Through the slits of my eyes, which I didn’t dare open too far, lest the full view strike me dead, I saw the high bed with its white, drumtight sheet, and the machine behind the bed and the masked person ̶ I couldn’t tell whether it was a man or a woman ̶ behind the machine, and other masked people flanking the bed on both sides.
Miss Huey helped me climb up and lie down on my back.
“Talk to me,” I said.
Miss Huey began to talk in a low, soothing voice, smoothing salve on my temples and fitting the small electric buttons on either side of my head. “You’ll be perfectly all right, you won’t feel a thing, just bite down…” And she set something on my tongue and in panic I bit down, and darkness wiped me out like chalk on a blackboard.
[i] Harper Perennial Modern Classics edition, ASIN B004N8X6LK