Stuck in your own mind by force...how do you handle it?
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Journal Entry 1
DRandMAF (Dream Reader and Memory Alteration Facility)
The experiment started today. Despite frequent notes and records being made of the experiment, I felt the urge to record the moment from a human perspective instead of a scientific one. Perhaps in reading this journal in a few months time I might regain some part of human I have now…the part called mercy.
I saw the apparatus today. Gruesome equipment for a gruesome purpose. When I was first introduced to this project, I was enthralled by the possibilities it offered, but now that I have done my programming and have been committed a member – “Doctor” 25, rank 3, department Images – I find myself greatly regretting my actions.
I wish I could say the same for the others… Doctor 3 (we do not reveal our real names in precaution of a governmental raid,) seems to relish the idea of looking into another’s mind, but where I wanted the project to be a success in the hope of finding truth, he just wants it to push the human limits and his hold thereof.
I shudder as I sit in my newly furnished office and think of the power we 50 have just created and my skin turns cold when I think of who wields that power. I just pray that the poor soul who is introduced to the experiment is a strong one; they will need to be to stand up to the immense storm approaching them… even more so if they wish to come out alive, never mind sane.
Doctor 1 went out scouting for the specimen this morning. From the adaptations made to the apparatus, I believe he is looking for a female. Fear swamps me as I picture a young woman connected to this machine… all the incisions will be painful without anesthetic, but it is the eye-piece that scares me the most. It is two nasty looking square blocks – black, smooth, bare of all wires and cables for the time being and with the presence of pain on all six sides. The true horror of these blocks however is hidden deep within them…nanotechnology. This miniature addition will react to tears and wherever the liquid fills the eyes, so will the nanos flood, covering the lens in a leaden blackness that will flow through the optic nerve to the brain.
It is to this leaden poison that the wires will be connected in a great multitude of green, blue and red. My eyes water as I think of the excruciating experience that awaits this girl.
I can only vow to help her through this as much as possible: I am a doctor but I am also human. I will have to do both jobs.
Never mind “Doctor 25,”
My name is Henry.
Journal Entry 2
I saw her today – the girl who has been chosen as a guinea pig for torture. I say girl as she must not be more than 16. She looked wary, but strong…in full control of herself though unsure of her surroundings. Her alternate eyes of blue and green hold a droop that leads me to believe she was drugged; she does not know why she is here. I am not surprised; she would have put up a big fight if she knew and was not intoxicated.
I hate to write this down – but feel greatly that I must – but she is a good-looking girl. Skin covered in dirt is your first impression, but that dirt was purposefully rubbed on for protection from the red sun. Black hair that is roughly chopped; she could appear a boy at first glance. Body ravaged by hunger, but well built legs; a runner’s.
In all I believe Doctor 1 chose well. She is old enough to hold many secrets, but young enough to withstand the pain of the experiment. My now ex-wife would not appreciate me saying this but I feel a growing anticipation deep within my belly…this girl is going to wind up in the history books! (if not in…the grave.)
After seeing her I immediately went over my program. I was chosen – despite my young age of 25 (which I suspect lead to my Doctor number,) – to do the input images. This will be everything the girl sees and will prompt her brain for thoughts. Anything that should appear in her mind would then be transferred to my screen. I am to keep recording the images from her mind at all times and decipher the best frequency for a most accurate picture. I feel like I will be tuning into her brain!
They say when I have perfect images, I may be able to swop through thoughts – like flicking through channels – by prompting other images into her mind. In this way…any question imaginable could be asked and an answer received.
My faith in this answer is faltering; we will have to sift through what are merely thoughts and what are memories. It is a tedious job, but the idea of someone’s thoughts flicking across my screen is tangible enough to forget about the repetition or mind games that will be presented to me.
I am most excited by the imagination. Any story conceived in that girl’s mind will be converted to images in seconds. Who needs T.V?
I sicken myself. I cannot fool myself into thinking this is enjoyable. Enlightening, but not enjoyable.
Journal Entry 3
I can’t let them do this! They have strapped her into the machine. My office has a clear, thick sheet of glass between myself and the girl. According to the others, she has no name. I do not think that someone should have no name. They just call her ‘the specimen’ but I refuse to refer to her as such; she is a human just as much as we are. I will call her Lilith, meaning “of the night.” She breeds the greed and anger in all of the doctors here just as the night takes over all things good.
