Together we go...
She hissed and fought against the dream. It battered her relentlessly with gothic themes of bloodshed corridors and flesh strewn rooms. Her feet were cold and slick with crimson, the alabaster floors were painted in it. The bottom of the white lace dressing gown dragged in the mess, the wet hem clinging to her bare legs. In the brief moment of a second the air vaporised into clouds of exhaled oxygen. The dreamed spun searching desperately for a way out of her prison. The temperature continued its eternal plummet as her body began to show the first signs of hypothermia. First the slow relentless pulsing of the urge to sleep. It pulled at her eyelids tempting them to close as she watched her own fingers turn blue at the tips. "I...I...I.." her lips refused to form her last desperate cry for salvation..."I ...I...ddddon'ttt...wanttt...tt...d..."Her final plea for survival died on frozen lips, alone in a blood encrusted hallway.
He choked up the blood, watching with calculating disgust as it bubbled in the spit up pool. The ochre blood dribbled down his chin in a cold reminder, every moment lost, is a life's end. The muscles in his throat contracted at his will, purging the thick coating of blood from his bit tongue. More iron flavoured mucus dyed red by the wound spewed over in thick succession to the damaged floor.
Somebody lie to me, Tell me their alright,...please...please...please?. She was desperately aware of her ever-growing uselessness. Workers shoved past her with clipboards and arrogance. She was invisible, just another one of them, nothing to worry about. This wasn't the way this was supposed to work. Its backfiring, she calculated the final events in the simple blink of an eye. The project would crash and burn, and probably take both of the subjects along with it. She concentrated, biting her nails, occasionally breaking the tender skin beneath. More workers shoved past her, a few gave her displeased glances. She knew she wasn't supposed to be there, but she needed to be aware of what was occurring down on level 12.
The alarms were ringing, the blaring noise echoing through the level. Bright warning lights flashed in a pounding rhythmic dance with the crisis bells. The level was in chaos. People ran from station to stations working to identify and control the error in the projects programming. 'Sabotage', the scientists whispered the word among themselves. Someone had implanted a single line of coding in the millions of lines of computer jargon that created Project Sin13. To think it took only 81 symbols on the part of the saboteur to possibly end the lives of the two occupants held within the cylinders. The command was small and pathetically simple to execute. A hidden directory with a hidden file. Her eyes flitted over towards a bank of computers not connected to the main network. They were working of decoding and discovering exactly what was in the secret file. She looked at the two liquid filled cylinders and prayed, prayed for the two people seizing uncontrollably inside.
The whole project was collapsing in on itself. The foundation had become weak with traitors and limited potential. The gene pool had dried up, the progenies had fled. The alarms were still blaring and the test subjects still seizing in their glass coffins. The wires overhead were spurting flames showering them down onto the equipment. She began to panic, the clipboard was useless so she tossed it away. Shoving to a computer she began to pull up program upon program sifting through the text discarding what she didn't need. The codes where there, that wasn't the problem. It was getting the network to accept them and follow them through. The keyboard clicked frantically the letters appearing slower on the screen then they were typed. The pressure was getting to her, the sounds were flooding into her digging and clawing at the flesh in her head. She couldn't handle it. It was constantly there, louder than ever, the sound of the bodies flopping in the cylinders and sirens and the infuriating negatory beep of the computer. Access Denied. Access Denied. Access Denied.
She pulled her fingers through her hair, dredging her skull with her nails. The anger and frustration were too much. It drove her to insanity. Angry and panicked, she furiously slammed her fist into the harmless keyboard breaking it clean in two. Sweeping the broken pieces to the floor she slammed her fist through the screen with its endless lines of Access Denied. Access Denied's. She looked around in her fury, they'd all evacuated, the emergency doors were closed, locked down to be precise. The sirens no longer wailed, just flashed illuminating the floor with yellow hazard lights. The whole event had completely surpassed her. She was stuck here, closed off and trapped until they flushed level 12 clean of all evidence. That evidence would surely include her and anyone else without transcendent value to the other projects
She slid down against the wall, her knees curled up to her chest, hands cradling her head. Her eyes flickered to the glass cylinders suspended above the floor. Both bodies were still now, their faces still contorted in fright and near death paralysis. It wouldn't be long now for either of them, the bodies no longer pounded involuntarily on the Plexiglass, just a few minor twitches now. She licked her lips a few times, they were dried and chapped. Unconsciously, she'd been picking at the peeling skin as she waited. There was only waiting left to do now.
It was company policy, a long winded technical speech pitted with legal terms and air tight rules, it was a zero tolerance policy. This same speech was delivered word for word to every new comer to the project. All projects will be neutralised and purged if found in violation; direct or indirect of the following terms and clauses…. Hundreds followed that first line more, each more binding and creatively debilitating for the project.
SIN13 had been originally designed to reanimate long and short term comatose patients. It had evolved somewhat against her will to a program following the agenda of the company. Now it encompassed cryogenic reanimation, reabillitation of certain brain disorders, brain damage, psychological research and many other little things. The set up was relatively simple. Get a patient, wire 'em up, dump them in the tank, a liquid chamber, and start up the computers.
