James was lying down on his bed. Dr Walsh was sat in a chair next to him.
“Right, James, I want you to close your eyes and empty your mind. Listen to my voice, only my voice. You’re in your favourite place, the forest. You are deep in the forest, James. It’s a bright sunny day, and you’re surrounded by beautiful full-leafed trees. The trees create a canopy over you and are filtering the sun into rays that form a random, speckled pattern. You can smell the trees and the wild flowers at your feet that reach for the sun, leaning towards its nourishing blessing. You stand in one of the rays of sunlight, relishing its warmth. You feel it nourishing you as if you were a flower.”
James let himself be guided by Dr Walsh and he found himself in the forest just as Dr Walsh described. James loved the forest; it reminded him of his childhood when he would spend time on his grandparents' farm and play in the woods nearby. He slowly turned on the spot, taking everything in – the warmth of the sun, the feel of the breeze. It all seemed so real.
“Suddenly the sun is extinguished and the creature of your dreams appears in front of you.”
James heard a noise near a fallen tree nearby. He looked at the tree but saw nothing. Then suddenly, as if somebody had pushed a switch, the sun and its nourishing light vanished and he was left in darkness. The thing with the badger head and material body appeared by the tree. It just stood there, staring right at James with those black, soulless eyes.
James started to squirm and moan on the bed. Dr Walsh leant towards him.
“It can’t hurt you, James. It’s just a figment of your imagination. It’s a symptom of your illness. You have to face it, James. Only then can you truly be cured.”
James started to thrash about.
James couldn’t move. His legs felt like lead as the thing moved slowly towards him. Its material body dragged along the forest floor, its blades raised, as it approached.
“It cannot hurt you, James. Fight it.”
It was at James’s feet now, looking up at him. It moved its blades against each other and James felt heat running down his leg.
Dr Walsh sniffed as the smell of urine filled the room. “OK, James, the sun has come back, nourishing once again with its rays of golden beauty.”
James continued to stand in the dark, the sun startling in its absence. The thing looked at the canopy of trees then back at James. Even though it didn’t have a mouth that James could see, he sensed it was smiling.
James started to scream and thrash more wildly. Dr Walsh ran to the door and pulled the emergency call lead that hung by the frame.
“James, you are leaving the forest and coming back to the hospital. You are slowly waking up.”
The thing tilted its head. James dropped to his knees.
The door opened and Dr Barrett ran into the room followed by three nurses. “What’s going on?” she said. She saw Dr Walsh holding James’s arms as he continued to thrash about and scream.
“He wont wake up from he hypnosis,” Dr Walsh said, concerned.
James was at eye level with the thing now, as it continued to tilt its head from side to side. It lifted its blades up and ran them over James’s forehead and eyes, down his cheeks. James started to shake, tears welling up in his eyes.
James’s thrashing became so violent that even with five people they struggled to hold him down. Dr Walsh shouted at a nurse to grab the medical trolley.
The thing brought the blades back up to James’s eyes.
James thrashed more violently, wrentching his arm free and hitting Dr Barrett, knocking her across the room.
The thing hovered its blades in front of James’s face as it continued to move its head from side to side. Then it plunged both blades through James’s eyes.
James let out a final piercing scream, arched his back and fell to the bed, silent.