I understand it is not her as a person who does this; it is merely a byproduct of her presence. However, I must argue that it is not all who seem possessed by this passion for power. I have been given an assistant: Doctor 18. He is approximately the same age as me, though he may be a bit older. He seems very trustworthy due to his quiet nature, but that same quiet nature makes me uneasy at times. Such as this morning. Lilith had just been re-drugged and was battling furiously against the poison in her system. They put her into a wheelchair and as they took her out of the safe-room our eyes met. Her multi-coloured eyes held a look of utmost disgust, but not of her treatment…it was more disgust at her lack of strength. As if she was angry with herself for not being strong enough to overcome the intoxication. That look held me for a few seconds, though as much as I plainly saw her, I doubt she saw me.
When I turned around, the first thing I saw was Doctor 18 staring at me with a slight frown on his face. His piercing eyes stared right into mine and I flinched under that glare. There must have been something on my face that he did not like, but I pushed past him and into my office where I sat, hands clenched, and watched through the thick glass as Lilith was strapped into the apparatus.
Although I could not hear her screams of pain as the eye-piece was attached, her tortured body writhed under the fastenings that held her down. I did not notice it at first, but my face was wet with tears long before she stopped moving and it stayed wet for an age later.
Then I had to pull myself together; we had a meeting. All Doctors were present as per usual except for Doctor 1. He is weird – even by my standards. He never shows his face to people; he prefers to talk via notes. Many have questioned how trustworthy he is, but they have stopped short when it was found that it is his money that keeps the operation afloat. I still question him once a while but the others put my questions down due to my “naïve youth.” I disagree, but what can I do? I am so low down along this operation that not many will take notice if I make a bit of noise.
We were given all of our instructions during this meeting. I am to watch over the monitor that is directly connected to Lilith. No one expects to see any images for quite some time; they will be hoping for easier responses first. I will basically be watching a black screen until the other senses are mastered; sight is last on the list.
I am now sitting in my office. Every now and then Lilith makes a slight movement, as if fighting an unseen force. Seeing her obvious strength brings forth a bubble of feelings; she will fight till the end…I know it for sure…And I will help her.
Journal Entry 4
I saw an image! It has only been three days since Lilith was connected to the machine, but I saw an image! I think she’s calling out to anyone who can help her…I think that she’s calling out to me!
It was in the night. I was merely staying up because I could not sleep. I like to keep Lilith company during the night; she is all alone in a room with only artificial warmth.
Sometimes I hold her hand… Sometimes I tell her stories too. I told her of my wife and how she left me for another man. I told her of my beautiful son who I love dearly and of his first days in this world. I told her of all the nice things; chocolate and ice-cream, funfairs and horse races. Anything that could give her some hope of holding on I told her about. And then I heard a beep.
It was a loud beep. One which I knew well but had only heard twice – once in choosing and once in testing. It was a beep coming from my pocket. It was a beep that was connected to an alarm device. I had installed the alarm the first day of the experiment. It would beep only if there was activity on my screen in my office. And now it was beeping!
I dropped Lilith’s hand and ran to my office and stared at the screen. There it was! It was an image! I dropped to my knees as I stared at the picture Lilith was sending me…
It was a crude cartoon-like drawing, as if she had seen it in a newspaper. It was a man with an ‘S’ on the front. It was Superman.
My heart pumped doubly as hard as the image blurred and was replaced by another. The lines blurred slightly as colour leaked into the image; a man in red with a spider on his front. It was Spiderman.
Then the image died, slowly melting off the screen as if Lilith had no more power to keep it there. Once more I felt my face dampen from tears and I let them fall. She was trying so hard! She was doing everything she could to get it over and done with. She had bypassed all of the other senses and headed straight for the top…for sight…for me.
A soft cough greeted me after a few moments and it was with a jump that I saw Doctor 18 standing behind me.
I do not know for how long he was there, but his eyes were once more in that disapproving frown. He had a clip-board in his hands and after looking at me for a few more moments he made a few scribbles on it with his messy handwriting. I hope that he has not been assigned to me to make sure I do not go against the firm. I can see why they would be worried about that; I am a youth and am likely to do something…stupid.
Whatever the case, I will not give up…not until Lilith does.
