Thursday, 9 August 2012

ADJUSTED by Michael E. Grant

Clunk, click. Keep those bones in check - Michael E. Grant makes a cracking TK'n'C debut with this painful chiller...


Trent was face down on the chiropractor’s table. He hadn’t moved in over an hour.

The good news was that the immense pain in his back had completely disappeared.

The bad news was he couldn’t feel anything below his neck.

“Dr. Byron? Are you there?” he mumbled with difficultly having his face wedged between the head cushions of the specialized table.

It was a simple adjustment. Trent heard the usual CLICK when Dr. Byron twisted his neck. There was a moment of great relief. And then he felt nothing. With every passing minute, Trent’s fear increased. But he was at a chiropractor’s office.

Surely this sort of thing happened before?

Unable to move, Trent stared at the gray carpet and focused on his breathing. Deep breaths, remaining calm.

Minutes later he heard the door open and footsteps entering the office.

“Trent, are you awake?” Dr. Byron asked.

“Why can’t I move?”

“It was a tricky adjustment. I do want you to know that I am truly sorry about all this.”

Trent’s head hung useless as his body was lifted off the table. His eyes drifting, he could see Dr. Byron and his secretary, Jenny, holding his body by the arms. The look on their faces did not calm his nerves. In fact it was frighteningly clear that he only had one option.

“Help! Somebody help me!”

Jenny smacked her gum. “Oh, not this again! Jam something in his mouth fast!”

Seconds later, Trent was silent.

Dr. Byron and Jenny carried him across the parking lot. Trent’s head was flopping uselessly, providing a perfect view of the gravel and their shoes. Desperately he tried pushing the sock from his mouth but it was jammed too deep. The pungent smell of sweat from the fabric was nauseating. Trent would have wretched, but the fear he was feeling dominated all other thoughts.

Where could they be taking him?

How could one simple visit to the chiropractor go so terribly wrong?

“Ok, here we are,” Jenny said over the sound of a heavy lid raised on a squeaky hinge.

Trent’s head jostled to the side as he was hoisted into the air. With a jolt of panic he understood where he was being placed. A moment later his useless frame plummeted into the garbage dumpster.

He could hear their voices as they stood outside.

“Dr. Byron, you really have to work on your method. I mean, that’s three times this week. If this keeps up, I’m going to get another job. I am not going to jail…again.”

“I can’t explain it. It’s like I’ve lost the touch. It’s really starting to become embarrassing.”

“Yes, it is. Well, at least trash day is tomorrow so we have a clean slate.”

Their footsteps faded.

Trent tried in vain to force his limbs to respond, but his body was essentially broken. Then their words registered in his brain.

Three times?

His eyes could still move and with his head leaning sideways he could dimly see the inside of the dumpster. There were crumbled cardboard boxes, black trash bags, and shredded papers. Then Trent saw what he feared most. His gaze locked with the desperate eyes of another man, who was also broken.

The horror escalated when Trent saw a second man twisted in the corner. His face was covered with scratches and his lone eye was watering with pure unbelieving panic. The other eye had already been eaten by some animal that must visit the dumpster for food.

The three patients lie in the darkness of the metal container.

No one talked.

No one moved.

Trent found he could only pray that someone would come searching for him.

His praying continued until the moment the garbage truck hoisted the bin and their three bodies fell unnoticed from the dumpster.

Trent heard the roaring continuous grind of the compactor.

Amazingly the sound of his bones breaking was even louder.

And then he received a much worse adjustment.

Sadly, this one didn’t kill him either.


Michael E. Grant is the author of IN 666 WORDS.

You can follow all news and works for the author at


  1. wonderfully horrific..

  2. Been on that table myself before and also heard that crack. Really liked this story. It was engaging and certainly had a feel of "this could really happen to you", especially the paralysis piece. Well done on all counts!

  3. The most terrifying part of this tale is the final line. Up until then there was just the tinest smidgin of the bleakest kind of hope. Then the steel bootheel of that perfect last sentence smashes that hope into nothing. Man, that was good!

  4. Thanks! I'm glad that the story was "appreciated" by those who know the joys of laying on that table. Sadly, I'm in that position quite often...but no dumpsters as of yet.