There was a scent of dew rushing in through the window as my eyes, ever so slowly, opened. My mind was already racing as the world around me became clearer. A dream. A dream sitting in the back of my mind. It had an all too familiar tip-of-the-tongue feeling, and a sense of nostalgia was forming from it.
Nothing would come to mind, but I could piece together very strange parts that didn't seem to connect. A sound piercing through my ears was what remained, but was too far gone from last night's rest. A single clip of noise that continued on without end. I could almost hear it in the back of my head. Audio of something growling perhaps. It was too difficult to fully interpret. In the end, that was the least of my problems.
My attempts to escape reality were left hopeless. The crust around my eyes was gone, and I was left lying in my bed that had once been so comfortable, but had now become a cushioned coffin. I had been laying here, since my unemployment, and I had no intentions to get up from it. Being a high school dropout was useless, and my lack of initiative made everything worse. Nobody wanted me, and my only job was given to me by some divine chance. My luck was gone, and the real world was there to meet me with a giant punch to the face. Cold, heartless, and lacking all feeling.
My lifeless arms sprawled across the sheets as my legs attempted to fall off the side. Their eventual success led me to believe I may actually be able to get through the day, considering I had nothing to do anyway. It was easy to figure out why my life had become so useless, but it was not easy to figure out why I should have just given up on it. There was some light, no matter how scarce, but it was there. There were other jobs out there. A future had to be somewhere. I could have done something, and that is exactly what I was going to do.
My body clicked to life as my limbs, one at a time, began to shuffle amongst the blankets that covered them. My feet crashed to the floor as energy began to flow through the veins that ran through my body. The cold air mixed with the smooth hardwood flooring. It wasn't an unwelcome feeling, but instead a buzz of serenity. An emotion that had been gone for so long seemed to drip back into my mind. I felt content with the world, and my worries seemed to melt away.
My apartment was empty and lacked any detail. It was a simple home, and I was fine with that. I didn't ask for anything different. It seemed even more lively after my strange epiphany, and I had no reason to question something so great. I had a plan, and I knew what it would be. Get a newspaper and get a job. I was one for simplicity, and this was about as easy as it got.
I quickly made my way to the kitchen for something to eat only to discover a newspaper sitting on the edge of my counter. It wasn't something that usually happens considering the fact that most paperboys didn't tend to walk into someone's house to drop the paper off, so I had a reason to worry. I rushed to the orange wrapping that covered the object and grasped it. A single pull downwards caused the paper to slide out of its wrapping, and fall to the floor. It only took another swipe of my arm to pick it back up.
I bent some of the cluttered pages back and took a good look at the front page. The date was from a few days ago, so I must have brought it in and forgotten about it. It made sense considering I had spent the past night drinking all of my dark memories away. It was quite possible it would erase something so simple as me carrying the newspaper in.
The jobs section housed numerous interesting choices that day. There were a large amount that would fit my skill level, but I would never be taken in considering my lack of a degree. My finger swiped across the black and white colors as my eyes analyzed the words. That was when I came across something interesting. Two sentences pasted in the middle of the other, more noticeable, ads.
"Male/Female subject for medical evaluation needed! Daily attendance for three weeks, and high pay!"
It was worded oddly, and it seemed very rushed. It was obvious they were going to do some stuff to me that was questionable at best, but the fact high pay was involved I couldn't resist. I would simply take up this "job" for the time it lasted, and then find a real job afterwards, without the fear of my overdue rent. I lacked the money to pay it, and this would finish the task within a week, most likely.
The sun was barely peeking through the gray clouds that surrounded the sky. A bleak way to start the morning, but it was nothing I could complain about. I made my way through the tiny parking lot to the beat up car located in the far back. My car. The paint was crusting off, and numerous dents were noticeable from incidents I couldn't recall. The key to unlock it shook in my hand as it twisted in the lock. A click and a honk occurred, and the car was now accessible.
The drive was long, and the radio was playing the same crap as usual. An adventure that was being prolonged by my hatred of country music. None of the other stations were any better, and I needed the ambience of music to keep me from losing my mind. The drive was taking awhile, and I almost lost track of where I was going. A strange thought hit me. How did I know where this place was?
I felt a jolt of panic as I realized I could be wasting gas going in circles. I was out of money to begin with, and burning my money life this wouldn't make it any better. I quickly grabbed the newspaper and gave it another look. There was an address, and I apparently realized it without actually processing it into my memories. It was a very strange experience, but the relief was worth it.
