The Colony (Revised Edition)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


I FINALLY got around to revising this this story after over a year! If you haven't read the original draft already, it's my very first Booksie post. Anyways, it has officially been revisited and
beefed up after being put it off for so long! Feel free to read both versions and let me know which one's best. I added a lot to the story, and I'm happy with how it came out. I hope you enjoy it
as well!


The Colony

 

There exists no adjective which can justify the way I am feeling right now. Description cannot possibly be achieved at this time. I am aware of what is going on but still, I can't open my eyes. My name is Ferrel. My birthday is April 7th, 2128. I'm in surgery. I don't know how long I've been under. Doc has never been spot on when administering anesthesia drugs before operating. He's operated on me few times and it seems that every time I go under his knife, one of two things will happen. I will either wake up too soon, or I will consciously wake up first, but not physically. This is one of those times. Doc may have a perfect record in messing up the whole "putting me under" part of this process, which may have caused me to wake up once while under the knife. Dammit, that's not right. Waking up while I was under the knife did happen. I remember feeling nothing. It was only the sight of Doc cutting away at the inside of my arm that bothered me. Yeah, now I remember. That was the surgery where he removed all of the muscle tissue from my dead arm. My arm. Oh yeah…I kind of drifted of there. What's going on? O.K. wait, yeah…I know why I'm here. I'm having my arm removed. My dead arm.

According to Doc, three years of intravenous drug use with "dirty" needles, in "unsanitary" environments had finally taken its toll. Doc called it perfectly, right from the start. As soon I started reusing my needles, he was on my ass. He warned me countless times over three years about how my "dirty" needles, and these "unsanitary" conditions will eventually cause devastating health issues. "Dirty" and "unsanitary" were relative terms to my understanding; just opinions. It didn't matter, really. The fact of that matter was that I needed needles to stab that junk into my arm, and I would've used any needle to do so, regardless of its sanitary condition. This is how I thought, and what I did for almost three years; until the veins in my left arm started to rot. Three weeks later I was in surgery- for the second time, getting all the muscle tissue in my left arm removed.

My arm had lost all functionality. It had gotten to the point where it would just hang off my shoulder limply and uselessly. The arm itself, had begun to discolor. What used to be a pale and normal Caucasian skin tone, has now achieved unnatural colors of tone. My skin's pigment sank into deep shades of...well, some sort of secondary color…maybe? The color was definitely a combination of colors. The way I saw it, my arm was the manifestation of what it would probably look like if the adjective  "rancid" could be used to describe something you could see- as opposed to its correct use which only describes taste and smell.- You looking at my arm meant you were seeing something rancid. Something so nasty and foul looking, that it could single-handedly take a word only used to describe taste and smell and give a whole new meaning simply by just using it. The word "rancid" fits for some reason, and it just seems to make sense. This "rancid" tone deepened even more over the course of a week. The color changed again, turning over into new spectrums, such as deep shades of blue-black and purple-black. These colors always reminded me of what a bruised area on someone's body looks like posthumously. After gravity moves the blood from the bruised area to the body's lowest point, and the process of lividity starts. In my mind, the bruised area on this body, that I had imagined, was the exact same color of my left arm the day before commencing its amputation. You could clearly see the dead veins surfacing in the rotting flesh. The arm had to go.

I can't open my eyes or my mouth. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm dead. I can't be dead…that wouldn't make any sense at all. I am almost completely aware of everything I should know. My mind is consciously waking my other senses. I am starting to sense smell. I smell sterile air and antiseptic, I know I'm Doc's operating room. I am trying to move my tongue around in my mouth...no, I can’t even get it to twitch. I am trying to sense anything at all in my left side. I'm curious about my dead arm, it couldn't still be there. In no way can I accept that. Wait, hold that thought…O.K…yes, my eyes are opening. My vision is way too blurred to focus on anything. This isn't bothering me at the moment, because my blurred vision is coming into focus at a noticeable pace. In another few moments I'll be able to at least see things such as my own body parts, or where my body parts should be.

I try again to feel the weight of my dead arm and get nothing, then again…I can't feel much of anything at all. Well, I guess I can't really say that either. I feel exhaustion. Not like the "I've been working all day and now I'm exhausted", more along the lines of being so exhausted that I can physically feel my internal dialogue forming itself before I can even put words together in my mind. My mind feels exhausted. I'm pretty sure it would be sensible to think that I'll more than likely find that my body feels similar to my head does now, worn down. Burnt out and over used. Over used like a dirty U-100 syringe being passed around a circle of diseased heroin junkies, itching for their next dose. Going crazy; anticipating the spike to hit their favorite vein, telling them that the time has come to engage the plunger. Then snapping out of their fantasies when they realize the syringe is shot. It won't hold liquid and the needle is bent to shit. Even the junkies say that it’s garbage and throw it out. That syringe is what my head feels like now.

