Televerse

Cover of Televerse

1

        

The air around me felt so thick, that in order to breathe I had to inhale twice as hard as usual. Exerting this much force to breathe was surely going to deplete me of what energy I had left. But still, I kept desperately inhaling air, as if my life depended on it. Well, I guess my life really does depend on my ability to efficiently breathe. My lungs felt like a boulder weighing me down; pinning me to the floor. And not to mention the floor was cold and covered with needles, which felt as though they had penetrated my back. Laying on the floor, I was securely grasped to the ground with the perfect combination of lungs of literal steel, and needles.

        I couldn’t move an inch off the ground, no matter how much I tried to push myself up. At this point, it now felt like something was holding me down from above. Pushing on my chest now, trying to keep me in a pencil-like position. Time was impossible to keep track of with all these opposing forces, pushing me in all directions. In fact, I didn’t quite feel like I was laying on the floor. To my knowledge, I could very well be floating through the air. The needles on the floor might just be a different type of pain.

Perhaps, the needles were just the tingling feeling you get when your leg falls asleep. Maybe I was asleep, in an awfully uncomfortable dream. However, I found this to be very unlikely. Wouldn’t that be neat. The idea that I was really dreaming and aware. If I was lucid dreaming, then by now I would’ve dreamt up a beautiful lady to be sitting next to me, stroking my hair as I slept. And if this was a dream I could control, my eyes would most definitely be openable. As it turns out, I can’t quite get them to budge. 

What felt like hours of continuous attempts of trying to catch my breath, I noticed a smell of burning wood that got trapped in the air as I sucked it in. The more air that was inhaled seemed to change the aroma of the burning wood. Every now and then, the smell of the wood turned to something I recognized very well. It wasn’t the everyday smell, these were smells of one off perfumes. From perfumes to salty air to moldy houses to the sweet smell of nothingness. My nose took over the breathing for my mouth. Up until this point, I’ve been tasting these different smells.

My nose began to operate normally, and the smells began to fade. Strangely enough, I could still sense the smells, even though I knew I wasn’t smelling anything. The same goes for the tastes. I could taste what seemed like thousands of different foods all at once. All the tastes and smells began to overwhelm me, causing my heart to beat rapidly. Or so I thought. I grabbed my chest and noticed that my heart was beating at a slow rate. My eyes were open, but I couldn’t see anything with them. Have I gone blind? Suddenly my ability to ask questions became available, which brought more confusion. I can’t seem to remember my name, or who I was. Thankfully, breathing was no challenge, but now the simple facts of who I was were a mystery.

Still paralyzed though, struggling to figure out if I was floating or laying down. A tight feeling grew throughout my body, causing my skin to burn and itch. Memories of sunburn and mosquitos appeared in my thoughts, even though I’m sure that I haven’t existed up until this point. Were these memories mine? Next, memories of school, and taking tests, friends and family existed. I know all these people before me, and know the location of this building. Pets, feelings and emotions attacked me, causing me to cry, and laugh. I felt nervous, excitement, hunger, anger, freezing, numb, sick, healthy. However, I didn’t feel these feelings one after another. No, I felt all of these feelings at once, simultaneously.

My ability to see was once more. Only looking at what was above me, I was still unsure of what position I was in. The room I was in was small, but not dark. Almost dark. The walls completely greyed out, but transitioning slowly to another color. It was at this point I was remembering colors, and the memories I previously inherited made more sense. Such as my so called mother asking me a question of which shape was red. Initially, both shapes were the same shade of grey. And yet, I chose one and got the right answer. Now it makes sense. The left shape was red, simply because it was red, and I could see it. The facts of shapes have now entered my pool of knowledge.

I remember what more and more objects from my memories are, and the mystery begins to unravel itself. Without needing to see the room where I lay, I know already where I am. I know who is standing next to me, putting clothes onto my naked body. The tight skin I was complaining about has loosened, as now I regained the memory of living in my own body. My skin hasn’t loosened, rather it just became familiar. The rate at which I am breathing has slowed to a comfortable pace, which brings some peace of mind. That was just the beginning of my torment however.

More and more memories start to flow in. All the little memories that I had but don’t remember. Gone in an instant upon receiving them. Like a shower of bullets being unleashed at my brain, memories and feelings strike me. Perhaps, I have just looked into the eyes of Medusa. With the overwhelming amount of sensory experiences coming back all at once, I am frozen still. A stone which has been tossed in a lake, thrown by a toddler walking by. The toddler, not thinking of the feelings a stone may have. Because let’s face it, stones don’t have feelings, and are incapable of feeling anything.

My temporary memories that have returned bring anger with them. So many friends that I forgot to write back. So many missed opportunities to grow with someone. The memories fade before my eyes, and all that’s left is the lingering feeling that it brought. Surely Medusa isn’t responsible for this torture. Not even a creature like Medusa would be capable of harming another person or creature in the way that I have been. This must be the work of the devil. To feel so able to hurt others carefree. Truly the work of something far worse than the devil.

My eyes finally open, and ears bring clarity to the words being spoken just next to me. “He’s coming to,” said professor Hornt. “He’s been asleep for fifteen minutes since he’s arrived. Make sure the camera’s recording.” I mutter a few words as if I was talking in my sleep. They were incomprehensible, yet Professor Hornt knew exactly what I said. “Yes, you’re back at my lab Boris. Safe and sound like I promised you.” Every second upon waking up I felt my body growing stronger. “I’m going to give you a few minutes to wake up. Please read over this paper when you are able to. Push that button if you need any assistance,” instructed professor Hornt.

The paper was useless for me, since I had the instructions memorized a few days prior to the experiment. So it’s really done and over with now. Just a few minutes ago, I was just an ordinary man in his twenties. Now I’m a millionaire, and perhaps one of the most important figures in the progression of mankind. I have to admit, I was terrified the day before. Endlessly sweating about the fact that it’s possible for the experiment to turn south. From what I remember, professor Hornt said the chances of failure were less than one percent. But I just met the man a month ago, he could have been lying. Professor Hornt doesn’t strike me as a mad scientist or anything, no matter how much the media tries to shove it down our throats.

The past two years have been nothing but negativity towards the man. Saying that he was a monster trying to be god. But what do you call the man who created god? Because surely, professor Hornt was no god. As far as I was concerned, I was god now. I mean, I did something that no man has ever done before. Well, no man has done it, but I believe a rat and a dog have done what I did. So I guess I’m not god at all. Gerald the mouse must be god, considering that rat was the first living creature to teleport. He came out the other end exactly how he entered. Same with Germ the dog. Now, Boris the human has a name for himself.

The videos released by Hornt of the animals teleporting seemed less painful. However, I was warned that it would be mentally painful, so I knew what I was getting into. Veering off into the left side of the room showed that there were twice the amount charts on the wall from when I initially came here. A whole bunch of red and blue lines intersecting each other, spiking up and down, was taking up the wall where I remember a painting being. It was a painting of Jupiter.

Professor Hornt was obsessed with space from what I could tell. The video presentation shown to me explained that Hornt was originally researching space in his earlier years. With dreams to become an astronaut, Hornt dedicated nearly his entire life to training his body and mind, only to be rejected due to health concerns. However, this didn’t phase Hornt in the slightest. As it turns out, Hornt was interested in living on another planet. While this was just a joke that was embedded in the presentation, Hornt one day wanted to see some contact with another planet. Despite not being able to physically withstand the conditions of space travel, Hornt began his research in cutting out the middle man

The path to the end was clearer than it has ever been. My eyes had just adjusted to the sight of what mankind was to call “The Great Movement”. In the year 2100, my father Thomas R. Hornt Sr. had just sprung into the field of astronomy. Paving the very path that I would walk years after the effort applied. What progression my father has made in his short life, was not progression for mankind alone. Why settle for an immediate way to reach the moon and Mars?

“I’ll admit, there hasn’t been a day of my life where my team has failed to impress me. Yet, I still felt like there was more to give back to them. More that they deserved. So we parted ways for what I knew to be the better. I can still hear Merry flipping his lid as I walked out the doors of TUIN. But I know that I’d do him one better.” When my father Thomas R. Hornt Sr. passed away in 2131, he left behind a final message drawn on a map. Well I call it a map, because truth be told, a letter just falls short for what treasure was in store. The day I turned fifteen I phoned up Merry, and we talked for a while. Tears were seeping through the phone when I read him aloud what my dad left behind. The next thing I knew, just the next day an armada of supporters from TUIN showed up at my doorstep. I’ll never forget the look in my mother’s eyes, when director Humer himself came directly asking for me. It was no shock at all, considering the prizes my father left behind. He kneeled before me, and announced to the town that one day, Professor Thomas Hornt Jr. would be the key to the human race shackles. And who would’ve thought that day would be so soon? I thank you all for participating in the great movement to set humans free to truly explore the universe and it’s beauty. The eight of you have been selected from millions of hard working citizens, who all dream to one day be independant. I know the journey for you was rough, and the sad truth is that it still isn’t over. Some may be disappointed upon leaving today, because only one test subject will be required. That isn’t to say that you will be disappointed with the experiment, which at this point, experiment is a lousy term to use. You will not be disappointed in the results of the fate of our progression as humans. I believe that the lot of you are not going to turn back now, and even if you wish to, there is no shame in that. In fact we request that anyone who doesn’t feel one hundred percent up for the challenge should speak up now. You will still be accommodated, and recognized as a subject of fate. As for those who intend on continuing to the interview, I wish you all good luck. And remember, we’re all in this together.


        Once the presentation ended, they began to pull one person at a time into the next room for an interview. The eight of us all arrived at professor Hornt’s lab at the same time. We sat in a giant room with refreshments near the entrance, and a pamphlet with information about the “journey” we were to embark on. What a load of rubbish, I thought to myself. I felt that professor Hornt was trying extremely hard to make us feel important, and that only one of us was really going to matter in the end. Whether or not you were selected to be the test subject didn’t matter though. Each of us were granted twenty thousand dollars for our time, regardless if we were selected or not.

        Twenty thousand dollars given to everyone, and people still didn’t seem to be very cheerful to be here. I admit though, it was extremely tense, as the test subject was to receive twenty million. Now that was the number everyone was rooting for. I myself however, couldn’t care less about the twenty million. All I knew was that currently, I’m twenty thousand richer than I was before I got here. Also the trip to England was paid for in full, so there was no way I was going to be angry about not being selected. Truthfully, I don’t think I wanted to be selected all that much. The idea that one of us was to be selected, made it feel like this was a competition. Which it was. But Professor Hornt made it very clear that we were not competing. That we are all in this together, working as a team. What a load of rubbish.

        If we were a team, we would be happy to see each other. If not happy, then at least less on edge about working with one another. Above the room sat a large number of guards overseeing us. They sat about twenty feet in the air on a balcony that wrapped around the room. I’d bet ten thousand that they all had weapons hidden out of sight. On the ground there were guards inside and outside of the lab. It makes sense to have all these guards afterall, just waiting to set things straight, should we get out of line. Twenty million on the line, someone was bound to go nuts and try something stupid. After about a half hour of sitting around, and waiting for paperwork to be processed, the presentation played. Once it ended, the room fell into a dark silence. It was quiet enough that you could hear your heartbeat, which really started to make me feel uncomfortable.

        Even the director could feel the tension between the eight of us, so he did what any smart man would do in his position. He whipped out a joke book from his back pocket, as if he had this prepared in anticipation things got tense. I have to hand it to him though, he stood up there and talked his ass off. No one laughed unfortunately. Not even me, which was unusual since I hate when people are put into uncomfortable situations. Normally I would give a pity laugh at a time like this, but I couldn’t manage to get a snicker out. Across the circle from where I was sitting was a young woman, in her thirties I’d say. She had bright yellow hair, no doubt this wasn’t natural. My eyes were drawn to her face next, where she plastered on a load of makeup. She was a beauty, yet I felt like she was trying way too hard. Next to her sat a man much like myself, not too tall, not too short. He had dark brown hair, and square frame glasses that seemed too small for his head. His suit gave the impression that he really wanted to get the job that we were all applying for. I think I disliked him the most out of the group, but I quickly dispelled any emotional discomfort. There was no need to make enemies in my head with people that I didn’t know. Next to him sat another young woman, who was much older than everyone here.

        She seemed very sociable, as she gave off the most responses to the comedian performing for us. Too young to be my mother, but too old to find attractive. Her name tag read Enny, a name I thought to be confused with several other names that sounded similar. The other two names I forgot to check as I was glancing over them, and I was too afraid to look back. Next to me on my left was a very young girl, no older than eighteen. I couldn’t read her name without completely turning my head. From what I could make out in my peripheral vision, she was a petite girl with brown hair. A bright yellowed shirt on as opposed to the hair of the woman sitting across from me. Her pants were short shorts, with flip flops and about a hundred of tangled bracelets on her wrist.

