My eyes play tricks on me again. It’s not the first time this has happened but I don’t have the medication with me. When I stumbled a man and woman came to help me. As I sit here now on the bench in the graveyard, the lights are bleeding into the dark stone of the church. They confuse me. They drip down in long lines and then they flash like fireworks.
The gravestones are trembling. The church spire is tilting crazy like a stalk of barley bends in the wind. I have to be home. I want to be in the hostel in my own flat bed. I take the tablets and then perhaps the headache will go away.
It’s not my real home, the hostel. I have to be careful there. I learn English but my newspapers, the others steal them. I have to wrap them around my legs; hide them in my trousers. My real home is nowhere now. It was obliterated in the war. Only rubble left. I come to England to find work. England is good. It is where the people look after you. My doctor looks after me. He will give me something for this pain. I know him. I know where he is.
If I can walk, he is across the road and past the building like a mosque with the blue dome and silver stars. His door is open. A woman is behind some glass. She will help me see the doctor. I have to sit when I get there. It is difficult for me to see.
“I am sick”
“Have you got an appointment?”
“No. I have headache. I am sick.”
She shakes her head. She has purple moving hair and her eyes are dark, like mineshafts.
“We have no appointments. The doctors are all busy.”
“But I am sick. I can’t see. He give me pills before.”
“We’ll do what we can. Take a seat please.”
The woman is talking on the phone. Her face is blurred but I see her pink tongue flicking in and out as she talks. Some of the time it is fat and pink, then I see the fork, thin and quick. They always think I don’t see it, but I do. Something terrible is happening to the people in this town. No-one listens but I see it.
She talks to another woman in the office I don’t see.
“You doing anything for Halloween tonight? You seen Mike Morris yet today? He’s going straight to a charity do after work tonight. I won’t tell you but I’ve seen his fancy dress. Amazing. I told him to make sure someone takes photos.”
She picks up the phone again and this time she speaks to me.
“Don’t worry Mr Zanacek, we’ve asked the duty doctor if he’ll see you. Would you like some water?
I don’t answer. I don’t trust her. Something about the way she moves isn’t right. She has half risen from her seat. I see her eyes clearly now as she stares at me. Narrow black lines in eyes as yellow as corn snake. She is one of them. I don’t stop trembling.
I go to leave but stumble and hold on to the chair. Someone offers me water. The hand is like a child’s hand; small and pale, covered in scales, reflecting blue, green and grey.
It’s horrible. Horrible!! I knock it away and screw my fists into my eyes until they squeak so I don’t see.
“Mr Zanacek, don’t worry. You’ll be fine – you can see the doctor straight away. It’s Dr Morris. You know him. You’ve seen him before.”
I don’t look at her ugly eyes. I want to get away from her. I know where he is. I find my way. I have been up to his room before.
“Mr Zanacek, do come this way please.”
I don’t see him properly but I recognise his voice. He has a big room but the carpet is dark, like the darkest shadow. I must take care not to fall. This carpet could hide an abyss.
He listens to me.
“It’s headache, doctor… terrible headache. I still have metal. You know. From the war. It makes it hurt sometimes.”
The doctor walks close to me, places hands on my head. They feel very cold.
“Does it hurt here? Or here?” he asks.
I don’t answer because I look at his legs and his feet. He wears grey trousers and shiny black shoes. But what is inside? I think I know.
When the doctor sits back down I have to say something.
“Can I ask you question, please?”
“Yes of course. Go ahead.”
“Are you partly reptile?”
“Partly reptile?” He repeats my words like he doesn’t know. I can’t see his expression. His face is fuzzy. It moves too much.
“Do you think I look partly reptile?”
He is clothed yes but his hands felt cold. I have the strong feeling he is partly reptile. People are changing in this town. I try to stop it but I am just one man. No superhero. Just one man against many.
I tell him. I must be honest. He is my doctor.
“Yes, I do.”
“Well I can assure you that I’m 100 percent not a reptile. Not even one percent reptile.”
He looks at his computer. He picks up the phone. He ask for operator.
“Irving Ward please.”
“Duty doctor? Yes. Hi, er, do you have 235 674 3678 with you at the moment?”
I start to get up. He is too busy for me but he waves his hand to show me to sit.
“I do apologise. I won’t be too long.”
He talks into the phone again.
“No? I thought not. That would be because he’s sitting opposite me here in my surgery. Yes..yes, he’s come to see me. Good idea. Get it organised as soon as you like.
“They can bring it straight to the door. I’m sure he will appreciate transport.”
Transport. What is transport? As he talks I see he shuffles his feet below the desk like he is nervous, like he is trying to hide something.
I see the gap between his shoe and his trouser leg. My vision is very clear now. Nothing moves except the pain tearing my head apart. I am still and feel sick like my blood is freezing inside me.
Where he should have socks there is no sock – only green, scaly thing. This is not human leg. There can be no doubt. It is a lizard leg. Inside his black shoes, I know now he has lizard feet, lizard toes, sharp claws.
He has lied to me. That is more than one percent reptile. It is as I suspected. He is like the others. He is almost one of them now. My head is burning, my heart aches for what I must do. He was such a very good doctor.