My senses have just hit me all at once. I am relieved. I still can't move or talk, but I can hear spoken noises coming from human mouths. Progress! I am starting to become more aware of my surroundings. I distinctively hear two voices. Yeah, I'm over-hearing an exchanging of words between a male and a female. A man is asking a woman if she would like to join him for a cigarette. She is politely and uninterestedly declining. She's claiming she is not a smoker. Why this exchange is sticking out to the forefront of my mind is surprisingly clear to me. Hearing someone say that they don't smoke immediately triggers a thought in my mind of what my life (not to mention my already-volatile anxiety levels, and maybe my entire mental health overall) would be like if I, myself, didn't smoke cigarettes. The thought of a life without nicotine is a major trigger of mine, capable of inducing feelings of panic, and stress. These thoughts then trigger an immediate and overwhelming craving to light up. A craving I know all too well. Cigarettes are worth their weight in gold in a post-apocalyptic Earth.

Rewind. Yes, I live in a post-apocalyptic world. Let me start from the beginning.

From as early a time as The Industrial Revolution it has been a very real fear that one day machines would be capable of taking over as dominant entities of Earth. That when the line between man and machine blurred, to the victor would go the spoils. The victor, machines- no doubt. The spoils, well... Earth. It is to my own witnessing that on the year of 2150 A.D the war was finally waged. I was too busy firing heroin into my arm to pay attention to anything else. So I won't lie and say it didn't catch me by surprise because honestly I missed the signs, I was too high all the time to care even if I hadn't. 

The cars were the first to go. Federal Law Enforcement got into bed with the Department of Driver Services and from that point, it was all just a diabolical landslide to Hell. A federal law was soon passed across the nation stating that every drivable car on the road must have the new AYW technology present and functioning in the vehicle. Later renamed "Against Your Will" by the public, this new technology that was mandated in every car, violated many constitutional rights. What it did for law enforcement was take away the need for routine traffic stops. The AYW technology was programmed to pull your car over and shut your engine off whenever deemed necessary by law enforcement. It sent minor traffic offenses to the local police department, who would then mail citations to your registered address. It detected illegal substances and firearms by using lasers that would scan every square inch of the vehicle in seconds. If it detected anything illegal, it would shut your engine off and notify the police, giving them the exact whereabouts of the possessions detected. It even buckled your seatbelt for you, completely against your own will. What I find ironic to the current situation now present is that the actual meaning of the abbreviated technology was never released to the public. To this very day, I know of not one single person who honesty can say that they know what the abbreviation "AYW" stands for. Maybe it's just me being me- the paranoid guy, but every fiber of my being fears that "Against Your Will" might actually have been the given name.

Needless to say, this new law caused a huge uproar and the people refused to accept it. Before too long, almost everyone started taking great pains to refute these new stipulations to driving. Some people spent their time trying alternative means of transportation. Other people were donating and even funding research for newer and even stronger technology to bypass, or loophole the federal government's newly obtained monopoly that had over the people's rights as drivers.

You know, there's an old expression about computers, "A computer is only as smart as the person using it". This expression- while antiquated and outdated to this day in time- sits in perfect contrast, showing just how far we've actually taken everything. When the smartest people in the world program computers to not only be smart and work on their own, but to also work against other smart and self-functioning computers... you could have a real problem.

Fast-forward back to year 2153.

I am 125 feet underground in a bunker full of many other survivors. We call ourselves The Colony. I always thought that it was because our new lifestyle resembled that of ants, but who really knows anymore? There are two hundred and forty-seven of us down here, hiding from the bionic hell that has become Earth's surface. My family is dead. My friends I did heroin with are dead. Everything and everyone that I've ever known, loved and even hated on Earth- it's all gone, they're all dead.

The colony in my new Earth.

Among the manifest of the colony, there are specific individuals who are held higher in importance. These individuals are all doctors, nurses and scientists. There are four doctors, two registered nurses and two scientists- the remaining people hold various other valuable skills as well, but it is understood by everyone in the colony that the doctors, nurses and scientists call the shots. 

