Gary Carmen walked down the street, hands in his pockets, looking for help wanted signs in every window. He had just been fired from his job as a legal assistant, something his wife didn’t know yet, and for the last three days he had been walking the streets looking for work, so he wouldn’t have to show her he was useless; their marriage was already on the rocks.
Gary’s thoughts were running rampant through his brain, until he almost walked straight into a shops window. There was a sign hanging on the window, it was almost like a sign from above. “Get paid to take part in a simple study” the sign read. A smile appeared on Gary’s face, it wasn’t a full-time job or anything, but it would bring some money in, keeping the Mrs. from finding out he lost his job. Gary walked inside.
“Hey there, I, um, saw the sign out front, and I want to apply to make two hundred dollars.” Gary asked a receptionist.
“Just fill out these forms, and hand them in when your done.” The receptionist said, handing a clipboard with a sheet of paper on it to Gary. He took the clipboard with a nod of his head, and turned around, walked towards a chair, and sat down. Gary filled out the form, with all the information, just your basic information, name, age, address, when it came to job description, he left it blank, he had just lost his job, and was hiding this from his wife.
Gary took the clipboard up to the receptionist and she ushered him into the doctor’s office right away. “Really? That quick, don’t you need to go over the form?”
“The doctor will do that, just go in and have a seat.” She said, looking down at the form the entire time.
Gary walked into the room, and sat down, seconds later the doctor came in with the clipboard. “So… Mr. Carmen, everything checks out, I just need to ask, why you want to do this study?”
“Well, the sign says make two hundred dollars, quick, and so I figured I might as well try, I need to make some money.”
“alright, well then please sign this, it just states that you consent to this study, and we will pay you on completion.” The doctor handed Gary a waiver, and Gary signed it, he really wanted that money.
“Alright, well, let’s get started, what we are going to do is hook you up to this machine, put some wires to your head, and they will read your brainwaves, and help us understand what your brain is doing. We are going to do this because we have this medication for headaches we want to test out and we need to make sure it’s not going to give you muscle spasms or anything.”
“O, well, that seems okay…. it’s not going to give me an aneurism or anything is it?”Gary was getting nervous, he was finding it odd that they didn’t check him more, but hey, easy money is easy.
“I assure you, you will be just fine, you’re not the first one to try this, and no one else ever had any kind of bad reaction.”Gary agreed to do it, he really wanted that money, and if others had been through it, what could the risk really be? The doctor hooked up Gary, placing a multitude of wires on his head, torso, and legs. Gary felt like he was becoming some kind of robot. The doctor gave Gary a glass of water, and two red pills. Gary took a good look at the clear liquid gel pills, and popped them into his mouth, swallowing both at the same time.
“Alright, Mr. Carmen, im going to go get my nurse, you just lay there, and relax, I will be right back.”
The doctor said as he walked out the door. Gary laid down, and relaxed, staring at the ceiling, listening to the beep of machinery, there was a sound outside, and Gary went to look out the window, but his head wouldn’t move, Gary tried to roll over, and found out he couldn’t do that either. “Hey Doc! DOC!” Gary yelled out, really freaking out now.
The doctor ran in “Relax Mr. Carmen, relax. I gave you something in the water, and you are paralyzed from the head down, it’s all for the experiment.” Gary’s eyes grew wide.
“What are you going to do to me? What are you going to do?” Gary cried out, feeling like he was about to have a heart attack from the panic; his heart beating wildly.
“Shhh, Shh, its okay Gary, in the next few minutes, everything will change, you will see a bright light, but you’re not going to die, we want you to tell us everything you see, everything you experience, and once you do that, we will pay you.” The doctor said, smirking an evil grin. “Now settle down before people start to get suspicious.”
“I’m going to sue, I swear you are going down.” Gary said, he couldn’t yell anymore.
“No you won’t, you signed a waiver saying you wouldn’t, greed of money can make people do silly things, but Gary, it’s alright, we will pay you, you will live, just do what we say.” another face showed up in his vision, it was his secretary, who apparently was also a nurse. Things were starting to get brighter, and blurry. The white walls, and white roof were starting to blend into one. Their moving faces blurring.
“Relax Gary, just relax.” Came a sweet feminine voice.