Journal Entry 5
I spend every night with her now. Lilith is as much apart of my life now as I think I am hers. Her destiny is entwined with mine. I watch her shallow breathing and wish I could somehow help her. I wish I could be her hero.
I told Doctor 18 about the images she had portrayed to me. He seemed interested but was his usual quiet self. I think he will prove to be a great ally; I am not ready to divulge Lilith’s strength to the others and neither, it seems, is he.
Doctor 18 seems to think that if we tell the others about her great performance then she will refrain from progressing. He thinks that she is doing this all for me. I feel touched by that fact and I have renewed vigour when it comes to my job.
As I have stated, it is me who has to post images into Lilith’s mind and hope for a response. I tried this the other day after warning her of the process the night before. At first she showed no signs of discomfort but as I was relaxing her body shook and my screen crackled. I was trying to send through a picture of Mary Jane – Spiderman’s girlfriend. But I feel that Lilith isn’t ready for colour images yet. I think that the colour is harder to understand. Lines can be easy to comprehend. I will try words soon, but I am unsure as to whether that will work or not. All I want is to get this experiment over with as soon as possible, but I know that they will not move onto another ‘specimen’ until the current one is exhausted.
I could cry every night I am with Lilith. I hold her cold hands in mine as I sit next to her and wish that I could talk to her face to face. Her lips are red from blood; every time she has a fit she bites her lip…she will not cry out. Her pride will not let her.
I merely want to see what her mind has done to comprehend this torture and this change. I want to see how she is managing to stay alive. What it is that keeps her alive. Has she made a haven within her mind that she is now hiding in? Or has her mind captured her mental form as much as we have captured her physical form?
I want to know so badly that tomorrow I will prompt her with some more pictures. If I know how she is dealing with this now, then I may be able to help her. Doctor 18 agrees with me. He knows as much as I do about this matter but whereas I tend to get very emotional about it he acts calm and collected. I wish I was like him in some ways, but if I wasn’t then Lilith would not have known that I am here for her.
Indeed I am here for her. I will be her hero.
Journal Entry 6
She sent me a letter! I was prompting her slowly with small images. In truth I was trying to send her a message that said, “You are a star, you’re doing good.” I did this by sending her an outline of a star. When she accepted it with no pain, I sent the second part of the message which was a more complicated image of thumbs up. She accepted that image easily as well.
Then the screen started to portray an array of images all at once!
After the last show of images I have taken to recording the progress of the screen. I am happy I did recordings as the images she sent to me went much too quickly for me to recognize them individually! After the images blurred into nothing once more, the heart-rate monitor connected to Lilith showed her to be at a rate of 218 beats per minute! After my shock had died down and Lilith’s breathing was back to normal, I showed Doctor 18 the recorded CD.
He and I put it into slow motion and then proceeded to be astounded! She was showing us writing…Egyptian writing! Doctor 18 amazed me once more as he proceeded to decipher the CD. I was right; she was trying to get hold of us. She wrote us a letter.
Dear Dreamer September 8th, 22:18
Your message, long awaited, has been received. It has been many years, indeed. Your calling entitled my immediate answer; how could I let you wait any longer than you already have?
It has been many years…too many years. I still remember the dreams I had of you. You brought to me a hope that this war was worth living through – that everything I did was for a reason. The bars of my cage seem like the halls of a palace now that you are with me once more.
When your time came, and you were transferred out, I did not believe I could move on. In truth I never did. There were others who gave me a glimmer of light…but nothing compared to the power you inspired in me. I began to shine myself when you were there: I no longer hid behind a mask of hate and anger, instead showing all that I was capable of.
Not everyone followed me. Still no one really does. They are scared, no doubt, of what my ideas may provoke. Our captives have long since abandoned any pretext of keeping me hidden; they allow me a freedom far outweighing that of the other captives. But still they punish me when they sense my underlying plans of freedom.
Since you left, I often wonder the corridors of my prison, remembering where you stood, with whom, and the air that pervaded you. You were a popular leader, though you did not accept the status yourself. You preferred to be a follower; a soldier of immense power and stature. I look to the fields and remember your training sessions.
You loved those sessions, my dear dreamer, and I remember the lighting up of your face as the hour of hardship approached. No task was too big for you, nor too small.
