnamed, is the one where my associate works. He was given her case and very quickly found that he was in over his head after Ms. Koenig gouged open her left eye to prove to him that there was a small nest of the mystery insects in her ocular cavity.

He called me the morning after and begged me to take the case from him. Describing the incident with so much horrified incredulity that it nearly made me laugh; You'd think that a psychiatrist of his tenure would deal with such matters a bit more professionally.

Unless, of course, he wasn't telling me the whole story. That suspicion, coupled with the knowledge that my associate wouldn't call on me to examine something so mundane, piqued my interest enough to make me exchange the warm confines of the office for a cold, cramped train booth.

I arrived at the ward at 12:00 sharp the next day and found my associate waiting impatiently for me at the station, looking for all the world like a child whose lost their parents at the mall.

As we drove back through fog-choked streets, he told me that Ms. Koenig had tried to insert a stolen scalpel into her navel to dig out one of the insects the same night he'd called, and was now out cold with a stomach full of tranquilizers.

I went into her room, not bothering to engage in pointless chit-chat with my associate, and gave her a cursory examination.

As I did this, my associate finally told me what I'd suspected- that he hadn't told me the whole truth, that he had seen something moving under her eyelid as she was plunging the scalpel in.

Taking his words into account, I pried her left eyelid open and used my penlight to have a better look.

She had done quite a number on herself. She'd scrambled the eyeball, reduced it to jelly and scored the skin and bone around it, the lids themselves were so badly shredded that, even with stitches and grafts, I doubt they'd ever be able to fully open.

The inside of the eye was hollow and pink, the eyeball had been too mutilated to function and had had to be removed. I didn't see anything at first, aside from nude viscera, but, after a moment or two, I caught a glimpse of something shifting in the soft meat.

It retracted before I could catch it with my tweezers.

After a moments' annoyance at trying to figure out how best to coax it out from its' hiding place I recalled how the cockroaches that lived in bat guano would flee when exposed to light, but would move freely in the dark. So I turned my penlight off, took out my tweezers and waited a minute before turning the light back on.

This time I saw several thin, dark-gray feelers squirming around, weaving in and out of the flesh like living thread. I acted as quickly as I could and, being as careful as I could, I extracted the creature.

It was long and thin, somewhat similar in shape to an earwig, but fatter and winged. It's body was opaque and filled with a churning, violet liquid, like a glass mold filled with quicksilver, and, in place of a head, it's top half was mostly dominated by a mass of very long, thin feelers that snapped angrily at the air.

There was blood, of course, and Ms. Koenig woke up with a loud scream that made me almost drop the creature that was in her eye. But I secured the creature and left before anyone could catch me.

It's been two days since then, and I have studied the insect to the best of my extent.

It appears as though its body isn't composed of normal organic material, I have no idea what it's made of and it doesn't seem to possess even a rudimentary nervous system or brain. It also seems as though the feelers that make up its head are able to cleanly cut through skin without causing pain.

I had to go through a cat to get that information, but the expense was worth it.

I also learned that these insects breed quickly, as evidenced by how the cat had chewed through most of its' stomach trying to get them out. This is a very bad thing, as it means that these insects can most likely transfer from one host to another, and continue the infection.

This cannot be allowed to happen.

Tomorrow I will go back to the ward and collect Ms. Koenig so that I can try to isolate the insects living inside of her. I'm sure that I will have to take some rather extreme measures with her treatment, but she may live through it with a bit of luck, though she'll most likely wind up losing a few parts.

But, when all is said and done, I think she'll understand. It's for the good of the world. She can think on that when I'm treating her.

A thousand lives for every inch of skin and severed nerve.

I just hope that she doesn't die on my watch. I hate having to explain the losses to the Benefactors.

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