“It’s my sinuses, Doctor. Terrible pressure behind my eyes. I just cannot shift this headache.”
The doctor nodded and smiled. Joe gave himself a tap on the forehead.
“Just here, you know?”
The doctor nodded and smiled again.
“I’ve tried steam, I’ve tried painkillers and I think it might be an infection. Do you think antibiotics will help?”
A few seconds passed before the doctor spoke in his soft, professional voice.
“And what makes you think it’s your sinuses, Mr Roach?”
Joe shifted uncomfortably on his chair.
“Well, I looked it up online,” he shrugged. His jaw dropped. “You don’t think it’s anything more…serious, do you?”
The doctor shook his head and smiled.
“I shouldn’t think so. Let’s take a look at you, shall we?”
Joe hitched his chair closer to the doctor’s. The doctor waved at a screen across a corner of the consultation room.
“Nip behind there and get undressed, will you?”
Joe sat back. “What? It’s just my head.”
The doctor laughed. “Let me reassure you; there’s nothing untoward about my request. Please.”
Puzzled, Joe went behind the screen and took off his clothes. The pressure in his head pounded, making him dizzy. As he undressed, the doctor spoke.
“It’s nothing for you to worry about, Joe. It’s the most natural thing in the world.”
Joe stepped from behind the screen.
The doctor’s clothes were pooled on the floor. Standing over them was a huge insect, six feet tall. It was looking at Joe with its bulbous compound eyes. Its mandibles moved and the doctor’s voice came out.
“You’re one of us, Joe. Welcome to the Hive.”
Joe scrambled across the room, frantic to reach the door. He didn’t care that he was naked; he just had to get away.
The skin across his brow rippled and began to split.