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Here is my entry, laid upon the altar of the mighty Idol gods... as always, may they be very kind and generous...







“I apologize in advance but I guarantee this will be the worst day of your life.”

The voice cut through the warm, murky and comforting darkness that he floated in. Slowly and reluctantly, resisting the pull to the surface, he rose from the darkened depths. As he emerged, his mind was filled with static and white noise as soft light began to filter through the film of haze. Slowly, the tide of darkness ebbed from his mind as consciousness flooded back into him.

“Where am I?” His voice was dry, scratchy.

“Welcome back, Thomas” the man replied. “I trust your nap was refreshing?”

“Who are you? And how do you know my name?”

Thomas looked around, not recognizing his surroundings. Had he been in an accident? Was he in the hospital? What was going on? A man dressed in hospital scrubs stood with his back to Thomas. The powerful and acrid stench of bleach assaulted his nostrils and classical music, mellow and soothing, played softly from a small stereo in the corner of the room.

“I know you have many questions,” the man said cheerily. “Lucky for us, none of them are really relevant so we can just skip the niceties.”

Thomas looked at the bare concrete walls and the harsh fluorescent bulbs in the ceiling that bathed them in light but left most of the room in darkness. Hospital-type machinery was lined up against one wall, some hidden beneath stained and dingy sheets. A video camera mounted on a tripod stood adjacent to him, the soft glow of the red light indicating that it was filming. As the cobwebs in his mind continued to flutter away and he became more alert and aware, he could see that he was not in a hospital room. He realized that he was sitting upright in a large chair. He was naked and felt the rough wood and splinters biting into his flesh. Thomas tried to raise his hand only to find it fastened securely to the arm of his chair. His legs had been bound as well. As consciousness continued to pour into him, it carried a thick current of fear and panic with it.

“What the fuck is going on?” Thomas demanded. “Why am I tied to this fucking chair?”

“Tsk, tsk, tsk,” the man said. “Language, Thomas. No need for such coarse language.”

“Fuck you,” Thomas snapped. “Who are you and why am I tied up here?”

The man finally turned around, a look of exasperation on his face. He was powerfully built and had eyes the color of jade. But it wasn’t his appearance that Thomas was fixated on. It was the scalpel he held in his gloved hands. The fluorescent lights overhead gleamed off of the razor sharp blade and made him shudder. As he watched the blade, something was triggered in the back of his mind. There was something about the man’s eyes that jarred the faint whisper of memory loose in his mind. He knew this man.

“L-look,” Thomas said. “I don’t want any trouble. Just cut me loose, we’ll go our separate ways and pretend none of this ever happened.”

A rueful smile crossed the man’s face. “That will not be happening,” he said flatly. “I do apologize for the manner of our introduction but you are here to serve a greater purpose.”

Wisps of memories floated back to Thomas in disjointed bits and scraps. He’d been out with a few friends at the bar. The Dodger game was on the television. The Doors were playing on the bar’s sound system. Riders on the Storm. People were laughing, talking over one another, having fun. There. Sitting at the bar. A man with salt and pepper colored hair and jade green eyes. He’d stared at Thomas as he sipped from his glass. Whiskey maybe. Or scotch. A feeling of discomfort had settled over him watching the man watch him. He turned back to his friends. Conversations about the game. Which waitress was hotter. He’d looked back to the bar. The man was gone. Later. Thomas walked out to his car. Alone. Movement behind him. Hand on his shoulder. A sharp, shooting pain in his neck. The world spinning. And then blackness.

“I know you,” Thomas said.

Know is probably not the most accurate term,” the man said. “We saw one another at the bar, yes.”

Thomas pulled at his restraints but they held fast. “You came up behind me in the parking lot,” he growled. “You hit me with a taser or something.”

The man chuckled. “Ketamine, actually.”

“Why? Who are you?”

“As I said, I do apologize for the… inelegance of my methods,” he shrugged. “But I must do what I must do, yes?”

“What the fuck do you want from me?”

“Language, Thomas,” the man said. “What I want from you is knowledge. Answers to questions that have eluded me for so long now.”

Thomas breathed a sigh of relief as the man set the scalpel down on the tray beside him. He pulled a small, wheeled stool from beneath the table and sat down. The man fell silent, pinning Thomas beneath his gaze. Appraising him. Scrutinizing him.

“What information do I have that you could possibly want to know?” Thomas stammered. “I’m a sales manager for fuck’s sake.”

The man looked at him, a small inscrutable smile touching the corners of his mouth. “Language, Thomas.”

“Fuck. You.”

A look of disapproval crossed the man’s face as Thomas spat at him and thrashed violently against his bonds. He stood and shook his head, a look of genuine sadness blending with his disapproval.

