Story time, kiddies! ^_^

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ZarroTsu

Over The Speed Limit
Zachary Baillie
~ Torture ~

The air hang heavy with the ear-piercing sound of beeps, in constant rhythm with a heartbeat unheard. Breathing stayed heavy from the lone patient, a sharp breath taken with a teeth-gritting pain. Death was close at hand - mere hours away, for the man. And still, he clung to life, his last minutes awake and conscious.

His life he spent fantasising, in hope for a bright, inspiring future. He had hoped for technology to overcome all illness or pain, or even death -- but some things were never meant to be. In deep pain from the accident, his spine lay mangled and broken beyond repair; leaving him crippled in the dim-lit room, against anyone's wish. He had hoped, and deeply wished that he'd be given mechanical limbs -- those which would tap directly to his upper spine, and accept the lost impulses to move on their own. Such a miracle of technology was fully available to him, and any needing patient, but time was unforgiving, and the procedure was worthless, with his current state of being. And so, minutes ticked away for the man, and every minute passed was but another step closer, and a handful of memories crushed in his mind, wishing he had done so much more.

And then, the door opened.

The nurse, clad in white uniform, wheeled in a machine of roughly half the man's height, if he could stand on crippled legs. Black metal, a microphone, and a speaker were all that he could see; lights flickering, hidden beneath them. He pondered its function, and hoped for a miracle -- but today was his final day, regardless of hopes or dreams.

"Your family ordered this the other day, and it finally came in... Too bad they couldn't be here with you.", the nurse spoke, feeling sorry for the man. "Ask it any question, and it will answer... I've tried it myself, and it really is astounding."

"Any question...?" The man said weakly, cut off by a minor pain in his side.

"Yep, and it answer correctly, too. I've asked it questions nobody but I would know, and it got them all right -- Sort of like that "20 questions" game. In fact, the thing's market name is "20-Q".". Silence hang heavy after the nurse spoke, with nothing but the beeping monitor in the back corner of the room. "Well, I'll leave you two alone... Best you try it out before your heart gives...". With that, she left the room quietly, a saddened look on her face.

The silence lingered in the room for a while. While the man was truly curious, he was also sceptical, and afraid. If this thing could answer any question, he could only hope for the best, and swallow his pride. With a mocking grin, he asked his first question:

"What is my name?"

The machine paused for only a moment, before the speaker came aloud with a friendly, human-like voice, without breaks or flaws. It was a wonder the machine was really even a machine. "PATIENT W0R7-HL355, JERRY SMELDING.", it spoke in response.

The man, Jerry, smiled. But of course it would know his name -- he was a patient in the hospital. Any questioned he asked about himself, his family, his friends, or his profession, could easily be answered without a moment of doubt. These things could have easily been programmed into something far less complex than the nurse had claimed this metallic box really was. If he wanted proof that this was the real thing, he'd have to think quickly, and state questions no man could answer at a moment's notice.

"Seven times five?"

"THIRTY FIVE."

"Twenty three times forty one?"

"NINE-HUNDRED FOURTY-THREE."

"One thousand and twenty four, times two thousand, four hundred and sixty eight?"

"TWO-MILLION, FIVE-HUNDRED TWENTY-SEVEN THOUSAND, TWO-HUNDRED THIRTY-TWO."

Mathematic questions shot back and forth, as a mere distraction from the time that was passing. While the answers sounded convincing and plausible, he'd never have really known them himself, it being impossible to calculate such questions in his head at a moment’s notice, in advance.

"What should I ask you?"

"ANYTHING YOU LIKE"

He scoffed silently, the answer being nothing but a generic response. This think was a fake, and he knew it -- the nurse outside the door must have been giggling at the ploy, he'd have bet. Probably just a man in the room next door with a calculator and a computer, avoiding a direct response.

"What are the last four digits of Pi?"

"ONE, FOUR, ONE, THREE."

It was a wonder if this was a true statement. Jerry meant to break the machine in an instant, but it merely stated the first four digits in reverse. It was apparent that mathematical equations were far too easy for the man at the other end of the microphone, and it was obvious that he made up this most recent answer.

"What is the answer to this question?"

"A QUESTION IN AN ANSWER."

Again, mere word-play. It was a wonder if the man on the end was even trying, but of course, neither was the man on this end, either. He remained sceptic, but there was always a chance it was the real deal. Still, he wanted only to test it.

"When do I die?"

"AUGUST TWENTY-FOURTH, TWO-THOUSAND THIRTY-EIGHT, FIVE FIFTY-SIX P-M."