Even as a newcomer to the prison, you showed kindness to me. The others you didn’t look down upon in contempt, but more so to lift them up to your level. Your compassion is now what drives me as I find myself in the same position as you were, four years ago.
I believe the power you gave me then is being renewed in the power that you give me now. In this final year of my servitude, I regret to say that I need that power more so now than ever.
Thank you, dear dreamer, for that power.
I do not understand what the letter means. I do not even know if I am the one to receive it. Either way I will try and make sense of the message.
Four years ago? Did I know this girl four years ago? In truth, four years ago I was merely a sales person. I offered my services to gain money for my studies. Did I perchance see this girl four years ago? I am sure I would remember her… Now that I think back hard, there is something about her eyes that twigs something in my mind… I wish she would just give us a straight answer!
Journal Entry 7
Another letter! I spoke to Lilith for an age before telling her of my plan to try something different; I sent her a photo. I thought she would reject something of such high quality and colour, but her mind seems to absorb anything I send to her. She sent another array of pictures, flitted in between with words and other images. She is either growing accustomed to the process of image transfer or her mind is giving up on her and is letting all things loose… I don’t know but I wish I did.
Dear Dreamer September 26th, 09:45
I understand your concern; this is not an easy year. But I am prepared, dare I say, even more so than you were four years ago. I do not deny having an advantage over the others; I have you.
After placing your recent salutation amongst my few goods, I happened upon my oldest works. I do not expect you to remember all that transpired in the hours of darkness when our captives were not present, especially since it was during your final year and I was merely a new prisoner, but you might retain the information of my unnerving act of writing things down. Indeed, I often wonder of the world at my fingertips as I record all the acts of mankind. Of my prison, there is much I have written and so I am not surprised I did not perchance upon this particular piece sooner.
It is a poem. At first I saw nothing too exceptional about it, but my eyes glanced a name – smudged with age and a blot I perceive to be a tear-drop – of such power that it brought a lump in my throat to see it written down.
Dearest dreamer, could you imagine what name it was that moved such animation within me? That brought crystals to my eyes? That forced my blood to run faster, my heart to pump involuntarily louder and my skin to tingle with the force of pinpricks? Could you imagine? …
I’m sure you could. Indeed, you must already know the answer. Only your name could force such exaggerations from my limp body. It has been a while since I have felt this way for one other. I must admit, and I am sorely sorry for this, but my last letter was not a complete truth…I did find someone else to give me the power to carry on. He was a brave man, like you, but did not give me as much consideration as you did. I was…a fool. I followed his leadership unquestionably, believing his motifs to bring us to a freedom far outweighing the slavery I am now under. He played me like the fool I am. I entered into a new sanction, and one of this man’s rivals – a previous lover – was situated in the very same sanction. While I did his apparent “bidding,” my faith never altering, my new sanction did the opposite. They dragged me as much as they could away from him, but still my scruples conveyed me to stay with this man. It was with bitter understanding that the truth was communicated to me; he was scared of the power I have grown to hold and had aligned himself with “my” new sanction to plot against me and confirm my downfall.
I did not become the leader like many hoped I would, and the man who took all materialistic belongings and status away from me, also sapped my last remaining strength.
On top of that, I sustained an injury…a terrible injury that keeps me from finishing my training. The badge that we all work so hard for is now firmly out of my reach. The captives do not like the circumstances any more than I do, but whereas some of them hold sympathy in their hearts knowing that the training could help my eventual transportation from this prison, most only hold a contempt that it was my own fault.
I do not know how you will react when you see me. My four years of activity that brought strength to my body has disappeared in less than four months. You do not need someone weak. I would not be the ideal partner you are looking for. I believe you have in you more than enough power to convince others to follow you. Do me this one favor, dear dreamer: save me the pain of forcing this body upon you and look for someone else. Look elsewhere.
The leader? Does this mean that she was more influential amongst the underground societies than we thought? The underground societies…that would make sense. Four years ago I gave my services to a man with extreme potential as a businessman. He was also extremely influential…though dangerous. Very dangerous. If I stretch my mind (which is difficult because of the treatments I was given after the encounter) he had a daughter; he had Lilith.
It is her!
It seems my past is coming back to haunt me, despite all my attempts to run from it. My past is full of transgressions – to put things lightly. Perhaps I might reveal more of it if she proves to be that girl…