1. Gannon

    Gannon Contributor Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England

    Winner mootz Short Story Contest 107: Cryogenic Accident

    Discussion in 'Monthly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Gannon, Jan 3, 2012.

    mootz - Darkness

    It was dark, so he couldn't see it. He hadn't opened his eyes in weeks, so he couldn't really see anything at all.

    He felt around in the darkness with his finger tips for the raised ridge of dead skin that he knew protruded from the back of his right hand near the knuckle. His finger tips felt the hair that grew awkwardly from the sores as they glided across the skin. Two bumps on his right hand, three on the left.

    He was going to start working on the right hand, he was right handed and it made sense that it would be more capable to work with pain.

    The nail of his left pointer finger picked at the ridge of roughened skin. His right hand jumped at the tug of pain, it seemed rooted deep underneath the skin like teeth in the gums. Blood started to trickle from the base of the protrusion as he picked at it more and more. Finally, he had enough of the dead skin loose away from the hand to grab at it with his fingers.

    He closed his eyes, and then tugged on it. It was a quick rip of dead tissue, but it felt so much worse. When he opened his eyes, there was a sliver of metal attached to the tips of tissue. It was beneath the skin.

    He started to whimper and shake in place, scared of what else he would find in his body. He raised his right arm to wipe his tears away but a quiver of pain excited him into a stiffness that struck his hold body. He was alone, he could let the tears stay for now.

    He ground his teeth. He picked at the second bump on his right hand and the quake of pain that shot in his arm, through the hole of the first and all the way up his arm, seemed to pinch on every nerve in his right side. Despite his attempt to prepare himself, he screamed like a tortured prisoner.

    His right arm tightened up more. He looked around the room for something to gag himself with but he was only able to see shapes without color, meaningless items in a dark void of confusion. He felt at his waist and found that he had a belt. Awkwardly fumbling around with his left hand, he took it off and placed the leather in his mouth. His pants dropped to the floor, a result of his weight loss over time.

    He picked at the ridge again, the pain was immense but he bit down hard and gutted through it. When the skin was separated enough, he started to pull it out. He tried to do it slowly, instead of yanking it all out at once but the pain was the same. Halfway through, he yanked the rest of it out in blind fury and agony.

    He saw the blood jump from the new whole, though he couldn't tell if his was blood was still red. He didn't know what they did to him while he was in that chamber. Occasionally, his eyes would open and he'd see people moving around with medical instruments. He would try to scream for help, it was met with a surge of liquid into his veins that placed him back in a dream.

    He decided he'd take the rest of the stuff out of him later. He would have to make his due with only the use of his left hand for awhile. He started to bend down to pick up his pants, but pain ripped through his right shoulder and lower back.

    Disappointed, tired and still groggy he reached around behind him with his left hand to find the wall. He leaned against it slowly, then slide down the wall to sit on the floor. Gray, colorlessly blood trickled down his arm. His pants still around his ankles, he sighed and closed his eyes tightly. He could taste the salty water that migrated from his tear ducts down his face.

    “Where is everyone?” he whispered to himself.

    “There aren't any living humans on this colony,” a voice said.

    “C-c-computer, what year is it?” he asked.

    “3612 A.D., patient 829,” it answered.

    He stopped breathing. His body jumped in place, convulsing from the lack of oxygen. He finally forced himself to take in air.

    “Three hundred years?” he asked. “I've been here... what was wrong with me. I'm a patient? What was wrong with me?”

    “According to my records, you were scheduled for improvements. There was nothing actually wrong with you.”

    “You didn't make anything better!” he exclaimed. He wasn't just mad because of his situation, he has also mad at the pain he sent into his arm. The excruciating punishment for his rowdiness in movement.

    “As my records indicate, that is correct,” it answered.

    He closed his eyes, his teeth were clinched tightly and showing as his head leaned back and he snarled in pain and frustration.

    “Unfortunately, 829, seeing that it's been over two hundred years, according to law, you're not entitled to a monetary refund.”

    Patient 829, who for all his attempts at remembering his past, couldn't recall his name. He couldn't remember why he signed up for this, or if he did so on purpose. His mind stirred for a moment, thinking of the quickest way to get it done. He settled on the little metal spike he had pulled from his arm.

    He leaned forward and grabbed the spike. He took a deep breath and exhaled, plunging the spike into his neck and tearing it through his throat with all the strength he could manage from his left arm.

    Slowly, his eyes closed and he slumped in place, going silent.

    Five hours later, he woke up. His hands went to his neck immediately, there was no hole. He noticed he was using his right hand. He felt around, his sight still painfully blurry, and noticed the holes in his hand had healed.

    “Patient 829, you had an accident and I healed you. It is a courtesy policy of the facility, as long as you're on this colony, I'll help keep you safe. You're welcome, 829.”

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