Genre: Sci-Fi | Read Time: 6 min 15 sec | 1,562 words
Note: I was on “stay-cation” beginning 10-08 and it is for this reason that I am late with delivering the next Friday Fiction short story. But, better late than never!
Laying flat on my back on an uncomfortable bed was the first thing I remembered, even before I opened my eyes to see two masked faces staring down at me. I woke up in a hospital but I couldn’t remember how I came to be there in the first place.
The nurse smiled when she saw me. I could tell by the twinkle in her eye. Even with a mask covering most of her face. This put me at ease. But only for a moment. Then the doctor pulled his mask away and spoke, his words cut sharply and straight to the point.
“Nice of you to join the land of the living again, Mr. Caine. We were about to give up on you. Weren’t we, nurse Terry?”
She just nodded in agreement then quickly turned away. I wanted to see her face again. It calmed me and that was what I needed just then. I tried to move my arms but couldn’t. My head wouldn’t move either. Just my eyes from side to side. Panic began to set in as my chest heaved up and down and my eyes moved about frantically for answers.
“Calm down, Mr. Caine. Nurse, administer the dose now.” Nurse Terry turned back to face him, a large syringe in her hand. She plunged it into an IV and within seconds I could feel something coursing through my veins. First tingles, as if my limbs were waking from a deep sleep. My fingers twitched. Then my toes. “It might take some time for it to take full effect and give you the ability to move on your own. Right now you’re experiencing involuntary muscle spasms. Not uncommon considering what you’ve been through. We’ll come back and check on you in a few hours. Whatever you do, don’t try to stand.”
The doctor walked out of my room and I was glad for it. There was something about him I didn’t like. I tried to clear my throat but it was dry and my voice cracked when I asked the nurse for some water.
She poured some in a cup with an unsteady hand, then raised my bed up so I was sitting upright. I put my hand up to take it from her but it was shaking more than hers. The only option was for her to put the cup to my lips and tip the ice cold water into my mouth.
“Don’t make a face,” she whispered through her face mask. “You’re not safe here. You’re fam—”
“Nurse Terry, we have other patients to attend to,” the doctor said. Neither one of us noticed or heard him return, filling the doorway. She stiffened at the sound of his voice. Touched her hand to her neck. Under the blue smock she wore a white top with a high collar.
I found myself alone in my hospital room. My breathing and heart beats matching the sounds of the machines beside my bed. I looked over and noticed a heart monitor. I’d seen them often enough in movies and on television. A black screen with a green line jumping to match my heart rate. I stared at it till the line started to look like it was spelling out words instead of monitoring my heart beats. R-U-N. R-U-N. The letters appeared over and over again till I fell asleep.
The next morning I woke to nurse Terry injecting more medicine into my IV. “How long was I out for this time?”
The sound of my voice startled her and she dropped the syringe. I heard it roll under my bed. “Mr. Caine, good morning. Can I get you anything?”
I shook my head. “No, thank you. But I would like to know how I got here? I can’t seem to remember.”
My head had a large bandage wrapped around it and now that I could feel my legs, they felt sore, like maybe I was in a car accident? There was more I couldn’t remember. Like my first name? When I was born or to whom? But I didn’t want to worry the nurse with silly questions like that.
“Don’t trust them. No matter what they say.”
“Nurse Terry, please report to room 213. Nurse Terry, please report to room 213.”
Without another word to me, she reaches up and pulls down one corner or her uniform collar. Wrapped around her neck was a device that seemed familiar to me, though I couldn’t quite place from where. I just had a feeling I’d used one before. She put her collar back up to conceal it and left my room. Something wasn’t right here and I needed to find out what.
I pulled back the covers and swung my legs off the side of the bed. She said not to trust anyone, and yet the medicine they were giving me was clearly working. I stepped off the bed and my legs were no longer shaky like they were the day before. I pulled the stickers that were monitoring my heart rate from my chest and waited a minute to see if doing so would signal the staff to come running to my room. Surprisingly, the machine kept right on beeping. It wasn’t monitoring my heart at all. I took one careful step and then another, dragging my IV on wheels along with me to the doorway. I looked back at the heart monitor and like before the green lines started to form letters again. I turned away before I could read what it said, fearful I would fall asleep again.
I peeked out the doorway to my left and to my right. There was no one in sight. There were also no exit signs or the usual signs that would direct a visitor to their destination. I looked at my door and the plaque read CREATOR in thick black letters. I walked to the door beside mine but the room was empty. There was no patient or bed. I kept walking down the long corridor, checking each room as I passed. Finding them all the same. Empty.
At the end, tucked around the corner, I heard a familiar ding sound for an elevator. I quickly hid myself in a nearby empty room, hoping whoever was getting off the elevator wouldn’t need the room I was in. Two voices walked by that I didn’t recognize and I sighed with relief. When I felt it was safe I raced to the elevators where one was waiting, doors open, as if it was expecting me.
I cautiously stepped inside, staring at myself in the mirror. A face I hardly knew stared back at me. I turned away and leaned my back against the mirror, my eyes closed tightly, trying to remember something. Anything. But it was no use. I opened them again to push the button for the ground floor so I could leave but the floors weren’t numbered. Instead, they were names. Names I recognized. I had an eerie feeling that I had chosen them long ago.
As if by instinct alone, I let my finger press the button marked “HOME BASE” and spoke a little prayer that the doors would close. It was at this moment nurse Terry came running around the corner. She stopped and stared at me when the doors began to close.
“Stop him, you fool!”
Nurse Terry grabbed her neck and her face contorted with pain as she crouched to the ground. The elevator doors closed.
Moments later it stopped and opened into complete darkness. I took one step off the elevator and motion detection lit my way down the corridor. I had no idea where I was going but I continued to have a feeling I had been here before. I let my suppressed memory and feet take the lead.
An office with my name embossed on the door and a locking mechanism beside it meant for my hand-print. I placed my hand on it and the door clicked open. Inside was a large desk, computer screen, and my chair facing out into an even larger room filled with rows and rows of humans. No. Robots. My robots?
The chair turned slowly and I looked back at myself sitting in the chair. I smiled at myself and leaned back in the chair.
“Dr. Caine, this is a surprise.”
It sounded like me and looked exactly like me. Except, I was me. There couldn’t be two of me. And yet, here I stood facing myself.
“Who are you? Why are you in my office? What is going on here?”
I leaned forward in my chair and calmly placed my hands on the desk before me. Muscle memory told me I’d done this often in my past.
“I’m afraid you shouldn’t be here. It is just your memory we require. As to who I am?” I chuckled. I would never laugh like that. “I am you, of course. Through me, you will live on forever. I hear the procedure is fairly painless, Dr. Caine.”
The door opened again behind me and I turned but it was too late. A hand with a damp cloth on it covered my nose and mouth. My eyes rolled as I heard a faint voice in the distance. My voice…
“It was your wish after all, Dr. Caine. It’ll all be over soon.”
FULL DISCLOSURE: 1. I’m not perfect. 2. I’m not rich. Keeping those two things in mind, you may come across typos in grammar, punctuation, and tense (my known biggest writing issue). My feelings won’t be hurt if you point them out to me in the comments.
LOOKING FOR ANOTHER GREAT READ:
Tap that heart if you like what you just read. Want to leave a comment? Click below the talking head. Or if you just want to share my work with your friends, click below the mailbox. Thanks!