This is my Friday Frights tale for DarkMedia City. The prompt was Cyberpunk. This is a little different. I hope you enjoy it.
Lights flicker in the room as the energy wanes and waxes depending on the needs of the machines. An impassive, almost plastic-faced, nurse stares down at me, looking in to my pupils, hands on my wrist, checking my pulse. Blood pours from my mouth, diverted by thick gauze pads and channeled in to catch basins along my sides.
Pain shoots through my mouth, virtually no part of it unscathed by its ferocity. I can not move: the straps! I'm fastened to the table by straps on my wrists, ankles, and some contortion-like machine attached to my head. There is no release! I must endure what is happening to me.
"Settle down, Mr. Heinz," the cruel voice attached to the emotionless woman says. "You don't want to tear out your IV or your transfusion stuff, do you? We have plans for you, you know. Big plans."
Plans! Yes, ever since the bone eating bacteria invaded my mouth, this medical center has had plans, but they haven't been concerned about me: it's not who I am that matters, it's what I might become. I'm a pawn in the battle of the big corporation versus the common man. Is there such a thing anymore in this day and age as a person who is valued for being a person, an individual deserving of being respected? No more. Big corporations control everything.
"Fuck you!" I shout, pissed off at this incessant amoeba in the petrie dish, add this, add that, and let's see what happens treatment I'm receiving. Something big is ready to happen. There's no doubt about that.
Without saying a word, she flicks some sort of a lever which forces something into my IV. It's not glucose, that's for sure. My eyes spring back in to my head, and I see horrendously fast little groadies, many different colors, start chasing each other around, gobbling the smaller ones up and being eaten by the larger ones in return. The bacteria . . .the bacteria are being consumed by something, but by what? The new entities forced into my body are taking over. Sure, the bacteria are vanishing, but something more ominous is occupying that space and advancing to the surrounding tissues.
"Congratulations, Mr. Heinz," the hideous one says, " the bacteria are leaving, but on the flip side, the cure comes at a price. We have injected cancer cells into your body. The good news is that we might possibly have a cure for the cancer. Notice I said might. There are no absolutes."
Whatever type of cancer has been injected in to me is fast moving, invasive to the point of instantaneous agony. My body screams for relief, my mouth, my throat, wailing for something, anything, to ease what is coursing through me. But it does not stop. The blood flows, the pain continues, and as much as I want it all to end, regardless of the circumstance, it is not up to me. I am merely a tethered experiment in the process of invasive modification of the human body: as much human as I am allowed to remain.
"Change the blood bag now! The one with the synthetics added: that's the one I want ," a voice echoes, a lower voice, a man's voice, perhaps a doctor. I don't know; I don't care. Relief! I want some fucking relief. Damn this pushing me to the limits of my physical tolerance!
Sweat pours off me, joining the blood running out of my mouth. I shake uncontrollably, jerking and twisting, the sounds of my moans adding to the cacophony of the painful opera within me. But the fat lady does not sing, and there is no end to what I endure.
Invasive bastards eat away at the inner tissues of my mouth, gobbling through the flesh, causing my cheeks to fall inwards because there is only an empty space, a hollow where nothing exists. My human tissue is being removed, first by the cancer and then by the new cancer eating substance: that which has a huge appetite and is not happy with merely attacking the cancer cells.
My mind shifts to a graveyard scene where worms attack my flesh, eating their fill, rejoicing in the bounty that is me, but I am not in a graveyard; I am not in the ground; and worms are not my enemy. The mega corporations have decided my fate.
The doctor checks the machines, the gauges, and the bags attached to me. He peers over me and smiles. "You are doing so well, Mr. Heinz. Just a few more modifications and we will have you exactly where we want you. Yes, Bauckham Enterprises will be famous. You, sir, will be the first artificially cured cancer patient. There will be no rejections. From the seemingly insignificant bone eating bacteria that we were able to destroy within your body with cancer cells, we immediately attacked the cancer with the bio-genetic material at our disposal, and soon . . .and soon, there will be nothing, no disease, no pathogens of any kind that will be able to take your life. You, sir, will be immortal. Just a little more pain and it will all be over for you."
He changes the blood bags once more, and another something, God knows what, enters my body, eating through the last batch of introduced modifications and becoming the dominant bio-artificial entity residing within me. This pain is far worse than what I have been subjected to up to this point, almost causing me to pass out from its severity, but I refuse to buckle under to the manifestation of agony. I NEED to know what's happening; I refuse to lapse into a subconscious stupor.