The computer programs had been the most challenging; they'd started with a basic universal program. Designed to imitate everything that was the brain, waves, basic and intricate functions, everything down to the4 exact amount of synapses firing to do something as simple as blinking. The corporation had imported hundreds of people; progeny, geniuses and vertuostic visionaries. They'd eventually come up with the database S.I.N.13, also known as the Synaptic Inducing Network, version13. The final version, #13 was far more simplistic to use, a simple CAT scan to establish the layout of the brain, and EEG, if it could be gathered would give SIN13 and idea of how the subject's brain was supposed to function. The following step was to subject the patient to a series of tests, all done by inducing ideas and scenarios into the patients subconscious. The computer would gather the information, correlate it to the image of the human brain then show the affected areas followed by a list of ulterior methods to repair the damage and re-route the essential functions.
She turned her head, energy evaporating her body dissolved into spasms. Diaphragm contracting, heart pumping in erratic rhythms, she coughed up blood again. It dribbled down the side of her face creating a pristine red line on her chalky skin. It bubbled down her chin, dipping into the curve of her neck and down her shoulder to stain the nightdress, and later the floor.
Completely paralysed, her mind began to shut down, thoughts became sluggish and jumbled. The blood still trickled from the corner of her mouth, slower now, falling and splattering in little free-falling garnet droplets onto the cold marble. Her vision began to fade, blurry before, it was quickly fading from a technicolor world into one overshadowed and bleached in white. The ice was forming everywhere now, starting at the extremities, freezing the wet blood and now her still eyes.
Soon she though, soon. Soon the dulled prickles of frostbite would fade along with the panicked feeling of paralysis. Eventually she just phased out, her mind closed inwards on itself. It block out the pain, the sensation of having a body, nothing mattered anymore. The thoughts came less often now, slower and more confusing each time. The end is near….closer now…. here. No more thoughts, no more words, no more pain, simpy nothing now.
The wall was growing harder and less friendly behind her. Her legs were becoming cramped and uncomfortable. She chanced a look at her watch, 3:25am only 23 minutes had slipped by since the project had begun its final decent. The neutralisation process would be beginning soon, the gases would flow in from the vents, then the water and finally the clean up crew would arrive. They would clean out the machinery, dispose of the bodies and make sure that all evidence was firmly suppressed in unreachable company files or destroyed.
She looked at the floating bodies again, just looking at the man made the guilt jump upwards from the pit of her empty stomach into her throat. No less then 3 months before she'd sat with this man in a pseudo-pleasant hospital room while he'd held the hand of his comatose wife. Both had been victims of a gruesome accident out on some rural road. The wife had lain trapped under the wreckage for ages, she'd gone into severe shock then eventually hypothermia. By the time emergency workers had arrived it was too late for her. She was already gone. Though her brain still put out electromagnetic pulses her hypothalamus was damaged, she was unable to breathe on her own. Her husband had faired better having being thrown through the windshield, but not much.
In that room she'd offered him a card, plain simple card with black writing embossed on its surface. Instructions were given and a few sparse details. There was a possibility that his wife could be revived, she'd told the man. She'd explained the procedure, the successes and the odds then left. He phoned her, she had no doubt that he wouldn't. They arranged it all that night. When the technicians had arrived to pick up the wife, new news was given. The man had also lapsed into a catatonic state. A few changes here and there and the company had acquired another patient. Both were admitted to the program, both seemed easy fixes.
His heart was pounding and the air wouldn't fill his lungs. He rocked on his hands and knees feeling nauseous and disgusted. He'd signed the papers and given his word, his wife had been accepted into the program. Experimental and new, there was nothing left to try, he'd signed his name on the dotted line and that was the last he recalled. He'd awoken in a house, it seemed familiar enough to be called a few glitches here and there, but that could be expected. He'd spent time walking aimlessly around the scenario built for his brain. They'd modelled it after his home, an antiquated mansion restored and re-glorified.
It hadn't taken long for the problems to start, the tremors and the chills. They started small, indiscreet and completely unnoticeable. Each symptom grew impeding functions and thoughts. Now he lay on the floor, braced by his hands and knees. It was beginning again; he began to loose feeling in his fingers, the tingling spread to his arms and down his spine. From his spine in travelled quickly to his toes and the final stages of the tremors began. His fingers twitched and his head lolled. His arms and legs spasms and bucked out form under his torso. His body tumbled to the ground gyrating out of control. His head struck the floor once, twice, the world was black.
The wall was still unaccommodating, she was still in her memory induced trance. The gas had begun to creep into the air emanating from vents placed strategically around the room, the floor and in the high ceiling. It was sour and abrasive to her nose, harshly it pulled her willingly from the memories of the too sweet smelling hospital room in the city where she'd sat next to man and told him his wife would live. Now both would die, no question there. Her body was slow in recognising the sound, it penetrated her addled brain with its high-pitched whine. It was monotonous and polyphonic at the same time, there were two heart monitors ringing the same tone, each long and dead. Both bodies were completely hidden now by the russet water. She shut her eyes and interlaced her hands, even if they were just subjects to they still deserved a moment of silence.The gas was thicker now, heavy and dowsed the reddish glow of the emergency lights. Blinking once she reached into her pocket and tugged out the smooth gold ring she kept hidden. Slipping it easily on her finger she sighed and closed her eyes one last time.