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Chapter 61 - Sealed Memory

Plague Doctor
     Chapter 61: Sealed Memory

    "Ah Jun, you can talk to me. It's fine. Tell me what's on your mind. It will be like talking in your dream. You can do it." Sister Liang's mellifluous voice circled his mind, but it did nothing to ease Gu Jun's tense nerves. The dying process of the two victims flashed before his eyes. The granny's operation reached a stage where they had to use a line saw to cut through her collar bone. Surgeon Zhu was operating the saw while he held onto the old lady's deformed limb. The screeching of the saw, the groaning that weakened, the strength that he felt slipping away in her hands… Eventually, the old lady stopped moving altogether.

    And then there was that poor boy. The small body could not apply much force, but he had been struggling, crying until the very last moment.

    They died.

    They died.

    The twisted faces whose color had drained away, the dilated pupils that had lost their souls, they seemed to be interrogating his very soul.

    ‘Aren't you a doctor? Why didn't you save us? Why did you put us through so much torture?'

    "Ah Jun, Ah Jun?" Sister Liang's voice came again, but this time, there was an authoritative undertone to it. "If you are feeling any discomfort, please stop thinking. Clear you mind. Take a deep back and ease yourself back into your body. Step away from the situation. Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out. Relax…"

    "No…" Gu Jun mumbled in resistance. "I have some things that I wish to tell them."

    

    "In that case, go ahead." Hearing that response, Sister Liang did not end the session but switched into therapy mode. "They are just there. I am sure they can hear you."

    Gu Jun was silent for a while before the words poured out. "I am so sorry that I failed to save you. I know this is a cliché, but Surgeon Zhu, the rest of the team, and I tried our best. We are so sorry to have put you through all that pain… I hope you can now rest in peace."

    "I'm sure they will. They will definitely understand you," Sister Liang said in consolation, it was uttered in the same tone of authoritativeness and confidence. It would help to chase away the shadow in his heart. "Ah Jun, you have to understand that doctors are not gods. We are just normal people. In the process of treatment, the patients will sometimes need to go through some pain, but you are only doing your job. Please do not blame yourself."

    Even though this again sounded like a cliché, when a person was under the influence of hypnosis, the suggestibility of the words would have a higher effect. The hypnotized would sometimes accept the hypnotist's words without any resistance. Therefore, the words that Sister Liang said would help Gu Jun accept the message more effectively, thus achieving the goal of the treatment, which was to help change his perception and wash away his anxiety.

    Sister Liang continued with her treatment. "Having empathy is a good thing, but you must not be blinded by it. Because you are a doctor, you will only face more of the true nature of life in the future. As long as you abide by the Hippocratic Oath, steeling your heart is a good thing. After all, you will need to first take care of yourself before you can take care of others."

    Sister Liang saw the facial muscles around Gu Jun's face slowly relax, a sign that the treatment was working. She then glanced toward the GSR data and EEG chart on the side; both showed that Gu Jun was calming down. In that moment, she had come to a conclusion and already added another sentence to the review report in her heart.

    ‘The subject is very concerned about the result of the surgery (level 8/10). He feels guilt toward the deaths of the two victims. He has great empathy but no sign of evil emotions.'

    The subject being so hung up on this incident, for him, this was a highly impactful situation.

    "Sister Liang, you can understand it, right?" Gu Jun mumbled. "We really tried our best."

    He felt much better. The emotions that had clouded his heart over the past half a month cleared away. He understood why Zi Xuan had come out looking like he had just left the spa.

    After Gu Jun relaxed a bit, Sister Liang wanted him to imagine the next high impactful scenario, ‘personally dissecting his good friend Cai Zixuan's body'. The result was the total opposite of what she expected. Gu Jun did not show much of a response. In fact, he could still make a joke.

    "Zixuan had one hell of a good cranium, I have to say. There was no hair that we needed to shave. You could see everything so clearly."

    If not for the fact that the machines all suggested that Gu Jun was still hypnotized, Sister Liang would have had no trouble believing he had already woken up. Now, Sister Liang understood the results from the personality assessment test from Gu Jun's profile. This was one hell of a strange man! Those with high Spiritual Perception would find themselves easily placed into a scenario, and they would act more agitated than others. Wang Ruoxiang, with B+ Spiritual Perception, was such an example, so when calculating their S value, the influence of Spiritual Perception would be balanced out.

    But the matter of fact was that Gu Jun with A+ Spiritual Perception was still able to maintain his serenity, so in terms of objective calculation, he must have a very high S value. But in Gu Jun's report, there was such an opinion given by one of the reviewers.

    ‘It is inferred that the subject's subconscious mind has an abnormal memory, and whether their high spirituality is related to it is temporarily unknown.'

