The Experiment

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Contently Deranged Travelers
Sorry I've been having formatting issues with this,. Hope it reads okay

Submitted: October 15, 2018

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Submitted: October 15, 2018

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They put me inside the box. I didn't know what to expect. I mean, it had never been done before.
I tried to steady my breathing. I kept asking the scientist silly questions, consumed with a childlike nervousness as if my age was reverting. “Should I move my arm this way? Can I scooch down a little?  What does this thing do?” Which was followed by random weather talk and a, “What did you have for dinner?” Then I wondered what the first meal would be when I "woke up".
The man only answered the first question and ignored the rest.
Then, however, after the initial nervous energy wore off, the reality of the situation descended upon me as I lay there, staring me right in the face.
I was about to be frozen.
For
500
Years.
This was serious. Almost otherworldly. Do I really want to abandon my current life for this experiment? What if something happens during those 500 years? The world ends or whatnot. I'll never wake up...
It's as if I'm dying right now.
Who I was before won't matter in 500 years. Everything I did, who I am now, it will mean nothing...
But I was given the opportunity. I should consider myself lucky they say. So I lay there and I try to consider myself lucky.

Think positive.

When I wake, I'll be reborn. A new man.
I'm breathing heavy. It's so cold.
Any second I'll be unconscious. These are my last seconds. What do I do? What do I think?
I keep glancing at the scientist working the machine. His eyebrows are furrowed.
This man will be dead when I wake.
Sad...
No, its natural. He's an average person. He won't live 500 years. And that's fine.
But am I fine?
No.
Yes.
Yes I am.
It will be fine.
In a way, I'll be a time traveler.
That's phenomenal!
That's extraordinary.
This is...
Crazy.
I can't do this.
"Doctor!" I cry out unexpectedly. Can he hear me in the ice? He stopped answering my questions awhile ago. Maybe he's just ignoring me again.
I try speaking a while later, but my mouth and chin have grown stiff. All I can manage is a few moans.
Everything's burning it's so cold.
My body doesn't feel real.
I can no longer turn my head, but I keep my eye on the doctor, hoping he'll check on me.
I only have seconds left before I'm out.
I need to relax.
There's no going back now. I just need to let myself drift.
How long does it take to become unconscious?

Seconds and seconds…. More seconds.
They said I wouldn't feel much, just a slight chill and then I'd be out.

….
I've been thinking and thinking and thinking.
Suddenly,
The doctor gets up and walks over to my ice box. My eyes are still wide open. I wish I had closed them.
He looks right at me,
I can see him, but it's blurred.
He's probably checking if things are okay.
How do I signal to him that it feels wrong?
I can't move at this point.

He nods his head and turns to leave. I can't see him. Everything goes dark.
It's just the light.
I can only assume he left the room.
When will he be back?
Does he know I'm waiting for him?
Sudden terror overcomes me  like a wave of electricity. It strikes my body like lightning.
Does he know I'm still conscious?
I curse.

First a word, then myself, then the scientist.


No need to panic.
Keep calm.
Deep breaths.
He'll be back to check up on me. Surely, they'll be checking up on me a lot.
Surely... they have a way to monitor my consciousness.
But how?
I wasn't a scientist. I didn't know the specifics.
These are the sort of questions I should have been asking!
But no, I had to ask him what he had for dinner.
...

I really need to calm down. I just need to relax. Maybe everything is going as planned.
Maybe it's up to me now to...
To somehow fall asleep.
Yes, that's it.
They're waiting on me.
But my eyes are open...
That's okay, I can still do it. Just need to concentrate.
My body is numb at this point.
Minutes pass. It feels like hours, but I eventually do find myself drifting, and then I'm asleep.
Ah...
But it's quick.
Suddenly, I wake. I can't remember what I dreamed.
It feels unreal. Maybe I'm still asleep?
I feel like screaming, because I can't move. And all I see is this blurry sheet of glass in front of me. Then I remember. It's just the ice. It's okay.
A thousand thoughts race through my brain.
500 years.
They said it'd feel like nothing. Not even a long dream. More like a slow blink.
They said when I woke I'd be completely out of the ice.
But... There's still ice.
I don't know what to think...
No need to worry. I tell myself, I just woke up earlier than expected, that's all.
At least the light’s on now.
They'll be in here soon.
They'll get me out.

