The Patient

The Patient

A Story by Nicolas Jao

In a mundane world, a man finds someone quite different, but he doesn't know why.


It was another 356th of a sun-surround for the mature collection of cells named Mr. 744, who woke up groggily and got off his sleep conductor. As usual, he placed his eating organ on his wedding partner’s face-side and put on his suit of business. Next he manually-watered the front of his head in the room of bathing and did the routine of cleaning the part of his skeleton that he used to chew. He decided to unraw himself farm-bird reproduction orbs for the first meal of his next twenty-four hours, more or less.

“Good first few hours of the day,” said the mature collection of cells when his wedding partner went down the stepped-ramp embedded into their dwelling.

“Good first few hours of the day,” said his wedding partner.

“Today at the business institute that gets us the paper-pieces to live, I have a very important job.” The mature collection of cells whisked the farm-bird reproduction orbs in the bowl before putting it on the pan of frying. “There’s this young female collection of cells that they’re bringing in from the health institute. She spent most of her sun-surrounds at the science institute. She’s quite the oddity.”

His wedding partner nodded. “Is there something wrong with the young female collection of cells?”

“It seems so. They haven’t informed me yet. But that’s what I’m doing today. They require me to converse with her, that is all.” The mature collection of cells transferred the fully-unrawed farm-bird reproduction orbs onto a white disc and served it to himself and his beloved female collection of cells. They ingested the sun-nutrients held in organic matter in each other’s presence at the board with four legs made of tree-material.

After the first meal of their next twenty-four hours, the mature collection of cells grabbed his wrist-clock and item-carrier shaped as a block and went out the rectangle passageway that lead outside their dwelling, not before giving his wedding partner another eating organ to the face-side that symbolized affection. “Have another great twenty-four hours, bee-spit!” she told him. The thinking organ of the mature collection of cells perceived this as a moment of happiness, so it ordered the corners of his eating organ to curve upward. It also told him to use his vocal cords to say, “You too, sweet and viscous yellow liquid that never expires!”

The vehicle-ride to the business institute was the usual relaxing one. The mature collection of cells knew its thinking organ was fond of musical sound waves, and so it turned on the radio in the vehicle. He manually-directed his vehicle into the lot of parking, which was below the surface of what was considered the ground, and left it there, taking the vertically-moving room in the lobby of the scraper-of-the-sky business institute to the 42nd room above the ground.

Once there, he was greeted with an outstretched palm by a male mature collection of cells in a white coat meant for the health institute given the name by his birth-givers Mr. 706. “It is nice to first see you in my approximate 80 sun-surround time on this rock-ball, Mr. 744,” said the mature collection of cells as Mr. 744 held his grabber organ and gently moved it up and down. “I am a health-spreader at the nearby melted-sand building with the big red cross on it. The patient’s forename is Eris, surname Realman. That would mean she is Ms. 495. She is a female mature collection of cells, with genital confirmation, that we have had in custody for a long time.”

Mr. 744’s thinking organ perceived this as a time to indicate his understanding, so it ordered the top of his vessel to move up and down. “I see. What is her scenario? Does she have a problem in the neurons of the thinking organ? A physical break or tear of her cells vessel? A troubling experience of the past?”

Denying the validity of any of those things, Mr. 706 moved the top of his vessel left and right. “There is actually nothing much wrong with her. She simply never ingested the change-pill at birth. The one that every person creature does. She’s different.”

“Ah.” The mature collection of cells understood. This would mean, in fact, the young female collection of cells would be quite an oddity to those around her, which was why perhaps she was kept at the science institute for so long, to be scrutinized heavily for research. He could understand the point of view needed to call on his expertise.

Mr. 706 lead Mr. 744 to the box in the business institute that her collection of cells was currently residing in. Mr. 744 was eager to first see her in his approximate 80 sun-surround time on this rock-ball, especially when his thinking organ sent signals of excitement. The health-spreader showed him the specific box and therefore he was done with his duty, giving his regards and leaving. Slowly, the mature collection of cells pushed the plank that was the entryway into the box forward.

He saw her using a tool with fibres to smear coloured liquid on the wall, creating all sorts of intricate designs that somehow resembled real things. The mature collection of cells saw the liquid and somehow, in the way it was put on the wall, gave images in his thinking organ. He saw flowers. He saw a beautiful insect which he perceived to be an adult caterpillar. He saw green blades of an organic carpet and giant biomasses with branches.

At first glance of the young female collection of cells, he could tell they were aesthetically pleasing. As usual, since the built-in evolution and wiring of his thinking organ willed it so, he paid attention to her figure and how delightful it was first, and then second the top of her vessel and the way her thinking organ dictated her movements and actions. The top of her vessel had strands of light-brown in a braided tail of pony, with curly side bang strands on the sides of her front-head, and impressive optical sensors. Indeed, they were a bright greenish-blue colour.