When humans are confined in a small space with so many other individuals, it is in our nature to clique up into groups. There have been some killings and banishments since all this started, but this was to be expected. It would be absurd to believe that many people could coexist together in an underground bunker, without making initial adjustments. The Colony's bad eggs were weeded out, and the environment became pleasantly breathable as everyone settled into a neutral way of living. I have for the most part, kept to my own little group. Doc has become my best friend over the last three years. He is the only surgeon the colony has, and is also one of the two scientists in the entire bunker. Doc has been given all the best accommodations and is treated like a President among the entire colony, who views him as invaluable and most important. Which is probably why I have gotten away with as much as I have, now that I think about it. On the surface, he'd originally started his career as a surgeon but quit the surgical field right after he'd just started getting experience. He pursued his passion to science, and achieved it. Doc gained grants to work with new technologies of robotics, and also acquired a fascination in advancements of prosthetics. He quickly made a name for himself after combining the two and started a company witch designed prosthetic limbs that functioned better than the actual limbs they were replacing. The media even began to take notice, nicknaming him BioniDoc which stuck apparently, because he now identifies with the shortened version of the nickname. All of Doc's dreams and goals he had for his field of science vanished, along with everyone else's- following the end of Earth as humans knew it. He was forced back into the same position he started, he was a surgeon again. 

Doc has been treating my arm since the start of its demise by supplying me with a seemingly endless amount of morphine. This may have actually saved my life, because this is when I had just ran out of heroin. Somewhere between my descent into the colony, from the bionic Hell on Earth, and the point in time when I met girlfriend Acacia, I had fallen into serious drug addiction. Worse than I ever was on the surface. I had brought enough heroin and needles with me to last me five years if rationed out carefully…and yeah, that is a lot of smack. I couldn't seem to discipline myself to ration it. I just kept doing more and more. When I met Acacia that first year, I didn't hide my using at all. It wasn't long before she gave in to the curiosity and got hooked on the needle herself. We became each other’s enablers to our addiction. Portion control was thrown out the window. The supply of heroin depleted twice as fast, dwindling out during the latter half of the second year, right about the same time my left arm decided to die and go to Hell without the rest of me. The heroin was gone, the needles were no good. Acacia and I were getting sick from withdrawals and my arm began its slow rot. The withdrawals got bad, and I we wouldn't be able survive them long enough for us to detox. We were too dependent. Doc came to our rescue by introducing us to morphine. I traded heroin for morphine. Acacia stopped taking it after she was through detoxing because it made her sick. Not me, I'm hooked. Everything I have left in this life is right here in the colony. My morphine, my girlfriend and my best friend. The three of us represent our own little group. We have no other friends, no family.

I close my eyes for a moment, I'm trying to focus on what my body is feeling. I still hear the unctuous tone of Doc's voice in the backroom. He's talking to the female voice I heard earlier. I open my eyes. Oh, my. I am high as a kite. The warm, flowery feeling of Morphine is coursing through my upper body, I feel it most in my face. I've just realized another reason for me to be in good spirits, I can see clearly now. I immediately look down at my arm, or lack thereof. From the base of my left shoulder there is nothing. I suppose the surgery was a success. On my other arm is a blood pressure cuff, something clipped onto one my fingers monitoring who knows what and my personal favorite, an IV needle on top of hand which penetrated a very healthy looking vein as it pumped sweet nectar into me. I can't get over how healthy my veins looked on my remaining arm. I could throw U-100 syringes at them like darts and hit a bullseye every time. 

"Thank you God, or whoever. It's finally over." I say in a strained voice, which surprises me.

"Well, I guess my voice works now. Doc! I'm awake!" I yell with a groggy voice.

Doc enters the room with a female who I recognize, following behind him. Her name is Grace. Grace is one of the colony's nurses. She's not a surgical nurse. If my memory serves correctly, I believe she is an ICU nurse. I assume Doc has used her general skillset to aid him in the amputation of my arm. I've just been operated on by a scientist who specializes in robotically engineered prosthetics, who was assisted by a nurse whose qualifications don't exceed beyond reading charts, checking vital signs or changing shitty bed sheets. The surgery seems to have been a success. Inside I am smirking flippantly. Eat your heart out modern medicine. Doc pulls up a stool next to my bed and sits facing me. He hesitates for a moment and begins stalling- sighing and removing his vintage horn-rimmed eye glasses. He looks down at the floor while rubbing his temples.