        The clothes she wore gave off the impression that she really didn’t want to work for the job she was applying for. However, there was no real issue with that since our invitation mentioned that there was no dress code whatsoever. For all I knew, I could show up naked and wouldn’t be kicked out. To my right sat a very heavy man who looked to be in his mid twenties. He let out a grunt everytime he adjusted his seat. Perhaps too small and rigid for his liking. He became bothersome to sit next to as he repeatedly stood up to fix his pants. Lastly, a woman sat next to him on his right, but I could barely make out any details of her as my view was obstructed. The large man named Byron made it exceedingly difficult to look to my right, as it was very irritating. Not that he was necessarily blocking the view, but because of how much he made me shift to my left on a diagonal.

        There was probably about two to three feet of space in between us, evenly divided amongst the chairs. Well, I feel that Byron may have been moving in closer to me everytime he got up. As for the last person, I didn’t manage to get a glimpse of what they looked like. He or she was the first person to be called in for the interview with Hornt himself. A digital clock left up on the projector had told me that it was 3:32pm, and the first interviewee was calling in at 3:00pm. How long was this interview supposed to be exactly? I really didn’t want to be waiting here all day for something I might not be selected for. Phones were not allowed to be used in the lab for obvious reasons, but we were going insane just sitting silently.

        Accidently, I made eye contact with the yellow haired woman across from me multiple times. Each time I learned a new letter of her name. G. R. A. C. Then from there I came to the conclusion, her name was Grace. By the time I finally decoded the mystery of Grace’s name, the next person was called.

        “Byron, please come forward to meet with professor Hornt,” said the director. The clock read 4:01pm. There was no way each interview was going to take an hour at a time. Everyone sitting was still too anxious to notice how much time we would be waiting here. So I thought this to be the case, as it turns out Byron’s interview ended at 4:09pm. “Abigail, please come forward to meet with professor Hornt.” That’s when the girl to my left was selected to be interviewed. Quickly I felt very lonely, as my two neighbors have moved on. Oh how I missed Byron so much, as his constant adjusting of his seat gave me something to sense.

        The next few hours slowly passed, and left was just me and one other person. 


2


        Grace sat there across from me, tormented by time. By now we’ve been sitting here for three hours, with nothing to do except stare at the wall. At no point during the presentation did they give us any rules to abide to. There just seemed to be this mutual agreement amongst us that no one would talk to one another. To be honest, this didn’t really sit well with me after I’ve given it some thought. No need to be antisocial during a test of our patience. I desperately wanted to walk over and talk to Grace, but it felt extremely awkward with the silence and guards watching over us. Not to mention, the director has long left the stage; given up his attempt to ease the tension. Only returning to announce when the next interview was to commence. The stage he stood on had a curtain drawn, as if there was a team of actors setting up for the next scene.

        Even the guards kept talking to a minimum, only making noises in whispers to an earpiece. Only one of the guards make a report at a time, leaving me in suspicion of what they are communicating. I take a few sweeps around the room and count a total of forty guards in total. All dressed in black, with dark sunglasses on. Shaved heads occupy a large majority, while the rest have slightly longer hair on the top. None of them have a beard, and all of them stood straight like soldiers. Hands behind their backs, only moving when they are to communicate something. I wonder how much torment they are experiencing, considering that they aren’t allowed to sit. On the ground floor there are ten guards, two of which are watching the entrance. I wonder if they would allow anyone to leave. According to the presentation, we could leave anytime we felt not up for the challenge. Oh how lucky the first person to be called in was. What I would have done to switch places with him.

        As more time passed, the more anxiety built up within me. This is exactly why I never show up early for an interview. No matter how confident I am with my performance, I always clam up when I am waiting to be seen. In a scenario like this however, there was no way anyone could prepare. No one knows what questions are going to be asked, or what’s expected of anyone. Also, there seems to be no consistency of how long each interview will take. The shortest one being just over five minutes, the longest an hour and a half. It seems like the shorter you’re in there is a dead giveaway that you didn’t get the job. But who knows if he is delaying the time in between interviews to throw us off, and make himself seem unpredictable. Unfortunately, we haven’t even received the twenty thousand yet, so if I left now, they might try to jip me out of it.

        I can’t seem to be able to escape the cluster of thoughts going on in my head. Shuffling through ideas to easy my anxiety, only one emerges through the surface. Without giving it anymore thought, I stand up and stretch my back. I suppose if I’m breaking any rules, they’ll let me know. Reaching down to touch my toes, and adjust my shoes, I notice Grace is looking forward towards me. My plan was to simply make eye contact on the descent to the floor, then head over to the seat on her left. Upon rising, i “accidentally” make eye contact with her, then pause for just a brief moment. Inhale a chunk of air, then exhale. I can’t tell what’s scarier, talking to a pretty girl who possibly wants to kill me, or challenging the guards.

        I plop myself in the seat to the left of her as planned. Her head followed me as I made my approach next to her. As I sat down, she continued to look elsewhere, as if I had vanished. She’s undoubtedly expecting me to start a conversation with her, but my mind completely blanks. The guards didn’t move a muscle, or give so much a blink to my travels. Would it have been so difficult to have some background music on as we sat here, or have a few magazines left out? I suppose I could’ve gotten some more food, but the food seemed to try to overcompensate the assembly. Therefore, I wasn’t highly interested in it. By now though, my stomach was definitely in the mood for the garlic covered clams, and endless rows of chicken pops. In fact, the only person to even take a bite of what was on the table was Byron. By now I’m sure the food is cold, so it probably wouldn’t be worth the journey of discomfort.

        My stomach rumbles loud enough to be heard by the townsfolk. Yet no one but Grace appears before me to mention it. “Did you come over here because you were hungry?” whispered Grace, with an ever so slight smirk on her face. It was hard to tell if she was offended, or delighted by my company.

        “Nah, I was just getting sick to my stomach honestly. Thought time would go faster if I moved seats.”

        “So you chose the seat closest to me, huh?”

        “Well, ya know there’s only like eight to choose from.”

        Grace smiles, “of course, I’m just messing with you.” She positions her legs to be facing closer to me. Finally I felt that time started rolling again. We exchanged a few small talk phrases for a couple of minutes, then stopped speaking. It was tough to keep up a real conversation when we only felt comfortable whispering. I heighten the volume of my voice to speak to her.

        “So you say you're from Atlanta? I have a friend that moved there a couple of months ago. Maybe you two have met?”

        “Yeah cause’ let me tell you, I make it my duty to get to know every newcomer to Atlanta.” Her legs are positioned even closer to me. Was it bad that my entire body was turned to face her though?

        “You never know, maybe you’ve met Lee.”

        “No, I don’t think I know anybody named Lee. But you know who I did meet?”

        “Who?” I asked.

        “The one and only Jay Hisen.”

        “There’s no way I would ever believe that in a million years,” I teased. Jay Hisen is a famous musician known for hit songs like, “Know My Love”, and “Thinking the Long Way”.

        “I’d show you the picture I took with him, but ya know, don’t have my phone on me.”

        “Well maybe after then?” I boldly asked. One thing’s for sure, I definitely wanted to see this girl again. But that would only be possible under two circumstances most likely. One being I am selected, and she falls head over heels for me. This might be the worse of the two, since I wouldn’t know if she had any genuine feelings for me. The second circumstance would have to be that neither of us win. If she were to win the money, I imagine that she would find a way hotter man to suit her needs. Immediately after thinking of that circumstance, I wipe the idea of her being so shallow out of my head. I was lucky enough to make it this far, so I took this opportunity to become a more optimistic person.

“Well, I could just show you now.” She pulls out a picture from her wallet. And there it was clear as day. Her and Jay Hisen standing in front of a venue together, doing a strange gesture that I can’t really remember the name of.

“Holy shit, I would kill to have gotten those meet and greet tickets!” I exclaimed.

“Oh this wasn’t meet and greet. Jay pulled me on stage with my friend and I guess you could say we hit it off.” My face went slightly numb after hearing about how acquainted she had become with someone this famous. If Jay Hisen was this into her, then why wouldn’t some other way better looking guy than me. “Yeah, he invited us to stay after and take photos for his documentary,” she added. “Should be coming out soon.”

This gave me more peace knowing that this was for a documentary, and that he most likely didn’t have feelings for her. Come to think of it, why do I seem to be growing feelings for Grace to fast? I adjust my legs so that I am sitting forward, away from her. She doesn’t seem to notice; lost in the polaroid of her and Jay. Maybe it was time to get really serious about this interview. My outlook on winning suddenly changed. If I wanted to be someone like Jay Hisen, twenty million dollars would be necessary to start the celebrity lifestyle.

Grace turned to me as much as she could, which caused me to look back towards her. “Do you think this is too good to be true?” questioned Grace, loud enough to be heard by the guards? She didn’t seem to care about drawing attention to herself anymore.

“What do you mean? I guess coming this far was like winning the lottery right?” I reply.

“The disclaimer we’ve received emails about in confidence, explained that the test is one hundred percent safe. If that’s so, then why wouldn’t professor Hornt just be the one to be the human test subject?”

“I think it would have to do with the fact that TUIN board isn’t allowing him to. Professor Hornt seems to be very important to their goals, so I guess they don’t want to risk it.”

“Then why do they say it’s one hundred percent safe? It sounds to me that it really isn’t. Either that, or Hornt is worried about the side effects of teleporting.” The only side effect stated in the email disclosure was that of experiencing a new feeling. An overwhelming feeling that is only natural when taking the requirements of teleporting come into play. The way it’s described in the email was that we will be traveling to Australia if selected. From there, you will be teleported back to England into Hornt’s lab. It sounds like an easy twenty million if the test is completely safe. They also threw in a bunch of philosophical dilemmas of identity if you are to teleport.


        “In order for teleportation to occur, that is to say the movement from Australia to England instantaneously, we must provide you with adequate knowledge. You must be comfortable with the fact that teleporting will not physically harm you, but can harm the idea of who you are. The process of teleporting in a simplified manner requires a start and end point. You of course will start at the start point, and end at the end point, but the process of moving is not what you might expect. You will not be entering a portal from the start point, but you will be a new being at the end point. The molecular structure of what you are is copied from the start point, then transferred to the end point, and a new body is generated. The new body is generated EXACTLY identical to the body of the start point. The first dilemma now arises. There are two copies of the individual human selected. Here at TUIN, we are against playing god outside of what we are able to comprehend. That being said, to avoid this dilemma, the “you” at the start point is destroyed in the process of transferring the data. The death is quick and painless, and frankly, you won’t feel any of the process of teleporting. We predict that the only side effect will be the experience of something entirely new to humans. What we mean by this is that as you are generated at the end point, all of your memories and experiences will be returned to you much faster than when you initially experienced them for the first time. Emotions, senses, and knowledge will be rapidly grown to the new brain, and unfortunately, we are unsure if you will forget this “new” experience or not. We believe that there is a strong possibility that you will indeed be burdened by this. But please keep in mind, you will physically not be harmed. Another dilemma arises depending on how you view personal identity. While you are an exact copy of yourself upon reaching the end point, the original copy is destroyed. This can be interpreted as, the “new” you, not being the same as the “old” you. For further information please reach out to the phone number listed XXX-XXXX. If you wish to opt out of the experiment, please respond to this email “REMOVE”. If you are to remain opt in, please respond “CONFIRMED”. If no response is received, you will automatically be opted out. Thank you for your time. We look forward to working with you.


“It seems obvious to me that Hornt is afraid to suffer from the side effects. I called the number and got information. A lot more than I expected,” said Grace.

“Yeah I did too. I’m pretty surprised how many people are willing to die for twenty million dollars.”

“Well when you put it like that, it really makes a lot of sense why Hornt wouldn’t want to be the one to test it. After all, I doubt this is where his experiment ends.”

“I’ll admit though, it sure does feel lousy that we are going to be test subjects. But the way I see it now, is if I’m going to still feel like me, and not know the difference, then I’ll do it.”

“What about the side effect?” questioned Grace.

“I’ve seen some shit, I doubt reexperiencing my life will feel that bad anyway.”

“Is it okay if I call you Bor?”

“Sure! That’s what most people call me anyways.”

“Well Bor, I wish you luck.”

“Thanks, you too.” It was then Grace’s name was called to be interviewed. Almost as if they were waiting for us to finish our conversation. She stood up, and shot a wink at me before heading through the doors. And there I sat, all alone by myself, waiting to become something greater.


