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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Boundaries dissolved

Late evening, a fluttering of wings and a call from the Department of Health.

Late evening, a fluttering of wings and a call from the Department of Health.

It was late evening and the doctor walked home along his usual route. As he neared his house he felt a flutter of unease which slowly unfurled into a queasy mixture of angst and growing dread.

As he drew closer he saw that the black and white marble tiling that normally lined his hallway had somehow managed to spill over the top of the doorstep and was now rippling along the footpath toward him. They formed an intricate, interlocking pattern that soon became looser and more chaotic. By the time they reached the roadside they had thinned out to only a few tiles and seemed to lose energy as they became interlaced with the more familiar greying skin of the road.

He squinted his eyes in disbelief, doubtful of what he was seeing and unsure of how to make sense of it all. It was then that he noticed his coat-stand, replete with hats and drying umbrellas standing out in the open next to his small mahogany table. The scene was thinly lit with yellow street lighting and had an eerie, almost movie-set quality.

Picking his way tentatively through this space he reached his front door, his hands were shaking and slicked with sweat and the door knob felt cool to him.

Inside, the normally linear, logical lines of his Edwardian entrance had been replaced with smooth organic curves that dripped with moisture. Blue crystalline structures hung down from the ceilings like mineralised chandeliers and snaking up the banister to his left were thick, fleshy tendrils. He started up the stairs, his route made more arduous by creepers and a tight tangled web of tree roots that germinated and creaked under his weight. As he rounded the corner at the top of the stairs he was startled by the urgent fluttering of wings from a disturbed flock of roosting birds.

His living room had been transformed into swamp land, there were ferns with deep verdant fronds and fleshy leaves blushed through with verdigris and emerald. The carpet disappeared in several silted inches of water and cicadas chirped through the sweltering humidity.

On a small stand, in the centre of this feverish polder, stood a ringing telephone.

It was an old fashioned model, with a heavy black cradle and traditional dial. He picked off a snail that had suctioned itself on to the receiver and lifted it tentatively to his ear. It was a pre-recorded government message from the Department of Health.

From now on boundaries had been dissolved. Boundaries which had helped to structure and protect society were to be abandoned. He dropped the telephone and fled. As the sun slowly set, Pan could be heard, somewhere in the ancient forests, drumming out his chaotic rhythms.

This post is in response to: Boundaries will be axed - eventually

Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Aberdeen

Through the K Hole

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