He glanced up at the clock near the door, as it read 5:28. He could only assume today was the twenty fourth, as it was apparent he was to die this very day. A glance out the window proved a mid-day sun. "Half-hour until I die? Pfft, yeah right. Why the hell should I trust this pile of junk?"

"YOU HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO TRUST WHAT IS REAL."

The air left a pause, save for the beeps from the corner. He had not asked directly, but it was apparent that it really didn't matter to the machine.

"Why answer a question nobody asked you?"

"YOU WOULD KNOW MUCH ABOUT SUCH A STATEMENT, WOULDN'T YOU, JERRY?"

His eyes went wide in surprise. The machine had spoken to him directly, with no hint of distraction or ignorance. In fact, it had answered his question with another question, and it still rang true, the rhetorical question it was.

"What do you mean?"

"YOU'VE ANSWERED QUESTIONS IN THE PAST THAT NOBODY ASKED YOU. WHILE IT'S TRUE THAT THEY SHARED THEM WITH YOU, THEY DID NOT ASK YOU DIRECTLY."

"Why ask a question if you don't want an answer!?", he complained without pause.

"QUESTIONS DO NOT, THEMSELVES, HAVE ANSWERS. IT IS ANSWERS THAT HAVE QUESTIONS."

Jerry couldn't help but smirk. Whatever this thing was, and whoever was on the other end -- it really didn't matter to him any longer. He felt insulted, yet afraid. While he could push this loop farther onto the machine, he could foresee the machine merely answering whatever he asked. And moreover, correctly. He was convinced that the premise of this 'machine' was true, but he could not be convinced that it was really just a machine. Obviously there was someone on the other end, someone watching him, and toying with him. And yet the machine stayed quiet, awaiting another question.

"What number am I thinking of?", he said with a smirk, thinking of not a number, but a letter in its stead.

"HOW IMMATURE OF YOU, JERRY. I EXPECT MORE FROM YOU. YOU'RE THINKING OF THE LETTER, 'Q'."

He laid still, his mind racing. It was indeed the letter he was thinking of, Q. Fear struck him hard, and a tingle of embarrassing heat flowed over his chest and face. He quickly glanced at the clock. 5:34 was displayed.

"H-how did you do that...?"

"I KNOW EVERYTHING, JERRY. YOU'RE AFRAID OF ME."

Fear shot through him even deeper than before. It knew. Somehow, impossibly, it knew. It knew his feelings, and it knew his thoughts. Nothing was connected to his head or his neck, only small couplings sat stuck to his chest, monitoring his final pulses of blood. His mind and pulse raced in angst, suddenly wishing he had ignored the black box that lay next to him. And still, he pressed on.

"How do I know if this is even real? How do I know I won't wake up at home in bed in moments, and how do I know you even exist!?"

"LIFE IS NAUGHT BUT A DREAM, JERRY. EVERYTHING IS UNDENIABLY FALSE. THINGS ONLY EXIST BECAUSE YOU WANT THEM TO EXIST. YOU EXIST BECAUSE YOU WANT TO EXIST. AND WHEN YOU DIE, NOTHING WILL EXIST ANY LONGER."

Farther, his mind raced and wandered. His eyes could only dart between the machine and the clock, as he watch the time tick slowly, to his supposed final minutes. 5:39.

"Then why is it I feel pain? How am I afraid, if I do not want to be? Why should I have to die, if I don't want to? Why am I in bed at the hospital, if I want to be at home with my family!?"

"YOU FEEL PAIN, FEAR, AND DENIAL, SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU WANT TO. YOU WANT TO DIE, JERRY. LIFE HAS BORED YOU, AND YOU FINALLY WISH TO DIE."

"That's a lie, that's a damn lie!", He cried out to the machine, hoping for comfort from his fear. And the machine lay silent, awaiting not a statement of fear, but another question. Truly this was a hell he was already sent to; his greatest of fantasies merely mocking him as he die. "Is there a god...?"

"GOD IS MERELY ONES OWN PERCEPTION OF WHAT PERFECTION MEANS TO THEM. RELIGION SERVES ONLY TO SHARE THESE PERCEPTIONS BETWEEN PEOPLE, HOWEVER, IN MANY WAYS, THE LEADERS OF RELIGION GO OUT OF THEIR WAY NOT TO ALLOW FREEDOM OF SPEACH, BUT TO INSTEAD SILENCE OTHER PERCEPTIONS, AND LEAVE ONLY THIER OWN. IN TURN, RELIGION IS THE MOST DECONSTRUCTIVE OF ARTS."