I knew where I was going, and I had actually been going the right way. It was once my route to work before the unexpected unemployment, and I was glad I could drive through some areas I was familiar with. A few more minutes went by before I finally came up to the medical facility. It had a very professional design, and the architecture was very similar to most recent modern buildings. I parked in a parking garage not far off from the building and made my way over.
The walk was quick, and my pace was slowly quickened for an unknown reason. I felt drawn to the place. My desire for money was so high I was literally running by the time I reached the door. My hand grabbed the cold, metal handle and I entered the complex. The lobby was large. It had gray and white marble tiles for the floor, white walls, and then a giant window that made up the roof.
People all over crowded different tables across the room. It was still very quiet though. Almost as if no one was talking. The room was so enormous that you still felt lonely even when you were in an area with numerous people. I continued to observe my surroundings as a persistent sound began in my right ear. Slowly it became louder and more understandable. "Hello, can I help you," said the young woman that stood on the other side of the desk.
I quickly snapped back to reality and gave the woman across the counter a good look. Her eyes were giving me a questioning look as if I was not sane, and I could tell she was already annoyed by my presence. I swallowed deeply as she started directly at me. I attempted to keep the contact as I chocked, "The... the advertisement for the experiment."
Her dissatisfaction with me suddenly switched to a much more subtle cringe. She almost seemed to be in pain for a moment. Her mouth muscles relaxed from the frown they had been in, and her eyes totally lost contact with me. She lacked any emotion, and became nothing more than a robot as she disconnectedly murmured, "Follow me."
She exited her booth and made her way to an employees only door. Her quick motion of a hand made me realize I was meant to follow her. The door slid open, and I followed into the mess of hallways. It was like a maze. Numbered doors lined the claustrophobic hallway, and the dim lighting was met with more discomfort. I was on the verge of asking when we would arrive, but I knew I wouldn't get an answer from her. The last thing she wanted was me asking more questions.
After what felt like minutes of walking we came upon a single door. It was different from the rest, and it lacked the color that the other ones vividly revealed. It was as bland as the lady holding it open for me. "Please, enter this room," she quickly said to me, "They will be with you soon."
I made my way into the room as she slammed the door shut. A loud echo began to ricochet through the empty room. The bright and mysterious room. It was large, and the sterile look of it was very eerie. There was nothing but a bed located in the center. The walls and floors were made of white and plain tiles, while the ceiling had a gray texture met with the large luminescent lights. It was quiet, and the loneliness was strange.
That was when I began to hear it. A loud buzzing from above me. I checked the ceiling again and realized what it was. Humming. The humming from the light fixtures flooded the room. No stimuli was put through my mind except for audio. It felt unbearable. It was more than annoying. It gave off a feeling of nausea, and I had the desire to simply sleep. I couldn't get it out of my head. Humming. Continuous humming.
Time seemed to be at a standstill, and I almost felt dead. Nothing was happening, and the only thing I could put my attention on was the sound from the lights that statically hung above me. Ten. Twenty. Thirty. Forty minutes went by before the sound of the door opening erased my previous stimuli. A smile quickly went across my face as numerous scientists walked in. Their lab coats swayed back and forth as a pack of some carried in a large object.
Amongst the clipboards and stacks of paper was a man with a cardboard box that he laid next to me as some sort of makeshift table. They paid no mind to me, and I could tell they were doing their best to ignore me. The group of scientists then placed a large circular object on the box. It had a stand, and tiny lights covered it. I looked at one of the scientists and chuckled, "So are you going to make me play with that thing or something?"
They simply kept on with their business, and my smile lowered. I was about to speak again, but a sudden grasp around my shoulders stopped me. I gasped slightly, but it was barely audible from how quickly two scientists had pushed me down into the bed I was laying on. I attempted to get up, but they continued to hold me down with intense force. "Stay still, sir," one of the scientists said as they hit a button on the object.
The lights began to click to life as a roaring sound emerged from it. A scientist began to hook strange wires into ports that were located on its outer shell, and they connected the other ends of the wires to strange mechanisms that I couldn't even think of describing, as their look was incredibly foreign and new. They were round, and had strange needles in the center. The circular part was white, but there were strange streaks of blue everywhere. Small sparks were noticeable from the needles, and the size of the strange objects were about as large as a half-dollar.
