One Hell of a Way to Wake Up
Everything hurts. And I'm blind. No, it's just dark. Where the fuck am I? Oh god, I'm in a fucking coffin. No, please, I'm alive, for the love of god, I'm alive. Why can't I talk, what the fuck is going on? Calm down, take stock. I'm naked, I'm in a coffin, and I can't move, I can't even fucking... there's something in my mouth. Some kind of tube... Take it out. Oh jesus it hurts to move. Ok, small movements, just your hand. Make a fist. Make a fucking fist. Good, now release. This is gonna be a while...
It must have taken me a day to get that goddamn tube out of my mouth. God only knows how long to get the lid off. It was locked, see, and I had forgotten where the emergency release was. Among other things. They told me there would be memory loss. “Maybe some temporary fuzziness, nothing to worry about.” What a crock. Shitty place to put an emergency release, too. Behind my head, where I'd never look for it. I guess they thought it would ever be used anyway. They were supposed to be there when I woke up, you see. They were supposed to be alive.
My memories all come back eventually. “Temporary fuzziness” probably isn't how I would describe my state of mind when I came to, but whatever. It took some visuals, but it came back in a hurry. As soon as I pulled myself out of the tube, saw the lab I was in. Felt like grinding sand in your teeth. Suddenly I remembered how I got there. Remembered the ad in the paper. They wanted test subjects. No job, no family, fifteen thousand dollars cash upon completion. Remembered the building. Big fuck-off grey building with no sign, just the address in black letters above the door. Went in with everything I owned in a paper bag. Easiest thing in the world, they said. You go to sleep, 5 years later you wake up with fifteen grand in your front pocket. Sounded good to me.
So I went to sleep. And I woke up. And time, it seemed, had not been kind. I looked around the lab, trying to will my eyes to remember how to focus. I leaned my body over and poured myself out of the tube. Hit the tile, and learned the definition of cold. Saw a lab coat on the floor in the middle of the room, and started dragging myself towards it. Took everything I had and more just to get across the room, and once I got there, I didn’t even bother with the coat. Just laid there on my stomach and listened to my heart pound out a drum roll. Finally, I mustered up the juice to get at the coat, but I realized there was still something in it. The body of a scientist, so old and dry it had gone beyond smelling. I puked, some kind of blue-grey liquid, and passed out.
Woke up to the sound of footsteps from out in the hallway. Not steady, but shuffling, like a nursing home inmate. I tried to call out to him, anything to get his attention, but I guess my pipes were still a little rusty. The only sound I could make was a long papery moan, like ghosts on TV. Started to drag myself across the room toward the door, and making better time than before. Practice I guess. Got to the door, moaning all the way, but realized it was closed, and I was gonna have a hell of a time opening it in my condition. Flopped over onto my back, and closed my eyes. What the hell. I needed a breather anyway. It wasn't until right then, as that thought was passing through my “temporarily fuzzy” mind, that it occurred to me that I wasn't moaning anymore. But for some reason, I could still hear it ringing through the halls. Getting louder.
The window in the door above me exploded and I saw the upper torso of a man, sixtyish, overweight, with what was left of a white beard on the right side of his face and a hole where the left side should have been. Like some kind of fucked up santa claus. And call it instinct, I could tell he didn’t want to help me. While he was flailing, he must have jimmied the door handle, because the door flew open into my head, gave my ear a pretty good ding. Well, I wasn't feeling very fuzzy anymore, and fear has a way of taking hold of a guys body and getting done what needs doing. I pushed back with my hands as hard as I could, hard enough to put father christmas off balance. I turned myself around so I had my feet to the door, and waited for him to come back. He did; I waited until his head was in position, and kicked as hard as I could, catching him squarely in the head with the edge of the door. That put him on his ass. I could hardly breathe, but when I saw his head coming around the side of the door by my leg... Maybe it was adrenaline, maybe it was the hand of god, but however you want to explain it, I found the strength, and I found it fast. I started slamming the door against his head with my feet, and didn’t stop till the knob went click.
Part 2 coming soon...