“This is patient number 1038779. Dominic Smithe. He’s convicted with three counts of murder and one count of assault.” Dr.Sittner read from his clipboard.
“Next,” Steve sighed.
They stepped over to the next cell. Sittner flipped to the next page of his stack of papers and paused. “I think you’ll like this one,” he assured Steve, “Patient number 19048330: Clark Matthews.”
Steve stopped writing in his notebook and looked up at the man behind the glass.
“Good God!” he exclaimed in disgust, “What happened to him?”
The man behind the glass face was horribly disfigured. Most of the skin on his face is horribly burned, his nose was missing, and one of his eyes was clouded over.
“Well Mr.Matthews here…” Sittner paused, taking a second to read the file, “was convicted for the kidnappings and murders of over sixty-eight people. His injuries are from an attempted suicide in attempt to avoid capture when the police were raiding his property.”
Steve looked over Clark Matthews for a few moments, watching him struggle against the straps that held him to his wheelchair. Jesus, this guy is the craziest I’ve ever seen. Steve shivered, He’s definitely the guy I need. “Yeah I think we’ve found our guy,” Steve declared to Dr.Sittner.
Dr.Sittner pulled a walkie-talkie out of his pocket. He lifted it and spoke into it, “Yeah I’m going to need two guards to help with the transfer of patient number 19048330.”
There was a slight pause, and a voice responded, “Seriously? Him? I’ll send three, just in case.”
They waited for a few moments when the doors at the end of the hall opened as the guards made their way over to the men waiting for them.
“So we’re really moving this guy?” One of the guards asked, “Why?”
“Yes we’re moving him and the reason why isn’t of your concern.” Sittner replied sharply
The guard made a sour look as she slid her keycard into the slot in the cell door. An alarm buzzed and the door opened. The guards approached Clark and wheeled him out of the cell. Sittner lead Steve and the guards with Clark out of the asylum.
“Thanks for the escort, but I can take it from here,” Steve told the guards politely.
The guards looked over to Sittner who nodded, and hesitantly they left.
Sittner turned to Steve “I’m sorry but I must ask you again, You’re sure my patient won’t be harmed?”
He nodded as a prison bus parked in front of them, “Yes. He’ll be fine. I’m sorry but I’ve got to go and prepare for the unveiling of my work.”
“Well I guess I’ll leave you to it.” Sittner mumbled as he watched the prison bus driver lift Clark into the bus.
Steve stepped into the bus silently and took a seat. The diver started the bus and drove forward. The bus drove for a while, but finally, it reached its destination. The bus hissed to a stop at a building labeled “STORTZ LABS”. The driver opened the bus doors and let Steve off.
He watched as the man opened the back door and lowered Clark and his wheelchair slowly to the ground.
“Do you want me to help you bring him inside?” The driver asked.
“No thanks. I’ve got it from here on,” Steve answered gratefully.
Silently, Steve got behind Clark and wheeled him into the building. He headed through the massive glass double doors and walked up to the reception desk.
“They’re waiting for you sir,” she said.
Steve nodded and pushed Clark down a long hallway.. At the end of the hall he turned and entered an elevator. He slid his keycard into a slot, it beeped and the elevator descended down the shaft and reached the basement. The elevator dinged as its doors slid open, allowing Steve and Clark to enter a laboratory. Dozens of scientists bustled around holding equipment and documents.
One scientist came up to Steve, “Dr.Brynes, the machine is all assembled. We are ready to initiate human trials at moments notice”
“Great. I have the patient for the trial. Would you escort him into the testing area? Be sure they sedate him before attempting to remove him from his restraints.”
“Yes sir!” The scientist replied enthusiastically to Steve and he hurried off with Clark.
Steve took a deep breath, and walked to the conference room where a group of businessmen were waiting for him. Steve stepped into the room and cleared his throat “Good morning gentlemen. I wouldn’t like to waste any more of your time than I must so I’ll cut right to the chase; My team and I have created a machine that is capable of allowing people to travel into the mind of another person!”
A few of the businessmen raised their eyebrows.
Steve chuckled and continued, “I know, I know. It must seem impossible. But it’s possible! What the machine does is that, a helmet that is placed on a person's head and the neurotransmitters inside that helmet align with the brainwaves of the subject. This process sends that person into a state of hyperfluidity which enables us to send their consciousness into the mind of the patient.”
The businessmen whispered to one another and one stood up, “This all seems amazing but does it work?”
Just then the doors on the side of the room opened up, revealing a laboratory. “Good question. Would you gentlemen please come with me?” Steve asked, beckoning them as he walked into the lab.
The businessmen hesitantly made their way into the lab. Inside was an enormous machine with many blinking lights and diagrams on screens. Clark was strapped down to a table, his face half-hidden from view by a helmet with a dark visor. Surrounding the table in a semicircle was nine chairs hooked up with their own helmets. On tables beside each of the chairs were red and black jumpsuits covered with blinking lights.
