The room is small, dark. There is a single light in the ceiling, its dim light casting a gray pool on the empty dirty floor that seems to hunch beneath the low ceiling. On the floor, a figure lies motionless except for a lethargic expansion of the chest cavity. Its hands are curled tightly in upon themselves, the fingernails black and dust has filled in the crevices.
Suddenly, the figure spasms, dust rising in a cloud around it as it coughs and wheezes. The figure regains composure. The figure drags its self along the floor, the sound of carrion worms in the grave feasting. The figure moves the short distance to the wall and sits up, drawing its knees up in front of its torso. Its head hangs down, hair obscuring its face, as it wraps its arms around its legs and settles into a fetal position.
“Where… where am I?”
It sounds like gas escaping into a vacuum, more of a hiss than a sentence. The words are an atomic bomb in a world of silence, but the silence wins. There is a quiet sniffling sound from the figure. Still, the light, the room, do not change. The figure squeezes its legs tighter.
“Hello? Hello? Is there anybody there?”
Silence. The figure sits, tense, the muscles in its body growing taut. Its head tilts slightly to one side, then the other, like an animal checking for predators. Nothing happens.
“God damn it! Somebody has to be there!”
The figure leaps off the floor. It strides purposefully forward, taking four steps before abruptly meeting a wall half-hidden in shadow. The figure begins to feel the surface of the wall, its fingers curling as it frantically feels for any blemishes in the smooth metallic surface. Finally, the figure balls one hand into a fist and pounds on the wall.
“Hey! I know you can hear me! I wasn’t always here! Somebody answer me!” The figure strikes the wall again, and again, and again. Soon the figure begins to cry out, at first in words, begging for answers, or acknowledgement, but none is forth coming. As the figure continues, its attacks on the unfeeling wall become more frantic. Soon the figure is howling, its voice sounding more like a screaming primate, a wounded animal. It flails futilely at the wall.
First seconds drag by, then minutes. The figure is unrelenting, yet still, nothing offers any response to its histrionics. Finally, the figure collapses, exhausted and panting. It raises its arms to strike the wall, but they fall limp to the ground before finding their target. It falls to its side, damp sweaty hair clumping in the dirt on the floor. Slowly, the breathing of the figure begins to slow to a steady, normal rhythm. One blue eye, peaking out from the tangled mass of hair, slowly closes.
“Has it moved?”
“It did earlier. It stood, and screamed while attacking the wall.”
“Did the wall hold?”
“Without a doubt. The wall was more than adequate. The subject broke down in frustration quickly, abandoning its native language for inarticulate calls and screeches in only minutes.”
“Did it do anything else?”
“It seemed to exhaust its self. It does not appear that it did any serious damage to its self in the process.”
“Very good. We will proceed as planned.”
“As you order.”
The light flickers. The figure’s leg twitches, a slight spasm in response to the sudden, brief, change in the environment. It groans. Slowly its weight shifts. The sound of its garments on the floor is like dry leaves falling from trees in autumn. It blinks and tries to look up towards the light. It raises its hand, in a primitive attempt to reduce the glare of the sole light source. It squints and blinks, straining to see the source of the light. It waits, watching. Nothing happens. The figure turns back, dropping its arm and rolling over, preparing to lie down again. Suddenly, the light blinks off and on, again.
The figure whips around, resuming its previous position, trying to observe the light. Its mouth tightens.
“I know I saw it go out. What’s going on?”
The figure waits, eyes bulging with intensity. They vapidly gaze through the shadow of its hand at the light.
“Is it just the light bulb burning out?”
The figure slumps back, turning to its stomach to lie down again. The light blinks. The figure pops upright like a clay pigeon taking flight. Its teeth grind together as a guttural growl emanates from deep within its throat.
“That’s not just the light going out damn it. Somebody’s fucking with me!”
The figure leaps to its feet and slams its body against the wall, screaming. It pounds its fist repeatedly, to no avail. It runs out of breath, and stops. It stands, panting in the light, teeth still grinding together.
“I know you’re there. You’ve been fucking with me this whole time.”
The words fall into the silence and die quickly, suffocating under their own weight. The figure begins to pace slowly. Its hands open and curl into fists.
“Okay then, well, now that I know you’re here, I want to know who you are, where I am, and why I’m here. I also want to know where my family is and if they’re safe. When you want to tell me that, we can talk.”
The figure raises its hand palm inwards, with only the middle finger at length, towards the light. It then sits down on the floor and curls up into a fetal position. As the figure closes its eyes, the light blinks. The figure sits motionless on the floor.
