Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I fucking did it.

Table of Contents

I wrote 50,000 words in a month.

Here, have a sample of my novel.

Chapter 4: First Night and Second Day

Ever try to sleep on a solid plank of wood with no pillow, no sheets on top of you or under you, and below-freezing temperatures? (Not to mention a draft and a persistent smell of vomit?) That’s what it was like. Add in that the occupants of the cell next to us (or above us, there wasn’t much of a way to tell) were snoring like bears.
I’m not sure I slept at all that first night. Carson of course had no trouble sleeping, he was on the top bunk above me. At least he wasn’t snoring. I just laid in bed, getting increasingly uncomfortable as I felt the hours slide over me. A cricket started chirping after perhaps 2 hours of this.
I got out of bed (knowing I wasn’t going to be sleeping anyway anytime soon) and looked for the cricket. I found it in the corner, next to the wall. For some reason this wall smelled strongly of urine. I looked a little closer, squinting to see in the dark. And I saw that the wall had been re-plastered not long ago. It showed little to no signs of wear or aging. However, it still smelled like urine and my eyes were starting to hurt from trying to see in the dark. I fumbled my way back into bed. Or lack of bed.
I started, in my sleep-deprived state (I had slept perhaps four hours from the day of the trial until now) to laugh at my joke that I had come up with. My murmuring laughter woke up Carson. “What are you laughing about? You should be asleep.”
“Lack of bed.” For whatever reason, I found hearing myself say it out loud to be even funnier than the thought. I snorted audibly.
“What the heck are you talking about?”
“It’s funny because wood.”
“You really need some sleep. So sleep.”
I did my best to cooperate. And I stared at the bottom of Carson’s bunk. I could see faint etchings carved into the bottom of it. I couldn’t make them out in the dark though. I closed my eyes again. This time, I almost drifted to sleep before I was awakened by the feeling of cold little feet running up my back. I sprang up in that sort of way people spring up when they look at the clock from bed and see that it’s already 11:00, and the mouse who had been exploring my upper back was flung off and landed somewhere else in the cell with a small squeaking noise. Where it landed, I also heard a small clattering noise. I got up again to see what the clattering was.
I walked over just in time to see the mouse scurry out of the cell. There was just enough light for me to be able to tell that the clattering noise was caused by a small pencil. I picked it up and looked at it closer. It looked like it was about half the length a normal pencil would be, perhaps it was ground down to its current length from over-use. It had a point on it, so it could be written with.
I took the little pencil back to my not-a-bed (I nearly laughed at my joke again, but I restrained myself so I wouldn’t wake up Carson. I wouldn’t want to see him angry) and I started to draw on the wall with it. The combination of not being able to see what I was doing and being heavily sleep-deprived made the result of my drawing hilarious. I continued to draw until what I could see began to swerve in and out of the perceptible reality as though there was a persistent fog everywhere. At that point I laid down and closed my eyes and I’m almost certain I fell asleep, if only for a couple of minutes. Then, a piercing bell rang out, and Carson hopped down from his bed, landing on what I just now noticed were fairly short feet.
He turned quickly and saw me in bed. “Josh. Get up, quick. They’re doi- Oh damn. What did you do?”
“The wall. You wrote all over the damn wall. What are you thinking?”
“I don’t even remember writi-“
“Forget it, it doesn’t matter, we’ll work our way around it. For now, stand up by the bars, they’re doing inspection.”
“Yeah, they need to make sure none of us are dying or getting sickly-looking. If government workers come in here and see that we’re being maligned, or taken advantage of, the prison could get shut down. We may be criminals but we still have rights.”
We stood up, right next to the bars. The guards didn’t seem to be entering the cells, so my drawings on the wall would more than likely go unnoticed for the time being.
The guards shined a penlight into, first, our left eyes, and then our right eyes. They looked us up and down for a little while before muttering “pass,” as one of them jotted something down on a clip board. They moved on down the corridor doing the same thing at all of the cells.
“Okay. We’re good.”
“So what do we do now?”
“Nothing, man. Absolutely nothing. That’s what people do in jails.”
“What time is it?”
“Who cares? You got some sort of appointment to get to?”
“I… No.”
“Relax. So… what did you write? We can wipe it off the wall after or something.”
“I don’t even know. I was wicked tired when I wrote that.”
“Let me read what it says… Do you remember what you wrote at least?”
“Uh… no.”
“I’m going to read it.” Carson walked over to the wall where I had apparently scrawled a lengthy message. I wasn’t even kidding when I said I didn’t remember writing it.
“ ’I watch the faceless, nameless masses stride before me, in a masked parade, a preordained charade of happiness. Doing only what they are told to do and never acting for themselves. Speaking as a crowd, with nothing to say. They believe, truly, that they are free. Can it be that I am one of them? Or am I truly who I think I am?’ … Dude, this is awesome!”
“I don’t remember any of this. I mean I don’t remember writing any of this.”
“It keeps going, should I read more of it?”
“Yeah, I want to see where I went with that.”
“Okay, it goes on: ‘I refuse to walk the path set before me, leading from beginning to end, in a near straight line. I go to school, I work, I go to college, I work even more, I get married, I work some more, I have kids, I die. This isn’t what I want my life to be. My life should be this. I am born, I take my first steps, I begin to run, I meet with friends, we talk about our lives, I make the world a better place, I climb mountains, I swim oceans, I fall in love, I write her poetry when we’re happy, and I hold her when we’re sad. I want to make a fork in the road and follow it where I choose. I want to be remembered for destroying the barrier between living and thinking. I want to lift the veil blinding us from our true purposes. We are more than cogs in a system, we are human and we will be heard.’ This is nuts. Were you high or something when you wrote this?”
“I’ve never been high.”
“There’s even more. Should I keep going?”
“I can’t believe I wrote that… Keep going!”
“Numb from the flashing lights and blaring horns of the everyday we sit expressionless as the whole of reality flies by us, unable to perceive the subtle nuances of what it is to be alive. We are no better than machines unless we can express our ideas. And I plan to do so. I plan to open the minds of every one of these cogs in the machine the world has become. We’re always doing, acting, working, but does anyone ever take a moment to ask why? I’ve heard stories, I have. Stories about a wonderful past where people were people and machines were machines. There was no confusing the two. People wrote songs and danced in the streets. But as time went by, it all turned a solemn shade of grey as people spent more time listening to the ideas of those proclaimed the great thinkers and less time thinking for themselves. It was all but a matter of time before it boiled down to the point where, for whatever reason, people were content to have old ideas told to them, and respond to them with other old ideas, walking over the same plot of land, never once daring to venture out into the vast world of the imagination.
‘Like sailing a ship with no wind, we sit below decks, believing ourselves to be moving at great speed, while the blind captain at the wheel thinks the little gust from his desk fan to be the ocean breeze sliding by. This is a ship with no rudders, and no bearing. The guests are content to drink themselves into a stupor with a cocktail of lies, superstition, and stereotype. I think it’s time we sober up, break planks from the deck, and start paddling. The shore of a colorful, artistic society is in view: the glorious past when it was not a crime punishable by death to have one or two things wrong with you, the world where you were given the chance to redeem yourself through good deeds or great talent. I know we can bring it back. The creative force within us is still there. The river of ingenuity still exists, it has simply ceased to flow and has not yet dried up.’ You wrote all this?”
“Like I’ve been saying, I don’t remember a thing.”
“That’s where it ends.”
“I guess that’s when I fell asleep or something.”
“Do you agree with what you wrote, at least?”
“Well, yeah. I guess that was my subconscious lashing out.”
“I just thought of something.” Carson’s eyes lit up like moons as he said this.
“What?” I was made slightly nervous by this, Carson seemed like the type who always had absolutely absurd ideas and schemes.
“Well, when we get out, let’s do that.”
“Do what?” I knew what he was referring to, of course, but I was still half-asleep.
“Free them. Free everybody from the monotony. You’re right, you know. People are too damn lazy. It’s time they wake up.”

