The brisk tap of shoes on the metal floor echoes in the waiting room as nurses rush back and forth. At 10 o’clock at night, the hospital is at its peak; patients of all ages sit on plush chairs as their family members anxiously mill around, chattering on their phones. A baby pouts as her mother, who is ghastly white and preoccupied with sucking in small, sharp breaths, ignores her attempt for attention. A large man adjusts his scarf as he lets out another loud, hacking cough, and an old woman slowly inches away from him. 

At the far end of the waiting room, looking a bit out of place, an unassuming middle-aged man sits quietly on the couch. His eyes are glazed over, and his head periodically twitches. When a nurse calls his name and beckons him to follow her, his eyes slowly focus and he rises.

After waiting a few minutes, the doctor arrives.

“So, tell me about your…” The doctor repositions his glasses, squinting at the paper on his clipboard. “…brain situation.” 

James’ voice is gritty and hoarse. “I don’t know. I was recently in a car accident, and I was stuck in a coma for two months. I woke up yesterday to feel a strange sensation in my brain… it felt like something was scratching it, you know?”

The doctor raises his eyebrow but nods for him to continue.

“So obviously I got worried, and I’m here now,” James finishes.

“Alright,” the doctor scribbles something on his notebook. “Do you feel any different from before the coma?”

“No, and my family said they didn’t notice anything out of place either.”

The doctor closes his notebook. “Those sensations might just be there because you haven’t fully recovered from the accident yet. All I can do is prescribe you some pain medication if it gets worse. For now, keep taking note of what you feel and come back if there are any changes.”

James agrees, but he still feels a prickle of unease.

3 days later

The doctor, this time a woman, watches her patient uncertainly. The middle-aged man is muttering to himself, seemingly oblivious that she is in front of him. His words are unintelligible, but the doctor is almost glad that she doesn’t know what he is saying. 

She hesitantly taps him on the shoulder, to which he responds by jolting and blinking furiously. 

“Did I do it again?” James shakes his head.


“Sorry, sorry. These past few days, I haven’t been so well,” James explains. “My head feels so weird, like there’s something inside of it.”

The doctor nods doubtfully. “When did this start?”

“Over the past couple of days,” James shudders. “My family even says that sometimes I start randomly talking to myself, but I don’t remember ever doing that. I think they might be playing a joke on me, but I wanted to come here to be safe.”

The doctor recalls his actions before she had roused him and frowns. “I think you just need a good rest. Keep monitoring it for a week, and if it’s still bothering you, come back.”

James still feels apprehensive but has no choice but to agree again. 

5 days later

“PLEASE, MAKE IT STOP!!” A middle-aged man rushes into the waiting room, drawing everyone’s attention. Everyone quiets down, and an old man even stifles a cough. 

The man is out of breath and looks deranged, with frazzled hair that seems like it hasn’t been washed in a week and clothes that look about to fall off his body.

A nurse ushers him to follow her, and he rushes into a hospital room.

The doctor, an inexperienced-looking young man, asks what his problem is.


The doctor seems at a loss for what to do. She motions for him to calm down. “Can you… point me to where it is?”

James breathes heavily and furiously points to a spot in the middle of his forehead. He lets out a strange moan. “Please… I just need a break.”

“How about… we do an MRI to see what’s bothering you?” The doctor asks.

“Yes, YES!!”

After taking the MRI, the doctor enters the room with the results.

She has a strange expression on her face, as if she doesn’t know how to tell him the results.

“Well? SAY IT,” James says harshly.

“The MRI shows a normal, healthy brain,” the doctor explains with a confused tone.

“That’s impossible,” James shakes his head. “That’s impossible. No way.”

The doctor hesitantly says, “Well… how do I put this… you might just be hallucinating. The machines don’t lie. I’ll prescribe you some antipsychotic medication, but it’s the best I can do.”

That’s true. If the MRI doesn’t show anything, it can only be in my mind, James thinks. Huh. Am I really hallucinating?

James decides that his hallucinations are side effects of his coma. Yes, that must be it.

Unbeknownst to James, little creatures are crawling into every nook of his brain, giggling and carrying out their everyday tasks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s