The young female collection of cells finally saw his presence, perhaps innately feeling his optical sensors scrutinizing her, and her face-sides turned red as she quickly put away the tools her grabber organs were holding. “Sorry! This is embarrassing. I like to paint. The doctors made sure I had stuff to do here. Never mind. I knew I was going to meet you today. I just didn’t hear you come in.” 

She stood up and held up an outstretched hand with a genuine smile. “Call me Eris. Nice to meet you.”

The mature collection of cells, for a moment, was paralyzed and did not know what to make his eating organ say. He could not perceive any reason for the young female collection of cells to curve up the corners of her eating organ in this moment, yet she did. It confused him.

He gripped her grabber organ and shook it up and down. “It is nice to first see you in my 80 sun-surround time on this rock-ball as well, Ms. 495. You may address my vessel of cells as Mr. 744.”

“Mh-hmm. Call me Eris, I said. What’s your actual name?”

For another moment, confusion overrode the thinking organ of the mature collection of cells. After a collection of sixty seconds, understanding came and he made his thinking organ tell his eating organ to say, “Carter.”

She made a series of high-pitched noises. “Sorry for giggling. That’s just me.”

Peculiar. The mature collection of cells wanted to know more about her. “How many sun-surrounds are you, Eris?”

She began walking around the room, putting a finger to her lips and smiling. “My age? Let’s see… The doctors at the hospital or the scientists at the lab rarely told me how old I was. I should be about twenty-two years old, give or take.”

The mature collection of cells understood that response to be similarly synonymous to his own number. It was, perceivably, a connection that he could use to his advantage. He said, “Please use your thinking organ to control your vocal cords to explain all about your approximate 80 sun-surround time on this rock-ball so far, Eris.”

“Tell you about my life?” She pursed her lips and her eyebrows furrowed. “Well, let’s see. I can tell you all about my life before the scientists at the lab took me in, Carter. If that’s fine with you. I don’t have many good memories after that. I lived with my mother in this little house on the prairies. It was a lovely life, just us two. There would be these flowers, you see, all around our house. Red ones, blue ones, white ones, it was wonderful. We would spend our days picking them ourselves and selling them to people who came by in their cars and trucks. I would also paint. We had this nice little canvas, perfectly small enough for my size at the time, where I would unleash my creativity on. My mind wandered a lot during those moments, so I just drew whatever I could.”

At the mention of the canvas, her eyes glowed. “I can take you there, right now! I miss that place so much. It’s a lot… different than here, if you must know. Come on, let me take you there!”

Surprised at the sudden burst of sun-provided energy from the young female collection of cells, and even more surprised at the random unexplained action of them reaching for his grabber organ, she started leading him somewhere, their grabber organs still connected. 

The little dwelling in the middle of the land-lumps of green blades covered by coloured petal plants was a long way out of the urban collection of scrapers-of-the-sky they lived in. The mature collection of cells brought the two of them in his vehicle with four wheels and an engine. The entire ride was filled with the sound waves of Eris’s eating organ describing the topic of the dwelling: “I can’t wait. The summers were so nice, and the winters so amazing. And my room was covered with my art, and I would play in the attic with a boy who came over from the other farm, and, and, oh how I miss that place.”

In a certain amount of time, they arrived at the location. The mature collection of cells saw small particles of rock swirl from the friction of his vehicle’s wheels and the ground. Fixing the lengthy attire around the organ that connected the top of his vessel to the rest of his vessel on his suit of business, he closed the entryway compartment of his vehicle. The young female collection of cells on the other side did the same, raising a grabber organ over her optical sensors to create shade against the solar photons of the star above them.

“There it is!” said Eris, running over the grassy hills to get to the house. 

The mature collection of cells followed her to its interior. It gave a satisfying signal to his thinking organ of delight, seeing how amazing it was. It was not a large dwelling, and it was made of tree-material. It was musty and old, and plant-tethers were growing all around the faces of the dwelling box. Without consistent maintenance, the topside of the dwelling had holes with solar photons coming through in beams. Spider-silk covered the place. Bars of tree-material were infested with tree-material-eating insects. The floor had weedy plants and coloured petal plants.

The box-sides of the interior, now that was something. The mature collection of cells used his optical sensors to take in information about them. Once more, they were covered in creatively-smeared coloured liquid that had dried up long ago, so intricately designed to create images in his thinking organ. They were the coloured petal plants.

Eris put her hands together, smelled the place, and exhaled. “All I have are memories of this place. I drew flowers all over the walls. I read my books there. My mother would cook over there, the kitchen. We would eat here.” She walked up to a large table and put her hands on one of its chairs. “I remember one time eating crayons here. I was so little. My mother would scold me for doing it, and then she’d smile and hug me.”

The young female collection of cells then started a series of noises, coming from the breathing organs, he presumed, that he inferred was an indication of happiness. Truthfully, he was confused at what the action was.

The moment of her action passed, and she ceased its continuation. “Sorry for laughing. I don’t get to be this happy every so often. But this place, my home, it reminds me of who I am. I don’t know if you’ll understand. I don’t know if any of you will understand, Carter.”