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Steel 2

Table of Contents
Prev. Chapter

3 years ago, in a newly-successful chemical lab known as Nuelemen Inc., a vial containing a sedative meant to help restrain prisoners was being carried down the hall to a testing chamber. The hall was brightly lit, and the person carrying the vial down the hall was very cheery: a bob in her stride and a hum in her throat. In fact, there was a thick air of cheeriness at the plant. The company was still small enough that it maintained the feel of a small business, but successful enough that it could afford the luxuries of a larger business. There was a small waterfall in the lobby, to give an example.
The woman, who was a moderately attractive Spanish woman named Rosa, handed her little vial to the short, bespectacled man who was sitting at the work desk in the room she had just walked into. “Thank you, Rosa. Did you manage to work out the protein anomaly that was in the last formula?”
“Yes, just recently. The new formula appears to be stable. No worries!”
“Very good. How about the C-11 compound? How’s that one coming along?” The man fixed her with an expectant, twitchy gaze.
“It still photodegrades too quickly to be useful.”
“Have you tried working with it in the dark?” The man’s gaze narrowed.
“Well, of course we have. But its intended use-“
“You can stop right there, you’ve made your point.” The man settled back in his chair, evidently sated by her response. “Have one of the interns try to work that out. You can start on the new fruit preservative.”
“I’ll start on that right away, Mr. Klatch.” She left promptly, her dislike of the man evident in her eyes, which darted around the room nervously as she spoke to him. The bob eventually found its way back into her step as she made her way back to her own office, and by the time she sat down, she was again humming.
Back in the dimly lit, cramped office, the man with the thick round glasses perched on his nose took out a syringe, and drew some of the contents of the vial into it. The man in the chamber had been on a steady IV drip of a weak tranquilizer for the past couple of hours, and was growing delirious. “Benjamin. How are you doing?”
“I… I’m getting tired. How long did I have to lay here? My arms are getting sore.”
“Wait just a few more minutes, Ben.” The man with the glasses closed the valve feeding the IV drip from the bag into the man’s arm and injected the serum into the man’s bloodstream.
After a few moments, (during which Ben asked “What was in that syringe?”) he suddenly grew very quiet and very still. His eyes slowly slipped shut.

