This week, Chuck Wendig posted a Flash Fiction Challenge, centered around the almighty single, random sentence. I’ve never once participated in such shenanigans. Until now.
Here I am.
After picking my sentence, I raged through writing this little ministory, all giddy and excited to be writing something new… and something that wasn’t my book. Sorry, Booky~thing, I love you and all, but we need some space, ya know? *cues up “In the Air Tonight”*
After all the excitement, I figured I’d share the little flashdancer with you all! I’ll tell ya, I write words for a living, and I am nervous as hell to share my stories. Yes, you read that right. I will always have that “Noooo! They’re all gonna laugh at you!” thing in my head (damn you, Adam Sandler.) But I’m gutsing it out. Big balls, here I come!
I chose the sentence, “The mysterious diary records the voice.” Without further ado, here’s “Project N!”
The mysterious diary records the voice.
It calls out my vitals, harping aloud as its owner moves about my insides. My body feels swollen and broken, but I am alive. The metal is chilly under my many lacerations, the blood slicking over the skin and plates that now meet in the areas between my life and death.
My arm moves of its own volition, fingers clacking as each metallic knuckle bends against my palm. The voice seems pleased.
I can only see this diary out of a single open eye. The electronic pages spell my life out so plainly, so sterile that the accident that has put me here is nothing but a sentence that hovers at the top of the page.
I hear the voice and feel simultaneous pressure against the side of my face. The nerves in my eye socket send wave after wave of pain to my sluggish mind. I cannot retaliate against the invasion. Light fills the blackness, and my vision is complete once more. A thousand 1s and 0s race past my view.
The voice ceases. A door slides open and shut behind my head. Sliding my arms from their straps, I dare to lift myself away from the cold table. Through one eye, I can see details upon details of all that surrounds me. The grain of the faux wood desk. Each groove in the imperfect metal sheet that lines my ribs. There is a single window to my stark white cocoon, situated in the center of the far wall.
I undo the last tethers that keep me restrained. My legs tremble as the muscles strain against the weight of my foreign parts. Falling is all I manage to do.
With the metal arm and all its hinged fingers, I drag myself towards the glass.
No sound comes through the glass, but I can see the man again—the voice. He’s hunching over another body—another woman, her features young and soft—feeling his way down her neck, breasts, stomach, legs. He lingers too long at her lower belly, making me uneasy. He massages around the middle of her right thigh, measuring its girth and width. He turns away, his arms moving something that I cannot see.
The woman is awake now, though clearly sedated. The man with the voice turns back, smiling as he raises a large saw over her thigh.
I cannot hear the screams, but I can feel my own, rattling my ribcage. Her diary rattles off a series of lines, a dialogue kept secret. Then, as if its life, too, has gone, the pages go blank and the light dims.
The man yells, smashing his bloodied, gloved fists against the female’s lifeless frame.
That is when I realize that there are a number of beds, a number of bodies, all in tiny rooms spanning before me. Bodies spewing sparks. Bellies, gutted of wires and circuitry. Arms and legs and jaws all missing, replaced, made mechanically perfect.
That is when what is left of my instinct hits, and I run. Door after door slides open before me as I drag my deadened legs down strange halls. A left turn. One right. There are no people to stop me. Or help me. Sirens start to buzz overhead. A woman’s voice sweetly details the escape of one patient.
A patient. That’s what I am here.
My memories are so far away now. The words that flash in front of my eye warn that data is being corrupted.
The further I run, the more I go blank.
I can see the exit now, though. My mind struggles to remember why I’m running, but I force my legs to move. I grab the cold metal of the door’s handle and push out into the world.
The dirt under my ragged feet is cool. My breath comes out as airy tendrils of smoke that rise into a midnight blue sky. I take in the view as if it is my last meal, savoring every speck of starlight, every errant cloud. The world spins around me, without me.
The red blinking light in my vision turns a cool blue.
“Nemo, won’t you come back inside?” A voice asks.
I turn. Before me stands a man, his white coat drenched red, one gloveless hand outstretched. “It’s cold outside.”
Cold is a definition in my programming. Not an understanding. Still, I nod, and give the man my hand. Unfamiliar, fleshy limbs falter beneath me, but he holds me upright as we walk together into the place programmed into my mind as HOME.
We are in a small white room together, one with a faux wood desk, an operating table and a single darkened window. An electronic book, filled with words, blinks on a lectern nearby. I sit on the table, waiting.
“Nemo,” he says, over and over again, smiling wildly. “Newly Electronically Modified Object – first success.” The mysterious diary records the voice.
Well, thar she blows! I hope you enjoyed this little piece of flashy fiction. I definitely enjoyed writing it. I also encourage you to write up your own, and submit it to the thread I linked above! I’d love to read it!
Until next time, you stay classy (and keep your saws clean,) world.