When I was young, to my parents’ surprise, I was really into first aid. I would persuade my parents into letting me join every organisation that allowed me to learn more. I technically have multiple qualifications for first aid. One thing that always stuck with me all my life was that you should always treat the quiet ones first because there’s usually something seriously wrong with them.
15 years on and I earned my master’s degree in biology and medicine. It was everything that I had ever wanted but it had its downside. I had spent so much time concentrating on my academic career that I never thought about what I was actually going to do with my newly acquired degrees. After a few months I was desperate for work. I mean any money is still money right?
Five months ago, I was offered a job at an unknown facility and by unknown I mean even I didn’t know exactly where it is. I was just told that I was to wait at the end of my street and I’d be taken to this facility to monitor the results of an unknown experiment. What they had failed to tell me was that the test subjects where four men who had washed out and had nothing to lose.
The idea was that they would be subjected to complete darkness for three days then the lights were to be turned on and would stay on for four days. This would last three months and we (two psychologists, another biologist and I) had to stay and take shifts in monitoring the poor men. One psychologist and one biologist for the AM and one each for the PM. What’s worse is that these men had been promised 7 billion dollars and a better life.
I had the first shift along with this psychologist called Adam so we were kind of thrown into the deep end. We sat dormant through the first couple of hours just staring at the screens as we watched these men sleep, blissfully unaware that the lights would not be turned on for another two and a half days. Due to the sheer Boredom of watching these men sleep, Adam and I began to talk about how we landed ourselves in this place. He merely said that he was desperate after his last job had abruptly ended because of an unreliable psychiatrist causing the company to be shut down.
3 days past and the men started to socialize. They mainly spoke of how long “last night” was. They started becoming suspicious of the experiment and displaying clear signs of paranoia. Another day later and they didn’t even trust each other. They would sit in their beds protecting their food supplies and flinching whenever someone so much as sneezed.
When it was time to turn the lights back out we had to make the lights flicker as to warn them that they were going out. Two of them began to scream as soon as they were plunged into darkness and they quickly lost their voices. The other two remained silent. Just staring at the cameras that we had hidden in the room. Adam said that this was extremely unnerving but I kept my cool.
After the first month passed, night vision on the cameras stopped. The people in charge said that we would remove the men and have them put in different glass cells and we would interrogate them but in pitch black conditions. We would then interrogate them with the lights on. All the while outside of these bulletproof glass boxes. The men who removed them looked shaken.
We took turns asking each man the same questions. Two remained silent. These were the ones given to Adam and me. They remained silent so eventually we asked them why they were silent. They simply said, in unison, “I like silence. It keeps THEM out”.
We turned on the lights and as soon as I saw them I immediately backed off. There where parts of their faces festering away. They had eaten their own lips. Their skin was charred black. They looked like… Hell. They simply smiled (or moved like they were smiling).
“Are you happy now?”