The patient’s vitals were measured and monitored closely over the next month. He was kept in a comatose state during this time by the tranquilizer. The long-term nature of the test was to determine the long-term effects of the sedative. Three weeks into the testing, the patient’s heart stopped.
The patient was disconnected from the IV and prepped for an autopsy. The body was unstrapped from the gurney, and a time of death was called. The patient’s family was notified. They were surprised to hear about him, he had run away from home years ago and had resorted to becoming a medical guinea pig to survive.
The body was left alone on the autopsy table while the staff at Nuelemen gathered in a meeting room to discuss what had gone wrong.
Meanwhile, the body of the patient, Ben, fell off of the autopsy table and rose to its feet. It began to shuffle toward the door before a surgeon who was hired to carry out the autopsy walked in to the room. The lights in the room were off.
Ben fell to the ground, after tripping on his own feet. “Yes, I’ll be back in a moment, I just forgot the folder in here.”
The surgeon turned on the lights, and saw the corpse lying on the ground. “They can’t even put a body on a table the right way… honestly.” The surgeon stooped down to lift the body back onto the table. (Ben was a small man, about 5’4”. The surgeon was roughly 6’2” and so lifting the body by himself was not a problem.)
While the surgeon carried the body back to the table, the body sunk its jaws into the arm of the surgeon.
“Ow!” The surgeon immediately dropped the body onto the floor. “What the hell?”
The deceased once again rose to its feet. “Hlll muh…” it mumbled. Its voice was a deep rasp cut off by the swollen tongue in its mouth. The surgeon grabbed a needle and loaded it with a powerful tranquilizer from the nearby operating table before plunging it into the neck of the cadaver. He depressed the plunger and stepped back, watching the impossible, tottering figure before him. His breaths were heavy and he began to perspire with mounting anticipation.
The zombie did not fall to the floor as the surgeon expected. The surgeon kicked the zombie away and ran out of the room back to the meeting hall.
“The patient is alive! And he bit me!” yelled the surgeon upon entering. The zombie stumbled after the surgeon into the meeting room. “See? There he is!”
Some of the staff screamed in fear, some of the staff scrambled for the other door of the meeting room, and two of them stayed to try to fight off the body.
“Why is he alive? His heart stopped! He had no pulse for a full 4 hours!” A tall man with a wispy goatee exclaimed.
“Hold him down. I’ll get a pulse to make sure he’s actually alive.” Mr. Klatch stated authoritatively. The surgeon and the man with the goatee complied, and held what was left of Ben against the wall. It bit the man with the goatee on the shoulder.
“Ah! Dammit… I’m bleeding a little!”
“I told you, he bites. Grab his neck so he can’t do that again.”
“Right, I don’t want to get bit again.” The man with the goatee grasped the throat of the corpse and the bespectacled man took a pulse.
“… Something isn’t right.” Klatch said.
“Well, obviously, he came back to life.” The surgeon said.
“No… He didn’t. There is no pulse. I… I think we have a zombie here.”
“An honest to goodness zombie? We should kill it immediately to stop the spread.” The man with the goatee said.
“No… I should kill all three of you right now. It bit both of you and you’re both infected.” Klatch's eyes narrowed as he reached slowly toward his pocket.
“Wait… you’re not going to kill us!” The surgeon said.
“You’re insane!” The goatee-man said.
“No. I’m perfectly sane.” Klatch said. And he took out a hunting knife from his pocket and killed all three of them with a series of stabs to the eyes, neck, and gut.
The bespectacled man washed himself off, being very careful to completely wash off the blood from his hands. He put on a pair of latex gloves and put each of the bodies into large black garbage bags before hauling them, with his pick-up-truck, to the city dump. He returned to Nuelemen, which had become deserted after the rest of the employees fled the scene after watching him murder two of their coworkers. And there, he began to come up with a plan to combat what he knew would one day become a worldwide pandemic.
Eventually, the corpses were found by rats, and nibbled upon. This infected the rats with the virus, but they were not zombified. They became carriers of the virus.

3 years later, a rat wandered into a water treatment plant and defecated into a water tank. The little pieces of poop stuck to the inside of the pipes that carried the water out of the plant to the nearby city of Detroit. The water, over time, eroded the poop and the particles made their way into the drinking supply of the city. Two weeks after that, a man dropped dead while walking his dog. An hour later, across town, a woman fell to her knees and collapsed while playing tennis with her friend. 30 minutes after that, an elderly couple died in their sleep at the same time as one another.
Over the next several days, over 70% of the population died suddenly. And soon after, they rose again to devour the remaining 30%. Some fought, and some fled. But once all the people who had not been infected were either eaten or evacuated, the horde spread out across the state of Illinois, before reaching into Tennessee, Ohio, and the Carolinas. It was not long before much of the countryside was overrun with zombies. Of course, news reports were fired off, and armies were called in.
The armies didn’t kill all of them, and soon ran out of ammunition before some of them retreated, and others were resupplied. A tactical nuke strike was called on Detroit and several other major metropolitan centers in the area, such as Chicago and Indianapolis. But it was too little, too late.
Before long, the virus reached New York City, where a very prepared city awaited it. Many of the citizens purified their own drinking water to keep from contracting the virus, and some “Zombie Watch Groups” sprung up to defend against any zombies. For 5 years, NYC remained uninfected, against all odds. The subways were patrolled and the bridges were monitored.
But after 5 years, the zombies began to organize, however primitively. They, all at once, from all directions, staged an all-out rush of the city, through the subway tunnels and over the bridges. The zombie watch movement ended up defending the United Nations while they decided what the world was going to do about it.

