Far Horizons: Tales of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror. Issue #13 April 2015 - Page 51

the door to the room and was met with what looked like a large janitor’s closet. The room was full of sterilized medical tubing in packaging, an assortment of tools that looked to be used for medical devices and other medical odds and ends, more like a supply closet in a hospital than a janitor’s closet. On one side of the room I heard the fridge hum in the pale light made by a lamp. I walked over and opened it, to my astonishment the whole fridge, every single spot available was filled with medium sized IV bags full of saline. If I hadn’t been careful opening the fridge door I think some of them would have fallen out. I carefully took two bags and approached Bixby’s door. I called to Mr Bixby before knocking and heard his voice asking me to enter. As I entered I noticed how it was lit with multiple coloured lights in a soft dim setting, enough to illuminate but gentle on my eyes. Near the door was a metal cart on a track bolted to the floor, I placed the saline bags on it. “All set Mr Bixby?” I asked as the cart moved around a shoji screen that partitioned the room.. “I’m alright for now thank you. Could you brew up some tea for me, after you made yourself at home? I would appreciate that.” The voice of Bixby came from behind the screen; I could just barely make his silhouette out. Strangely after that first night, I had no issues with the work. In fact I found an odd sense of accomplishment in it. I would go about my business and get a call on the intercom and Bixby would request either a meal, something to read or for another bag or two of saline. When he made these requests he was always polite and friendly. After a day or two he would actually have me stay by the door in his room and he would have conversations with me. I learned about the man I was temporarily working for, he was a linguist who used to travel and read texts to decipher their meanings. On one occasion while working he was struck with what he called his “cursed ailment” which had prevented him from working for the last six years. He considered himself lucky that he had the help of Ms Davenport over those years to help him adjust. Towards the end of the first week, I asked if he needed anything from the store. I called multiple times with no response before I knocked, still silence. I opened the door and stepped into the room and saw Bixby’s shadow on the screen and heard him wheezing in distress. Ms Davenport told me under no circumstances was I allowed to go behind the screen but the man was not responsive and sounded like he was struggling for air, so against my better judgment I went around the shoji screen and to my fright I saw Mr Bixby. He was sat in a specially made chair, his head was strapped in a device resembling a barbaric version of a Phoropter, it had holders for the saline bags I’d brought to him over the past week, tubes from the bags led to his eyes which were bulging out of his head with the help of speculums