I continued to watch the objects and its wires come to life, and I didn't notice the scientists pierce my skin with the strange circular objects. I could use a million bee stings at once as an example, but that is not enough to describe the pain that ran through me. I tried to hold the scream back, but it was too difficult. The amount of swear words that began to bounce through the room was large, and my thrashing didn't seem to bother the people in the room. They simply continued on with what they were doing. I slowly calmed down, and I began to look at the scientist that was directly above me. His mouth was moving, but I was unable to hear him. My eyes became heavy, and I could feel the drool flowing from my mouth. I tried to fight myself awake, but I just couldn't. I just wanted to sleep. Suddenly my hearing came back, and I could hear the scientist whisper, "Now, I want you to close your eyes and visualize this room. Simply visualize this room for me. That is all you need to do."
I could barely think clearly, and visualizing a blank room was the last thing on my mind. Everything began to melt away, and all stimuli was gone. My consciousness remained in the darkness, but I had no desire to use it. I wanted to sleep. Half a second. One second. Two seconds. My eyes opened.
I jolted my body from the bed, and began to examine the room. The scientists had picked up their equipment, and they were heading for the door. My confusion eventually led to me asking, "What now?"
One of the scientists turned around and uttered, "You're done for today. Come back tomorrow. Money is at the main desk."
They all left the room, and I was quick to follow. I ran from the corridors that made up the guts of the complex, and eventually reached the main lobby. I made my way to pick up my check, and as I did I was met with an unfamiliar face. A man was now running the counter, but something was off. He had her eyes and nose. The mouth was different, but the rest was surprisingly similar. His smile was slightly crooked, and his eyes seemed to glare at me. I was on the verge of telling him what I needed, but a slip of paper met my hand. "Have a good evening," the man said as he quickly turned back around to get continue his business.
I took no time to check the amount I had received. Ten thousand dollars. That was the amount I would receive per day for three weeks. I didn't care about how odd the experiment was. The money I was receiving was ridiculous. There was nothing stopping me now, and I was going to finally feel the emotion I hadn't felt since I was a child. Joy.
I swung the doors open to exit the building when I noticed the sky. It was nighttime. The man's comment suddenly made more sense, and I quickly looked around for the time. It was ten at night according to a bank on the other side of the street. It made no sense. I had only been in there for about an hour, and I entered around eleven in the morning. I tried to contemplate what was going on, but then I remembered the money I was receiving. The cons of this didn't matter.
The night was rough and long. I wasn't tired, so I was simply left to watch television. The shows were not interesting, but my routine went on for days. My "sleep" would occur when they put me under for, what felt like, a brief amount of time. By the end of the week I was loaded with cash. The nights became something I was used to. The daylight was rare for me now, and I didn't really mind it considering my pay. It was going to be over in two weeks anyhow.
It was the eighth night after the experiment, and I was, once again, watching the television. For some reason I was tired that night. My eyes were dropping every once in awhile, and I would randomly have to jerk my head to stay awake. As my eyes closed I could hear the television click off. My eyes attempted to adjust to the light that was shining from outside. I took a look around, and noticed the source of the light coming from windows. There was no way that it was morning already, so I made my way over to examine what was going on.
I was almost there when I began to hear something. The sound of static and buzzing. My television was on, and there was a voice coming from it. It didn't sound like the usual show that was on at the time I suspected it was, so I made my way back over to the TV. My heart suddenly dropped. The picture was clearing, but I could tell what it was. A still frame of the room for the medical experiment cleared its way onto the screen. I could feel my lack of breathing, and I quickly gasped for air. There was no way this was on the screen. I quickly blamed this as a delusion from prolonged exposure to the machine they hooked me up to, but a voice threw that out the window. A very clear and loud voice. It spoke from the TV.
"Visualize this room for me. Just close your eyes and visualize this room. Visualize. Visualize."
I couldn't concentrate anymore. I was confused, and my mind was now racing for some sort of answer. I could feel a form of anger filling within me, and I had the desire to scream. I wasn't aware of what I had done until I noticed the blood seeping from my wounds. The glass had sliced my hand and arm, and the static from the television was enough to make you think fireworks were going off in the room. I ran to the bathroom to find some gauze, but there was none. The puddles of blood that followed me made me realize what I had just done. I had lost it. I wanted to cry at how crazy this had become, but I didn't have the ability to. I couldn't think at all. Suddenly everything went silent. I could see the lights from the windows extinguish, and darkness fell across the apartment.
