(This is in response to the OS Weekend fiction prompt. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to include the photo it's based on. Go to the OS Weekend Fiction Club to view it. The first paragraph below hopefully offers enough of a description for those that choose not to follow the link.)
"It's for your own good." The crustacean at my feet dipped forward, as if nodding to encourage agreement. It spun on a claw, clattering and chattering toward the grotesque figure in front of me. It clawed up the motionless creature, leaving bloody pinpricks in its wake. At the top, it settled in place with a sucking slurp. The monocranial conjoining came to life. Its eyes fluttered, stuttered, shuddered, shuttered, shattered.
"I don't understand," I began.
It flashed a joyless smile. Its voice was slick. "Go ask Alice."
A deep voice came from behind me. "I'm Alice."
I turned. The man's hair was mostly gray, some dark strands still visible. He began to cry black tears. "Welcome to my nightmare." He gestured toward me, offering me something. I looked down to see he was holding a microphone. I took it in a trembling, masculine hand.
I looked back up. The stage lights were so blinding, I felt a headache forming. The applause and cheers from the audience had stopped. The echoes were fading. I realized they were waiting for me to sing. I'm not a singer, I thought.
I glanced back down at the glass of wine in my delicate trembling hand. The fruity rich liquid threatened to spill out onto the heavy expensive gown I had rented for the presidential reception.
"Are you in distress, Illiss?"
I grasped the wine glass with both hands. Carefully, I placed it on the table next to me. "Perhaps, Councilor."
"Might I then suggest a moment to freshen up." The rotund man gestured to the side, in the general direction of the restrooms.
"Thank you, Councilor."
I studied my faces in the mirror. Garish lipstick on the leftmouth, pale gloss on the rightmouth. Whatever possessed me to attempt the latest contrast fashion? My daughter was right – some looks simply didn't agree with me.
"Are you going to stay in there all night, dear?" My husband's voices were slurred with drink.
"One minute more." If I didn't placate him soon, I knew what would happen next.
Wrong answer. The door blasted off its hinges. I spun as he clutched me with his frontarms. He used his weight to pin all my arms behind me as he shoved me against the wall. One frontarm roughly grasped my lowbreast. His reararm tore at the diaphonous blouse I wore. Another frontaram clawed at my genitalia.
Some writers have claimed that women feel a moment of exhiliration in situations like this. I only felt terror. Terror, simple and naked, just as I was now naked before the foul man seeking to destroy me. "Hold still," his mouths breathed, reeking of stale vomit and smoke. One fronthand reached for my lefttemple.
His faces morphed into those of the clinic doctor.
"Really, Eh-Loes, you must relax." He removed the last electrode. "Fighting only makes it worse."
"Why the treatment?"
I tried to nod, but my heads were clamped in place.
"I explained before. The government has required all citizens to undergo therapy. So many are leftbrain dominate. We've been ordered to help them enter their rightminds." His lefthead shook morosely at a display above me. "Truth is, only about one percent can become priveleged enough to lead this egalitarian society of ours." His fronthands adjusted some unseen dials. I heard them click. "The government requires us to find and help that one percent."
"The rest?" My throat was raw.
He looked himself in the eyes. "We do what we can, if we have time." He began re-attaching the electrodes. His voices were increasingly discordant. "Please try to relax. It's for your own good."