I don't know how much time has passed, but eventually I do see a blurry figure seemingly floating closer and closer to the icebox.
A surreal face peeks over the top, looking at me, only for a few seconds.
And it's gone.
It's was furrowed eyebrows. It had to be.
Then the man comes into view again. Yeah, definitely furrowed eyebrows.
Wait...
That's not good. It's wrong.
500 years.
It shouldn't be the same man!
Was he even a day older?
I couldn't tell.
Was he working on defreezing me? I didn't know.


More hours pass. I assume it's hours. No way of  knowing. Has it only been minutes? Maybe a whole day.

It felt odd. I wasn't thinking much of anything.
Just simple things. Colors, objects.
Then a random daydream: a peculiar snowman in the middle of a storm, building himself up and dissolving
over and over again.
Some kind of metaphor, I'm sure...or just nonsense.
 

This is just one of the things I daydreamed.

I felt myself getting sleepy again.
This could be it..
Goodbye world.
Wow...I yawn internally. 500 years...

Ah…



It was the weirdest dream. The 500 years were up. It was the future, but I was on a different planet and there were no scientists. Instead, hundreds of aliens staring at me; laughing as I sat there on a bench. I wasn't frozen. I was moving my limbs and jumping. It felt good.
The mood shifted as their laughs turned into high pitched screams and I fell through the floor. It just collapsed. I was falling. Literally falling back to earth, head first. All I could think was: this is going to hurt. It makes me laugh.
Space was odd; gray with dust particles. Empty.
I felt I was being reborn. I was flying.
That must be it. People can fly in the future!
And that was my last thought before I woke.

Or was I awake?

Not this again.

I had to be awake. I couldn't move.
Kind of ironic that that's how I could tell.

I was greeted by the same sheet of ice. I thought of furrowed eyebrows. What's his name? I can't remember. He told me, but it felt like so long ago.
Richard....Leonard.. No... I don't know.
It doesn't matter.
I wish it did.

I feel claustrophobic. I've never felt that way. The feeling was intense.
I couldn't deny it now.
This was going wrong. Horribly wrong.
It was starting to dawn on me, how horribly wrong it could be.
It never even crossed my mind before, but this was worse than anything I imagined...
Sleeping and waking. Feeling asleep while awake. Off and on. What if it never stops?
Conscious while awake, while it lasted, but unable to move.
Nothing but thoughts and the hope of the scientists  realizing what was happening to me.


Conscious then unconscious. A never ending cycle. 500 years with nothing but thoughts...
And then terror strikes again!
It can only happen so many times before  it loses effect.
And then I don't feel it at all.

Time passes.

Or does it?
At times, strangely, I feel perfectly fine.
Well, it's more of a drug-like euphoria;
A numbness, a depression, a manic joy.

At first I thought of my family, my life before the ice, before the never ending dream,
But over time, it began to mean nothing and I found myself not being able to remember much of anything.
I started to create a world in my head. It was based on dreams and oddball thoughts.
Just one:
The aliens were my brothers now. It was the future. I ruled the world. I made Mr. Furrowed Eyebrows get an ice box. I stared at him like he stared at me. I laugh… and I cry.
And it feels good.
The dreams, I mean.
While awake, I can't do anything.
I'm nothing.
I'm no one.
 

….

 

This went on for 500 years.

The world did end, not just for me. For everyone.

A plague… a war.. then an ice age.

I could have been stuck for eternity, but God melted the ice and now... I'm free in heaven, the forever dream. I like it: It's familiar. It should have been the last thing to make me happy, but over the years reality became the nightmare. Heaven, it's like a dream, but more real.

 

I met furrowed eyebrows up here in heaven. I forgave him. The name was Richard, he said.

It was nice to know.

He shook my hand and between sobs he struggled to say something.

“S-S-teak! A-nd Po-po-tatoes!”

I realized now he wasn't crying, but laughing.

“What?” I replied, bewildered.

“That's what I had for dinner the night before the 500 years!”






 

** Inspired by a prompt I saw on starsthatfellonrandumgirl's story: Frozen

Prompt from Jack Crawford's profile: Scientists have discovered cryogenic freezing. You are its first test subject and it is a massive success. They plan on releasing you in 500 years. You had no way of telling them you were conscious.**


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