The Thawing of Mr. Jones
By Hector Gilbert

Thawed

At first it had felt like burning, but it was a cold burn. He could only sense the numbness when he could just begin to sense anything at all, but along with it came a throbbing pain as his recovering nerves reacted to the low temperature presented to them.

Even when the chill in the tight and nearly airless block of a room subsided, the pains remained. Endless seconds for him were spent trying to remember, trying to recall exactly why he was frozen in the first place. He wasn't even going to try to guess at why he was thawed. That was the least of his concerns.

When his muscles began to work along with his nerves, he used them. Arms flailed in a mad panic at the metal panel he faced that kept him from moving, to virtually no effect. This panel had hinges of some kind at its ends which led him to believe that it was a door, a door which he could not open.

Fortunately for him, it managed to slide open by itself. However, it did so at a lethargic pace that could not even be so much as hastened by the best efforts of the man it concealed. Eventually its sliding moment ceased, leaving the hatch wide open.

He was only to find out to his surprise that he in fact wasn't lying down, but rather standing up inside his box. It was only when he saw a man standing before him past the thankfully opened door that he realised where the floor was. A second later he happened to glance over the one step between his unwelcome shelter and the floor beyond it, but that was one more step than he felt prepared to take as he had not yet moved his own legs.

Those legs had apparently held themselves together well under the body that they had supported until this realisation came upon him and they began to shudder from below. He had to go. He had nothing to lose, except maybe the use of his legs.

The man standing before him looked somewhat concerned. However, this only aggravated the thawing man trying his first steps once again as he struggled to break free from the artificial trappings of the frozen cell as well as his own. His right leg came first, twitching madly in mid-air as it struggled to pace forward to pass the step. Eventually after a few tense seconds of imbalance, he threw his right foot down at what he had guessed was the floor.

He had guessed wrong. His right heel at once slipped over the step, sending his entire body crashing down into the cool and hard metal of his own cell with a degree of force that took him by surprise. The pain - once coming in the form of the tired cramps of rejuvenating limbs - was suddenly overwhelming and overpowering, taking its subject into its own world and out.

But enough of that!

Mr. Jones. Yes, that was his name. And he was taken into a hole, like the rest of them. Those who people most wanted dead, not stored. The scum of the planet. The many enemy number ones of the public [media].

"The charge is that of murder in the first degree in taking the life of the teenage Miss Tina Wilkins." The judge paused to let everyone who had been living in a cave for the past year register that the bright and beautiful girl in the picture with the Diesel jumper was in fact fifteen years of age.

He was the threat. He was the target. He was the one everyone wanted to freeze until Hell froze over. He was the new scapegoat who became the butt of everyone's anger about their own selves because of what he had done. What Mr. Jones could find humour out of that was that even if he did let on that in fact he had killed more people before the wealthy suburban teenage white girl than he could count on both hands, nobody would care.

Finally the judge decided to continue. "Has the jury reached a verdict?" Of course they had reached a verdict, perhaps over a little party with a few donuts.

"Yes, your honour. We declare the defendant known by the pseudonym of 'Mr. Jones' to be guilty of murder in the first degree." Maybe they had some coffee in that party too.

"For the seriousness of this case, I have decided to apply for a place to be left in Blue Pool. The sentence is indefinite until further notice. Case dismissed!" Then they took him away.

Exactly why they thought storage to be a suitable punishment, Mr. Jones did not know. Perhaps it was just him. But it took someone's death, a massive undertaking of a body search, and the dedication of various media hacks crying out for the blood of the psychotic male to put him away. What then?

...At first it felt like burning, but it was a cold burn. It was only when he saw a man standing before him past the thankfully opened door that he realised where the floor was. The man standing before him looked somewhat concerned.

But enough of that!