stein appreciation week

Stein Week Day 1: Alive

Stein’s head shot up from the desk, his heart pounding. He panted heavily, his breath ragged and fogging the air in front of him. His head felt heavy, and he didn’t know why. Colors swam in his vision and there was a distinct, loud ringing in his ears. He waited, two, three, four minutes, but it stayed the same. His world blinded by garish colors and the ringing growing deafening. He screwed his eyes shut and slammed his hands over his ears in a vain attempt to make it stop, and….he felt it. His fingers brushing against cool metal. Under the palms of his hands, he could feel the grains of some dried liquid coating his ears and the sides of his head. He stood, shakily, and staggered his way towards the bathroom. He knocked over papers and tables and beakers, but he kept going. Finally, his shoulder slammed into the wall by the bathroom door, and his hand pulled away from his head, searching for the doorknob. He found it and twisted, nearly falling into the room. He straightened and leaned against the wall opposite the mirror for support, then opened his eyes.

His breath caught in his throat. He tried closing his eyes again, and opening them, but the image didn’t change. There he stood, his hands clamped over his ears like an annoyed child, and…..this giant, steel screw stuck right through his skull. From one temple to the other. He pulled his hands away from the sides of his head and turned, just slightly. Dried blood was caked in his silver hair, and along his jaw line. It was the same on the other side. Bandages were wrapped messily around where the screw and his skin met. He gingerly touched the bandages, and searing pain went through his skull. 

“J…..Jesus Christ…..” He whispered. How the hell did he even manage to get it in his head?! His eyes widened at a thought. “Notes. My notes.” He quickly stumbled out of the bathroom and ran towards his desk. He always kept notes, every single time he did an experiment or dissection, he would write his notes. He searched through the many piles of paper, his hands shaking. He finally stopped as he spotted a paper labeled ‘Madness Stabilization’. His brows furrowed, and he quickly read over the neat handwriting. His plan had been to insert the screw as a way of controlling his increasing madness. He’d planned and mapped out everything. The screw would go through the section that controlled and regulated emotion. And every time he turned it, he’d gain back some focus.

The scientist blinked. Turn it? It hurt just to touch it, but to turn this thing that was stuck through his head? He swallowed nervously. He’d never doubted himself before. So why now? He slowly reached up, grasping the flat head of the screw, and turned it. He heard a loud ‘click!’, and his vision suddenly cleared. He no longer heard the loud ringing. He dropped the papers, and his hand fell to his side. A large grin spread across his features, though it held no madness. He could finally control it. He’d have problems, of course, but now, he didn’t have to worry that he next hour might hold insanity. He could focus on a whim. And, better yet, he proved that one could live with a giant bloody screw in their head! He didn’t even know that was possible! He fell into his chair, causing it to roll across the floor. He turned the screw in his head once more, and the color spots in his vision scurried away. This was more than great, he could focus on his work even more now. He didn’t have to fear the ever looming presence of madness.

He could live.