During those five years, the zombie infestation spread westward all the way to the Mississippi river, and south all the way to the tip of Florida, where, for a grotesque couple of weeks, Disney World remained open even though much of it was overrun by the infection. A zombified man in a Mickey Mouse costume was seen chasing a young girl.
The rides continued to run, as they were mostly automated. Some thrill-seekers simply wandered around Disney World, killing zombies who happened to be wearing a costume. Finally, it was forced to close when people stopped coming there altogether, due to nearly all major airlines closing.
It also made its way into Canada, where it went north before curving off to the west. Finally, it curved south again, into Montana. By the time NYC was overrun, most of the rest of the continent with the exceptions of Hawaii (Hawaii never got infected with the zombie virus, and a notable group of survivors actually found refuge there about 25 years after the infection first appeared in Detroit), Greenland (Because no one wants to go to Greenland, not even a zombie), and most of the Caribbean islands except for Aruba (A tourist in Aruba spread the infection).

The UN finally decided after 2 months of discussion that a state of global pandemic must be called. The message was sent out via short-wave radio which was the most reliable method of communication left before the representatives from each country, and the members of the zombie watch, were airlifted to safety at an undisclosed island in the Pacific Ocean. Quarantines were enacted across the globe, in places with and without the infection.
15 years later, the world’s human population was reduced to 1% of what it was originally. 5 years later, that decreased to 0.1%, and this is when our story takes place.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Russian Sleep Experiment


*Disclaimer: I didn't write this.

>>The Russian Sleep Experiment Orange Soda 05/28/09(Thu)15:47 No.2052750

Russian researchers in the late 1940's kept five people awake for fifteen days using an experimental gas based stimulant. They were kept in a sealed environment to carefully monitor their oxygen intake so the gas didn't kill them, since it was toxic in high concentrations. This was before closed circuit cameras so they had only microphones and 5 inch thick glass porthole sized windows into the chamber to monitor them. The chamber was stocked with books, cots to sleep on but no bedding, running water and toilet, and enough dried food to last all five for over a month.

The test subjects were political prisoners deemed enemies of the state during world war II.

Everything was fine for the first 5 days, the subjects hardly complained having been promised (falsely) that they would be freed if they submitted to the test and did not sleep for 30 days. Their conversations and activities were monitored and it was noted that they continued to talk about increasingly traumatic incidents in their past, and the general tone of their conversations took on a darker aspect after the 4 day mark.

After five days they started to complain about the circumstances and events that lead them to where they were and started to demonstrate severe paranoia. They stopped talking to each other and began alternately whispering to the microphones and one way mirrored portholes. Oddly they all seemed to think they could win the trust of the experimenters by turning over their comrades, the other subjects in captivity with them. At first the researchers suspected this was an effect of the gas itself...

After nine days the first of them started screaming. He ran the length of the chamber repeatedly yelling at the top of his lungs for 3 hours straight, he continued attempting to scream but was only able to produce occasional squeaks. The researchers postulated that he had physically torn his vocal cords. The most surprising thing about this behavior is how the other captives reacted to it... or rather didn't react to it. They continued whispering to the microphones until the second of the captives started to scream. The 2 non screaming captives took the books apart, smeared page after page with their own feces and pasted them calmly over the glass portholes. The screaming promptly stopped.

So did the whispering to the microphones.

After 3 more days passed. The researchers checked the microphones hourly to make sure they were working, since they thought it impossible that no sound could be coming with 5 people inside. The oxygen consumption in the chamber indicated that all 5 must still be alive. In fact it was the amount of oxygen 5 people would consume at a very heavy level of strenuous exercise. On the morning of the 14th day the researchers did something they said they would not do to get a reaction from the captives, they used the intercom inside the chamber, hoping to provoke any response from the captives they were afraid were either dead or vegetables.

They announced: "We are opening the chamber to test the microphones step away from the doors and lie flat on the floor or you will be shot. Compliance will earn one of you your immediate freedom."

To their surprise they heard a single phrase in a calm voice response: "We no longer want to be freed."

Debate broke out among the researchers and the military forces funding the research. Unable to provoke any more response using the intercom it was finally decided to open the chamber at midnight on the fifteenth day.

The chamber was flushed of the stimulant gas and filled with fresh air and immediately voices from the microphones began to object. 3 different voices began begging, as if pleading for the life of loved ones to turn the gas back on. The chamber was opened and soldiers sent in to retrieve the test subjects. They began to scream louder than ever, and so did the soldiers when they saw what was inside. Four of the five subjects were still alive, although no one could rightly call the state that any of them in 'life.'

The food rations past day 5 had not been so much as touched. There were chunks of meat from the dead test subject's thighs and chest stuffed into the drain in the center of the chamber, blocking the drain and allowing 4 inches of water to accumulate on the floor. Precisely how much of the water on the floor was actually blood was never determined. All four 'surviving' test subjects also had large portions of muscle and skin torn away from their bodies. The destruction of flesh and exposed bone on their finger tips indicated that the wounds were inflicted by hand, not with teeth as the researchers initially thought. Closer examination of the position and angles of the wounds indicated that most if not all of them were self-inflicted.

The abdominal organs below the ribcage of all four test subjects had been removed. While the heart, lungs and diaphragm remained in place, the skin and most of the muscles attached to the ribs had been ripped off, exposing the lungs through the ribcage. All the blood vessels and organs remained intact, they had just been taken out and laid on the floor, fanning out around the eviscerated but still living bodies of the subjects. The digestive tract of all four could be seen to be working, digesting food. It quickly became apparent that what they were digesting was their own flesh that they had ripped off and eaten over the course of days.