    Sometimes, this kind of surprising talent could be a manifestation of that abnormality.

    "Ah Jun, when I was young, my mother often told me to eat more." Sister Liang continued with her assessment. "Did you mom say something similar to you?"

    "My mother, she…" Gu Jun's breath started to hurry again. "I cannot remember too much about her. Sister Liang, you must know everything about my family background… but I really don't know anything. I am not lying to you. Lai Sheng Co… what they are experimenting on? I really don't know anything about that."

    "I do not have access to look at your full profile. I have no idea about this Lai Sheng Co. that you mentioned." Sister Liang slowed down her cadence to prevent herself from invading Gu Jun's psychological defensive line. "I know you might have some abnormal memory in your subconscious—like a false memory that someone might have planted in there or some memory that people try to make you forget. Do you think we can try to reach it? We can give it a try."

    Gu Jun was slightly unyielding, but on the other hand, he wanted to give it a try. If this could lead him to the truth…

    "Okay," he said. "I also wish to find answers."

    "Then we shall start. Just relax and follow my words to try to bring it all back." Sister Liang first had Gu Jun relax in silence before she began officially. "There is only darkness around you, and you are in this silence, but you can see a light before you. You walk slowly toward it, step by step. There is a door there, and the light is coming from behind the door. Behind that door, there is a memory that you believe to have happened, but you cannot remember it no matter how hard you try. You slowly walk toward the door and then walk through it…"

    With his eyes closed, Gu Jun felt a hazy light appearing before him and then a red door. He took deliberate steps toward it. He walked through the red door and into the light…

    "Tell me, what do you see?" Sister Liang asked. Gu Jun walked in the light and shadow, walked through the fog. He looked around, and everything was blurry. His breathing became heavier, his brows furrowed, and his eyes shuddered.

    "Is it somewhere you have been to in the past?" Sister Liang dropped a suggestion as guide. "Is it your childhood home?"

    Every memory came with a scenario because human senses occurred within actual scenarios. Even when one did not pay special attention, the brain would naturally form subconscious memories about it. Once the scenario was brought back up to the surface, the memory would follow. This could be the explanation behind the phenomenon of déjà vu.

    Listening to the guidance, a sense of familiarity crowded Gu Jun's mind. The blurry images of light, and darkness started to take on all shapes and sizes.

    "It is a room," he mumbled. "I am inside a room."

    "What kind of room is it? Is it your own room?"

    Gu Jun looked around. This was a nursery that was warmly decorated. There were many colorful drawings on the walls. They comprised of uneven lines, probably the work of a child. Even though the sense of familiarity never left him, Gu Jun could not tell where this place was. Had he been there before?

    "It is a very small room, and there are many drawings…"

    "Drawings? Who drew them? Is there someone drawing inside the room?"

    Hearing the question, Gu Jun saw some blurry figure come into focus again. He described, "A little boy is sitting on the ground. He is probably only two to three years old, and he is drawing something on the paper with watercolors."

    "Who is that little boy? Do you know him?"

    "He looks like me…" Gu Jun continued to describe the memory that he saw. "Yes, it's me… and my mother is there as well. She is just sitting next to me…"

    He heard another voice call out. It was not Sister Liang; it was from inside this memory. His mother was asking, "Xiao Jun, how does one spell the word tree? How about you tell Mommy?"

    His mother handed him another piece of paper. The paper had a drawing of trees on it.

    "Okay!" The boy nodded happily. He took the paper and placed it on the ground. Then he used a paintbrush to write down the spelling of the word tree on the piece of paper rather heavily. "I'm done!"

    The boy dropped the paintbrush and raised the paper high above his head. He was very happy.

    "Ah…" Gu Jun's eyes flew open, and he let out a scream of pain and confusion.

    It was the foreign language. The ‘tree' that the boy had written was in that foreign language. He gripped his head tightly. The heartless figment of the memory was still rolling before his eyes. His mother picked up the paper and held it in her hands. She studied it like it was a piece of treasure. There was a strange fervor burning in her eyes. She examined it for a while and then passed another piece of paper to the boy. "Then, what about this word? Worm, how do you think we spell it?"

    "Like this!" The little boy took the paper and put it on the ground. He picked up the brush and started drawing again. It was still in the same foreign language. Worm or parasite, they were written the same way.

    Gu Jun was suddenly given a clear glimpse. On the floor around the boy and his mother, there were stacks after stacks of paintings. They were filled with different paintings, and every painting had the corresponding foreign character to identify them. Darkness, apple, time, abyss, germination, sun, hand, bone, star, death, sky, earth…

    That strange language was something that he had created when he was small.