Unfortunately my first submitted short story as a writer didd’t get published. This means, I can share it with you through this website.

This scene embodies my feeling that a problem we will face in the future is our intention to control everything. Although not as clear today, as it is in this story, it gives some food for thought. What is a human’s life worth, when we understand someone’s every thought or action?

Enjoy.

 

Factories of the Mind

‘How long was I in for?’ They never answered questions after a treatment, he knew that, yet the question was burning in his mind. Due to the treatment, feelings of fear and anxiety were fresh in his memory. He trembled getting up from the curved bed. The doctor’s assistants were just standing there, signing papers, checking data, saying nothing with their backs turned to him. One of them, a young guy, in his mid-twenties, face of steel, opened up the door by spinning the big wheel. He slept, or dreamed for the largest part, in a vault and he got paid while doing it. A friend of his, Michael…. something, had set him up. All he had to do was, verify the contracts and lie down.

 

‘You may experience some dizziness, blurred eyesight and sleeping might prove difficult in the next few days. Do you have any further questions?’ He had some, many even. Yet, he didn’t respond-‘You know the way, right?’-and before he knew it he was outside. In the long corridor, which was quiet and held many similar doors with wheels, he walked to where the entry desk was. I seemed like it took him forever.

 

Once there, the check-in list was right there, so he checked out. Not a single name underneath his own, Joey, what means that there are only a few other applicants. Well, the chances for getting a job here, have just improved. Way to go, Joey. Things might just turn out okay. Economic crisis, you cannot beat me. It was an application procedure for factory work and security for a large corporation and everybody knows they hold the real money. It explained the large fee for just the procedure. They wanted to study his physique during a series of tests after which he had to stay the night in this facility, to study him in his sleep. Oh, that’s right; I filled in pages and pages of psych-evaluation forms as well. Luckily, this… Michael helped him out with that. These applications were simple in fact. Never put on paper what you are really thinking up there. His index finger was tapping his skull. Meanwhile, the doctors tried to rattle your nerves, if you keep your calm, the tests will turn out okay. These doctors think they’re so smart. Little do they know that I can control my dreams. My dreams are amazing. ‘Study my dreams, yeah right… like that’s possible.’ It echoed through the hall louder than he had anticipated.

 

When he reached for the contract in his pocket, he realized he left his jacket. He hadn’t thought about his jacket for one second. With a quick tread he reentered the long hallway. No numbers on the door. My luck. A scratching sound like nails on a schoolboard but more robust, made him stop and shiver. A vault door, a little further ahead in this endless hallway, was slowly swung open. A woman, shoved against the door with her right shoulder; her left arm hang straight down, like she wasn’t able to hold it upward anymore, blood dripping from her fingers. Her look displayed terrible pain, but even more so that she was frightened. She was not particularly pretty, he thought. ‘You can… help me.’ She glanced at him, eyes underlined with water, opening her hand to him.

‘Please?’ She stumbled forward; the vault door was about fall shut behind here, when two boys in lab coats ran past him. ‘This is not good; oh this is definitely not good.’ One shouted. The girl collapsed on her knees, not saying anything anymore. He moved one step in her direction, when a rumbling sound made them all look at the open door. ‘Come on, quickly, close this thing.’ There was no doubt that the lab coat was convinced the door needed to be closed really quickly. The second assistant was in doubt. ‘Oh god.’ The woman reclined her open hand and looked stunned even more. Her arm was almost torn off. The rumbling continued. ‘You are one of them, you work for them.‘ Out of the dark shadows of the vault came a long dark green arm with shiny horns on all sides. Like a snake, it threw itself at the woman, grabbing her leg, while a few more of those arms were showing themselves. ‘Help us close this door!’ They were saying that, screaming that to him. The second boy was shoving his back into the door. The woman tried to grasp the door’s edge, while being dragged inside on the slippery floor. ‘Help us!’ The arms were fiercely smiting, occasionally whipping the doctors on their backs, the horns ripping the clothes from their bodies. He realized the arms were much stronger than these two could ever be. He stumbled over his own feet, when he turned around and tried to get back to the entry hall as fast as he could.

 

‘Did he just run away?’ A single laughing sound made him sound surprised. ‘Tentacles… really?’  She remarked. She was right; the clichés these subjects came up with did not give much hope. ‘Well, that’s that.’ Now they both laughed. ‘Okay, so…’ She skipped through the pages on her clipboard. ‘he scored okay on his problem-solving test, his emotions were in the extreme fragments… so much for the useful part.’ They both turned to the screen. The warehouse was filled with hundreds of candidates. It showed this particular individual laying on a curved matrass, tied securely to the bed, deep asleep, a bundle of wires sprouting from the head. Sometimes a little muscle activity occurred, a tiny shock gulfing through his body. All the readings were okay, normal, fitting the pattern of an unfit candidate. He and Girl Number 36 here had a few days to find soldiers, heroes, game-changers for the corporation. Not the run-of-the-mill factory workers like this guy. Even though, sometimes they can surprise you, entertain you. After all, in limbo, men are their true selves. The results showed potential explanations why the test subject failed to be suitable: traumatic experiences, ego-centrism or pure lack of intelligence, which would explain some observations as well. Although the program was very convincing for most subjects, this individual proved that there were still discrepancies in the program. ‘What do you have?’ ‘A definite no, you?’ ‘All reds here.’ She calmly put away all of her equipment and put the clipboard on her lap. From under the armrest of the chair she grabbed a clunky remote with a large red button in the middle of it. Without second thought she pushed it. Their screen showed the bed tilted upwards and an overly large syringe punched the guy in his neck. A hatch opened underneath his feet and he slid right in. ‘Coffee break?’