Most of the soldiers were Russian special operatives at the facility, but still many refused to return to the chamber to remove the test subjects. They continued to scream to be left in the chamber and alternately begged and demanded that the gas be turned back on, lest they fall asleep...

To everyone's surprise the test subjects put up a fierce fight in the process of being removed from the chamber. One of the Russian soldiers died from having his throat ripped out, another was gravely injured by having his testicles ripped off and an artery in his leg severed by one of the subject's teeth. Another 5 of the soldiers lost their lives if you count ones that committed suicide in the weeks following the incident.

In the struggle one of the four living subjects had his spleen ruptured and he bled out almost immediately. The medical researchers attempted to sedate him but this proved impossible. He was injected with more than ten times the human dose of a morphine derivative and still fought like a cornered animal, breaking the ribs and arm of one doctor. When heart was seen to beat for a full two minutes after he had bled out to the point there was more air in his vascular system than blood. Even after it stopped he continued to scream and flail for another 3 minutes, struggling attack anyone in reach and just repeating the word "MORE" over and over, weaker and weaker, until he finally fell silent.

The surviving three test subjects were heavily restrained and moved to a medical facility, the two with intact vocal cords continuously begging for the gas demanding to be kept awake...

The most injured of the three was taken to the only surgical operating room that the facility had. In the process of preparing the subject to have his organs placed back within his body it was found that he was effectively immune to the sedative they had given him to prepare him for the surgery. He fought furiously against his restraints when the anesthetic gas was brought out to put him under. He managed to tear most of the way through a 4 inch wide leather strap on one wrist, even through the weight of a 200 pound soldier holding that wrist as well. It took only a little more anesthetic than normal to put him under, and the instant his eyelids fluttered and closed, his heart stopped. In the autopsy of the test subject that died on the operating table it was found that his blood had triple the normal level of oxygen. His muscles that were still attached to his skeleton were badly torn and he had broken 9 bones in his struggle to not be subdued. Most of them were from the force his own muscles had exerted on them.

The second survivor had been the first of the group of five to start screaming. His vocal cords destroyed he was unable to beg or object to surgery, and he only reacted by shaking his head violently in disapproval when the anesthetic gas was brought near him. He shook his head yes when someone suggested, reluctantly, they try the surgery without anesthetic, and did not react for the entire 6 hour procedure of replacing his abdominal organs and attempting to cover them with what remained of his skin. The surgeon presiding stated repeatedly that it should be medically possible for the patient to still be alive. One terrified nurse assisting the surgery stated that she had seen the patients mouth curl into a smile several times, whenever his eyes met hers.

When the surgery ended the subject looked at the surgeon and began to wheeze loudly, attempting to talk while struggling. Assuming this must be something of drastic importance the surgeon had a pen and pad fetched so the patient could write his message. It was simple "Keep cutting."

The other two test subjects were given the same surgery, both without anesthetic as well. Although they had to be injected with a paralytic for the duration of the operation. The surgeon found it impossible to perform the operation while the patients laughed continuously. Once paralyzed the subjects could only follow the attending researchers with their eyes. The paralytic cleared their system in an abnormally short period of time and they were soon trying to escape their bonds. The moment they could speak they were again asking for the stimulant gas. The researchers tried asking why they had injured themselves, why they had ripped out their own guts and why they wanted to be given the gas again.

Only one response was given: "I must remain awake."

All three subject's restraints were reinforced and they were placed back into the chamber awaiting determination as to what should be done with them. The researchers, facing the wrath of their military 'benefactors' for having failed the stated goals of their project considered euthanizing the surviving subjects. The commanding officer, an ex-KGB instead saw potential, and wanted to see what would happen if they were put back on the gas. The researchers strongly objected, but were overruled.

In preparation for being sealed in the chamber again the subjects were connected to an EEG monitor and had their restraints padded for long term confinement. To everyone's surprise all three stopped struggling the moment it was let slip that they were going back on the gas. It was obvious that at this point all three were putting up a great struggle to stay awake. One of subjects that could speak was humming loudly and continuously; the mute subject was straining his legs against the leather bonds with all his might, first left, then right, then left again for something to focus on. The remaining subject was holding his head off his pillow and blinking rapidly. Having been the first to be wired for EEG most of the researchers were monitoring his brain waves in surprise. They were normal most of the time but sometimes flat lined inexplicably. It looked as if he were repeatedly suffering brain death, before returning to normal. As they focused on paper scrolling out of the brainwave monitor only one nurse saw his eyes slip shut at the same moment his head hit the pillow. His brainwaves immediately changed to that of deep sleep, then flatlined for the last time as his heart simultaneously stopped.

The only remaining subject that could speak started screaming to be sealed in now. His brainwaves showed the same flatlines as one who had just died from falling asleep. The commander gave the order to seal the chamber with both subjects inside, as well as 3 researchers. One of the named three immediately drew his gun and shot the commander point blank between the eyes, then turned the gun on the mute subject and blew his brains out as well.

He pointed his gun at the remaining subject, still restrained to a bed as the remaining members of the medical and research team fled the room. "I won't be locked in here with these things! Not with you!" he screamed at the man strapped to the table. "WHAT ARE YOU?" he demanded. "I must know!"

The subject smiled.

"Have you forgotten so easily?" The subject asked. "We are you." "We are the madness that lurks within you all, begging to be free at every moment in your deepest animal mind." "We are what you hide from in your beds every night. We are what you sedate into silence and paralysis when you go to the nocturnal haven where we cannot tread."