"Ferrel...Do you remember any of the last thirty days?" he asks without looking up from the floor.

"Thirty days? Umm. How long have I been out? The last thing I can recollect is being prepped for surgery, and you telling me to count down from twenty. What's going on? Where's Acacia? She said she'd be here."

"O.K. Ferrel, I'm going to need you to listen. There will be a time when you can ask questions later but for right now, I just need you to shut up and listen to what I'm about to tell you. Please don't interrupt me because this is going to be very difficult for you to process. Do you understand?"

"Doc. What the fuck is going on?! You're starting to freak me out. What are you trying to say?! And why can't I fucking move?!"

"You've undergone two surgeries. Thirty days ago I removed your arm. I had up until that point been working on a bionic prosthetic that I wanted to finally try. It was supposed to be a surprise. It connected at the base of your shoulder and used synthetic fibers connected to you joints to send messages to your brain. It was supposed to work like a normal arm. It was designed to work directly with your brains commands to function movements. Ferrel...the surgery was a success, in theory. But, when you woke up you were completely enraged. No one could snap you out of it. Your new arm took control sending its own messages to your brain. It sent you down a path of mayhem and destruction. We were finally able to get ahold of you. I didn’t know how to shut you down...per say, so I did the only thing I could think of. Ferrel, we had to handicap you. We injured the base of your spine. We paralyzed you...waist down. I put you back under, and I removed the arm. But Ferrel, you need to understand; you will be paralyzed for the rest of your life."

"..You're right. I can't process this right now. Where's Acacia?"

"You killed people, Ferrel. Forty-three people are dead... She's dead, Ferrel. In your bionicle-induced rage, you killed her. I'm sorry."

 

 

-James Scott

 


Submitted: September 30, 2015

© Copyright 2021 James Scott. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Keke Serene

Ok hi again. I took notes so that I could coherently comment as I read. Ick! Idk how I'd feel about waking up during surgery...like no! Anesthesiologist! Get. It. Together! That is not acceptable! But I guess too little is better than too much bc you'd be dead, right...? But eh! Still. Seems creepy to wake up while you're being cut into.... Arm rotting? Is that real? Do people's arms really rot from drug use??? I never knew that!!! Ok, so they're not removing his entire arm, just the muscule, I was about to flip...meh! Oh no, when he was describing his arm... "Rancid" that made me cringe, like Bleh! I can look at gross pictures and whatever bc, yknow, I'm going into healthcare and I (morbidly, or not, you decide) find it actually more cool than gross looking at disease and boils and stuff, but like description...? I cannot deal with! Especially the word rancid...! I feel like I will literally gag! It def fits, my poor friend.
Posthumously? What does that mean? Are we dealing with a smart person? How can you be smart and do drugs?! Don't answer that, I consider my self decently intelligent and i would prolly do drugs too if they weren't illegal, expensive and harmful! Well, idk about the latter, it's just a body, yknow, but I digress! I will continue reading.
Nooooo.... It was an amputation! Wow, I've never been that tired but it sounds painful. Apparently the longest someone's officially been awake was 11 days but who knows how long people in like, torture camps are forced to stay awake, like no, no, no. I NEED sleep. Oh, they're in a post apocalyptic world?! That sucks but it's wonderfullllll for novels! Yes, I love dystopias! :D maybe that's why the dr couldn't give him enough anesthesia.... He was too high to know about the war, lol, that's so sad though. :( good lord the AYWs! That's crazy! But I could def imagine something like that happening, for the "good of the citizens," yknow what I mean? Aww, sucks doc was forced back into being a surgeon... But Cmon! Healthcare is so rewarding! Ah, morphine. First time I heard about it was in Misery but Stephen King... That books was messed up! An endless supply, huh? I wonder why the whole colony isn't hooked bc if I livied underground, man, eating prolly crappy food, I'd be getting high too :/ oh, no... What's going on? WHAT HES PARALYZED?! he killed so many people!!!!!!!!! What do you mean THE ARM TOO OVER. THIS IS MADNESS. THIS IS AN OUTTAGE. You have to do something! You have to fix this, James!!! What is the point of this, it's so horribly sad. Maybe it's to not trust doctors... Wow, this was so wonderfully written, I am so jealous! You do such an excellent job, but I'm sure you know that already har. Just wow. Wow. Wow! You have to continue this too! You have to redeem Ferrel! You gotta do something, you can't just leave it here!

Thu, November 5th, 2015 11:34pm

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