By Micaela Pinto
After a visit to the doctor, “505” began in my imagination and ended as an exploration of a new genre and writing style for me.
The strong, stale smell of cleaning products and urine filled her nostrils as she took a deep breath in the hospital bed. She looked down toward her abdomen covered by bandages, an intense brown-reddish color from her dried blood. The harsh white lights reflected on her pale skin. The door opened and the tall doctor entered, holding a thick file of papers and wearing a yellow suit that covered every part of his body, including a mask for his face. All she could see were his blue eyes. “Was that suit necessary?” she thought.
Five other people wearing the same yellow suit entered the room and surrounded the bed. No one made eye contact with the patient. One began pressing hard on her belly. Another grabbed her wrist and took her pulse. Each minute felt like an eternity as they took notes and nodded their heads until finally the blue-eyed doctor spoke.
“How was your night, miss?”
“It was alright. I mean, the stomach pain was… tolerable,” she said.
“That’s good to hear,” said the doctor as he opened the file. “As you know, we are still waiting for the blood work results.”
She sighed, crossed her arms, and looked away from the doctor. “It’s been five days. A week. I don’t know. It’s taking longer than it should.”
The doctor, used to her forceful protests, ignored her and continued. “My team will check your vitals and your temperature, and look for any new symptoms. Every half hour.”
“That’s ridiculous. Let me at least sleep in peace.”
“We wouldn’t like to miss anything, or let it escalate,” the doctor replied, making eye contact with her for the first time, his piercing blue eyes almost motionless.
The doctor left the room and accelerated his step towards the end of the hall, passing through four doors to the restricted area. There, he sat down and opened the patient’s file. He began to speak as if someone else was there with him. “Phase one is complete. The patient did not reject the specimen. Phase two, incubation, has begun successfully.”
“Proceed with caution and present your report tomorrow,” said a distant voice from the dark screen before him.
How many days had she been there? She couldn’t remember. Each day seemed longer than the previous one, the days long and the tomorrows longer. She began to forget why she ever came to the hospital. Each day, the assessments got longer and more uncomfortable, five pairs of eyes and hands touching her, grabbing her, as she came in and out of consciousness. What were they testing for? What was the diagnosis?
The only thing she knew was that she wanted answers and she wanted to get out of there.
So with all the courage she could put together, she ventured out into the corridor in search of that blue-eyed doctor to demand a diagnosis.
There were no signs. There were no other patients. In the darkness, she couldn’t remember ever coming down this hallway. This wasn’t the hospital she arrived in all those weeks ago.
A voice caught her attention. Quietly, she followed it down the hall, through several doorways, and peered through a small window to the last room.
Inside, the blue-eyed doctor was sitting in front of a gigantic monitor. She felt the hair on her body stand on end as she looked at pictures of her body covering the entire screen. Her face, arms, legs, lower regions, everything was photographed. Her eyes roamed the screen frantically until they stopped at one particular photo: Her abdomen was being cut by a long, large scalpel. She did not consent to having these pictures taken of her. Had she been asleep? Beside each photo, there were handwritten notes, in handwriting too small to read. However, it was the title, in large, red letters that made vomit begin to rise in her throat: Experiment 505.
Millions of questions raced through her mind as she tried to put the pieces together. She lacked air in her lungs, her body trembled, and her eyes grew larger and larger.
Then she looked away from the screen and standing in front of the window was that pair of cold blue eyes and a knowing smile playing on the doctor’s mouth.
Florencia Micaela Pinto is a senior in high school. She was born in September 2003 in Queens, New York and spent her childhood in Peru. At the age of 14, she returned to New York to complete her studies. She plans to study medicine. Previously, she interned at the non-profit RPGA Studio, where she focused on solving community issues through art. As a mentee with Girls Write Now, she has written different pieces including her personal essay “La Tierra me Llama,” a short story called "505," and, most recently, her poem "These Days.''