Our weird and wonderful chain story
13 writers (+ me)
Here’s the result….probably won’t win any prizes, but if you like pulsating purple orbes and moving dead bodies, read on.
How did you think I handled the ending? (Starts at ‘I don’t understand any of this…) Not my usual kind of fiction so I’ll happily take criticism.
Shall we do another one – starting next Monday? Any new rules we should include?
Over to you…
She studied the face as pale as fish blood and swallowed. ‘Yes, all right, yes,’ she said.
“I’ll do it, but I have my own reputation to consider.”
Getting up close and personal with cadavers hadn’t been a part of her medical degree she’d been particuarly looking forward to, but probably no less so than the 90 minute drive each way along the crowded interstate she’d had to endure for the last 5 years every day to make her dream a reality. She conjured happy thoughts – specifically picturing herself astride the university’s eleven million dollar electron microscope the following morning – took a deep breath and activated the shiny silver not to mention magnificently sterile electric bone saw.
Her heart told her it was the wrong thing to do, that this was a person, IS a person but her head told her she had to fund her studies somehow. She gulped her thoughts down as the blade made contact with the cold flesh on the table in front of her.
As the blade connected a blood curdling scream came from the open twisted mouth.
Her hands shook as the saw juddered through bone. She swallowed down the fear of bursting organs and completely destroying the body in front of her and continued until she had completely split the sternum.
“The body was screaming and you cut it to pieces anyway?” the constable asked, his face white, as though ready to lose his lunch.
“He wasn’t alive, it was gas escaping,” she assured him, hoping she wasn’t rationalizing when she said it.
I’ll do it. But promise me this will be the last time you ask.
After all, she had smelled the nauseating smell of methane gas when her blade invaded the skin, when her fear blocked out all sound. But the constable did not seem to be listening to her, he was busy…..
The screaming stopped and his eyes fixed on Susan as she cranked apart his chest…the bloody cavity revealed an orb, translucent purple and umber, pulsating and fleshy but definitely not a human heart…His rasping voice spoke to her, ” Now you know my secret there’s no going back…now you have to help me! “
Watching her assistant tie down the new body that had come in..” so tell me, ” he asked, “why do you have to tie them down? She ignored his question and handed him a piece of paper…”give this to your commander and tell him to call that number, now if you’ll excuse me I have work to do!”
Now comes the more difficult part of the task…she steadies her hands as they reach towards the pulsating, translucent orb; hesitating briefly, she grabs it.
“Carefully! His warning came too late…Susan was thrown across the room as soon as her hands had made contact with the orb.
Picking herself up she strode back towards the table, suddenly she was no longer nervous, now she was white hot angry. “OK so that’s how you want to play it,” she muttered through clenched teeth, “Well two can play at getting rough.”
Susan – who had once seriously considered a life on the pro putt putt golf circuit but had decided that becoming a doctor would provide her with infinitely more social gravitas, thereby helping to make the right impression in the minds of her uber conservative prospective Austrian inlaws – resolved then and there that no two bit purple orb was going to get the better of her. She would not see her cherished dreams of graduation washed down the stainless steel, disinfected sinkhole anymore than she would permit the dirty little secret of the assorted loose skittles down the back of her couch back in her apartment to sully her industrially manufactured ‘neatfreak’ reputation.
The young constable, green now in more ways than one, continued his painfully slow scribing of the white-coated woman’s statement; he had only taken charge of one call-out before and that had been a simple case of a shoplifting old lady. The formidable female in front of him tonight, carried a much more complex set of details to be processed and unravelled; he caught the flash of the shutters coming down on any details not favourable to her and steeled himself for the first lie.
Both the Constable and the ME were so absorbed in their personal psychodramas that neither noticed the fourth left phalange, otherwise known as the victim’s ring finger, slip away from the body and creep off the examining table. Under the psychic control of the orb, the phalange was capable of emitting an EMP pulse strong enough to disable the electronic devices in the building (among its many capabilities), leading this story down yet another wormhole of misdirection.