3


        The director emerges through the door to summon me to meet with professor Hornt. I take a final look at the clock and see that it’s just about to turn eight. “I do apologize for the wait,” said the director. “There have been a few bumps in the road that needed to be ironed out. Not that it should worry you. Purely just internal matters that needed professor Hornt’s attention.” The more the director talked, the more it did worry me. He seemed like he was trying to cover up something. Especially just after having that conversation with Grace, I really feel like something fishy might be going on. I’ve been here nearly all day, and they haven’t given us much information about what’s going on. You think they would give us something to do for all this time we had to wait. Why not just split the meetings up to different days? “Please come this way,” instructed the director.

        I followed him through the door, and out into a long corridor. At the end of the corridor was another door that looked exactly like the one we just passed through. Along the walls of the corridor were hyper realistic drawings, paintings, and real photos of different planets, and images of space. The further we passed down the corridor, the more “in space” it felt like. The hall was well lit, yet still felt dark and moody. I assumed the reason for that was the white walls were nearly hidden by dozens of picture frames. Each frame contains a dark background with the focus of a planet, or some solar system. The only reason I could tell that some of them were just drawings was because of the signature at the bottom. But if signatures were just allowed to be put on anything, then I guess I could be wrong. Upon walking further into the corridor, I start to notice the patterns of the paintings.

        Strictly on the left side were pictures that had signatures, and paintings. Unless Hornt is also a painter, then he probably purchased all the frames on the left on the corridor. The right side had no signature, as well as no noticeable paintings. I assume that these frames were the ones that Hornt had acquired by his own means. The lab was bound to contain an observatory, I’m sure of it. I wanted to ask the director about the origins of these pictures, but it hardly felt like the appropriate time. Director Horvas reeked with exhaustion. Clearly during his disappearance, he was handling some tedious work that needed attention as well. While my mind was on the topic of the director, I began to wonder if anyone overheard the conversation between Grace and I. What if they were recording what we were saying and sending it straight to Hornt to listen to? Hopefully Hornt really does have good intentions with these interviews.

It was really unlikely this was some sort of elaborate scheme to trick us into doing something. After we received our selection email, as well as a phone call, it was made public the names of us. News reporters contacted me, and did a small interview at my apartment, which made me feel somewhat like a celebrity. But I figure that the real fortune will come from when news breaks out that one of us has successfully teleported. Like I said earlier, a dog and rat have already teleported on camera, but many people claimed it to be fake. Myself included. To be honest, I’m surprised that I’m standing where I am. In the home of Hornt himself, the man I truly believed to be a fraud. There was no reason at all for me to believe this, but I had pretty negative feelings for him about two years ago.

The day Hornt opened a registration for test subjects, the whole world seemed to have gone into chaos. All over the news was information on how to apply, and what you can get if you are selected. When it was mentioned that eight people will receive twenty thousand, and one of the eight twenty million, the internet lost it. Most likely because it was free, so there was no risk at all. Out of curiosity, I checked out the website, which was shut down due to the sheer volume of traffic it was receiving. The registration was put on pause, then resumed two weeks later. And you can bet your ass they had invested millions of dollars on just servers alone. If you read into the brochure on the website, you quickly realized it wasn’t as simple as registering. You were prompted with a link to a survey, which was revealed that most people didn’t bother to take. The survey was a whopping three hundred questions, with each question very similar to others, making it feel like you were answering redundantly.

Thankfully, you could take the survey in chunks of time, rather than all at once. The amount of people who applied to take the survey was never released, but I imagine it was more than eighty percent of the country. Internet bloggers, and different personalities all gave their two cents about the surveys. Some claimed the survey to be pointless, some said the survey was rigged, some said the survey could be retaken (which it couldn’t). YouTube was filled with survey tutorials, and people making videos on how to pass the survey. These people made a killing, considering how many people were trying to get in on this. Conspiracy theorists began to crawl up, spreading rumors, and trying to delegitimize the whole experiment. This is where I drew the line. Originally, I had my own suspicions about the legitimacy of the experiment. But when conspiracy theorists started becoming vocal, I decided to go on and do it.

I hate the idea that there’s some big, untold, dirty secret about everything. So I refused to support that concept right away. Once I got home from work, I followed the instructions and registered to be a subject. The link appeared before me, so I copy and pasted it into the URL bar. I was to input a special code that I received from TUIN, and once I had hit enter, the survey began. My motivation to complete the survey was very low, because it really did feel like a waste of time. The odds of me being selected out of everyone in the country seemed pretty low. However, with the bombardment of media, and constant videos of the updates for the survey, the due date was coming soon. Without even having half of it done, I decided that I didn’t care anymore about it. The questions seemed to get longer and longer every time I went to continue. What I felt was strange was the difficulty of the questions. For them to be advertising that you don’t need any prior education, I felt like you needed a doctorate to answer any of them.

I found myself struggling to comprehend each question, as they really did grow longer and longer. Some took a few minutes just to read, then I had to reread over and over because I couldn’t follow along and keep focus. By question one hundred I had thrown in the towel, the towel represented how much I didn’t care for this topin, as well as my tolerance for conspiracy theorists. The due date had inevitably arrived, but no word for results. I don’t know what everyone expected, of course there weren’t going to be any results. I imagine it would take whatever crew they had years to grade this thing. Clearly I wasn’t thinking straight since the survey was multiple choice, a through e. It wouldn’t have taken a computer longer than ten seconds to grade.

Exactly one month from the deadline, emails were sent to everyone who participated. Outrage filled the internet, accusations plagued the media. People didn’t know how to react to being rejected. Popular bloggers wrote that they felt as though they have been rejected from the progression of mankind. A simple rejection was twisted to mean something entirely different. Riots formed in England, right outside Hornt’s home. Naturally Hornt was relocated to an unknown location, so the riots accomplished nothing productive, as they normally do. Hornt really was a mysterious man, hardly ever showing his face on camera. A spokesperson took his role in handling the backlash, and even that man rarely showed his face. Hornt must’ve seen something special about England, because despite being located there, the TUIN was organized in the US. Only people from the states were allowed to register, which of course caused uproars in other countries, as well as our own.

The TUIN handled this case very well I have to admit. Not once did they back down and try to change things to please the masses. This is where my admiration for Hornt started to bud. Sure, I still have my doubts and suspicions, but he kept a level head through and through. It had been weeks since the emails were sent to proceed with the next phase of what I like to call the “narrowing”. Notifications began to pile in my phone from the TUIN, each of them ignored. I couldn’t care less about what they had to say about the updates and what not. My email was used to never being checked, as my notifications of unread mail are in the thousands. The cycle of my day was put to a halt when I remembered that I set mail received from TUIN to be sent to my spam folder. And here it was, fifteen emails from TUIN all in my inbox. Upon further inspection, I realized that the latest was a final warning. That if I do not respond within twenty four hours, I will forfeit my position to proceed.

Not knowing how many people received an acceptance email, it was hard for me to know if I should care or not. Drama was spewing everywhere, in all directions about not being accepted. Fake emails being posted online, claimed to be real for attention. But mine acceptance was real. I made sure by calling TUIN myself and speaking to a representative. I recited my confirmation number, and they congratulated me. “Yes sir, that’s correct. You’ve been selected to proceed!” It sounded so unreal when I heard that, as if it were an automatic message to trick people.

“I beg your pardon?” I questioned while scratching my head. “I never even submitted the survey, or finished all of the questions.”

“The survey is not to be mistaken for a test. Completion was not required.”

“So what was the point of the survey then? There’s no way you could have accurately assessed my application.”

“Please hold while I connect you to my supervisor.” I expected to be on hold for a while, so I hung up. Seconds after I hung up, my phone began to ring. Lo and behold, the representative’s supervisor was on the other end, answering my question in full.[a]

“Professor Hornt isn’t looking for a genius who can help further his research. No sir, professor Hornt needs no help,” the supervisor bragged. “Professor H is much more humble than that, I apologize. You see the survey was designed to search for certain qualities that Professor H finds attractive. What those qualities are, are a mystery to me. Further information will be provided in the near future, so please hold all questions until then. If you would like to opt out of the program, just say the words and I will remove you.” The supervisor gave me a minute to think about opting out or not.

“I can opt out at any time right?”

“That’s correct.”

“I’ll call back later should I decide to be removed.”

“Excellent! Please do not hesitate to reach out to TUIN customer service if you have any further concerns. Have a nice day.” The dial tone then followed after the line had ended, my face was shot blank. As if I had just seen a ghost wandering about, minding its own business. I wasn’t sure if I should be excited or not, so the first thing I did when I snapped out of my daze was check online. There was no definite number of who was accepted, but people seemed to be posting photos of their email acceptance. It was easy for me at this point to tell which were fake and which weren’t. Scrolling through Instagram, the trending page was filled with acceptance emails, an endless amount. Fake and real. The fake had few likes, unless they were posted by a public figure, which looked bad once they were exposed. The real emails that were posted were littered with likes and attention. Thousands of comments on each, containing mostly spam and emojis.

I’ve never been the type to really post all that much, and when I did, I never got too much attention. That’s not to say I was super unpopular; I had a fairly large friend group. But I always wondered what it would be like to get an influx of sudden likes and comments. I decided why the hell not. The photo I uploaded was a screenshot of my email - with private information blocked out - and a caption with the hashtag, “#TheUniverseIsNext”. I closed the app and went about my day, as if it was never posted. Like my email, I never had notifications on for any social media. After my shift at the grocery store where I worked, I opened the app. Completely forgotten that I had even posted anything, I was welcomed with over two hundred likes and thirty comments. Definitely not a number to be proud of, but way more than I was used to getting. I read through the comments which were very similar to the comments I read on other posts. Meaningless, and annoying.

There were a few private messages from fake TUIN accounts, trying to trick me into giving them bank information. I never replied to anyone I didn’t know, so their attempt to phish for information failed. Later that night, I ended up removing the post. It felt too much like I was just hopping on the bandwagon and begging for attention. Not my style. Like most internet trends and attractions, the whole TUIN project was quickly forgotten. Only a month after the survey deadline, the hype for TUIN had died off. TUIN went silent the day of the deadline, which was most likely a part of their plan to be able to focus without the unnecessary drama. Even I forgot about the whole thing, same with some of my friends who were accepted. Of my friends, I only knew three people who were accepted, making me feel less special. The number of potential test subjects must’ve been a lot higher than I thought to be.

About a year after the deadline, I was sent another email with instructions on how to proceed. My friends did not receive this email, and reached out to the customer service team. Apparently, during that year with no word from TUIN, they were researching each of the potential subjects. Only those who were to move forward received an email, and you can bet that these emails were very popular on the internet. Just to see how many likes I got, I posted a screenshot yet again, with the same caption. This time I got four thousand likes, and one thousand comments. Thirty times the amount of private messages from scammers, and an alarming number of girls who were suddenly interested in getting to know me. Still, I kept to myself and removed the post. The private messages actually did become an issue, as I couldn’t easily remove them. I opened a support ticket, and had an administrator remove the messages, as well as my name from the algorithm.

The new email instructed me to follow yet another link. So as I did before, I copy and pasted the link into my URL browser and hit enter. Another code was required to proceed, and again was copy and pasted into the boxes. However, this time more effort was required to continue. I needed to submit a photo of my ID, then wait until the verification was processed to be able to move forwards. I phoned up customer service again, and requested to speak to the supervisor. Yet again, I was put on hold, but this time I didn’t hang up. A few seconds later the supervisor picked up, which came to me as a surprise. I figured that a huge organization like TUIN would have longer queue times for reaching someone higher up. Then again, I had no idea how “high up” this person was.

We exchanged a few small talk phrases before I began to question the procedure. He assured me that it was completely safe, and walked me through the steps. Checking to see that I was on a secure network, and the correct URL was entered. Within five minutes, we had completed the submission of my identification. The next step was to wait for the verification to be completed according to the email. Rather than waiting a year, it took about two weeks to get the email with the next set of instructions. I received a delivery date that referred to when I was getting an official “Gold Card”. A short video attached explained that the Gold Card signified that you have contributed enough data for the sampling process, and you were to be considered an honorary member of the TUIN teleportation experiment: The Great Movement.

By the time my package arrived with the Gold Card, I assumed the internet would once again break out into dismay. However, there were no posts about the Gold Card that I could find. Nothing saying that we weren’t allowed to show it off, so there really must be very few out in circulation. This time around, I decided not to upload the photo to Instagram, feeling like no one would really care, or understand what the card means. Yet another six months passed with no word from TUIN, which felt awful. I was so sure that I was the only one with a card, but to my surprise, I found out I wasn’t. My email received a notification from TUIN, with the final set of instructions. I was to allocate a time frame that I could be flown out to England for the interview with Hornt himself. The interview was scheduled for another six months in the future.

Without hesitation, I wrote a reminder to request off from work.

