I’ve never much liked psychologists.
They’re kind of disconcerting, aren’t they? Their job is to worm their way into your mind, to read it from the inside-out, and to categorize you based on whatever fucked-up shit they find. It baffles me how often people seem willing to give themselves over to the mercy of a person like that, because if someone gets off on that, there must be something awful wrong with them, too, don’t you think?
Anyway. I digress.
It’s obvious it wasn’t my choice to visit a psychologist. Given the option, I’d much rather live with those invisible restraints descending from my brain and binding me hand and food, thank you very much. If a psychologist could hear the rattling of the chains in my mind, they could use it for themselves, couldn’t they? Making me nothing more than a puppet on a string.
Unfortunately, my parents wouldn’t take no for an answer.
Oh, sure, sure, I tried to fight them on the issue. In fact, every single appointment was preceded by a shouting match, one that I was always destined to lose. Since the appointments were monthly affairs, our house was pretty tense as long as they continued.
Our arguments tended to go something like this.
“You’re going, so help me God,” my mother would say.
“I’d rather slit my own throat,” I’d answer.
“You have to get over this. By avoiding it, you’re only hurting yourself,” she’d reply.
“What the fuck do you know about it?!” I’d scream. I would usually regret that one, but not until it was too late to take it back.
This scene repeated itself in a variety of variations each month, and yet the result was always the same. I found myself sitting in that pristine, lifeless waiting room, wondering why it was that I had to be so fucked up as to require a shrink.
This went on for over a year, almost a year and a half, each session getting longer, each day feeling a little more tense.
You’d better believe I was ready for it to end, and, on that particular Wednesday, I had decided to make it stop.
I guess my therapist had the same idea, because when I walked into the office, she wasn’t there. In her place was a tall, rather muscular man with thick black hair and a tattoo showing just under his collarbone. I froze as I saw him, because it was just so unexpected.
“Um… where’s Doctor Hadley?” I asked. I never thought a day would come when I actually preferred to see the slim, blonde woman.
The man looked down at Doctor Hadley’s ledger, which had been sitting open on her desk. “Ah, you must be Sianna. I’m sure you’re surprised to see me here, but Doctor Hadley called me in to help consult in your case. She’s worried that you two aren’t making the progress you should be, so I’m here to help.”
Another therapist? I was skeptical. Much of the time, therapists are paired up with people of the same gender. It makes it easier, in a way. It especially makes it easier when it comes to… sensitive cases like mine. So, seeing a different therapist – a MALE one, at that – was pretty damn surprising. Additionally, the man didn’t look like a therapist. He was wearing jeans and a sort of grimy flannel shirt.
“You’re… going to be my therapist from now on?”
He smiled, and I found it particularly unpleasant. “No, not from now on. Just for today, I imagine.”
I might have protested, but the man walked past me just then and moved to lock the door. The gentle click jumpstarted something in my heart and I realized that I should have left when I had the chance. The room was small, and the man was bigger and stronger than I was. I didn’t doubt he was faster. If I needed to get out, that half a second it would take to unlock the door would be my undoing.
Wait, calm down, I said to myself. You’re planning this out like he’s some sort of murderer. It’s probably just her colleague, nothing to be so worried about.
Still, something else was bothering me about the situation.
The man gestured to two armchairs that were located in front of the desk. He sat down and waited for me to do the same. I tentatively moved closer to him and sat down, although my eyes flickered towards the door once or twice. He must have noticed it, too, because his eyes darkened just a little.
“There’s no need to be so nervous,” he commented. There was an undertone in his voice that sounded like a threat, but for the moment I chose to ignore it.
“Why didn’t she tell me about you, Doctor…?”
“Smith. Doctor Smith.” Wow, obviously a fake name. “I thought it best that this not be mentioned to you ahead of time. We thought it might make you more anxious if you were warned.”
This was feeling all sorts of wrong, and I found that I didn’t want to be in there anymore. My muscles tensed as I had just about decided to get up and leave, lock and doctor be damned, nobody could keep me here if I didn’t want to say.
I was quite wrong about that.
“Please explain the nature of your condition to me.”
I was shocked. “What? Don’t you already… I mean, didn’t she tell you?…”
He smiled again. I was beginning to really hate that creepy smile. “Yes, I am aware, but I think it would be best if you tell me about it in your own words.” He stood up and began pacing behind his chair, watching me with intense eyes. I tried to force myself to relax as I began to speak.
“Um… well… I guess I understand that it’s… perfectly natural…” I blushed at this, which only made me irritated along with the anxiety clawing in my throat. “I know I shouldn’t be afraid of it, but… but…”
“Ah,” said Doctor Smith, “So that’s what this is about.”
Abruptly, his pacing changed direction. He walked around my chair, stopping until he was behind me. I really wanted to bolt at that, and he must have noticed my intention because he brought his hands down on my shoulders. It wasn’t gentle, either, it was hard and almost painful. I cried out in spite of myself and I just knew that he was smiling at my plight.
“Did anyone ever tell you that sex isn’t actually about sex? No, not at all… it’s about control.”