The researcher paused. Then aimed at the subject's heart and fired.

The EEG flatlined as the subject weakly choked out "so... nearly... free...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Cardboard Box House Named The House Of Fun

This is the mother of all cardboard box houses.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Cardboard Box Houses

I believe that one is never too old for a good ol' cardboard box house. Comment with your preferred design of box house.

Mine is in the video.

The last two pictures were taken from inside the box house.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Brain pt. 5

     Log 5: I woke up the next morning in a small, brightly lit room with multiple drains in the floor. Then I heard a loud buzz, much like an alarm, and a small nozzle slid out of the wall. I looked at it for a moment, not sure what to expect. Then, a very tightly compressed stream of water shot out of it, directly at me. I tried to get up and found that my legs were bound to the floor with s set of chains. I held up my hand, deflecting the stream around me.
     This was a very, very high-pressure stream. I have no doubt that if I had allowed it to hit me, it would have cut my flesh with great ease. Then, I heard a small whir from behind me. I turned my head to see another nozzle coming out from the wall. I help up my other hand, and stopped the stream before it exited the nozzle. I continued to hold back the stream until I heard a break, and the nozzle flew off with the force of a large rifle round, which I was just barely able to curve before it hit me. Now the water simply began to flood the room. Note that this whole time I was still holding back the first stream of water. I then applied the technique I used on the second nozzle on the first, and broke off the nozzle in this way.
     Now that the water was simply flowing into the drain systems, I was able to focus on freeing my legs. I strained with the shackles until my hands began to grow numb. Then I tried freeing my legs with my new abilities. This did not work either, the shackles were too thick and heavy. That’s when I noticed the water was no longer draining, but slowly filling the room. A hole opened in the ceiling. A third nozzle protruded from the wall and fired at me. This time, I redirected the stream so it would hit my shackles. At first it did not seem to be doing anything (and I was becoming alarmed by the rapidly rising water level in the room, which was up past my ankles now) but slowly the metal began to chip and crack, finally giving way. Then, unexpectedly, the stream cut into my leg in the split-second it took me to adjust the stream onto the second shackle.
     By the time I had freed myself, the water level in the room had reached my chest when sitting down. So I stood up and found that my leg was more severely injured than I had thought. I shifted my weight onto my other leg immediately, and tried to get a better look at the wound. It looked like a messy stab wound, which was very unnerving. This wound was the result of a stream of water hitting my leg for a split second. If my reaction had been much slower, I could have lost my leg easily. I forced open the drains along the floor, allowing the water to spill out. Then I focused on my leg, curious as to whether I could heal wounds with my new abilities. I tried pinching the wound together with one hand while forcing the tissues together with my mind (which hurt immensely) and meshing the skin together with my “free” hand (which also hurt immensely.) The fact that I had no medical experience whatsoever didn’t help.
     What resulted was very ugly-looking but at least it wasn’t bleeding. I got up again and tried putting weight on it, and it still hurt to put weight on it. Effectively, I could not heal a wound with my abilities. At least, not yet. Perhaps I would discover some way to heal myself later on. It was during my thinking this that perhaps ten or twenty nozzles began pointing at me. And they all fired on me in short bursts, out of sync with one another.
     It was impossible to stop each blast individually, they were much too hard to predict. So I lifted water out of the drain and made a thick dome of water around myself, allowing enough room inside to move around and breathe. For the most part, it worked. It dissipated the impacts rather well. Then I began methodically ripping the nozzles off. Eventually, they were all spouting water at a great rate. The drains remained open but they began to become filled up completely. Eventually the water level began to rise again and this time there was nowhere for the water to go but up. I let the water-shield down and propelled myself upward with a stream of water under my feet through the hole in the ceiling. It was hard to balance on the pillar of water at first but I managed.
     It was dark inside the upward tunnel and it was perhaps 50 feet long. I finally ended up in an absolutely enormous room with no windows and no way in or out except for the way which I had just come in. This is what I thought at first. After a few seconds of observation I found that there was another entrance: a hole near the ceiling about 50 feet above me on the far end of the room, which in addition to being 50 feet tall was 200 feet wide and 400 feet long. The only way I could se myself getting up there was by using the water. So I waited for the water level to begin to rise, knowing full well that it would take a while. When the water was about 6 inches deep, there was a tremendous rumbling, and the walls on either side began to push inward at about 2 mi/h. So I quickly formulated and enacted a plan.
     I pulled as much water as I could through the hole in the floor. Then, I began to run with my hands flying in wide vertical arcs on both sides, bringing the water behind me. By the time I began running, the room had shrunk to being only 100 feet wide. So my run became a sprint, and the water behind me quickly turned into a huge wave. I stopped 50 feet before the end of the room (at this point the room was only 20 feet wide) and let the wave I had created lift me up to the little hole near the ceiling.
     I heard the walls pound together about 4 or 5 seconds after I reached the hole. I walked down the corridor the hole opened into until I reached the door. This time I opened it instead of ripping it away from the wall.
     And inside I found the short man with the glasses and some of his colleagues. “Welcome, Mr. Octavian. Brilliant move creating a wave with the water. Most of our subjects don’t figure that part out.”
     “What happens to them when they don’t figure it out?”
     “Oh. We stop the walls of course, and they undergo a reversal surgery and are placed back into society.”
     “So… When they fail, they get to leave?”
     “Yes, they get to leave. Without any telekinesis or memory that any of this happened.”
     “So… do they still get paid?”
     “No. Why would we do that? They don’t have any memory of us, and therefore they never think to ask us for their payment. We don’t pay for failure because failure doesn’t pay.”
     “How many of the patients make it as far as I have?”
     “About 35%.”
     “How many make it past the first part?”
     “About half.”
     “How many patients are there?”
     “That’s enough questions for today, Mr. Octavian. Back to your room.”
     I was getting used to this pattern. I pass some sort of test, I see the mysterious man with the glasses, I ask him questions, and when I ask one he doesn’t want to answer, he ends the discussion and gets his attendants to bring me back to my room. They’re keeping secrets. They know something they think I shouldn’t. I don’t like to be ignorant. Here’s one example… Just what WAS in that IV they were running into my arm the first time I woke up?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Brain pt. 4