Over and over again, the edge of the abyss that decides between sanity and insanity comes up to me, taunting me with the realization that this is not a done deal. One cruel roll of the dice, and I could become fodder for shock treatment to bring me back. The irony there is this whole procedure has been nothing but one long extension of that very treatment: physical perhaps, but where exactly is the line between the mental and the physical attributes of humanity?
With each procedure performed on me, I become less human and more . . .and more of what Bauckham is striving to turn me into.
The lights finally return to a steady state. Does this mean they are finished with me? Is the pain finished? Has the time for healing arrived?
Chuckling to himself, the doctor must be pleased with what he sees on the computer screen set up close to the bed. "Oh, Mr. Heinz, my good fellow, we have exceeded beyond our wildest expectations. You are so much more powerful now than you have ever been, than ANY man has ever been. We will, of course, be running many tests on you, sort of a fine tuning if you may. And, I dare say, Bauckham will pretty much be your home. You can't run around the countryside mingling with the common rabble. Besides, what is it to you? You have no one anyway. Everyone has abandoned you."
He and nurse plastic-face leave the room and turn off the lights. Darkness: finally I get to embrace its soothing calm. But sleep does not come with the dark. Something is wrong. That part of my makeup has vanished. I no longer feel the need to refresh my mind or my body. My brain is functioning as never before, reaching out, absorbing every sensory perception imaginable. I feel like a . . .shit, I feel like a computer: all knowing, able to sort out micro and macro functions at will, only I need no mouse, no voice over-ride, no nothing. My brain controls it all!
Damn it! I am a computer! The last batch of goodies injected into me were tiny computer chips. My flesh is real enough, and all my body organs seem to be working as before, but if something happens to threaten me, these mini-computers will find a way around the attack. I look at the computer next to the bed and sense it is there as a sort of watch dog, analyzing my thoughts, ready to report on me if I go too far with any ideas, any physical actions that might threaten the authority with in these walls.
Fuck the authority!
Using my new found power, I easily neutralize the computer, hacking into it in a seemingly benign way, allowing the computer to function as before but only absorbing feedback I wish it to have.
"Yes, my dear man," I think, "it is last years model. I am the new super computer."
While the computer plods along in one mode, I analyze all its programs, discovering their plans for me and others like me. The data shows I am the only successful product of their bio-engineering. My, my. Many have died in this quest for human mastery.
The whole history of the past thirty years whirs through my brain, telling me exactly when and how the huge corporations such as Bauckham have taken over the country, the elected officials being merely pawns in a power grab of unprecedented proportions. Money rules; technology rules. The common man is no better than last weeks garbage, as expendable as spit on black top.
I think of this and more: yes, the reason I wound up here to begin with, and the fact that the doctor was right: no one cares about me. I am truly alone. For whatever money given to them, people who I thought loved me deposited my carcass in the waiting hands of the staff here, glad to be rid of me and certainly not caring about their Judas approach to affection.
My anger builds, festering to the point of exploding like the Caldera lurking beneath the ground in Yellowstone, waiting to destroy the planet. But, the new me has more than one facet. I can control these feelings of vehement hatred and channel them to the side for now, somewhat like a coil under pressure, waiting to spring forward when needed.
It is 3:00 A.M. when they come to check on me, expecting to find a worn out man, exhausted from his ordeal and sleeping peacefully. That is the image my vital signs show them, but the passive energy becomes static, and all the hatred explodes, causing the visions of all the injustices done to me over the course of my life to flash before my eyes, blinding me to anything but revenge, and the only ones around now to be on the receiving end are plastic face and the doctor.
The leather straps snap like twigs, and Mr. Cancer and Mr. Bone Eating Bacteria tear the two of them apart, not caring when they shout out in pain. Who will notice down here? This is a house of pain and agony. Hee, hee. These are customary sounds. They come with the turf.
As their limbs are shredded from their bodies, the massive blood flows shoot everywhere, drowning everything in what was once a life giving fluid, now having become just one more color on the pallet of paints to create a masterpiece of revenge. Ah, the sweet visual presented with the adornment of the dominant color against the background of pristine white walls makes for a startling contrast, a paradox of retribution and virtue.
They handle more pain than I thought them capable of, and my calm veneer returns as I watch their struggles diminish as the end comes closer. It is so much better this way. They have been given time to think about their moral transgressions.
I turn the lights off once more, preferring to think in the dark, wishing to formulate my plans for what is to come. Hatred still seethes within me, but I can turn in on and off at will. There is a major breakdown, a radical change about to occur in the social order of our times.
That change will be spearheaded by me. I am the only one strong enough to extract revenge on those deserving it.
The hard part . . .the hard part will be dealing with the Judas contingent.