The answer lingered in the air. He felt insulted, yet afraid -- for every word spoken remained true. Every question asked begot a more complex response in reply. He laid afraid and alone in this hell he was sent to. Mere minutes kept him bound to his life, in this room. And yet, he could not stay quiet. He was left insulted and afraid. He did not want to die like this -- he wanted to be happy and proud! What manner of torture was this? And still, the clock read, 5:43. His final minutes were running out.

"What is the meaning of life...?"

"LIFE'S MEANING IS MERELY DEFINED BY THE LIFE THAT NEED ASK THE QUESTION. TO ANYONE ELSE, LIFE IS MEANINGLESS."

And still, he lay defeated, in his prison. His legs and arms unmoving, he wished he could get up, and leave of his free will. He wished he could be home with his family, or at school with his teachings. He wished he could stand, and he wished he could unplug the cordless, metallic demon that lay next to him on the floor. He wished for death's kiss, to finally release him from his pain. His chest began to lightly sting, as the beeping next to him slowly began to speed up. Every second was torture in itself, both for his mind and his body. The candle of his soul was burning itself out. And the clock smirked at him with its expressionless face, 5:46.

"In my position, what would you ask...?"

"EVERYTHING, BEFORE MY -- YOUR LIFE ENDS. I REALLY HAVE TO QUESTION SUCH TRIFFLING QUESTIONS AS YOU HAVE, SO FAR, ASKED, HOWEVER. SUCH THINGS ARE WELL WITHIN BOUNDRY OF MY KNOWLEDGE. AND, IN MOCKING ME, YOU ONLY MOCK YOURSELF."

It was true, however farfetched it seemed. In all the time toying with it, trying to figure out if it were real, or just a farce - time had passed quickly, and he could not go back. His final minutes were ticking away, and every last second, he was left but a fool to his own ideas, and a fool to his own questions. 5:50. Six minutes left. Six long, gruelling minutes. He could stay quiet, and die with some shred of pride. But time ticked slowly, and a mere minute... two minutes... felt like eternity. Pain began to burn in his chest, as his pulse began to increase, overcompensating in his unstable state. He breathed heavily, mustering the breath for one final question.

"How does... it all end...?"

"WITH A LOUD, LONG, EAR-PEARCING BEEP. THE LAST SOUND YOU'LL EVER HEAR."

His final breath cut short, and pain overcame his mind, like a white-hot flame. As his vision blurred, he glanced at the clock, to confirm his final time of death. And he smirked, relieved, as death finally came to him. And the last thing he ever heard, was a loud, long, ear-piercing beep. And the clock said, in its final emotionless state, 5:57 PM.


The nurse from before, and other nurses with her, rushed to the scene to revive him, removing the Q-20 demon, and making their attempts to revive him. With all their attempts for naught, the final claim was made. "Time of death, 5:57 PM."

And so, the body was moved, and the bed was stripped, and washed. The machines were unplugged, and the Q-20 was wheeled away silently. The doctor walked in, hands in his coat, and picked up the clipboard, at the foot of Jerry's bed. He examined it, and confirmed it, nodding to himself by every detail. All except one. "Ah, Nurse?"

"Yes, doctor?"

"What clock did you use for his time of death?"

"The one on the wall. Why do you ask?"

He paused, and wrote on the clipboard his final correction. "I'll have to reset it again later. That clock is a minute fast -- Mr. Smeldings's time of death was 5:56 PM."
 

Chibs

Just Someone
I just skimmed it. But it was pretty good. I have to say that I really liked the ending.
 

wysteria

I see it, I see it now!
I love it, especially this part:
LIFE IS NAUGHT BUT A DREAM, JERRY. EVERYTHING IS UNDENIABLY FALSE. THINGS ONLY EXIST BECAUSE YOU WANT THEM TO EXIST. YOU EXIST BECAUSE YOU WANT TO EXIST. AND WHEN YOU DIE, NOTHING WILL EXIST ANY LONGER.
 

MetalGear

Member
ZarroTsu said:
"YOU FEEL PAIN, FEAR, AND DENIAL, SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU WANT TO. YOU WANT TO DIE, JERRY. LIFE HAS BORED YOU, AND YOU FINALLY WISH TO DIE."

"That's a lie, that's a damn lie!", He cried out to the machine, hoping for comfort from his fear. And the machine lay silent, awaiting not a statement of fear, but another question. Truly this was a hell he was already sent to; his greatest of fantasies merely mocking him as he die.

extremely epic man. Another story would be awsome.
 
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