We realize that your time is very important, just as much as ours. That is why we are giving you adequate time to plan ahead. Please try to find two weeks of your time to be allowed for the interview. Compensation from being away from home will be provided. Each of the eight subjects selected will receive $20,0000 USD, and a paid vacation in England, all inclusive. The definite test subject will be revealed after the interviews have been completed. You will receive a phone call once you are in the room of your hotel. The selected person may refuse if they’d like, and the runner up will take his or her spot. If selected, please allow for one month of your time to be available for the experiment…

The email went on a little longer, only to give their best regards, and contact information. 


        During those two years, I found myself lost in the magical feeling of doubt and wonder. Drifting through space, with a gleaming light in the distance. This light was so far out of reach, that it felt like that I would never come close to it. But now, here it is before my very eyes. The light that would determine the fate of my existence. The door opens wide, and I step through.


4


        Much like the corridor, the entire office was filled with pictures of planets and space. Everything in the office seemed like it was picked out to fit perfectly within the room, leaving no excess room for any furniture. The seating arrangement was spacious surprisingly, this was clearer brought into consideration. Spacious enough to just be able to comfortably move about. I’m sure Byron found it difficult to slide passed the door and around to the chair. Papers were scattered all over the Hornt’s desk, as if his binder just threw up. By now my anxiety has just about fled my body. Now I just look forward to getting this over with and going to sleep. Who would’ve thought it would be so tiresome to sit still for six hours?

        Hornt hadn’t spoken a word yet, and kept scratching away at his notebook. Red pen filled the pages, making it extremely difficult for me to take a peek at what he was writing. Judging by the wasteland of papers scattered from the tornado that hit his desk, Hornt has very poor penmanship. Something that I trump the old man in! Despite having been a slacker throughout high school, I had pretty clean handwriting. A bead of sweat drops from Hornt’s forehead onto the notepaper he is viciously scribbling at. Whatever he is writing seems to have him in a frenzy, making those riots outside his house on the news look like book club gathering. I’m fairly certain that he hasn’t even realized that I entered the room and sat down already. Director Horvas stands behind my seat, patiently waiting for an opportunity to grab his attention. Sadly, it looks like I still have time to kill.

        This is the first time that I really got to take a good look at the man. Like I said earlier, he rarely showed himself on TV, and when you did get to see him, you could barely make out any details of what he looks like. An utter disappointment to be discovered, that even up close in person, I still can’t fully fathom what the man looks like. He has giant glasses that cover fifty percent of his face, completely whiting out any portrayal of eyes. Just two white circles, but if you look hard enough, you can make out two small blue irises. His hair is pulled tightly back and tied into a ponytail, almost making him look bald. Red rosy cheeks that have been beating redder by the second as we sat by the fireplace on the west side of the room. The longer I observe him, the more apparent his heartbeat is in his cheeks. A white lab coat drapes his body, wrinkled as if it has just been pulled out of the washer. Various sweat stains on his coat, as well as the collar of his undershirt. Professor Hornt was quite the slob if I do say so myself.

        Greasy hands that complicated his note-taking procedure, repeatedly readjusting the pen’s position in his hand. He seems rather short, but it’s hard to tell while he’s sitting down. I’m sure that he’s no taller than five feet. Without realizing how far I’ve gone in my head to picking out his flaws, I urge myself to stop. My goal for coming out here is to look at life differently. Instead, I turned those flaws into perfections. The grease on his hand would come in handy if he ever got his hand stuck in a jar. The sweat stains were the sign of a hard worker, one that a woman would be proud to call her husband. While a peculiar presentation of his hair, I can’t say that he isn’t stylish. Blue eyes to get lost in as we’re flying in a rocketship around the walls of his office, and the glasses to protect myself from falling in love with him.

        The more I observed Hornt, the worse I felt, so I stopped looking at him. “Uh professor, it’s getting kind of late. I’m sure Boris here would like to conclude his night now,” said the director. Hornt’s head jolted upwards, as if he had just stuck a fork inside an electrical outlet.

        “Oh my! My apologies! I keep managing to get lost in following these notes. OK OK I’ll take it from here Ben,” professor Hornt said, waving the director out the door. I hear the door close behind me, and perk myself up to get ready to speak to the man himself. Hornt’s head returns to the same neck breaking position it had previously had been. Writing away, as if I had just vanished to thin air. “One more moment, I am so very sorry.”

        “Don’t worry about it,” I happily said. Deep down I wanted to smack this man across the face for keeping me here all this time. But I suppose I can’t be too upset towards someone who’s giving me a lump of dough. Hornt finally wraps up his writings, and within an instant, scoops up the entire load of papers into his hands. He organizes the papers efficiently, as if he was solving a rubik's cube at a world record pace. Then he puts them back in the binder and tucks it away in his cabinet. He folds his hands and shoots me a dumb smile, like a kid trying to please his parents. I awkwardly shot a smile back, but before I could even reach the point of a smile, he blurted out some very good news.

        “You’re the one!” My entire body tensed up, as I was sure this was a test of some sort. Then like the running theme of today, silence between the two of us transpired.

        “Huh? What do you mean?” I questioned.

        “I mean what I mean of course! You’re the one that’s going to fly to Australia.” Medusa herself had to have been in the same room as I, because I was shocked to stone.

        “But, we didn’t even have an interview. Why am I selected?”

        “Are you really going to question the man who’s making you the face of science’s greatest movement?” I sunk into my chair, feeling like a child told to shut up. “That’s why I like ya so much Bor. You’re a very patient boy, but you know when to fight back.” My eyebrow raised in curiosity. “Basically, it doesn’t take any type of genius to be a test subject. I’m not expecting you to do anything you aren’t capable of. What I was looking for in my subjects, was their ability to wait. Wait, but know when to call an old man out for being a joke.”

        “I never thought you to be a joke.”

        “It’s quite alright, I take no offense! Hell, the reason why I chose the lot of ya was because none of ya took me seriously.”

        “Well that isn’t true either!”

        “Ah sure it was. Don’t think nothing of this, but I overheard yer conversation with Grace.”

        “Well, yeah we had our suspicions, but we never said anything that undermined you.”

        “You’re right! You two didn’t. But it was all about how you responded to your emails. I believe we sent you fifteen emails after the survey. You didn’t respond until it was nearly too late. But you responded nonetheless.”

        “That doesn’t mean I thought of you as a joke.” In reality, I really did think of this as a joke.

        “Yeah well, the thing about me is that I’m very pessimistic. So that’s how I took it, and that’s how I’ll see you until the day I die. The face of science thinks his father is nothing but a heaping pile of BS. But not to worry, my pessimistic views won’t change my opinion of you. A man who will bear with me, when the going gets tough.” I had no idea what he meant by this. “What I mean by this is, me and you are going to be spending a month together. That is, as long as you're still up for the challenge.”

        “Of course I am!” Both my hands were on his desk, grasping onto the wood tightly.

        “That’s what I like to hear. Now then, we can sit around here and get to know each other, or we can do that tomorrow. Up to you.”


        As I lay in the bed of my hotel, I wonder if I should’ve stayed and talked to the professor. I don’t think it really mattered in the long run. He gave me a set schedule for tomorrow. Unfortunately it involved preparing for the trip to Australia, so I wouldn’t be able to enjoy England for much longer. That didn’t matter at all, I can come back whenever I’d like, now that I’m a millionaire. There were still so many questions I had to ask him, such as the results for the other seven people. Were none of them as patient as me? How do you really measure how patient someone is? It makes sense that he chose me last to be interviewed. I saw that six hour wait as the true test of my will. Thoughts began to spiral throughout my head, maybe I shouldn’t ask him any questions. I should just be content that I am going to be what he calls, “The Face of Science”.

        The hotel they provided us was no joke at all. I’ve never been in such a nice room in my entire life. No surprise that it puts my crappy apartment to shame, and I’d go as far to say that it even beats my parent’s room when I lived with them. I laid on the bed and rolled to my side to look at the clock. It read 10:21pm. Professor Hornt wasn’t expecting me to arrive until noon. I don’t have much choice in how to return to the lab tomorrow. At eleven o'clock, a limousine will be out front of the hotel, ready to give me a ride. It’s all so much to take in at once, and haven’t even told anybody yet. I thought of calling my parents to let them know that their son was now a millionaire. The last I spoke to them was the morning I arrived in England. Well it was morning for them, a little passed midday for me. I got here just two days ago, and haven’t done much but go to the hotel bar, and small restaurants nearby. This lingering fear of getting lost keeps peeking over my shoulder whenever I’m not in the vicinity of the hotel.

        Yesterday when I went to get breakfast at the “Golden City Cafe”, I felt so out of place. This was my first time being out of the United States, so I really didn’t want to risk getting into any trouble. The food isn’t much different from back home. I just had myself some eggs, a bagel and a coffee, just to play it safe. God forbid I find I have some hidden allergy that suddenly decides to make itself known. I don’t even find coffee that drinkable either. Since I don’t really know how to dress up my coffee, I just ordered black. It was like drinking burnt water. I kept taking little baby sips to accustom the taste to my buds. Every sip of that cup I hated. The only reason I ordered it was because I felt some sort of pressure to do so. Everyone around me had a coffee or tea, and for some reason I felt the need to fit in. Lost in a coffee shop, I was on my own and battling my insecurities. That’s when I decided that I would not let my mind ruin this trip for me, so I ordered another coffee.

        Something in my head clicked that moment. It was out of the blue. I felt like I made it out this far, and there was no way I wasn’t going to be selected to be the test subject. Up until the day of the interview, I refused to let any thought of failure enter my head. Which kind of went away the moment I stepped in. I started to negotiate with myself, that I would still be happy even if I lost. It wasn’t a horrible way to think, but it really made me hate myself in the moment. And now that I was actually selected, I feel like an idiot for doubting myself, especially since he knew he was choosing me from the start. Conversations in my head went on and on while I laid there. The clock now is 11:00 pm. This was no time to be dwelling on the past. No, it was time to celebrate! I pulled out some clothes and decided to hit the pubs, and drink whatever I please.

        This happened to be another thing that I never did, go to the bar by myself. The idea always seemed so precarious, venturing out by oneself, indulging for a good time. Just passed the Golden City cafe was a pub called The Rock Rock, a very simple name, for a very simple pub. The crowd was loud, and it was hard to get a spot at the bar. I waited patiently and was proud. As if professor Hornt was watching me. I waited just a little longer, before I could fulfill the second reason why Hornt chose me. Then it was time to push into an opening. A sliver of an entrance presented itself, and the walls were closing in fast. The path was blocked by sweaty couples conversing, drunk beyond their wildest dreams. Who was I but a small knight trying to reach the closing gates of the burning castle. No one dares to stop a knight in his tracks, it would cost them their life. Nearly crushed to death, my arm makes it to the table, and grabs a hold, pulling myself in. Pushing two large men aside to make room for the Face of Science.

        The bartender looks at me right away, as if she witnessed the battle I partook in. “I’ll have a shot of whiskey, open a tab for me.” She took my card and did I as told. My shot arrived seconds later, and incidentally, the shot disappeared. Usually it took me around three shots to do the trick. Before I could stop to count my shots, I had already been on my fifth. “A round of whiskey for everyone!” I shouted. The entire pub grew silent, trying to see if I was being serious or not. Why should I care? I was rich now. “You heard me right, a round of whiskey for everyone!” The entire pub cheered for me. I made quite a few friends by closing time. The bill shot somewhere close to a thousand quid. I couldn’t really tell how much I was spending, but I doubt it was twenty million dollars.

        A group that took a liking to me showed me around the town until about six in the morning. But once they realized they weren’t getting anything else from me, they quickly scattered one by one. Which was fine, I had no issue being where they brought me. The hotel was just visible from the horizon, and to be honest I wasn’t that drunk. Was the millionaire lifestyle already creeping up on me? I have no doubt that I made myself look like a snob in there, but I doubt I’d see any of them again. I was left alone, watching the subtle ripples of a pond in a park. In just a few hours, I’d be heading off to Australia. A fish approaches me ever so slightly, peeking its head out from the fresh layer of pond water. Behind the fish are a group of others of the same species, just swimming around in a circle. I sit down on my bottom, with my arms crossed across my knees.

        Why has this fish separated from its group? While it may not be far off, it still belongs back in the circle. The fish swam off away from me, and the group. It didn’t return. Both the group and the individual fish have faded out of sight. I’ll never know if he reunited with his friends. But the pond is small, I’m sure they’ll meet again. “How long are ya going to sit there? It’s pretty late,” said a voice from behind. I twist my head to see who it was. Grace, stood there hovering above me. “Thanks for the whiskey,” she said.

        “You were at The Rock Rock?”