     Log 4: They determined I was mentally healthy with a series of medical examinations, the majority of which were simple questions, such as “Is this card blue, or is it red?” (Being shown a green card) “When you look at this picture, do you feel happy?” (while being shown a picture of a baby laughing) and “Does this disgust you?” (while being shown a picture of a woman with a smashed-in eyeball.) I answered their little questions and was brought back to the room where I first awoke. The steel gurney had been replaced with a cot. The straps were gone, as was the IV. The TV was dusted, plugged in, and showing a gentle sitcom. I noticed that there was a window on the wall behind where the steel gurney had been. I must have been unable to see it earlier with my head restrained. There was a small night table next to the bed with a small velvet pouch on it.
     “Please enjoy your stay, Mr. Octavian.” said the attendant who had escorted me back to my room. As he closed the door behind him, I heard a decisive click. I know what you may be thinking. Why didn’t I simply rip this one off the hinges, too? I was not in the mood. That, and there was the fact that this was a solid steel door perhaps 1 foot thick, which likely had a very complex locking mechanism.
I took this time to explore the room. The first thing I did was turn off the TV. Then I opened the shades that were over the window, and looked out. What I saw defied explanation. But I’m going to go ahead and try to explain it anyway.
     Looking down, I could not see the ground, only a dim blue haze. Straight ahead was another building that looked to be roughly the same as the one I was in. I could not see all the way across very easily, but it looked like there were windows on that building as well. There may have been people in that building, but I couldn’t tell. I looked up to see if there was a top of the building. Then I noticed that the building across the way did not have a bottom. It appeared to be floating. The bottom was maybe 100 feet below where I was. The top was perhaps 300 feet above where I was (assuming that the building across the way was the same height. I had no way of knowing) and held in the air by an absolutely massive blimp. Looking more closely, I could see small airships docking on the bottom of the building, and detaching to float gently downward toward the earth.
I then checked the pouch on the night table. It was filled with 40 or 50 miniature ping-pong balls. There was a note under it. It read simply, “For your amusement.”
     I checked the floor for weaknesses, but there seemed to be a very hard material under the carpet throughout the room. An interesting consequence of my knocking on the floor was that I heard knocking come back up through the floor, perhaps from a fellow surgery patient below me.
The TV was a very old, tube-type TV. I turned it back on and flipped through the channels. There was the sitcom, and on the next channel there was a nature documentary about koalas, and on the next one there was a looping infomercial. I watched this for a bit, and the following is what I heard.

     “If you are watching this that means that you are a lucky recipient of the new, experimental, Neural Streamlining Procedure! Please stay tuned for a description for the implications of your surgery.”
     It began to play calming piano music as the image switched from one of a bed of flowers to a video of a middle-aged man standing in a contemporary-looking house with comfortable-looking furniture. “Hello, and welcome to SOFPIH, Scientists Opting For Perfection In Humanity.”
     The man began walking with a relaxed stride and continued to speak in a relaxed voice. “We here at SOFPIH believe that the human race can and should improve itself. We are above nature, and it’s time we showed it! Using the latest in room-temperature superconducting technology, we have enabled our patients to harness the massive power of telekinesis, among many, many other things! I myself am among these patients.” The man lifted his bangs, showing a very faint scar across his forehead. “We believe that humans today are weak, relying too much on technology to make life easier for them. Becoming slaves to the machines that serve us. We believe that humans can and should take back the power to do great things. To get up and enter the modern world!”
     “Among your improvements, in addition to the telekinesis that you have gained, you have also gained a tenfold increase in mental speed, increased articulation when speaking, and confidence. Isn’t progress just beautiful?”
     The image switched to that of a woman cooking in the kitchen. “Not only did my surgery increase my confidence, it inspired me to try new things.” A cook-book was floating in front of her, and she was using both hands to crack an egg into a bowl. The piano music was still playing.
   “We believe in a better tomorrow. A tomorrow with art.” A video clip of a man painting a very large wall by moving paint-rollers through the air ten or twenty feet above him, painting a serene landscape.
“A tomorrow with safety.” A video clip of a man being invisibly restrained by a police officer outside of a convenience store.
     “A tomorrow with music.” A video clip of a man playing the serene music on a piano partly with his hands, and partly by the keys near the bottom that appeared to be pressed down my an invisible finger.
     “A tomorrow with fewer deaths, and more time spent in the home with family.” A soldier stopping bullets in front of him, which cross-faded into a family, including the soldier, enjoying a family meal.
     “In conclusion, here at SOFPIH, we are dedicated to making the best people out of the most normal. To give greatness to those who need it most. Already, thousands of people have successfully had the surgery done and have returned to the public. And one day, you will join them. Thank you.” The image faded out, but the piano didn’t.
     And it was soon replaced by a fade-in of a bed of flowers. “If you are watching this then that means you ar-“

