Locked-In Syndrome

hanging IV drip bags

Oxygen puffs through the perforation in my throat, piped in by the ventilator. A tube whisks my piss away; IVs and snaking drains proliferate like bacteria.

A souped-up Camaro, a bottle of Jim Beam, and a sturdy tree signed my death certificate, except… I’m not dead.

Not technically.

Brain commands SPEAK, but my lips are DOA.

MOVE FINGER! MOVE! Nary a twitch.

I’ve heard the nurses murmur, “They should have let her die.”

I yearn to nod—something so simple—and scream aloud, “YES!”


I’m locked in a hellish flesh prison.

All I can do is blink.



Copyright 2022 NJ Gallegos

Photo by insung yoon on Unsplash

Story notes

Locked-in Syndrome is a rare (thankfully) neurological disorder that results in complete paralysis with the exception of muscles that move the eyes. Patients suffering from this are completely aware and can see, hear, and feel everything happening to them.

NJ Gallegos

NJ Gallegos is an emergency medicine physician who enjoys writing horror, especially medical horror. She lives with her partner and two cats (possibly one ghost cat). She can be found on Twitter @DrSpooky_ER


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