        “Yeah it was pretty close to the hotel, so I decided why not check it out. There’s a few others I went to as well.” Grace sat down next to me, and the two of us stared at the ripples.

        “I really didn’t think you’d be there, to be honest.”

        “Well what a coincidence it was! In fact one of the other Gold Card holders was there with me.”

        “Oh yeah, so you made some friends huh? Good for you. Who was it?”

        “Jessica, but she went in hours ago. I saw that crowd of people whisk you around, and wanted to make sure you were okay.” I couldn’t tell if Grace was genuinely worried about me, or if she had known that I was selected. There’s no doubt someone who just bought an entire pub a round would have an excess of money laying around.

        “Yeah, a bunch of cool people I met,” I said, not knowing one of their names.

        “I’m just glad you’re okay. Think you're ready to head back?” She was urging me to end the night here. But I knew the night had already ended, and the morning was already out and about.

        “Yup, I’ll pack it up now. Thanks for looking out.” the circle of fish had risen to the surface again. Still I am unable to tell if the lonely fish reunited. Grace helped me up to my feet. The world showed to be very blurry after transforming to a vertical stance, and Grace’s face faded away. Why is it that even though I’m not sober, I struggle to speak to this woman? Only being able to give her short, pathetic sentences. In return, she gives me what I gave her, with a dash of sprinkled care. I wanted to tell her that I was selected badly, just to see what kind of reaction I would get out of her. But perhaps that would spoil the moment. I kept my mouth closed. Grace’s face finally becomes visible, and my body is met again with Medusa. Turning me to stone, and dropping to the ground.

        “My god, you’re a mess right now,” she laughed. “Don’t go looking up my skirt now.”

        “I wouldn’t dare to, but look at the sky.” Grace lifted her head upwards.

        “What do you see?”

        “Nothing in particular, just stars.” Grace took a step back and nodded.

        “Can’t really see anything. Are you okay? Do I need to escort you to a hospital?” Again, I couldn’t tell if Grace was playing around or being serious.

        “You should get going, I’m not going to be able to fall asleep tonight.” I didn’t want to be a bother to Grace, and I wasn’t quite ready to end the night. Or should I say morning? An older couple walked past us, looking confused. They kept moving forward, not saying a word.

        “C’mon, you’re going to get yourself into trouble. You seriously can’t be that drunk.” The truth is I wasn’t drunk at all. I had sobered up a while ago, but if she knew that, she may think I’m nuts.

        “Don’t worry about me. Look I’ll go sit on that bench over there, and just keep quiet.” Grace was very persistent. She didn’t want me out here on my own. I had to find out once and for all how she might feel. I stood to my feet once more, and the two of us walked to a nearby bench.

        “Now wouldn’t it have been better to sit here from the start? You’d be much cleaner.”

        “But then I wouldn’t have been able to see my reflection in the pond.”

        “What do you mean? You see that figure waving in the pond? I’ll tell you something, it’s not a scuba diver. That’s you.”

        “Nah, that’s not me. I want to see the real me.” Grace looked at me with a worried face. The urge to vomit flowed throughout my stomach. The feeling that I had to do something uncomfortable. Before she could speak, I blurted out “I wasn’t selected to be the subject.” The wind surrounded us with the noise of leaves rustling against the ground. Light from the sun reflecting off of the pond and into Grace’s eyes, causing her to squint. She said nothing. If there was ever a need to call a lifeline for advice, the time was now. I try to recall a time where someone was paying attention to me initially. A curse that has plagued me with being a lackluster husk of a human, modifying my psyche to see everything for its true colors. A bleak cloud of dust that seems to follow me wherever I go. Sunlight is often never visible, and when it is, it’s quickly shrouded by the same dust. As if the god who watches over me, missed a spot. A mop to wipe away the filth that I called hope. Grace looks at me with a mystified expression, begging a further explanation.

        I’ve learned the hard way, that attention doesn’t necessarily mean interest. And oftentimes interest is measured incorrectly. Therefore, I should never assume that I measured it correctly. Instead, it’s safer to assume the worst in every scenario, to better protect myself. But even that’s not good enough. Too much pessimistic energy causes more harm than good. So what am I to think about Grace? I want to believe that she really does like me, but my heart is telling me to do the opposite. Strangely, it seems that my heart and brain have swapped roles. My brain is telling me to do the smart thing, and ignore the possibility that every aspect of life is capable of disappointment. Yet my heart tells me to give it up, it’s too good to be true. Grace is the cloud of dust sent to distract me from what really matters in the moment. Her appearance at the pub tonight was the expected fate that I know so well. I am wealthy now, and should feel no despair today, nor tomorrow. Her photo of Jay and herself, should be my greatest trophy. An obvious milestone of utter success. She may have had the grace of luck meeting the man, but I have become him.

        Still looking at the pond, this time from another angle, I see the fish scattered about. No order, just chaos. Grace has left my presence, leaving behind a note. I check the time and see that it’s 10:30am. I had fallen asleep staring at the fish in the pond. The note left behind can only do me harm, so I decide to follow my heart. I crumble the note into a ball, and toss it in the lake. It lays there floating above the algae, and is approached by two fish. Both fish take it upon themselves to be the one to eat the lost hope of the Face of Science. Tackling one another, submerging into the body of water. The victorious fish, never to be seen.


5


        I sat for just a few more minutes with a dead stare in my eyes. The pond no longer looked like a pond, but a mirror reflecting a still image of myself. No ripples, even though the fish are swimming about. Collecting what nutrients they can in the time they have. In the sky above me, fish are hovering around. It wasn’t just my reflection anymore, rather an entirely different world. A world where fish can fly.

        This is the first time I’ve come to the park in England all year. It felt natural to spend the one year anniversary at the place where I left myself behind. Also I made a promise to myself to really live it up here in the UK. I wanted to go sightseeing, and visit different landmarks. Big Ben, the Tower of London, different museums and cathedrals, all on my to do list. But first, I felt that I had to come here. The same bench that I slept on hasn’t changed much. The color is very much still intact, as well as the rust of the armrests. The grass is neatly trimmed, and the water blue as ever. As if time hadn’t passed at all.

        I thought about walking to Hornt’s home after I was done reminiscing in the park, but I don’t think he would like a surprise guest. One of TUIN’s headquarters was fairly close, and with the Gold Card I could be granted access. But what purpose would I have to go there? After the experiment was completed, I received the money and was swept off. And like was warned in the email, I am now seeing a therapist for the side effect of teleporting. Nothing too crippling, but sometimes I have a PTSD moment, and suddenly shut myself out from the world around me. It can happen multiple times a day, and all it takes to trigger the shutdown, all I simply have to do is remember that day.

        Life was a living hell for me the day I left England. The plane ride home was a nightmare. All I could think about was the process of being brought to life. Once triggered, it only takes a few seconds to pass, so no one noticed anything unusual. However, that’s a few seconds in the real world. My perception of time passes much slower when I think back to that day. Why isn’t Hornt interested in continuing to monitor me? Surely teleporting is still a long way away from being a way for transportation. Wouldn’t he want to find a way to completely make it a more enjoyable process? Much like with other horrific disorders, time heals all. Nowadays I only have a blackout four or five times a day. But the worst part is that each blackout feels like hours of waiting around. Originally, I was feeling the memories and all that jazz come back to me at once. But I guess I had gotten so used to it, I grew an immunity to the negative feeling.

        Like if I had my heart broken a hundred times throughout my life, then I probably wouldn’t care so much if it got broken again. That’s how I feel now. It’s just such a pain in the ass when I have to sit and wait while all the sensations come running back to me. Mentally, I’m just sitting on the ground in a dark room watching myself in third person. Lights from all different locations of the room flicker around, and are absorbed by my body. The man watching feels fine, and is unbothered. But the self who is absorbing it all, is being tortured. The poor tormented soul is unable to escape the pain. He doesn’t know how to numb himself, to escape the agony.


        Twenty million was promised, accepted, and obtained. But the money didn’t stop there. As most people speculated, I would get brand deals out the wazoo. It seemed like every company wanted a taste of the Face of Science. Sharing spoons with one another. Retreating the same spoon into the frozen milk, scooping yet another piece of me. This was who I was now. Acquiring the status of a celebrity almost immediately after the experiment’s report was published. I had intended on taking life slow and easy, the way I was used to living. That just didn’t seem possible with the kind of attention I track. I stopped calling myself Boris, and started going by Wayne. I don’t know, Boris seemed too old and boring to keep around. It did however capture that refined, mature sound to it. But so did Wayne.

        My wikipedia page doesn’t mention anything about my name being Boris. You can bet your ass that my mother flipped her lid when she found out I was using another name. She had named me after her father, who I never really met. But rest assured, I haven’t legally changed it, and I don’t plan to. The ceiling of my room is sprayed with gold paint, but no spots missing. A very tacky color a lot have said, but I always loved the color. Not that I chose it because I won the lottery, but purely out of my own taste. The walls white like the line in front me. Sadly, there were plenty of other things that I thought were possible to escape. Drugs have become a real issue. I’m what you would call a big old coke head, which drives me nuts. I can’t seem to care enough to kick the habit though. Even though Wayne is so against it, Boris really does crave it. I only use when I’m having one of my famous blackouts. It’s the only time Boris is able to really talk to me, and I can feel his pain.

        Boris hogs all the high. Always has, and always will. For a guy who only exists when I tell him to, he sure gets to have all the fun. But from what my therapist says, someone has to endure the blackout. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have PTSD. I meet with Margaret twice a month, and the two of us have become pretty close friends. But she can be very serious, and she does a good ass job keeping me in line. She was the most responsible decision Boris had made before he died. You see, Boris had this feeling that Wayne wouldn’t make good decisions. So he did something extremely ballsy. He had another one of the Rock Rock nights, but went one hundred times overboard. Like that movie where the kids throw that hude party, and the whole town or someshit gets involved. Boris got the lawyers involved and saved Wayne from some real trouble in the future. To get Boris out of a real pickle, that he purposely got himself into, meetings with Margaret were mandatory. I don’t really remember exactly what he did, but our lawyer blamed the whole thing on the experiment. Professor Hornt and his gang backed us up the whole way too. So we just have to watch ourselves now.

        Hornt may be quiet now, but he really does treat me like I’m a part of the team. Always has my back, even if he doesn’t show his face. It’s that time of the night where my floor starts to shake, as if an earthquake was passing through. I would never be able to tell the difference between an earthquake, or a party at my house. The daily shindig is what people have named my house. I hardly find it fitting, since I only host this party on the weekends. Perhaps, it’s the hope of this turning into a daily routine. But I would kill myself before I gave these people what they really wanted. Some say that I really go out of my way to be pleased, and I have to agree with that. However, that appears to be a newer behavior that I found myself taking up. I remember when I actually used to attend the party as well. It’s been a few months since I’ve stepped foot on the first floor on the weekends. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I stay up in my room all by my lonesome. The time spent on the weekends is often the time where I check on Boris. I’ve come to notice that there is only one Boris. I used to think that every time I thought of the end point of the experiment, a new Boris was born. Afterall, that’s exactly how Hornt explained it.

        But Boris is the same Boris everytime. He lays in the bed of Hornt’s every time I trigger the blackout. I have tried to speak to him, but I don’t think he can focus with all of his screaming. Apparently, Hornt told me that during the experiment, I was hysterical. Sobbing and flailing my arms, unbound and reborn. Exactly as a baby is born as a matter of fact. But I got over it. If only Boris would.

        Tonight is Sunday, my favorite night. At exactly two in the morning, I call the police to kick everyone out. By three in the morning, peace is returned. Cleaning is my priority, to prepare for next week of course. I appreciate the company, I really do. That’s why I never miss a beat, and re invite everyone, and tell them to re invite everyone they invited. Come to think of it, I think I gave the party the name of the daily shindig. It’s hard to remember. With all the energy I have stored up over the weekend, I can have the entire house spotless by Monday night. Maybe if I put a little effort in around noon, I’d have it done sooner. This weekend, I decided to visit Boris and watch the memories. A strip of sequence that passed through caught my attention. Unfortunately I had to torture Boris a few times to keep reliving it, but I wanted to make sure that I understood everything clearly.

        It was my twenty first birthday. A low and cold night of January, which was bound to hold so much in store. My friends and I walked the streets of the city, bar to bar, drunk out of our minds. This night in particular was very complicated to remember, due to my intoxication. But now that I can relive every little detail of the dream, I remember why I was so drunk. There goes Boris again, thinking on his feet. The night was perfect, but there’s a time between night and morning, let’s call it the real night. The real night was meant to be forgotten, and by the time the real night rolled around, I was far from forgetting. And Boris really did take matters into his own hands, and really forgot that night.