    I turned off the TV. And I knew immediately that everything that the man was saying was a lie. I could see strings holding up the cook book. I’ve seen pianos that play themselves, they’re quite common. The video of the man painting the wall could very well have been faked, video editing was powerful. And the soldier stopping bullets lacked a scar across his forehead. Propaganda, that’s all this place was. Brainwashing. To break people before they leave. Perhaps to create a slave race of telekinetic laborers. Or to raise an army of super-soldiers.
     I went back to the bed, and fell asleep, thoughts of the very gall of this place buzzing around in my head.

Next Log 

Sal Jackson 1-3

Table of Contents 
Part Two
Part 3- The plot begins to take on significance. (I Promise.)

Writing is significantly harder when you’re two years old and are therefore not supposed to logically be able to write. But then again, most two-year-olds have only been around for two years, and therefore lack the wisdom to want to write, the experience to have things to write about, and the perception to know what things to write about. This is my second time around the course, of course, so I am able to write, however slowly and painfully, my thoughts.
My second birthday was coming up much faster than I remember my first coming up, and so I began to plan out exactly how I would prevent my grandmother, grandfather, and uncle from boarding the train that killed them. If I could prevent this, I was certain that my life would turn out much better this time.
I wrote out ideas (kind of) of what exactly to say to them to prevent them from doing so. To say anything that would have any significant effect on them in terms of what they were going to decide (as the advice of a two-year-old must be taken with a grain of salt) would involve explaining my rather unorthodox situation plainly, and would of course, require that what I call my “cover” would be blown.
But I was prepared for it, if it had to come to that. If it would save three lives, I was prepared to sacrifice knowing exactly what the next 92 years would bring. The way I knew them now, they brought nothing but sadness and loss. I, as you might imagine, didn’t have any problem with giving up that particular future. It was more of a burden off of my shoulders than anything. I was prepared for whatever it brought with it.
I was now able to reach low shelves and take things off of low shelves, and put whatever I was currently holding on a low shelf. I know you take this for granted, but imagine being trapped in the body of a baby for 2 years with your mind as it is right now. There is no worse prison than your own body. But slowly I am regaining the freedoms of motion. Trust me, knowing how to walk and to run and to do anything really won’t help you learn how to do those things any better if you start over. It’s like being trained to fly a jumbo jet with crisp controls and nearly everything automated for you, and then trying to fly a tiny single-engine plane with a wobbly steering wheel with landing gear you lower with a hand-crank. You don’t realize how much of what you do every day is automated, like breathing.
During my first few weeks I often forgot to breathe. As you might imagine, I didn’t remember how to hold in “by products” either. Also, I forgot to blink and would always wonder why my eyes were always so dry. Of course I can do all of those things NOW, but still, it took two years. Well, almost two years.
Soon, after all of my planning was through, my birthday arrived. Many family members showed up, not nearly as many as had shown up the year before, but enough to call it a party and not a gathering. There was cake, and presents, and finally, almost at the end of the party, my grandparents and uncle arrived at last, and my uncle knocked at the door. My father answered the door, let them in and gave them each a hug. I was opening a present at the time. As I recall, it was a miniature Xylophone. At the sight of them, as I had previously resolved to do, I stood up, walked over to them, and looked them dead in the eye as I said, “Hello. Welcome to the party, I trust you’re having a good time? Enjoying yourselves?” They were struck dumb. I seized the moment and continued. “I know you’re shocked. If a two-year-old started talking to ME like this, I’d be struck dumb too. But I have something to tell you, something very important.”
“… And… what might that be, Torrey?” My Grandfather, who seemed to be taking all this a bit too well, asked me. (Two things… One, my grandfather as I later found out was senile, which may have accounted for his unexplained and frankly unwarranted acceptance of the situation. Two, my name was often shortened to “Torrey.” Only later, in my teens, did people begin to call me Sal.)
“In a couple of weeks, you were planning to board a train.”
“Ah, yes. We were.”
“Do not get on the train. It is going to crash, and everyone on it is going to die. Postpone your trip.”
“… Excuse me?”
This is where my REAL plan began. “I am the ghost of the conductor of the train, and I have possessed your grand-son. I traveled back in time to warn you. But the international laws of time travel state that I can only warn one group of people, and I cannot warn myself.” (Of course, this was complete bull. I just needed a cover story so ridiculous that it defied explanation.)
“Um… Eh?” I think my grandfather at this point was at his wit’s end. “Oh… er. Well, then, yes… I believe… Hm. Alright, Torrey. We can postpone our trip if it will save our lives.”
“My time here is finished. I must return to the sand-lords of hell, to which I sold my soul to return here.” (Now, I was just toying with them, I was having too much fun with this.)
“Oh… well… good luck with that, as it was.”
I then, finishing the act, plopped onto the floor, and tried my best to look as though I had begun to cry. My family dismissed it as a freak incident, and never spoke of it again (I think not, at least).
The party soon ended with a bit of a tense air surrounding the departing guests. My parents remained wary of me for several days following that incident. And two months later, my grandparents and uncle were still alive.