“What’s the point of going into someone's mind?” The businessman asked as he looked at the equipment.
“This technology is capable of allowing people to enter a person's mind to be able cure any mental illness or abnormality such as; ADHD, Alzheimer's, or schizophrenia. In a few moments we’ll demonstrate the abilities of this machine by going into this man’s mind.” Steve gestured towards Clark. “This is Clark. He was committed to Broadmoor Asylum for kidnapping and murdering seventy eight people due to his extreme case of schizophrenia.”
The businessmen stepped a little further away from Clark watching him carefully.
“It’s fine. He’s secured tightly to the bed and heś under a large dosage of sedatives, there’s no way for him to escape.” Steve assured the nervous businessmen, “So, who’d like to be one of the first people to enter the human mind?”
Most of the businessmen were too afraid to volunteer, but then the businessman who had been asking the questions stepped forward.
“I’d like to if you don’t mind. My name’s Gerald Benedict and I’d like to take part in your experiment.”
“Okay, sounds great!” Steve replied cheerfully. Steve, Gerald, and a few scientists walked to their chairs and put on the jumpsuits on the tables beside the chairs.
“Okay we’ll now be entering Clark’s mind. Out here it’ll only seem like we’re gone for moments but in reality we will be in there for hours due to the different concepts of time in the mind. Everybody ready?”
The rest of the team nodded.
“Okay if everyone’s ready would you please lower your helmets onto your head?” Steve asked as he lowered his own helmet onto his head, watching everyone through the dark visor. “Begin the countdown,” he demanded.
One of the scientists seated in front of the large machine began to count down. “Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. Five…”
Slowly, Steve’s vision began to fade.
“Four. Three. Two. One.”
There was a flash of light and the group was sitting in a dark room with a single lightbulb suspended in the air by a cord that came from the void-like darkness of the room.
Gerald sat up, “Where are we?” He asked as he stared at the lightbulb.
“We are in Clark’s subconscious.” Steve replied coolly as he sat up in his chair, “Is everyone alright?”
The rest of the group removed their helmets and got out of their chairs. One of the scientists was staring at the lightbulb. He turned toward the person standing beside him, “Hey Carol should I try to turn on that light?”
Carol looked at the light then back to the scientist, “I don’t think that it’d be a good idea George,” she answered with a concerned look.
George scoffed, “Nah it’ll be fine, just watch.” He jaunted over to the light bulb. He reached his hand up and gripped the chain.
Steve looked over and saw George, “Stop! You don’t know what’ll happen!” he exclaimed.
George ignored Steve and slowly pulled the chain. The light flickered on for a few seconds then sputtered out. “See? Everything’s fine.” George assured everyone. Then suddenly the light turns back on. The light bulb snaked itself around George’s wrist and wrapped itself tightly against his skin. “What the hell? Get this off of me!” He screamed, clawing at the cord bulb that has attached itself to his wrist in an attempt to free himself. His attempt was fruitless, the cord went taut and suddenly George was rocketed up into the void of the vast and cavernous ceiling. The only sign that shows that he’s alive are his screams as he gets further and further away.
There was silence for a moment as everyone processed what happened.
“What in the hell was that?” Gerald exclaimed, horrified.
Carol began to sob, “Where did he go?”
“I don’t know! I don’t know! This hasn’t happened before!” Steve replied with a tremor in his voice.
“We have to go find him!” Carol said between her sobs. She got up and as the lightbulb dropped back down into the center of the room, suspended in the air. Five feet away another dropped. And another, as a row of a dozen lights revealed a door at the end of a long hallway. The door was enormous, it was stained dark red. The door’s handle slowly turned with a creak and the door squeaked open a few inches casting a ray of light across the ground from the bright room behind the door.
“Should we go through the door?” Gerald asked Steve.
Steve paused for a moment then answered, “Yes. There’s a chance that George is behind that door and he may need help.”
“What? Are you crazy? I say we should leave here and go back!” a group member demanded.
A few others mumbled and nodded in agreement.
Steve sighed, “I’d let you leave if I could, but the device can only bring us back after the time limit is up. We should go and look for George with the time we have.”
“No. We stay here and wait here until time’s up rather than risking our lives.” the man barked.
“Okay. Whoever wishes to be cowards can stay here and whoever wants to come help can come with us.” Gerald told the rest of the group.
He watched as only one of the remaining group members joined them. They turned and cautiously shuffled down the hall towards the door. Hesitantly, Gerald reached out and gripped the handle, took a deep breath and stepped into the bright room.
As soon as the group got through the door it slammed shut, sealing them off from the rest of the group. Startled, the group attempted to open the door but it wouldn’t budge.
The man who volunteered to help with finding George starts to hyperventilate and panic, “Shit! Shit! Shit! Shit! I know I should have stayed back! I don’t wanna die!”
Gerald attempted to soothe the man, “Hey, hey. It’s fine. Just calm down. Take some deep breaths, we’re going to be fine. What’s your name?”