“You have something I most desperately want, Thomas,” he said. “Well, you and everybody else I’ve had this conversation with. And there have been many. You all have had this most wonderful gift yet you are wholly unappreciative of it.”

“What gift?” Thomas screamed. “What in the fuck are you talking about?”

The man looked at him, his expression unreadable. “The gift of being human. Of being whole and complete, of course.”

Confusion coalesced with a cold sense of dread in Thomas’ mind and heart. He had no idea what this man was talking about but he knew there was something undeniably threatening about it.

“My apologies,” the man said. “I can clearly see your bafflement and that is my fault. I have not explained myself properly.”

He seated himself atop the stool again and picked up the scalpel, twirling it between his fingers. Without warning and without taking his eyes off of Thomas, the man cut a slice several inches long into his forearm. Blood pooled and spilled down his arm, crimson droplets hitting the floor. He calmly took a rag and applied it firmly to the gash.

“What the fuck?” Thomas shouted. “What in the hell are you doing?”

“See Thomas,” the man started as he calmly removed the rag and applied a heavy adhesive bandage to the wound. “I was born with a genetic disorder. T’s exceedingly rare butI lack the ability to feel pain. You could drive this scalpel into any part of my body and I will not feel the physical pain from it. And though the doctors all disagree, it is my belief that my lack of physical sensation has also caused my ability to feel emotions to atrophy as well. Do you know what it’s like to never be able to feel anything? Anything at all?”

His heart pounding within his chest and sweat rolling down his face, Thomas stared at the drops of blood on the floor, the man’s words barely registering in his mind. Finally, he looked into the man’s eyes, searching for answers.

“What do you want from me,” Thomas’ voice came out in a whisper.

“I need to know what it’s like to feel, Thomas,” he said as he wiped the blood from the scalpel with the rag. “I need to know how to be human.”

“What’s that got to do with me?”

“You’re going to teach me, is my hope,” the man replied. “I’ve come around to the belief that if I can’t genuinely feel it, I need to know how to pretend to feel it. Fake it ‘til you make it, I believe is what people say.”

“T-that won’t make you human,” Thomas said, clutching at any straw he could. “That won’t make you whole.”

“No,” the man sighed. “It won’t. But at least it will be closer to it than I am at the present moment.”

Thomas’ heart beat until it felt like it was on the verge of bursting as the man stood and approached him. With one swift motion, the man drove the scalpel into the back of Thomas’ hand, pinning it to the wooden arm of the chair. With wide eyes, Thomas looked at the blade protruding from his hand, watched as the blood spilled out from around the blade and ran down the back of his hand. All at once, a current of pain sharp and electric surged through his body drawing an agonized scream from him.

“Excellent,” the man said. “Tell me, how did that feel? Explain to me in as much detail as you can.”

Thomas screamed until his throat felt raw and drawing breath, let alone screaming was absolutely torturous. His chest heaved with exertion as he blinked the tears out of his eyes and found the man sitting on his stool across from him, a look of anticipation and excitement on his face.

“Thomas,” he said. “This is very important. I need for you to explain to me how that felt.”

“F-Fuck you,” Thomas rasped. “You sick fuck.”

The man sighed and pulled an object from the pocket of his scrubs. With a soft whooshing sound, the compact pastry blowtorch sprang to life, its flame glowing an ominous blue.

“I need to understand,” the man said calmly. “You cannot comprehend how important this is to me, cannot possibly understand what it’s like to be so incomplete. I want to be human and feel things as you do.”

“Please,” Thomas gasped. “Don’t do this. I’ll explain it to you. Let me try to explain it.”

The man nodded and leaned forward on his stool. “Just give me one moment, please.”

The smell of burning hair and meat filled Thomas’ nostrils. He looked down and saw that the man was holding the blue flame against his thigh and had a moment to consider it before an intense and excruciating pain filled his consciousness. He watched the skin on his leg bubble and burst beneath the heat of the blowtorch. Thomas screamed in agony as a white hot pain flooded his mind and body.

After several excruciatingly long moments, the man sat up and turned the blowtorch off. The smell of scorched flesh hung heavy in the air and fresh tears flowed down Thomas’ face. The man watched Thomas as he contorted his face, grotesquely mimicking his expressions of pain and agony.

“Why are you doing this?” Thomas gasped when his breath returned to him.

“I told you, I want to understand,” the man replied, excitement in his tone. “Now please, explain in as much detail as you can how that felt.”

“It hurts, you fucking son of a bitch.”

“Language, Thomas,” the man admonished him. “And ‘hurts’ is not very descriptive or useful.”