        Homeless people gathered along the sidewalks, all begging for some spare change, nothing out of the ordinary. Of course, they are shot down by every one of us, that’s to be expected. Along our journey through the hordes of homeless people, up ahead we saw a street performer. Now our paths weren’t to cross quite yet, as there was a hot bar right in between us. The Whole Pole was just your regular strip club, but now that I was twenty one, I was taken seriously. I showed the bartender my ID, grabbed my whiskey, and headed out to the dancers. This wasn’t exactly my type of place to be. I didn’t even choose to come here. A friend of mine named Jackson took authority over my birthday. Of course, I instructed him too. When it came to deciding what to do, I was never really good at it. It was always easier to piggyback off of what Jackson was doing that night. Granted, I did tell Jackson that I didn’t want to go to a strip club, but he insisted.

        The rest of my friends had a really good time, but for me, it was whatever. I was happy that everyone else was happy. What more could I ask for? The next thing I knew, Jackson shoved a wad of ones in my hand, and told me to move forward. “You wanna be taken seriously? My man, you will need to show them you are serious.” Jackson shoved me forward. Still looking behind at him, I bumped into the stage. The impact of the push and crash caused me to drop a substantial amount of ones. As I turned my head, a very intrigued woman was looking my way. She collected the ones, and proceeded to dance on me. Now mind you, this is the first time I have ever been this close to a stripper. Well there was that one girl at my community college that I had to work with on a project, but I doubt that counts. Still, that project partner of mine really made me wonder.

        My hands were shaking, and I had no ideas how to properly throw the ones out. Should I just toss them at her? Or was I supposed to do it in the fashion as if I was shaving a slice of cheese off from the rest. All of this hesitation brought this woman to a realization. She could really get the one up on me. The stripper stepped off the stage next to me, waving another dance to come take her spot. Next, she took me by the hand to a secluded room. I was so nervous, that I had no idea what to expect. Well, I knew what to expect, but rather I wasn’t sure if I should expect that or not. She sat me down in a chair, and put her hands over my eyes. Now I had no idea how many ones I had in this pile, but it couldn’t have been that many. My guess was about one hundred ones in total. Nothing that anyone would really go crazy for. This seemed a little too excessive. A private room, and a woman who was about to do god knows what to me. The music from outside the room was breaching its way in, just loud enough to irritate the headache I have been developing through the night. There was no way that I could feel comfortable with a sickness growing inside me. I removed her hands from my eyes, and what stood in front of me was the stripper with her top completely off.

        Two doors were available to use in the room, but which one led back to the main bar, I had no idea. Now the stripper squatted on top of me, performing her erotic dance. The music made it hard to distinguish which door was letting in the noise, so I took a chance. I pushed the girl off of me, and headed for the door to my right. In this room was an unholy sight. Another stripper with a lowly man doing the dirty deed. “Is this what you had in mind now?” teasingly asked the stripper from the other room.

        “No, I need to find the bathroom. Like right now.” I attempted to retreat back to the previous room, but my path was blocked by the stripper. It felt as though there was a force field, preventing me from moving in that direction. A woman of her size, I had no issue the first time of moving her out of the way. But this time she had a firm grasp on the wall. “Please just let me go to the bathroom.” The devious look in her eyes grew much scarier. I could tell she had bad intentions, but legally there was no way she could harm me. She took my hand and walked me back through the door, out into the bar, and into the women's restroom. It was much quieter in here. Silence blessed my ears as I ran into the stall, head in the toilet, ready to expel what I consumed. I stared and stared into the toilet, wanting to throw up, but not being able to. Was I really sick? The longer I spent waiting for me to vomit, I realized that I was just trying to come up with an excuse to get out of an uncomfortable situation.

        I ended up shoving my fingers down my throat, to force myself to throw up. I felt like I had to show something to the woman, to prove to her that I wasn’t lying. The door continued to open, other strippers walked in and sat in the stalls next to me. Fishnet stockings were torn, hopefully on purpose. The thought of someone ripping them worried me a little. “You almost done in there?”

        “Yeah, I’m coming out.” I flushed the toilet and walked over to the sink. She stared at me through the mirror as I washed my hands. A few splashes of vomit covered my shirt.

        “You dropped this. You’re lucky I’m nice, some of these other girls would’ve taken this as payment.” She tucked the wad of cash into my back pocket.

        “Uh, thanks I guess.” I couldn’t seem to escape this nightmare, but at least she covered up her chest. “I should really get back to my friends.”

        “You’re going back to them so soon? They’re gonna know that you chickened out. Why don’t we just hang out in here for a little,” she suggested. “Make it look like I’m giving you the time of your life in the ladies room.” Thoughtful, caring, and understanding. Very important traits to look for in a person. I felt the phone in my pocket vibrating every second while I stood in the bathroom, but I didn’t want to check it. She pulled out a key from her purse, and walked over to the cabinet near the back of the bathroom. She unlocked it, and pulled out a bottle of Kleenex, and sprayed down a chair in the room. Why there was a chair just lounging around was beyond me. I guess the strippers rest in here sometimes. She invited me to sit next to her, and we talked for awhile.

        Finally deciding to check my phone, I found that my friends have moved on to the next bar. Before that test message letting me know where they were, there were about fifty more congratulating me. Rebecca the stripper gave me the run down on her life. Much more exciting than the life I was living, that’s for sure. A lot of daddy issues and what not. Nothing too interesting, but definitely more eventful than mine. She told me she was looking for a down to earth kind of guy, and that I “totally” met the criteria. Every part of my brain knew that she had to be trying to get me to fall for her, so she could use me. I mean, there’s no way that a guy like me could ever pull a girl like her. She was by far the hottest stripper in the club, and I’m sure she has slept with so many better looking men than me. I guess Boris didn’t really care to be used, as he proceeded to get the girl’s number. From my understanding, it was exactly as he thought. Rebecca constantly hit Boris up for money, and he always gave. That’s not to say he didn’t get anything in return from this girl, but he knew that she wasn’t what he wanted.

        We dated for about a month before we got completely sick of the whole alcoholic lifestyle. Boris’ attempt to make this work out was to get what he needed from her, then drown himself in booze. That’s why it’s so hard for Wayne to remember this relationship on my own. But the reason why I chose this night to observe wasn’t because of my infatuation with Rebecca. It was because of what happened after I left the strip club. That man who was street performing was diligently working, hours after I first saw him.

        It was so bizarre to see a mime, at two in the morning performing to passers-by. Before I left the strip club, Rebecca treated me to a few free shots, as a birthday present. So by now I was completely wasted, and this mime was the most incredible thing I have ever set my eyes on. He completely encased himself in an invisible box and pretended to be deaf from the outside world. No matter how loud I screamed at him, he didn’t break character. He had a hat out on the ground, which looked to have about no more than fifty dollars in it. For some reason, I really enjoyed the performance. Deep down inside, I had this appreciation for theatre, and thought back to the days when my family and I would see broadway plays. In grade school I often participated in the various plays that were being presented. One time I got the lead role of Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, which was a pretty big deal for me back then. I didn’t care much for Shakespeare, but the fact that I had a kissing scene with Juliet was quite the accomplishment for me at the time. However, this turned out to be a real let down when the Juliet who was casted was played as Heather Bosil. Not the prettiest girl, She somehow took the lead over the girl I presumed to be picked, Cara Dent. She was the girl that every guy wanted a piece of.

        To be fair, Heather wasn’t that bad looking. A kiss scene from her would still be considered cool at the time. But I guess the school board thought a kissing scene was a little too PG 13. So they censored it with a handshake. A handshake of all things? That really killed my motivation to play Romeo. I stopped showing up for rehearsal entirely, and eventually I was kicked out and replaced. Fine by me. I still showed up the day of the play, the theatre was full. I never knew that so many people could fit in the gymnasium. My class sat near the front of the audience, so I was able to get a good look at the stage in full detail. They put so much work into bringing this play to life. And as the play progressed, I felt disappointed in myself. I should have been the one up there. The actor who played Romeo was named Ryan Garsk, and he was terrible. Tripping over his words, and constantly forgetting his lines. But everyone cheered for him, clapped until he walked off stage. All the children were applauded, and that could’ve been me. I know that I would’ve been a much better Romeo, but I sabotaged myself.

        I was too young to really understand what this all meant, and how it would play out in the future. But I knew that when I saw the mime that day, he was a homeless man who filled the role better than any traditional mime could. His passion to please throughout the night was admirable. Unlike myself, the mime saw the bigger picture. Ryan saw the bigger picture. It wasn’t about getting something cool as a reward like a kiss. It was about the fulfillment of acting, and putting on a show for those to enjoy. The next day at school I couldn’t help but cry as I walked past the theatre kids. I hated myself so much in the moment, but I was extremely angry at Ryan. My thought process at the time was that Ryan did this just to spite me. Like he should’ve known that I wanted the role back during the show, and traded places with me. Ryan and I were never really friends, so there’s no way he could know how bad I wanted to rewind time and rehearse. At recess I found Ryan playing dodgeball with all of his friends. I had abandoned mine to go and talk to Ryan. But Ryan wouldn’t listen. Like most kids, he was in the zone, and didn’t have time to waste on someone like me.

        What was I even going to say to the kid anyway? The thing is, I wasn’t going to say anything to him. I had one intention that I wanted to release. After a few minutes of trying to get his attention, the bell whistled, and we were all called to come in for lunch. Finally, Ryan seemed to be released from his trance, and noticed me looking at him. With tears in my eyes, I cocked back and punched Ryan in the nose.         The crunch my fist made as it crushed his nose made me sick to my stomach. This was the first time that I had gotten into a fight, but to be fair it wasn’t much of one. He went down cold after that hit, and I wanted to keep attacking him. But I got what was coming to me. His group of friends knocked me to the ground faster than I could blick, and did to me what I did to him, except much worse. My nose was flattened, and my eyes were swollen shut. Teeth chipped and cracked, some fallen out completely. Ribs fractured from the kicks and punches, and a concussion from the fall on my head.

        But the pain didn’t feel as bad as how the rest of this played out. Still conscious, I heard an army of teachers racing over to break up the fight. Shortly after they pried the students off of me, I passed out. I awoke in the hospital surrounded by my doctors. In the corner of my eye I saw my mom having a mental breakdown on the phone with the principal of my school. My father sat in the corner reading a newspaper, completely unbothered by the fact that I seemed to be in critical condition. Later I found out that I was one hundred percent fine. Aside from my nose being broken, and a few ribs that were fractures, nothing serious posed a threat. Like most of the plays, they occurred near the end of the year. So I had an excused absence for the rest of the school year. Likewise for Ryan, and the students who attacked me got in serious trouble. The school viewed me as the victim of this case, even though I was the one who started the whole thing.

        I think this was the first time in my life where I really felt guilt. The feeling made me angry, and I never saw Ryan again. He had transferred schools the following year. My mother was so angry, so she never had me apologize to them, even though I told her that I was the one who started it. She wouldn’t believe me. Just seeing the damage that was done to me was enough to make any mother shed a tear. I recovered quickly and went on spending my summer vacation as I usually do. This time I really didn’t hang out with many of my friends, and just hung around the house playing video games. I got a few phone calls from some of my friends asking how I was doing. Perhaps one of the first times where I had someone reach out to me first. But I brushed it off and gave them minimal details. All I could think about was how bad I wanted to say sorry to Ryan. Because of me, he had to make new friends, and pretty much start a new life.

        The next year at school, that group of kids always looked at me with pure disgust. Like it was my fault that I didn’t get punished for what I started. With much desperation in my heart, I wanted to tell them I was sorry, but couldn’t. I feared their reaction. I knew it wouldn’t be violence, as I’m sure they learned from that. But they would probably call me names, or just flat out ignore me. That shard of a memory I remember so very well, despite being passed out for most of it. And before I knew it, the mime’s invisible wall seemed to have shattered. I was in the man’s face, screaming at him. I was pissed that he wouldn’t notice me, but he was just keeping character. Instead, he pulled a few more mime tricks on me, like pulling on a rope, or pushing a very heavy object.

        “What the hell’s wrong with you? Why can’t you just answer me?” I screamed at the mime. He replied with his thumb and pointer finger pinched, tracing his lips. As if he was zipping his mouth shut, and pulled off the zipper. He then threw the imaginary zipper in the alley behind him. “So all I have to do is find that zipper huh? Then you’ll talk to me?” My eyes were completely soaked now, and I walked back in the alleyway digging through the trash I thought it had landed in. The mime scratched his head in confusion and began to pack his things up. I apparently made him feel extremely uncomfortable. But I couldn’t just let him leave. I grabbed him by the arm and pulled him in the alley. “Where’s the key? Where is it?” I continuously shouted at him, and shook his whole body. The mime finally broke character and told me to get the hell off him. By now I was too far gone.