Doing its level best to emulate the telekinetic highjinks of the shattering-lightbulb-in-the-showers scene from the original and by far the best film version of CARRIE, the all-seeing, all-knowing, all-scheming and most definitely all-purple orb instantly cut power to the college anatomy lab, casting it and everyone there into an inky, impenetrable darkness that immediately began to take a stranglehold and somehow commence squeezing the life out of the room. Having only seen the eminently limp 2013 remake of CARRIE, both Susan and the young constable remained suitably unspooked and knew just what to do next.
He switched on his torch and she screamed: the one chink in Miss Neatfreak’s armour was sudden light flash. Startled by this vulnerability giveaway, the constable jumped to his feet; the torch beam caught the edge of the steel sink and the glinting orb resolutely edging to a point where it could better control the rest of the cadaver — already a shoulder was lifting and a hip beginning to swivel.
The sparkling 24 carat and aptly named blood diamonds hidden within the cadver’s chest cavity were the real target of the orb’s grasping, telekinetic intentions. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but with Susan just moments away from stumbling upon this most prized but also very obviously smuggled ‘treasure chest’, a moral dilema not listed in the most recent hard cover edition of the Medical Almanac would fully test not only the very future of Susan’s burgeoning doctoring career, but also the still-only-baby-steps developing investigative abilities of this most youngish of constables.
‘I don’t understand any of this,’ the constable murmured as he tracked the movements of the purple orb with his flash light. ‘Just for starters, can you tell me what that thing is?’
‘I’m not sure you’ve got security clearance for this kind of stuff.’
‘I’m here and I’m asking nicely.’
‘Ok,’ Susan grimaced. ‘It’s a bit like a plane’s black box only…’
‘It’s in people? I mean someone puts them into a human person. With his permission? Without?’ He shook his head. ‘Ok, you don’t have to answer , I’m being naïve. Of course, it’s without. And look what’s that damn thing is doing now!’ The cadaver was now sitting up, it’s head turning as if it was listening to their conversation.
‘AI. Artificial Intelligence. It records what happens to the body, where the guy goes, who he sees, but it can also take over. That’s what happening now.’
‘A spy inside? Is that what you’re saying? How many are they, out there?’
‘That’s the security bit.. I’ve sworn an oath about this, first year medical school, but hey, you’ve seen too much anyway. It may take you awhile to get your head around it, but those things are inside each and every one of us.’
‘It’s the only way of protecting the state. Crime’s at a record low, isn’t it? There used to thousands of police. Imagine it, thousands! How many now?’
‘142 in London.’
‘Exactly. There’s a reason for that and it’s not down to people getting more honest. The orb doesn’t do anything, just sits quietly inside the diaphragm unless there’s an emergency. It has health benefits as well. Get a heart attack and it can kickstart it within seconds. Try to pig out on greasy chips and your stomach rebels’.’
The policeman rocked back on his heels, his face taking on the colour of sour milk in the darkness. He was struggling to say something.
‘I know it’s a lot take in…’
The policeman waved Susan’s words away with a wild, erratic gesture. She looked closer and saw a length of intestine wind around his neck. It tightened. A bony dead leg hooked over the man’s thigh, pinning him to the operating table. The policeman was fighting for his life and losing.
‘Oh God, it’s gone rogue!’ She slashed at it with a surgeon’s knife, cutting into bloodless flesh. A finger, sliced off at the knuckle, climbed up her neck, scratching at her face. She knocked it off but it clung to her hair and went on steadily climbing until it reached its target: her eyes.
They found the two bodies later. The hospital issued a press release about a tragic pact made by sadistic star-crossed lovers and the young doctor and the curious constable were cremated together. Their families didn’t come to the service.
The third body was never found. It didn’t appear in any records so no one was looking for it. Smuggled diamonds made their way onto the black market and another purple orb was placed in another body.
1) photo credit: ‘Dental Plan’ Production Photos via photopin (license)
2) photo credit: Streetart @ Barcelona #6 via photopin (license)
3)photo credit: Orb via photopin (license)