The figure lies motionless on the floor, its body curled into a corner. The figure’s limbs seem at ease, despite being tightly held together, as if it has become used to this position. The figure’s clothing is turning grey, its accumulating dust and dirt from contact with the floor. These are not the stains of a busy day or two, but rather the ingrained soot of weeks and months without wash. The clothing its self is now made of fabric and the dirt.
“Hello, number 999897.”
The figure’s eyes pop open. It looks around the cell, trying to find the source of the voice. It opens its mouth and a trembling quiver comes out. “Hello?” The figure sits up, its head swiveling. “Hello?” It sits, cocking its head slightly to one side then the other, a rodent listening for predators. It hears only silence. The figure wipes its eyes and rubs its ears. It sits, still, listening. The only sound in the room is the figure’s own breathing. “I must… I must be hearing things.”
The figure lies down again, its body falling into a familiar position in the corner of the room, its head just out of the ring of light on the floor.
“Phase two has been completed.”
“So it has been made aware of us?”
“Yes, and it has already begun to suspect that its awareness of us was delusional.”
“Splendid. The subject seems to be nearing completion of the process then?”
“Yes. The subject should soon conclude that nothing exists beyond its cell.”
“Good. We have no choice but to proceed, the wheels have been put in motion. We must follow this path to its end; whatever that end may be.”
The figure is sitting, filthy, dirty, against the cold quiet wall at its back. Its head is slumped, and its face is smudged with dirt. It sniffles and wipes its nose with its sleeve. Its left foot is tapping rapidly. It clenches its hands into fists then unclenches them, just to clench them back into fists. Its shoulders rock slowly back and forth. A sound rumbles quietly from the depths of its throat.
The figure stands suddenly and paces across its cell. It randomly pounds the walls as it paces. Its nostrils flare and spittle randomly shoots from its lips. Without warning, the figure screams. It runs full speed into a wall, smashing its self violently against the flat metal. It gets back up and runs into the wall again, and again, and again. It’s a vicious cycle, from wall to floor, each repetition leaving its mark on the figures limbs and body.
Finally, the figure falls to the floor with a thud, blood obscuring its features and staining its clothes. It lies motionless, whimpering. “There’s nothing… else. This is all there is…I… I….” The figure’s mouth stops moving, drool and blood oozing from the side of its face.
The figure sits in the center of the room, legs tucked beneath its body. Its clothing is torn, a large section of material missing from the left sleeve. It smiles, wide sick kind of smile as it pulls on the torn piece of material from its clothing. It holds the cloth up to the light and squints at it.
The figure stands, turning the fabric over in its hands. It takes the wide piece of fabric and twists it into a sturdy cord. It lifts the cord to its neck and wraps it around. It ties a simple knot in the ends and drops it hands to its sides. The figure looks up at the lights and opens it palms. The figure’s eyes stare blankly into the light, unblinking. The figure breaths in and out, slowly, deeply several times. It reaches up to the ends of the knot in the cord improvised from its clothes and begins to pull. As the knot draws tighter, it begins to crush the figure’s throat. The veins begin to bulge in the figure’s neck and forearms as it continues to tighten the knot. Its blue eyes begin to bulge and its nostrils swell.
Suddenly, the figure collapses, its body limp. Its head strikes the floor, hard, and bounces with resounding clap. Blood leaks from its nostrils and ears. The cord loses none of its slack, choking the neck into two bright red rings on either side. The chest of the figure is motionless. The figures breathing, so long the only sound audible, is gone. Silence rules.
“The subject is deceased.”
“How’d it do that? We left it not implements.”
“It removed a piece of its clothing, fashioned a rope, and strangled its self.”
“Strangled its self? Is that possible?”
“From what we can tell, the subject tied a knot to restrict its air supply while conscious.”
“A clever way to overcome instinctual self-preservation.”
“It did not believe it had anything to preserve its self for.”
“Then the experiment was a success. The subject lost all sense of self, and its past.”
“Yes, assuming those parameters, the experiment was a success.”
I want to be clear.
I don’t write
as I lie
in bed at night,
it is your eyes
that fill the void
behind my own,
and I fall
into those fields
I dream about
warm and sweet,
the feel of caramel
on my tongue
in the mornings
welcoming the Sun
full of life
full of love
with a million
that only your face
Too bad I think
I’m making a collage
in my mind
out of your smile.
I’m including all
the times, places,
and ways that I have seen it.
It’s an easy project,
every way I mix and match
the seperate images
on the canvas of my mind
they come together
It’s a selfish project.
The canvas glows
with your joy and warmth
but I keep it
inside my little head.
anybody who’s met you
can just go
start their own.