The man looked at Gerald and started taking deep breaths. Once his breathing was better he was able to answer, “My name’s Eddie”
“Okay Eddie. We’re gonna be fine if we just are careful and aren’t reckless.”
“Guys. You should look at this…” Carol interrupted.
The group turned and looked.
“Where are we?” Eddie asks amazed by the sight. The room they are in goes for miles. The floor is a pearly white, the walls and ceiling were made of some sort of pink fleshy substance.
“Woah. What is this place?” Eddie asked in amazement.
“I don’t know. This is very strange.” Steve answered as he gently prodded the walls.
Suddenly, trees began to sprout from the ground, erupting from the floor. A whole forest sprouts up from the ground filling up the entire cavern. The ground trembles as an enormous mansion erupts from the ground.
“Oh… Well that happened.” Carol said matter of factly, gazing at the fir trees.
“Should we go to that house? I know it’s not usually a good idea to go to the big spooky house but what else would we do?” Gerald inquired the group.
They all faltered but eventually agreed that they should go and investigate the house. Together they stepped into the dense forest. As they entered, Steve took one glance back and watched the door melt away as the wall enveloped it. Well, I guess there’s no turning back now…
The group dredged on through the thick forest for a while when out of nowhere a howl tears through the heavy blanket of silence that covered the forest.
“W-what was that?” Eddie stammered, looking around attempting to find the source of the howl.
“It seems like we’re not alone. We should hurry and get out of these woods ASAP.” Steve said as he began to speed up.
Eddie broke off a dead branch from a tree. He gripped it tightly to give him a sense of security as he trailed behind the group. His eyes swept back and forth frantically searching for anything that could harm him. Then, out of the corner of his eye he saw a figure dart through the trees a few feet away. “Guys did you see that?” He exclaimed, his voice cracking.
“What?” Carol asked nervously.
“It’s probably nothing Carol. He’s probably just imagining things.” Steve assured Carol.
“I’m not imagining things!” Eddie protested, “I saw something!”
“I believe you think you saw something. It was just your imagination. Now get a grip and let’s go!” Steve snapped.
Eddie looked down at his feet and mumbled something inaudible as he followed the group as they continued their trek.
Carol, still nervous from hearing Eddie say he saw something is on edge, looking around to make sure nothing was following them. Then she saw eyes looking through the trees. She stopped walking.
“Guys,” She whispered hoarsely to the group, “Don’t look now, but someone is watching us from that tree over there.”
“Where?” Eddie frantically asked.
“Over there.” Carol pointed toward the tree.
“Guys calm down, it could be George,” Gerald interjected, attempting to soothe Carol and Eddie.
“What if it isn’t? What if it’s some monster that will kill us?” Eddie questioned Gerald, “What then?”
“Well, we’ll just find out,” Steve interrupted, “GEORGE! ARE YOU THERE?” He bellowed.
“Guys? Is that really you?” A familiar voice called out. The person behind the tree stepped out… It’s George!
“George! You’re okay!” Carol shouted excitedly.
“Yep I am.” George replied.
“What happened to you?” Steve questioned.
George’s face contorted, “I don’t really know. The last thing I remember was flying up in the dark, then I woke up in the woods and now I’m here.”
“That’s odd, but it’s great that we found you and that your okay!” Steve replied.
Gerald cleared his throat, “So are we going to that mansion or should we just stay here until we leave?”
“Yeah let’s.” George said.
The group got to the doors of the mansion. The doors swung open and the group shakily stepped inside. The doors slammed shut behind them.
“That’s not a good sign.” Carol laughed nervously.
Suddenly there was a loud crash as something fell through the ceiling. As the dust settled the group looked at what it was. It was a body, hanging by a sickly green tentacle. The body swayed and slowly spun around. It was George! His eyes were clouded over and his limbs hung lifelessly from his body. The group turned and faced the “George” they had met in the woods.
“What the hell is that?” Eddie shrieked at George.
“It’s not real! That must be a trick!” George exclaimed.
“He’s a fake!” Carol shouted.
Eddie shakily rose his stick above his head, “I’m not about to be killed by whatever you are!”, and he struck the head of “George” with a sick thud. He repeatedly slammed his stick against “George’s” head until it stopped moving.
“It’s okay guys. He can’t hurt us now.” Eddie assured them, breathing heavily.
As he spoke the tentacle holding George’s body up loosened its grip on him and he fell to the floor. Carol rushed over to him and tried to lift his body up but it disintegrated into dust.
“What?” Carol asked weakly.
“Oh no. Eddie, what have you done?” Steve questioned Eddie.
“No. He couldn’t have been real. I wouldn’t ever kill anyone!” Eddie protested.
“But you did.” Gerald responded sadly.
Carol just sat in silence staring at the body of George. The real George who was so close to being saved. The George that Eddie had beat to death. He was so close to being saved they all were. But they all knew they weren’t going to wake up tomorrow.