First, the lights flickered. Not slowly, but in a strobe like fashion. I had an epileptic seizure at the age of twelve, and this quickly brought back the terrifying memories. The tears fell as I screamed in agony at what was happening. My lights were not supposed to do this. They were normal, and they don't act like this. My run for the door was quickly cut short when the lights changed back to normal. Their light now illuminating the room with a cold and menacing color. The sound then hit me. Humming. Continuous humming through my ears coming from the lights that lit my house. I continued my run, but I tripped as I passed through the kitchen. I knew what had happened when my leg began to pulse. I was left to lay there and moan for help. The humming. So soft, but so loud at the same time. It drilled through my ears in a way that was unimaginable. The only presence was a voice saying, "Close your eyes and visualize this room."
Through the pain I laid on the kitchen floor. My eyes glued shut, and I began to visualize the room that I had been in. Nothing was happening. Simply darkness as the voice persuaded me to continue. My breaths became quicker, and I knew I had lost it. I was now lost in my own madness. The madness that woke me up.
My eyes flew open as I pushed myself from the bed. I felt the hard floor beneath me, and the sight of the shoes around me brought me back from my previous delusion. I took note of the clinical room, and the scientists once again ignored my appearance. I pulled up from the floor with the help of the bed, and I could feel an anger building up inside of me once again. I noticed a scientist walking out, and I quickly ran up to him. A swing to the back of the neck quickly caused him to fall to the ground. His attempts to get air were useless, and I could feel the punches I made to him. They hurt, and I knew I was causing him pain. "What are you doing to me," I cried at the man.
He looked at me in fear, and I knew he wasn't going to say anything, but that didn't matter. I threw him against the wall, and the punches continued. My furiousness only brought more swings upon him, and he could barely find the time to gasp for air. I watched as I kicked and punched him, and I watched as his eyes froze into a motionless stare. His body went limp, and his screaming came to a halt. I watched in horror as I his death came because of me. I didn't even realize what I had done. I couldn't have done it.
I shook him, but nothing. He was gone. I tried to scream for help, but I was stuck there. I simply watched the body sit next to the wall without motion. It only took a few more seconds before I felt the punch to my jaw.
My mouth went limp. The pain wasn't there, but I could taste the blood. My body hit the ground as I groaned in pain. My jaw hung limp as the scientist drug me towards the bed. I fought back, but the pain in my jaw was too unbearable. That was when he punched my face continuously. Every swing was another groan from me. I tried to make a sound of pain, but I couldn't make any sound at all. When the punching stopped he placed me on the bed, and I laid there, limp.
I tried to get up, but hands flung me down. The scientist watched in disgust as he placed a box next to my bed. A few moments later I saw a scientist walk up with the circular object. The very scientist I had killed. My mind was gone, and I just tried to get away. The blood pouring from my wounds was causing me to become dizzy, and the force from the scientist made it impossible to move. The scientist thanked the man I thought I had killed, and began to hook it up to the wires.
He wasn't holding me, but I couldn't get up. My body was ignoring my signals, and I simply laid there in disbelief. I could feel the tears from my eyes as the circular mechanisms were placed all over me. They no longer caused any pain. They caused nothing. It was over. I simply waited for my death, as I could no longer do anything about it. I was able to move as much as a vegetable. I simply gurgled one final word as blood filled my mouth.
The scientist quickly looked at me and gave me a disturbing glare. His face became angry and he muttered, "You were never supposed to leave the damn machine in the first place."
The roar of the machine filled the room as my eyes became heavy. I felt the world melt away to nothing as I tried to hold on, but I couldn't. It was gone, and I was no longer there to be a part of it. My mind. Gone. Everything. Gone. I didn't belong there, and I needed to wake up. Escape to reality. I needed to visualize the room.
There was a scent of dew rushing in through the window as my eyes, ever so slowly, opened. My mind was already racing as the world around me became clearer. A dream. A dream sitting in the back of my mind. It had an all too familiar tip-of-the-tongue feeling, and a sense of nostalgia was forming from it. Nothing would come to mind, but yet it was so clear. It was a sound that felt all too familiar, but yet so far off. It was a persistent sound without end.