        I tackled the mime to the ground, and began beating his face in. “Damnit Ryan, damnit!” I kept screaming the name Ryan, while viciously pummeling this poor man. Wayne had to stop the flashback there, it was too hard for him to handle.

        “Boris, you drank yourself to death that month because of the mime, not the girl?” Wayne asked. No response from Boris was given. Boris’ body was trembling with discomfort from that memory. Even when I experienced that memory being brought back for the first time, I couldn’t make out what was happening because of how drunk I was. But now I can see them with sober eyes, and understand why Boris wanted to forget that night so desperately.



6


        Boris fled the scene of the crying mime, and caught a train home. Again, he had escaped the consequences. On the train Boris thought back to the people that watched him. Only homeless people witnessed what had happened, and even then, this wasn’t something out of the ordinary. Once the beating was finished, and Boris finally snapped out of it, he looked at the mime coughing on blood. Tears exchanged, Boris knew he had a problem. He retrieved the mime’s hat with his spoils for the night and sat it next to the mime’s aching body. As Boris started walking away, he stopped at the entrance of the alley. He turned back to the mime and reached into his back pocket. He placed the remainder of the ones that Jackson had lent him in the hat, and tucked it in closer.

        Boris threw out the jacket he had been wearing that night, and washed the blood off his hands at the strip club. As he walked in, he saw Rebecca back on the pole, teasing another man, unsure if Rebecca saw him as well. Boris hopped on the train and returned home for the night. He texted his friends telling them that he scored big time with Rebecca, and spent the night at her place. Jackson replied with two thumbs up, and wished him a happy birthday.


        Because Boris was still living at home, he refused to let Rebecca come over. A few times a week he would spend the night at her place, and on the weekends, wait until she got off work. Rebecca made off with plenty of liquor, and shared it with Boris. But every time Boris met up with her, she always gave him another excuse for him to cough up cash. Her car broke down, she needed to pay rent, she needed food for her baby. All good excuses, and Boris felt the need to make her problems her own. Was this Boris’ way of atoning for what he had done to the mime? He checked the news daily, and never saw any reports of assaulting the man on the street. Who knows if the man even reported the assault with the police. Boris felt greater anger with his actions, as this man had no home unlike Ryan. Ryan at least had a supportive family that cared for him in his time of need. Boris toyed with the idea that the mime did have a wife and kids. A loving family that would nurse him back to health. But then did Boris really beat the man whose family depended on?

        There was no clever way to look at this dilemma. Rebecca’s apartment was exactly the same size as the apartment he lived in before the experiment. He liked how small it was, it made him feel like he was safe. The only way someone could break in was through that door. Not that anyone would, the area was pretty safe. Aside from the man who beat the mime, not much crime went on around this area. Boris only thought that to keep his spirits up about his new girlfriend that he wanted to like. The reality of it is, if you’re not watching your back, something bad will happen. Boris’ next train of thought was that the mime should’ve been more cautious. “I can’t completely be the only one to blame. If only he just did what I wanted” - Boris refrained from thinking anymore of the subject. Boris was sick and he knew it. Always has been, but he had hope that he would get better.

        “Why don’t you see my therapist? She’s amazing. Always there when you need her, and never bullshits you. She talked me off the ledge so many times.” Unfortunately, Boris had to let Rebecca in on what happened that night. It seemed like she was the only one that he could talk to about the matter without being judged.

        “You gave me her card last week, remember? Just stop bringing up therapy. I don’t believe in it.”

        “Well no shit. You never had any experience with one. I’m telling you just call me. Use me as your referral. Please, you need to help yourself.”

        “Why should I take advice from you though? You’re not the best example of a successful patient. I mean you don’t even get to see your kid that often. How are you going to tell me what I should do?” Boris can be really hard on Rebecca. But it’s for her own good. She never fights back, because she needs his money. The only time she really gets pissed is when he doesn’t lend her any. This wasn’t often, but the first time he refused to pay her bills, she ghosted him for a week. And they’ve only dated for a month. So three weeks is a more accurate time period of the relationship. Boris loved to test her. Any sane mother would never let anyone talk to them about their child like that. Rebecca didn’t give a shit. She was an awful person.

        Time spent with Rebecca was Boris’ way of atoning for his sins. To make the punishment even more rewarding, he never slept with her at all. No matter how much he wanted to, he refused. The two of them were both happy in their own little way with the relationship. It served its purpose for both of them. But when Boris’ hours were cut from the grocery store, that’s when Rebecca kicked him to the curb. Which was fine by him. This was the universe’s way of telling Boris that he had served his sentence. Life got better as a matter of fact for Boris. He stopped drinking so much, and his work ethic improved, so his hours were returned. Before I knew it, Boris was back to his old self, the self that I am familiar with.


        Thank you Boris, that was an enlightening memory. I decided to sleep while I waited for the blackout to run its course. Once the blackout is over, I return to my bed where I was waiting. That’s usually how my weekends are spent. Let the cityfolk party, and live it up while Boris and I reminisce. I hear the police kicking out everyone, like music to my ears. Exactly one hour and the house is completely silent. As always, I go downstairs and thank the police for evacuating the house. The same officer everytime. Officer Brown seems to be the man to shut this place down, and all by himself. That’s quite the herculean task considering how much traffic runs through this place. “Have yourself a goodnight now Wayne.” says Officer Brown.

        “The same to you. Thank you again.” I return to my room once more to make my bed. On it lies my current girlfriend Suzanne. Was she lying here the whole time? I hardly even notice her anymore, but since she’s asleep, I can’t make the bed. I don’t really talk to Suzanne that much, she bores me. We met a few months ago, right when I started to feel less disturbed about the experiment. There was a ceremony for the success of the experiment held for professor Hornt, and I was required to be there. Frankly, I couldn’t care less about the ceremony, but it was important to TUIN that I show. It was also to be held much earlier in the year, but kept getting postponed due to the instability of my blackouts. I was under the care of TUIN for a while, but they deemed me to be stable enough to attend. TUIN told me that if I still would like to be under their care, all I had to do was contact them.

        The recovery process required observations of me triggering the blackout. They hooked me up to some machine that read my brain activity. Hornt designed the machine ahead of time, which to me was no surprise. However, Hornt wasn’t the one to monitor any of my results. Everytime I would ask them about why Hornt wasn’t involved, they brushed it off like I never asked the question. For some reason Hornt was off limits. Something tells me it was a rare occasion that anyone was to come in contact with this man. The man who oversaw my health and recovery was Doctor Rokkiv. A tall, muscular man, who looked a lot like Hornt when it came to age. They both had white hair, except Rokkiv didn’t rock a ponytail.

        I was prescribed an assortment of different medicines that I could only take when Rokkiv was with me. I was to never take them by myself. So even though the experiment had been finished, I still was unable to live my life the way I wanted to. The blackouts only bothered me the first couple of weeks. I had eventually gotten used to them, but still was under the care of Rokkiv. “Only a few more weeks.” They said that line quite often, but really did mean it. Before I knew it, they discharged me, and I was free to do what I wanted. And I still had the option to be taken care of by them, free of charge. Around this time Boris went wild and got me into some trouble. Margaret became my therapist, and it was mandatory that I met with her twice a month. Boris knew that I would need some help along the line, and he knew that Wayne wouldn’t seek it out on his own. Boris finally took Rebecca’s advice before I got out of hand. A really clever move on his part. Anywho, the night of the ceremony I met my girlfriend Suzanne. The first girl that Wayne has ever been in a relationship with. At the ceremony, director Horvas was giving a speech. Basically all the speech was, was an ego boost for Hornt and I. Surprisingly, Hornt actually showed up. And this happened to be the last time that I ever saw Hornt.

        As you could imagine, he was surrounded by a crowd the entire day. I wanted to ask him so many questions, but he was unreachable. This was by no means his fault, so I didn’t cross paths with the rage of Boris. Suddenly, I had my first experience with a paparazzi. Flashes from their cameras blinded me, as if I was hit on the head and seeing stars. I couldn’t escape the attention. Tons of people ran up to me, asking questions about what it felt like. Even if I wanted to answer, I couldn’t. I could barely make out anything anyone was saying. They damn near had me pinned against the wall, that was until they realized I needed a bodyguard. One of the bodyguards from TUIN pushed back the entire crowd and escorted me to the private room.

        This room was for the executives of the companies and various stockholders of the company. I prepared myself for a QnA despite not really wanting to do it. But I figured this would be a perfect time to dabble with my love for theatre. Afterall, I was going to need a new career, as I didn’t want to be one of those celebrities who turns to drugs. And you can see how well that turned out. There was no pressure at all. The audience never worried me one bit. My confidence was through the roof, and that was because every single one of those idiots were kissing my feet. I couldn’t have said anything wrong if I tried. There in the middle of the crowd I saw Suzanne, one of the daughters of the shareholders. The two of them were whispering for a few minutes, and when my session on stage ended, she approached me.

        Just like Rebecca, I was sure that Suzanne was after something. We talked but had no real connection. By this time, I was already considering calling myself by a different name, so the first time she called me Boris, I corrected her. “The name’s Wayne, darling. Don’t you ever get that messed up.” Her smile was wiped clean off her face.

        “I - I’m so sorry, Wayne.” I smiled at her, and she sent one back, hesitantly.

        “I’m only joking around, but I do want to be called Wayne. If you could, spread the word.” And like clockwork, Twitter was using the name Wayne instead of Boris. The ceremony is the first time they revealed who became the subject, so no one knew who I was. “How about I introduce you to my parents?” The smile once again returned to Suzanne’s face, permanently. I figured that I would try a different approach to trying to figure women out. Instead of playing hard to get, I would give them exactly what they wanted. Suzanne is gorgeous, and any man would die to be with her. But I never saw her like that, not once. To me, Suzanne was just someone out to get what I had. Her father was an over the top ass kisser. There’s nothing more that disgusts me in a man then what her father was. But it made the relationship so much better.

        Breaking this old man’s heart was my first mission, and I have quite the hilarious plan to do so. I don’t feel bad about it either. Suzanne and her father Roshio don’t give a shit about me.


        The house is spotless, right on schedule. The sun has gone down hours ago, and I’m completely drained. Suzanne sticks around no matter what I do. If I leave the house, she follows me. If I stay in, so does she. Hell, the only time I don’t see the girl is on the weekends. She can’t resist a good party. Every sunday though, she ends up in bed right next to me. “Hey hun, remember you have a meeting with Margaret at two tomorrow.”

        “Yeah I know, I know.”

        “Maybe you should get some sleep then. You won’t get anything out of therapy if you’re sleeping through the whole thing.” Jesus, her and Rebecca are exactly the same person. How annoying. At this point I have completely tuned out Suzanne, to the point where she gets pissed off and walks away. She may leave the house in a fit, but she always comes back. I’ve slept so much already, that I don’t feel tired. I do most of my sleeping on the weekends anyway, so I have no issue pulling all nighters. I decide to throw on my pajamas and watch TV until the morning. Ever since I moved to the hills, I feel lost, just like when I was in England. I’ve already done everything there is to do here, and to be honest it’s quite boring. Boris would love it.

        The next thing on my to do list is to leave the country again, but go somewhere different. I was thinking about Japan. But there’s one teensy little blockade that stands in my way. Margaret. I can’t just leave the country for awhile, since I have to have my mandatory visits with her. I doubt this was Boris’ intentions, but if it was, bravo. Depending on how well our sessions go, I can decrease the amount of visits each month. The minimum being two. I’ve been doing pretty well I have to say, but I have a feeling shits about to hit the fan tomorrow.

        I started seeing Margaret right after I was taken off of TUIN’s care. This of course was the agreement between the state and TUIN’s lawyers. I decided that I would take advantage of their legal services, as I don’t know jack about law. Speaking of jack. I was supposed to call Jackson the other day. I sure do miss the guy, and can’t help but think how much easier my life would be, if Jackson was in charge. Hell I even thought about hiring the man and my assistant. But to be honest, I’ve been putting this call off for awhile. My biggest fear is that he's going to have completely changed, and want a piece of my life. I haven’t talked to any of my friends since I moved, and my phone has been filling up with missed calls and texts ever since. They never used to hit me up like this before I was famous. But thankfully, the one thing that gives me hope, is that Jackson only texted me once. Right when I moved.

        “You have a shit ton of trust issues, you know?” says Margaret. “Get over yourself and just call the guy.” She lights up a cigarette and continues to play some game on her phone.

        “I’ll get to it eventually.” I look away from her, not that it really matters.