“Gary, you have started, we need you to relay to us everything you see? Okay?” A voice, the doctor’s voice, coming from all around him, but nowhere to be seen.
“Its all white, I can’t see anything but white” Gary blurted out, he had no reason to not comply, but fear made him want to go along with it, if he was going to survive this, he had to trust them.
“Good, you passed the first test, your conscious, just keep looking around, and when you see something let us know.” A scratching sound, a pen on paper, he was taking notes.
Gary was shocked, the first test was to be conscious? What had he got himself into? He just kept looking around , trying to see past the blinding white light, suddenly he noticed something, something swirling.“I see a fog, its hard to make out but there is some kind of fog swirling around me.” Gary said out loud, and heard that voice reply all around him, seemingly everywhere at once, but coming from nowhere, almost like it was in his head, coming from his temples.
“Okay, keep it up Gary, you’re doing excellent, why don’t you try walking around.” More scratching noises, they were fainter now; so was the beeping of the machines.
“How can I walk around, you paralyzed me! What are you craz….” Gary stopped short, he could walk, he could move all around, wherever he was he was no longer paralyzed. This walking didn’t feel natural, it was almost as if he was gliding, but his feet were still moving.
“HAHA! You see Gary, im not lying to you, you’re doing great! What do you see? look really hard.” the laugh scared Gary, so bad he felt he should not offend the doc. Gary looked around, squinting.
“Red, something red, looks like a red carpet or something, it’s pretty vibrant against the white.” Gary said, as he walked around.
“Do you feel anything Gary? Is it cold?” Gary didn’t feel cold, but the ground was crunching, reminding him of walking on snow that had iced over on top.
“It must be cold the ground is crunching under my feet, but….but I don’t feel cold, I feel, normal, im not shivering or anything.”
“Very interesting, okay Gary, keep going, go towards the red, find out what it is.” This time he couldn’t even hear the pen scratching, although he was sure the doctor was still writing.
Gary kept on walking, walking towards the red. It definitely was cold Gary’s foot slipped on the ground, and he fell down, flat on his face. “OOMPH”“What happened Gary?” came the voice all around him, still inside his head, which was starting to get very irritating.
“I slipped on he ground, it is like ice right here, I landed on something pretty hard too….. O MAN O MAN! It’s a dead body! This person is dead, pure white, dead…. THERE EVERYWHERE! Get me out of here! Stop this now, the place is full of frozen bodies, and that not a carpet, that’s blood, the ground is stained red, get me out of here!” Gary’s head started to swim, he sat down in the fetal position, and started rocking, shutting his eyes, and screaming out into the white void. “Gary calm down, calm down! Its alright! Just calm down!”Gary kept rocking and freaking out, all of a sudden he heard a door, just to his left open, he looked over and it was the receptionist, the same one who was also the nurse, he was sure of it, she had the same bright red hair, cut in a short bob. She was pushing in a cart, one of those steel surgical carts, heavy-duty made for being able to hold heavy full-grown men. There was a grey sheet on top of the cart, whatever was under it looked very lumpy. Gary jumped up, and started to run towards her, screaming for her to help; she never even looked his way. He forgot all about the slippery floor, and went falling right onto his rear end. When he stood up, he watched her pulling on the lump under the sheet. The grey sheet fell to the ground with a loud thump, and a crack. From under the grey cover Gary could see shoes, dark black leather, similar to the shoes he wore. Suddenly, and what looked like with no remorse, the nurse grabbed the grey covering off the lump with shoes, tossed it on the cart, and started to walk away.
“I see your nurse, or whoever she is, she just dumped a body in this room, or whatever it is I am in. It was like she couldn’t see or hear me. What is going on? Is this some kind of sick joke? Get me OUT OF HERE!” Gary screamed out into the white, beating his head with closed fists, suddenly Gary saw some black, in his vision, and it grew, bigger and bigger taking over his sight, he could no longer speak, but he could hear the doctor talking to him, “calm down Gary, it’s alright, we are going to get you out, just hang in there”
Gary grabbed his chest, it was suddenly hurting. It felt like there was a massive weight on it. Gary dropped to the ground, looking at his shoes. Black leather.
