Zoanthropy; a form of madness involving the delusion of being an animal.
Dr Amy Percy stirred in bed and slowly came awake. There was a familiar ringing in her ears. Rolling over, she looked at the alarm clock and saw it was a two thirty eight AM. Wondering who was phoning her at this time, she reached a hand out and picked up her mobile.
Peering at the screen in the darkness, she saw it wasn’t on. Tutting, she placed it back and grabbed her work’s mobile. The screen was lit up with an incoming call from a patient; Tim Banks.
Her finger hoovered between the green answer button and the red end call. She hit answer and pressed the phone to her ear.
‘Doctor?’ a low desperate voice asked.
‘Yes?’ she answered.
Amy rolled onto her back and fixed the sheets, so she was more comfy.
‘It’s Mr. Banks. It happened again! I’ve just woken up and there’s a dead bird on my bed. My window is wide open too….’
‘What kind of bird?’ Amy asked sleepily.
‘It’s like…erm….a blackbird? Yeah. It’s neck is broken. There’s feathers everywhere! What should I do, Doctor?’ Tim demanded.
‘Throw it out in the garden. Vac up the feathers then go back to bed, Mr. Banks,’ Amy instructed.
‘I need to see you!’
‘It’s the middle of the night….phone my office and make an appointment.’
Amy ended the call and placed the phone back on her bedside table. Settling down again, she prayed that she was fully booked tomorrow so she wouldn’t have to see Tim Banks.
God didn’t answer her prayer. Walking into her office and across the small waiting room, she saw Tim wanting for her. He was wringing his hands together and was sat far away from her actual first patient of the day; Camilla Brown.
Amy went up to the receptionist and waited till the older woman, Mrs June Meakings, who was sat behind a long desk looked up from the computer screen.
‘I’ve squeezed Mr Banks in first,’ June whispered, ‘I hope you don’t mind? He seems in a such a state. He said he’d been phoning here since six.’
Amy sighed. She could feel a headache coming on all ready.
‘I have his file,’ June added.
She selected a pale yellow folder from the top of the pile and handed it to Amy.
‘I’ll take Mrs. Brown’s too. Does she mind waiting?’ Amy asked with a quick glance over her shoulder.
‘No,’ June replied.
The phone started ringing, cutting through they conversation. They nodded at each other and Amy walked into her room.
She took a few minutes to set things up and flip through Mr Bank’s file. Then she picked up her phone and asked June to send him in.
Without knocking, Tim entered and went straight to the red long, low backed sofa. He sank down then began pouring his heart out to the doctor.
‘I can’t take it any more! I’m not myself! I worry every day and night. What if I change in front of people? What if someone sees me and recognises me? What if this doesn’t go away? I can’t live like this, but I don’t want to go to the insane asylum!’
‘Who said anything about an asylum, Mr Banks?’ Amy asked, looking over at him.
She had been taking some brief notes and her pen was paused in the middle of a line.
‘Well…that’s what happens to mad people, isn’t? You lock them all away!’ Tim explained, flapping his arms about.
‘Maybe in the past. Today it’s different…’
‘Drugs? I’ve tried everything! Nothing works. Maybe it’s supernatural. Like werewolves. I’m a werecat!’ Tim declared.
‘Now, Mr Banks!’ Amy snapped, ‘there’s nothing supernatural about your condition. Were-creatures don’t exist. Just like vampires and ghosts, it’s all fiction. People like to attribute their mental conditions to the supernatural because they find it easier to understand and blame. We’ve been through this before.’
‘I know Doctor! But do you really know that? What if the supernatural is real and we are in denial? What if you have powers?’ Tim asked.
Amy stared down her nose at him, ‘Mr Banks, I can assure you I don’t have any powers. Now. Let’s go over what’s happened since last time I saw you, five days ago. How many times do you think you’ve….changed?’
Tim thought, his eyes studying the ceiling before he answered with, ‘about three times, maybe more.’
Amy wrote that down in her notes then asked another question, ‘What have been the rough times of these changes happening?’
Once again, Tim give it some thought before answering, ‘Well, it’s been the same as normal. Mostly at night. I always go to bed at ten on on the dot, as you know. So, around midnight maybe? Or in the early hours? Though I think there’s been two in the afternoon for sure now.’
‘Yes. Doctor. I had a nap you see. I’ve had a bad cold and with not really sleeping at night, I decided to have a doze in my back garden. The first time I awoke and was soaked wet through! It was like…pond water and I smelt of fish. It didn’t rained at all and it was blazing sunlight.’
Amy pressed her lips together, but didn’t say anything. Tim went on.
‘When I got changed, I peered over the fences of the nearest houses and the one right on the end has a large pond with fish in it! Well, I broken in and looked around the garden. I found a dead fish beside the pond and the stones were all wet.’
‘Another animal could have done that,’ Amy mused.
‘The next day I had my second nap,’ Tim continued, he’d not heard her, ‘and when I woke, I was soaked again and there was like slime all over my hands. The fish smell was worse too. I went back to the pond and it was empty of fish! I think I’ve eaten them all!’
Tim dropped his head and pressed his hands to his face. His shoulders were shaking. He took in a few deep breaths and seemed to compose himself again.
Amy pulled a face and scribbled some more notes down. This was a complicated case and she had been out of options for awhile now. She had contacted other doctors in and out of the field, but they had been stumped too. A man who fully believed he turned into a cat wasn’t something that could be easily fixed.