“Fuck you! You asshole!” Thomas knew his temper was getting the better of him but found himself unable to control it.

The man shook his head and sighed. “Thomas, this can all be over soon if you just cooperate with me.”

Thomas thrashed against his restraints. “Let me the fuck out of this. Now!”

The man stood up and removed a pair of shears from his pocket. “Now sit still for a moment,” he said. “I hear that thing stings quite a lot.”

Thomas watched in horror as the man slid one of his fingers between the blades of the shears and in one swift movement, snipped it off. He watched his finger fall to the floor, watched the blood squirting from the stump where his finger once was as a river of molten fire spread through his body, drawing agonized and tormented screams from deep within him. He had a momentary vision of the man laughing, of the man trying to mimic his face, of the man screaming along with him before the darkness pulled him under once more.



He awoke from terrible dreams of blood and fire, of intense and excruciating pain. And found himself staring into the face of the man. Thomas was exhausted, wrung out, his body was a collection of aches and pains, a horrific undercurrent of agony throbbing just below the surface of his skin.

“Oh good, you’re awake then,” the man said evenly.

Thomas looked down at his hand, hoping that the removal of his finger had been nothing more than a bad dream. His heart sunk upon seeing that his middle finger ended in a blackened stump.

“I cauterized the wound to prevent you from bleeding to death,” the man said. “That would not do at all. We have much important work to do yet.”

“Please stop,” Thomas whispered. “No more.”

“Gladly,” the man replied. “If you can tell me what I need to know.”

Thomas’ mind spun. He didn’t know who this guy was or why this was happening to him. All he knew is that he wanted the pain to stop.

“Why are you doing this to me?” He sobbed.

“I assure you this isn’t personal in the least,” the man said. “I saw you in that bar and thought you would be a perfect specimen. Now, shall we get back to work?”

Thomas felt himself trembling, felt the tears rolling down his cheeks and heard a whimper escape his lips.

“No, please,” Thomas moaned. “No more.”

The man leaned forward and using the scalpel, sliced off Thomas’ ear, holding it up for him to see. Thomas moaned in pain wildly, felt the blood spilling down his face and neck, running under the collar of his shirt.

“Now, did that hurt?” The man asked, genuine curiosity in his voice.

“Yes.”

“What does it feel like?”

“It h-h-hurts,” Thomas said. “It feels like my skin is on fire.”

“Better,” said the man. “That’s much better. What else can you tell me?”

The realization that he wouldn’t be leaving this room alive finally settled into his brain and Thomas felt something inside of him snap. Though he was in agony and wanted the torture to stop, he couldn’t suppress the mad fit of giggles that overtook him.

“Shut up,” the man said. “Stop laughing.”

Thomas laughed louder, more frantically, creeping ever closer to the edge of hysteria.

“Why are you laughing?” The man raised his voice. “Stop that right now. Shut up.”

Though it hurt so bad, he couldn’t stop himself, couldn’t stamp out the fit of laughter that shook his body.

“I said shut up!”

The man roared and slammed the scalpel down into Thomas’ thigh. Perhaps it was the multitude of hurts his body had already endured, perhaps it was that his body was already in shock but whatever it was, Thomas looked at the handle of the scalpel sticking out of his leg, saw the blood pouring out of him and realized that he couldn’t feel it. He raised his eyes to the man, a mirthless smile stretching across his face.

“Even if you were able to feel pain, or feel emotion,” Thomas said. “You couldn’t understand what it is to be human.”

“Shut your mouth.”

“Deep down, you’re nothing more than a coward,” Thomas continued. “You sneak up behind people and hit them when they least expect it like a cowardly fucking snake.”

“I said shut up.”

“You’re not human. You’ll never be human,” Thomas went on, his voice rising. “You’re a pathetic, disgusting little monster and nothing more.

“Shut the fuck up!”

“Language,” Thomas said.

Enraged, the man grabbed the handle of the scalpel and wrenched it free from Thomas’ flesh. Growling like a crazed beast, Thomas felt him slamming it into his body over and over again. Though he felt his blood flowing down his body, felt his bowels loosen and his urine flowing, he felt no pain. Thomas looked up at the ceiling as the man continued to ravage him. He smiled as the darkness crept in from the edges, eventually pulling him all the way under.




This has been my entry for [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol Season 8, Topic 32: "Open Topic." As always, thank you SO much for your constant support over these crazy weeks and months. Thank you for taking the time out to give me a read. It's really appreciated, guys. As always, when (and IF) we have a poll, don't forget to swing on by read some of the other really fantastic stuff and spread a little voting love around! Thanks, guys!!!

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October 2012

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