“Subject 659, Gary Carmen, time of death 2:42 pm.” The nurse called out, unplugging the machinery, to stop the irritating tone. “Died of a heart attack, like the rest”
“So close, it was do close Sarah. He was doing it, we have real results, do you realize what he saw? He saw his own future!” The doctor exclaimed.
“I know doctor, it’s just a shame… do I put him in with the rest?”
“Yes, go ahead, cart him in.”
She wheeled the steel cart outside the room with Gary’s lifeless body on it, throwing a grey blanket over top of him and brought him down the hall to a room with a giant lock on it. She brings the cart and body into the room, and pulls on the cover, Gary’s body sliding off the cart and onto the ground with a crunching thud. The room it’s so cold she doesn’t dare to stay in for fear of getting deathly sick
A room full of bodies, and white, all the bodies white from the deep freeze.
Gary lay there, staring into the face of a dead woman. Her eyes were open, and looked to be a brilliant blue…or was that just because of the freezing cold. Gary couldn’t help but notice how beautiful she was, even in her frozen dead state.
So this is death Gary thought as he lay there unable to move maybe this is purgatory or else it is hell. Why can’t I move? Trying with all his might he moved his pinky finger little less than an inch, Holy Crap! I’m not dead! barely noticeable, but he couldn’t help but feel that it had happened.
Focusing all his mind, all his will, all his strength (which felt like very little being unable to voluntarily move a single muscle) on moving that same pinky finger. He tried so much he felt like his brain was going to explode. Then it happened, it moved all the way to his palm! I DID IT! Okay okay, calm down, that was one finger Gare…one finger… you need to move more than that if your going to survive.
“Good luck, GARE, but it will never work.” The voice sounded as if it came from all around him, and yet inside of him at the same time. Gary’s eyes flickered around all the dead eyes staring at him were dull, grey, and milky. Except one, the beautiful woman. He looked straight into her eyes, those brilliant blue eyes, and saw a glimmer in them, a look of understanding.
YOU! He called out in his brain, then felt embarrassed for himself, there was no way she could hear him, he couldn’t even talk with his mouth, and she was obviously dead.
“You going to finish that thought? Or just lay there HAHAHAHHAA” The laugh was maniacal, it reminded him of movies where the prisoner goes insane, and can’t help but laugh about everything. You, you can hear me? Is this telepathic or something? Who are you? Gary asked in a hurried fashion, this was incredible, this was amazing……was this even real?
“Yes I can hear you, and it is telepathy, and your pathetic HAHAHHAHAH” Gary shuddered at this, she was lucid, she understood, but something was far from right with this woman…zombie?….no woman, he refused to think of himself as a zombie, he had no urge to eat someones brains after all.
“You can do more Gary, you can get out of here. TRY. Try harder! Your different from the rest, as I was different. The last of us that could talk to me died off three days ago, but I’ve been here longer. WHAT DOES IT MEAN GARE!!!!”
Gary’s whole body shuddered and jumped back as she screamed at him, the scream bouncing around inside his head, he wished he could have put his hands up to his ears to silence the scream, but he knew that it would do nothing. She was in his head. She was everywhere. I’m….I’m sorry, I don’t understand myself what is happening. What do you mean I am different?
“Gary I can sense it, your whole body is vibrating, you can move you just need to try. TRY GARY” again she screamed, but at least she had not done that awful scream again. Gary looked into her eyes, staring, believing every word. Why shouldn’t he? Here he was, pronounced dead, dropped into a murder pit, and talking telepathically with another person. He decided to try to get up. What did he have to lose?
Focus. Focus. Move. Get…..Up….Gary focused all his might, all his strength again. But nothing was happening. “GARY GET THE HELL UP YOU LAZY PRICK! HAHAHAHAHA” She screamed louder and laughed more insanely than before. Gary who was concentrating so hard leaped to his feet, and started to yell back at her WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM??? STOP SCREAM…..I…..I’m standing? Hey, woman. I’m standing! I did it! Hey? You there? Hellloooo?
The woman just lay there, no voice filling the room, or his head. He tried to walk, and found that it was incredibly easy to do, as if he had never been stuck in place. He knelt down, in front of her, moved her head which let out a loud crack. Her eyes were grey, no longer a brilliant blue. She was gone. Thank you, mysterious woman, I just wish I could have helped you too.