by Daniel J. Williams (Horsenwelles)

The slow, rhythmic thumps of water dripping on a stone floor was the first thing I can recall. It was in a daze that I staggered to my feet and tried to look around at my new environment. It had an open ceiling and long steel rods meticulously crafted across the stone walls. It was a long hall that had several doors and passages inside its structure. I looked down at my leg and noticed a chain made of heavy steel wrapped tightly around it. Its pressure wasn't unbearable, but it wouldn't come off. I screamed and screamed to anyone who could hear, but eventually I slid down the side of the wall to cry.

After the sobbing and mental shock, I started checking for any way out. Any doors, any secret passage ways. Anything to get me to something resembling normalcy. I found myself scratching at the stone until the pain from my broken fingernails against the rugged stone became too much to bear. 

I remember staring at a small insect in the corner of the corridor when a door opened from down the left side of my confinement area. A crimson clad woman in a green rubber mask walked into the room and presented a tray. I screamed at her. I barked the worst obscenities you could imagine at her and tried to grab at her. It was no use however. The speaker from high atop the steel structures bored into the stone chimed on and began speaking to us.

"Cell 3-4F. Take the tray and use the provided tools to make yourself a sandwich" it proclaimed and screeched out. The woman lifted the lid off of the silver tray and revealed a plain butter knife and a piece of cloth. She slid the tray across the floor to place it within my reach as I stared at it with curiosity, anger, and several other emotions I can't quite put into words.

The silence of the corridor was unbearable while I stared at the butter knife. I had to figure out what they meant by all this. "make yourself a fucking sandwich? who the fuck captures someone and then tells them to make a fucking sandwich?" I screamed to myself. I tried bashing the butter knife against the wall for any kind of psychological comfort, to no avail. There was nothing to do but figure out what the voice meant by "make yourself a sandwich.

It started to become a nuisance and even an annoyance as the cloth and the butter knife stared at me with their still, quiet, malice. They knew what the voice meant by it. They had to! the entire situation was far too orchestrated to not be in order. Then it hit me. "they want me to make.... Myself into a... Into a sandwich?" I asked out loud to myself. The echos of my voice against the stone was the only levity from the constant silence, so it was strangely comforting to figure out what my captors had meant at this moment. It was a moment where I got to hear something.

Minutes, days, weeks, nothing temporal registered with me at the time. I rocked back and forth on the stone floor with my inanimate friends. I held the butter knife and used it as a mirror to look into my own eyes. Just to see someone's eyes for even a moment was a reminder that I was still human. There was still humanity on earth. I became irrational and contemplated what to do if my captors were killed and I was never found again. I went through mental scenario after mental scenario trying to devise some way I could make it through all this. After some time in this contemplative state, I had a mental lapse in judgement where I thought I should play by their rules. I would make myself a sandwich.

First I grabbed the cloth and tied it tightly around my left arm and I took the butter knife and jabbed it into my hand just below my knuckle. The pain was beyond human understanding as I hacked and sawed slowly through my hand's meaty flesh with the butter knife. I rammed it down into the bone to try and break anything I could so I could just get it over with. The blood streamed out of my hand like an oil rig striking a find. I pulled and yanked on my fingers hoping to god they would just rip off already. The pain began to make me woozy but I fought through it. I took a piece of stone and crushed my hand upon its hard edge. I used the butter knife to finish the sawing through my fingers. 

Then, after my fingers were torn through and ripped off of my hand, I grabbed the knife and began sawing through the wrist. I had devised that my palm would be the patty and I would use slices of my arm's flesh as the buns. After the hand detached and I tied up the wound, I began sawing off slices of my left arm in strips to use as buns. The pain wasn't even registering to my brain at the time. I just wanted out. Anything to get out. I put the slabs of my own flesh upon each other and placed it neatly on the tray. I passed out on the floor after the deed was done.

I awoke to the sound of a door opening and I saw the legs of the masked woman stumble as she vomited under her mask at the sight of me. She pulled off the mask and ran out of the room. The speakers chimed on and began speaking like last time. "Cell 3-4F you have failed the amnesia simulation test. You are not psychologically capable to be in a foreign environment without human contact. We were about to bring you the food to work with, but sadly you went into a psychotic state that made you believe you were in a kind of torturous game. You will be released and we will have you sent to your commanding officer. The testing time was 2 hours, 48 minutes, and 12 seconds. Your belongings are with the secretary in the room to your left. Thank you for your cooperation and we are sorry for your inconvenience."

2 hours? the whole event was only 2 hours. I was unchained from the wall and was walked out to the secretary's desk. I began chuckling to myself uncontrollably. She asked if I needed to sit down. In-between laughs I tried desperately to tell her "I'm actually kind of hungry. Could you make me a sandwich?" I kept laughing. I couldn't stop. It was just 2 hours. I had gone through psychosis and undergone self mutilation in only 2 hours. I made my body into a form mimicking a common food product in just 2 hours. 

My laughter caught the attention of several doctors and commanding officials who tried to restrain me. I wasn't held back though. Quick jerks of their neck muscles and jabs to their hearts and they were all still. I cut them into several delectable slices and tried all sorts of different methods of cooking the meat. Honestly, I want to thank them. If it weren't for their inspirational test, I would have never become interested in the culinary arts.