He gripped me by the tops of my arms and threw me onto the desk. On the way down, my head caught the side of a paperweight and I felt the pain seeping into my brain. A strange sound of surprise and fear squirmed in my throat but couldn’t make its way out of my mouth. You’d think someone in my position would scream immediately, but my shock kept me effectively silent for a few moments.
I pushed myself up onto my elbows, my head spinning and nausea burning in my gut. Once my vision came back into focus, I saw Doctor Smith had already brought down his pants and was very… well. Very excited about the prospect of what he was going to do to me.
I did scream this time, and try to move off the desk, but he shoved me back down, one of those hands pressed firmly on my throat, grinding me into the desk. The other was snaking down to my jeans as I writhed in fury and terror.
“Hush now, if you’re a good girl, this will all be over soon,” he chuckled. I gasped around his hand as I felt something red and slimy stirring its way through my veins.
Oh, no. Oh, no no no no no no no.
My struggles took on a frantic air as I clawed at his hand and kicked out at him. I heard him growl in displeasure as he situated himself between my flailing legs. All the while, that red feeling began to overtake my body, worming its way into my head and dripping down over my eyes.
“Didn’t your mother tell you to face your fears head on?” he asked. “I’m doing you a favor, you’ll see. You’ll love it.”
That was it. That’s what caused me to snap.
The red behind my eyes exploded and surged through my veins, setting my blood on fire. My muscles twitched and jumped in protest as power coursed through me, my bones nearly snapping from the strain. My face contorted as my body was ripped from complacency and into its more natural form. It was exquisitely painful, as I felt the lines in my face contorting and my skin hardening into something resembling snow-white marble. My bones and muscle stretched, lengthening my limbs and creating claws to match. There was a ripping, tearing sensation in my mouth that signaled the end of my control and the beginning of horrors expectant.
It wasn’t until the pain began to seep away and my breathing evened out that I realized Doctor Smith had backed away in fear.
He wasn’t destined to get far. The scent of his fear, the beat of his pulse, the aching rush of his blood all overwhelmed my senses and guided me towards him. I tripped forward, unused to these new, spindly legs and ended up on all fours, which suited me just fine. Better, in fact, in this new form. I scurried towards him, my spine lengthening as I stretched, feeling the power settled deep inside my body.
Now it was his turn to shriek.
It didn’t do him any good. As his fear spiked, so did my need and I pounced at him, my long limbs wrapping around him like a snake. I squeezed and I could feel the snapping of his bones as his chest crushed in on itself. That sound resounded in my veins and I growled, satisfied with my conquest. I became distantly aware of a few things – the doctor’s pleading, the scent of his piss as he wet himself – but none of it mattered because just then, I saw my prize.
The pulse of his jugular vein just under the surface of his skin.
I brought my snout – not nose, snout – up to sniff at his throat. His blood carried a heady, tangy scent that made my mouth water. God, I needed it. God, it smelled so good.
My lips pulled back and I think I snarled as I bared my teeth, which had long since ruptured through my gums into sharp spikes.
I paused for a moment, then. A part of me was screaming to stop, paralyzed with fear. After all, this was the first… but I didn’t have any more time to think on it as the driving need screamed in my head and I brought my teeth to his neck.
I was a novice, so I made a bit of a… mess of his throat. By the time he stopped twitching and I had stopped feeding, his head was completely severed from his body, the sinew and tendons splayed out in beautiful red chaos. Okay, so it definitely wasn’t the prettiest victim, but I still had to smile.
It seemed that my problem was cured, after all.
I was able to see Doctor Hadley again after a few weeks, though not as a patient this time. As a friend.
When I had refused to hunt, my parents had begun to worry about me. After all, it’s necessary for my kind to be able to feed ourselves, and there was no way I could go out into the real world if I didn’t learn. You see, the thought had always paralyzed me. What if… what if I wasn’t good at it? What if I messed up? What if my victim got away? What if, what if, what if, indeed.
So they’d hired Doctor Hadley to help me with my phobia. She deals with our kind exclusively.
That Wednesday morning, she’d gotten an unexpected knock at the door, and that was when “Doctor Smith” came into the picture.
For a scumbag that got his kicks out of rape and murder, Doctor Smith – or, as he was more aptly known, Brandon Kruger – was incredibly resourceful. He’d been watching Doctor Hadley for a few weeks, deciding to target her patients. You see, for him, the pursuit and the planning was half the fun. That particular morning, he made his move. He arrived at her doorstep, attacked her, and left her bound and unconscious on the floor of her own apartment, aiming to make a victim out of her vulnerable patients.
He hadn’t counted on me, though.
It was a mess, having to clean up the body, but when you’re one of us, you learn the tricks of the trade rather quickly. At least we didn’t have to worry about inquiries – who in their right mind would give a shit about someone like Brandon Kruger?
And for all my hatred of psychologists, Doctor Hadley isn’t so bad, not really. When I saw her, she thanked me earnestly for disposing of her attacker. She was also elated that my phobia was finally gone. “Well, although the circumstances were… unfortunate… it’s good to know that everything has finally turned out for the best!” she said.
Thank God for small favors, I thought.
I’m just glad I’ll never have to see another psychologist again.