An Understated Dominance
by Marina Vittori
“You useless thing!” Natasha was livid. She grabbed Dr. Jansen by the collar and yelled, “I told you not to remove the needles! Now that the worst has happened, this is all you have to say?”
“No, this has got nothing to do with me!” Dr. Jansen shook his head fervently. “It must be that other healer. His needles must have caused this to happen!”
Natasha slapped him.
“Stop pushing the blame on others, you bastard! I’m warning you now if anything happens to my grandfather, I’ll kill you!”
At those words, Dr. Jansen paled. The Harmon family was powerful enough to get rid of him without anyone knowing.
“What’s going on?”
At that moment, Dustin entered. When he saw Andrew’s state, he frowned.
“Didn’t I tell you not to remove the needles?” he asked with displeasure. “Why didn’t you listen to me?”
“Mr. Rhys, just now…”
Before Natasha could explain, Dr. Jansen shot forward and grabbed Dustin by the collar.
“So it’s you who placed the needles?” he shouted. “It’s your stupid needling that caused Old Mr. Harmon to go into critical condition! You’re responsible for this!”
Dustin was a convenient scapegoat that he could use to avoid the blame.
“Am I right to presume that you were the one who removed the needles, then?” Dustin raised an eyebrow.
“So what if it’s me?”
“Nothing much. I’m just a little curious. How did you become a doctor when you’re so unskilled and irresponsible?”
Natasha pushed Dr. Jansen away, then pulled Dustin over to the bed.
“Mr. Rhys, we have no time to lose. Please save my grandfather!”
“Ms. Harmon, he’s just a conman! He won’t be able to do anything for your grandfather. Don’t be scammed!” Dr. Jansen said angrily.
“If you think he can’t do anything, then why don’t you do something?” Natasha glared at him.
Dr. Jansen was rendered speechless. If he could save Andrew, he would’ve done so earlier instead of standing around.
Just as Dustin was about to begin his treatment, Dr. Jansen said suddenly, “A word of warning, young man. Old Mr. Harmon is a man of influence. If you fail, you’ll have a lot to answer for.”
“If that’s so, then I’m not treating him. You guys can deal with it yourself.”
Dustin had no wish to continue arguing with them. He turned and made to leave.
“You f*cking bastard! Shut your craphole!”
Natasha was livid. She slapped Dr. Jansen again. The slap was so forceful that Dr. Jansen stumbled and almost fell to the ground. Seeing his swollen face, Dustin felt vindicated, even though he remained expressionless. Natasha’s expression changed into pleading when she spoke to him.
“Please, Mr. Rhys. The Harmon family will owe you a big favor if you can save my grandfather.”
“It won’t be easy. The toxin has been aggravated, so it’s more aggressive now. Acupuncture alone won’t be enough to cure him. I need something else,” Dustin said.
“I will give you whatever you need,” Natasha said.
“I’ll need a quarter pound of caterpillars, a quarter pound of spiders, and a quarter pound of cockroaches. Fry them and seal them in an airtight container.”
“Ew. Why do you need those things? How gross.” Ruth said in disgust.
“Stop your yakking. Go find those items!”
Natasha glared at her. Reluctantly, Ruth went out with her bodyguards to look for the insects. Soon, they came back with a container filled with fried insects.
“Ms. Harmon, after I finish the acupuncture treatment on your grandfather, please open this container and place it in front of his nose and mouth,” Dustin said.
“I shall begin.”
Dustin took out his silver needles and took a deep breath. Then, he gathered his concentration and inserted the first needle into Andrew’s lower abdomen. With a flick of his finger, Dustin made the needle rotate quickly. A sliver of energy entered Andrew’s body through the needle.
His second needle went slightly above the first. Dustin inserted it without any hesitation. The next three needles were placed quickly and determinedly in a straight line from the first two. Interestingly, Dustin did not just stick the needle into Andrew. Instead, he was slowly forcing the needles upward from the abdomen. With every needle he placed, Andrew’s skin bulged slightly, as if something was crawling underneath his skin.
“What bullshit.” Dr. Jansen pursed his lips disdainfully. “Acupuncture is a bunch of crap. It’s not even based in science!”
“That’s true! He’s just embarrassing himself!” The other doctors in the room were also whispering amongst themselves.
They clearly had no confidence in alternative medicine. When Dustin finally placed the last needle, he was drenched in sweat. What he did was not regular acupuncture. It was the long-lost art of Miracle Needling. Miracle Needling could raise the dead, but only if the performer had the internal power to do so. It was a draining task, so he only used it for emergencies.
“Ms. Harmon, the container,” Dustin reminded.
Natasha opened the container hurriedly, and a pungent smell filled the room. Andrew got the brunt of it.
“More absurdities!” Dr. Jansen snorted again. “Do you really think some needles and fried insects can save a man from dying?”
“Just because you can’t, it doesn’t mean others cannot,” Dustin replied lightly.
“If you succeed, I’ll eat this container of insects!” Dr. Jansen said.
Just as he finished speaking, Andrew opened his mouth for the first time after days of being unresponsive. A black centipede crawled out of his mouth. Attracted by the smell of the fried insect, it climbed into the container and began eating them.
“A centipede? Is that a centipede?”
“Oh my god, there was a centipede in old Mr. Harmon’s body!”
When the people in the room realized what was happening, they were shocked. Ruth even started vomiting. It was terrifying to see a centipede climb out of a human’s mouth. This was the stuff of nightmares. Suddenly, there was a sound of loud coughing from the bed. Andrew opened his eyes.
An Understated Dominance by Marina Vittori
Author: Marina Vittori
Artist: Dahlia Nicholson and Dustin Rhys
Released: July, 9, 2023
Native Language: English