The mature collection of cells moved the top of his vessel up and down. Perhaps he didn’t, or perhaps he was beginning to. His thinking organ felt familiarity when it was around Ms. 495. Or, rather, he would prefer, Eris. 

The mobile device owned by the mature collection of cells inside the hole meant for storing things in his lower-half piece of clothing suddenly vibrated, capturing both the attentions of the two person creature organisms. The owner took it out with his grabber organ, learning that it was a message from his superior that needed to be responded to.

“My apologies, I have to answer to this,” he said to the young female collection of cells in front of him. He began to conjure the necessary language words on the mobile device to formulate an eligible response. 

Eris said, “Why don’t you call him?”

The mature collection of cells glanced at her optical sensors and indicated that this was a time of confusion, therefore ordering the front of his head to make the corresponding expression. He inquired her the reasoning in order to fill that blank space in this thinking organ of confusion.

“I’d rather hear their voice.” She shrugged. “That’s all. If I were a businessman like you, I would always call to talk. So I can hear the other person’s voice.”

However strange the reasoning was, the mature collection of cells could not deny the naturalness of doing so. He supposed that his thinking organ agreed, which then meant that it would change his course of behaviour to apply the new decision. He opened up a voice communication line with his superior. His superior answered in a few rings.

“Mr. 744, why didn’t you just send a text message on the intercom? It’s much easier and faster. Why did you choose to contact me through voice communication?”

“I…” The mature collection of cells looked at Eris. “I’d just rather hear your voice. That’s all.”

“What has gotten into you? Perhaps we’ll need to converse about this. It was in my thinking organ’s plan to inquire some report information about Ms. 495 from yours, however you may just do so after.”

His superior intentionally closed the communication portal. 

“I’m sorry,” said Eris. “I didn’t mean to get you in trouble. It’s just, I remember talking with my friends on the phone back then. Well, we would rather just come to each other’s houses, you see. But if it was raining, or if we were too far, we would talk on the phone.”

The mature collection of cells understood, moving the top of his vessel up and down. Eris was interesting. He wanted to know more about this specific collection of cells, and how it was so different from the others. The way she conversed, the way her eating organ chose its verbal lines. The way she moved her vessel, sometimes putting her grabber organs together and swaying. This strangeness had a sense of familiarity and he did not want to lose it. 

He said, “Well Eris, I suggest we should stay here for a while. We have most of this collection of twenty-four hours left until we have to go back. Tell me more.”


It was another day for the man named Carter, who woke up groggily and got off his bed. As usual, he kissed his wife’s cheek and put on his business suit. Next he washed his face in the bathroom and brushed his teeth. He decided to cook himself some eggs for breakfast. 

“Good morning,” said Carter when his wife went downstairs.

“Good first few hours of the day,” said his wife, emotionlessly. “How was the previous twenty-four hours with that patient?”

“Yesterday was great, honey. She’s quite talkative. I got to know her well. She liked flowers, and she sold them with her mother when she was little. She told me about how she was an only child, and how she would play with the children of other neighbours. One time she painted on her mother’s face before she woke up. She was mad, but couldn’t stay mad long. One time she spilled her ice cream as soon as she got it from the ice cream truck and cried. Her mother bought her a new one, though. She told me lots of stories.” He laughed.

His wife knitted her eyebrows and looked at him sideways. “Are you alright? Is your thinking organ intact? You are acting very… peculiar.”

He smiled, looking at his wife. Suddenly, he could see. Though an organism creature made up of multiple cells, those cells made up of multiple atoms, those atoms made up of multiple sub-atomic particles that wielded a consciousness altogether, his mind ignored all that. All he saw was a person that he loved.

“Come on,” he said, grabbing her hand. “I’ve got to take you somewhere. A place you’ll like. I have to show you.” The man took his car keys and lead her out the door.


© 2020 Nicolas Jao

Author's Note

Nicolas Jao
If it's not obvious enough, the story is about what it means to be human. The setting is important in this story. Carter lives in such a robotic world that it's alien to us. Everyone is mundane. No one has a personality and no one contains any individualism. This is supported by the fact everyone is given a generic number name. Then this outcast comes along, Eris, and Carter is drawn to her for how natural she is, how human she is. She has a personality, she has memories, she has tastes. She speaks normally. Perhaps most importantly, she has emotion. The contrast between the first paragraph and the last few at the end was supposed to snap the reader into that realization.

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Added on June 12, 2020
Last Updated on June 16, 2020
Tags: literary, humanity, human, literature


Nicolas Jao
Nicolas Jao

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

It's the cliche story. I've been writing since I was six, and it's a passion. I like to read, listen to music, watch the NBA, learn science and programming, and eat food. My favourite book is The Hous.. more..

Cosmos Cosmos

A Book by Nicolas Jao

Candy Candy

A Story by Nicolas Jao