        “Why put off tomorrow what you can do today. You’re going to have to take risks. That’s life unfortunately. Or you can remain the same forever and not take a single risk. The choice is yours to make.” Margaret takes a stand and walks out of the room. She knows all about Boris and Wayne, the two dysfunctional family members that live in the same home. I made it very clear that Wayne was the head honcho, and Boris was the disabled little brother. Margaret was honestly the best thing I could’ve asked for in a therapist. That rule I spoke about earlier, if I do good, then my required visitation is decreased, is a rule she does not follow. No matter what, she signs off on the papers and gets it signed by the judge. She has some crazy connection with the court which really came in handy. With that, she also gets away with a lot of shit. Hence, why I feel so fortunate to have her as my therapist.

        I know for a fact Margaret is a thief and a crook. Hell, she admitted it to my up front. This came about when I was telling her some of the stuff Boris did when he was younger. That lit a match in her body, because she critiqued every little detail. She literally gave me advice on how to get away with more crimes, and now that I was rich, I was more powerful than ever. Margaret’s all about her money, and she’s the one person I won’t let have any. We have a mutual respect for one another. She’s a bullshitter, and I’m the sniffer. No matter what kind of story she gives me - realistic or stupid - I always twist it to make it look like I’m getting ripped off, even if it really is beneficial for me. Whenever we meet, she tells me the results of her last scheme, and her plans for a new one. She has me sniff out the bullshit, and has me advise where she can screw someone. Not that I’m an expert on this or anything, but I guess she more or less just wants a second pair of eyes she can trust. Why does she trust me? Who the hell knows.

        My guess is that she wants to develop a relationship between the two of us. She can make a hell of a lot more money if she manages to crack me, kind of like Rebecca. And the scary part is, I do find her the one person on this planet that I can trust. She isn’t about burning bridges with hands that haven’t stopped giving. For example, if I gave her a million dollars to hold for me, she’d hold it. Wouldn’t spend a dime. I know this because I tested it on her. Not with a million dollars, but with the twenty thousand dollar check that I got. The way I see it, she’s after the cow, not just the milk.

        Margaret returned to the room after about an hour. “The hell are you still doing here? Thought you would have left by now.” She sits back down and lights another cigarette. She’s right, I could’ve left and everything would’ve counted. In fact, I don’t even have to show up. She would lie and say that we talked for two hours, then sent me on my way. But she’s also my therapist, because she does a damn good job. Sure, she may scam her clients, but not me. I see right through her, and she respects that.

        “Unfortunately, the “man” won’t let me leave for a vacation. He says that I need to regularly have an in person meeting with you.

        “Yeah twice a month though. How long were you thinking of taking a vacation for?”

        “I was looking at traveling around for a while. What’s this all for if I can’t be away from home for more than a month?”

        “What kind of drugs are you on? You know that I’ll sign off on your visitations. Stop acting like you’re new to this.”

        “Have you ever thought that the only reason I show up to these, is because I really do need your help? Why would I waste my time going to something I’m not benefiting from?”

        “How in god’s name you benefit from these meetings is beyond me.” She’s brutally honest with me. “Well I guess you don’t have much of a choice now do you. And let me tell you Wayne, my fees are much higher overseas.”

        “So I guess that means you’ll do it then right?”

        “Of course my little boy. I would never let you live your life alone in the dark,” she said undermining me. But I know that she means well. “Where we heading first? And for real, how long?”

        “Japan, then I don’t know where next, and I don’t know for how long. But expect it to be more than two months.”

        “Well if you want me to scratch you back, you’re gonna have to scrub momma’s dirty old ass first.” What the hell could she want? “I’m a little caught up in the middle of something. Now you know I’m against using my clients for my own needs, but if you want me to come so soon, you’re gonna have to help me close this out.”

        “Whatever, as long as it’s something I can handle.”

        “Oh pee-shaw. This’ll be a walk in the park for a guy like you. The Face of Science.”



7


        West 44 was known as the road to hell. Where gangs roam the pavement like wild dogs, and where the homeless are truly without a home. If there was one rule about living in California, it was to avoid West 44 at all costs. A very common mistake that most ignorant people make is listening to the GPS when it says that you can save twenty minutes by taking this route. Risking your life for twenty minutes. Is it really worth it? No matter how far away you lived from West 44, you’ve heard the name before. Even the people who aren’t from Cali know the history of the road and what kind of monsters live within this strip of land.

        So Margaret had this plan to try and strengthen the bond between her and a patient. Those were the terms that she used, not what I used. Margaret knows all her patients like the back of her hand, and this one in particular was very impatient. He was also clean for six months, but she said that that needed to change. My job was to take this brown lunch bag - she made it very clear that there was no lunch in the bag - and to plant it in this man’s car. “But what If his car door is locked?” I asked. She laughed at that question, knowing that he never locks his car. Even though her patient’s insurance company covers all of the therapy costs, she still robs him for what little money he has. She calls it her little freebee. I don’t know, I guess she gets a kick out of stealing, no matter how little she steals.

        Once the bag has been planted, he would then be on course to meet with his dentist. Now Margaret is a special kind of therapist, one that very special people are recommended to. Because she does such a good job, she has quite high charges. Since she charges so high, her patient’s insurance won’t cover any charges from the “safer” locations. This means that he has to travel south. Now Margaret says that it is very likely that this impatient patient will take West 44, where there is a police stop point. The canine unit will sniff the car, smell the drugs, then he will be arrested. The police will take notice of his mental conditions, and he will be subjected to more therapy sessions, where Margaret can continue to milk this poor man. I feel pretty shitty about what she has me doing, but I really have no choice.

        The police stop point has always been a thing since before I was born. It’s not so unusual, but it’s important to note why it exists. West 44 is attached to a very famous warehouse. The warehouse receives shipments of water bottles, and then they distribute the water bottles. Very simple, and very important for the state of California. However, this warehouse is also a front for what conspiracy theorists call “The Drug Factory” or the hub for all that is chaotic. Chaos is just what occurs in this warehouse, all though you would never think it if you saw it in person. The facility is heavily guarded by police, and the whole factory is held under very heavy surveillance. Only one time in history was there ever drugs found in the warehouse under the new owner. The previous owner frequently used the warehouse to distribute, but that man was caught and arrested a while ago. Flash forward to the year 2175. A man named Jim Gaines had purchased the warehouse, and was compliant with the regulations of the area. West 44 was a very low income area, which housed many people who used to be homeless. This became a very poverty driven community, so drugs were very frequently found.

        Before the new owner, the people of West 44 would be able to get their fix easily living right next to the drug factory. However, this changed when the new owner Jim took over. The police and surveillance team were able to decrease the amount of effort needed to watch over the facility, as the amount of crimes and drug related cases were at an all time low. However, they eventually skyrocketed right back up. So the police began to increase the amount of supervision, and to their surprise, found no trace of any illegal substances. This didn’t stop the police force from thinking that the warehouse was clean. A lot of the county’s resources were spent on watching this warehouse alone, and still nothing was seen. Many citizens were outraged to see how much security was going towards a warehouse that was obviously clean. Now the only reason they tried so hard to find something going on with the place, was because Jim Gaines called them up and gave a confession.

        Gaines confessed to smuggling and distributing drugs using the warehouse, but investigators couldn’t find any evidence of that. Anyone that has ever worked for Gaines or knew that man always said that he looked like he was guilty of something. He was always a nervous wreck and could hardly keep himself together. Investigators thought he may be guilty for something else, and that he is trying to atone for what he’s done, but Gaines stayed true to his confession. Gaines was set free, then one week later was found hung in an apartment. It is believed that Gaines killed himself, but many think that he was killed. No one knows for sure. Flash forward five years, and we meet the new owner, Rupert Helding.

        Everyone in the world knew that name. He is known as the untouchable criminal, having been to jail countless times, and still a free man. Some police refuse to arrest the man for some reason, which I didn’t think was even possible. The citizens claim that the senator is corrupt, but oddly enough, Rupert is the only one who gets a free pass. No one else is cut any slack. So for some unknown reason, Rupert is the only one who may do as he pleases. However, he is confined to West 44, and has never been seen elsewhere.

        Rupert led what was called the West Heist, which is known to be the biggest failure of a drug distribution of all time. For the first time since the first owner of the warehouse, illegal substances have been sniffed out by a canine unit. When officer Jason Smyth went to investigate, he noticed several open boxes of water bottles that were to be distributed. Upon a closer look into each of the boxes, there were no water bottles being delivered. Rather each box stripped empty and filled with cocaine, meth, you name it. 




Rupert


        So I’m supposed to just sit and wait here for these doors to open? I asked that question so many times. Expecting an answer from the gods. But to no avail. The room I sat in was quiet, and the only noise that seemed to be audible was my breath. I waited in that room for hours it felt like. Waiting for someone to walk through the doors that sit in front of me. But what on earth drove me to come all this way? Just a few days ago I was taking my kid to school, then on my way home, some thought happened to cross my mind. A vivid thought that nearly got me into an accident. I pulled over to the side of the road and shut my eyes for a few moments. A vision of me sitting in this exact room, with the exact layout was showing itself to me. The path to this room was shown before me. Well not exactly shown, but more like it was known the whole time. I couldn’t pinpoint when in my life I learned how to get to this room.

        The room was located in another country for god's sake. The next thing I remembered was a man speaking through the door, but I couldn’t make out what he was saying. He sounded angry however. Shouting every now and then. I know that I have never in my life met this man, or have been in this room. I spent days and days thinking about dreams I may have had. None of my dreams were about this room though. Perhaps it had something to do with my subconscious. But the more I thought of this place, the more things began to become apparent. The room now had a distinct smell. A delightful and welcoming smell. And the man’s voice became clearer. He was telling a story about a woman who he had loved. The woman was a tiny little thing, and was the sweetest person you would ever meet. She was beautiful, and clearly wanted to spend her entire life with the man behind the door. He spoke very fondly of her.

        The words he shouted made more sense now. He would keep shouting things like “impossible” and “non-existent”. I felt myself grow closer to this man everyday. I would ask him questions, but he would not answer. That is until the next day, when the vision became clearer. He would include answers in his stories, and his muffled voice vanished. It was as I was there next to him. His whispers were loud enough that I could hear him without any trouble. And this man would talk for hours on end. I would lay in bed for hours listening to the story he told about this woman. The man explained that this woman didn’t exist on our planet, but somewhere far away, she existed. He had no idea what her name was, but absolutely knew that she was out there somewhere. I struggled to follow his logic, but he explained that if space is truly infinite, then there must be a planet out there very similar to ours. And on that planet would exist the exact girl that I am talking about. Essentially, the man behind the door was wishing for the perfect woman to love. But the problem was that she did not exist on our planet, as far as he was concerned. Rather than searching the planet he was on, he wanted to search the universe. Somehow, it would be easier to find this woman by searching an infinitely large number of lightyears away, than to find someone within flight distance.

        I told him about my wife and kids, but he did not care. That was until the next day, where he asked about my children, and my wife. At this point, I thought that I had lost my mind. This vision was interacting with me. It was then I decided to visit a therapist, to find out what was happening. How does this man know about my children? Making the appointment proved to be impossible, as every time I tried, a new vision popped up. This time, it was a vision of my children being slaughtered by the therapist. I searched the therapist up online, and found an image of him. Dr. Rheim was a top notch therapist that I wouldn’t have been able to afford. But how did he show up in a vision if I never saw the man? The less I thought about getting help, the lighter the visions were.

        If I wanted the answer to why what was going on in my head, then I had to visit this place. I knew it existed, despite never having been there. I dropped my children off at school, and left for a flight. Doing this was the only thing that did not trigger any visions of my family being hurt. So I knew that this was what I was supposed to do. I wanted to tell my wife that I was leaving, but when I thought of that, I saw myself pummeling her. These visions needed to stop, and this was the only thing that I could think of to stop them. So once I arrived, I sat in the chair across from the only door. I sat in that chair for hours. But there was no voice on the other end. This was the correct place. The room matched my visions, and I started to feel like I was in a dream. Maybe I was afterall. I sat in that chair for days at this point. My phone was filled with messages and missed calls. Whenever I thought of answering it, I was instantly bombarded with horrific images.

        The images were no longer images of my family getting hurt, but scenes from horror movies, which I was not a fan of. Whenever a scary image did not pop in my head, that was a sign of me doing the right thing. I was only allowed to leave the room when I was hungry and had to use the bathroom. If I tried to leave while not meeting those requirements, then you guessed it. Another scary image was played. In fact, I wasn’t even allowed to sleep. I had to wait in this room for two days straight, and finally the door opened. I was so tired that I couldn’t even tell who had entered. The man spoke to me and handed me a list of instructions. 

[a]Professor Hornt will notice that in this instance he was inpatient. But it shows that he is realistic when it comes to patience. meaning he won't waste time if he deems it unnecessary.