Author : Helstrom

The old man who had introduced himself as Jacob returned after the nurse left. Old was perhaps too strong a word – he definitely had a good number of years on him, but he wore them well. The deep lines in his face spoke of character and a sort of natural familiarity, touched by a hint of sadness. He smiled fatherly, pulled up a chair and sat down.

“How are you feeling now, Alexander?”

“Fine, I think.” Being brought back from the dead hadn’t been as traumatic as one might expect.

“Let me know if you need anything. Meanwhile, I’d like to ask a few more questions?”


“Before waking up here, what’s the last thing you remember?”

I recalled the memory like a photograph, flat and void: “We were in the command bunker. Our position was about to be overrun, the last position still standing, as far as we knew. We’d seen how they killed and we decided not to have any of that. We emptied the liquor cabinet and shot ourselves.”

“That seems to match up with the archaeological data at your site. You probably were the last, in fact.”

The door opened and the nurse came back, carrying a wide tray. My stomach growled in anticipation. The meal consisted of rice with several different kinds of side dishes; meat, chicken, fish, vegetables.

“We couldn’t quite tell what you’d like,” smiled Jacob, “Your most recent memories seemed to indicate you would have eaten anything as long as it wasn’t cee-rations.”

“Good call,” I replied with a full mouth, “This food is…”

Then it struck me. Something was missing.

“Alexander? Is there a problem? Would you like something else?”

“No, the food is delicious,” I put the tray aside, “What have you done to me?”

Jacob shifted in his seat, folded his hands: “Alexander… Alec, is it okay if I call you Alec?”

“Answer my question.”

“You must understand that you are not the first we’ve brought back. But so far we haven’t been very successful. We found no physical indicators for our failure, and a rather wide variety in symptoms which rendered the previous subjects… Instable.”

Jacob was talking clinical now, a rather different language than he’d spoken before. A doctor about to make some devastating announcement, drawing up a wall of sterile terminology to shield his soul.

“After much discussion and research, we decided that on the next subject – that is, you – we would preemptively disable some of the higher cerebral functions which we had identified as problematic.”

“You… Cut out… My emotions?”

“You have to understand that we…”

“Shut up, Jacob.”

The silence hung thick between us, God knows for how long. Every now and then Jacob would try to say something, and I would shut him up. He asked if he should leave and I told him to keep his ass right in that chair. I considered killing him – the memories were still there and I assumed the body was fully functional. But nothing came. I told myself I was furious, that I was devastated, violated, mutilated, it all registered, but nothing came. Eventually I looked up.

“I think your trick worked, doctor. Let’s carry on.”

“Oh, good!” Jacob was visibly relieved, “I’m very happy with your sympathy to our decision, you see, the research is incredibly important to…”

“Enjoy that feeling, doctor.”

Guilt tore across Jacob’s face. I resumed my dinner.


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