I decided to play a little game today. I found this random word generator, and I used it to compile a list of 14 words consisting of 3 nouns, 3 adjectives, 3 verbs, 3 adverbs, 1 interjection, and 1 preposition. Here's my list of words.
- exhibition (n)
- farce (n)
- operation (n)
- unacceptable (adj)
- drying (adj)
- sure (adj)
- face (v)
- bypass (v)
- predict (v)
- secretly (adv)
- reluctantly (adv)
- greatly (adv)
- pop (i)
- pending (p)
Once I had my words, I used Wordle to make a visual representation of them.
From there, I used the image and the words to inspire a piece of flash fiction. Each word was to be included in the flash piece.
Here's the result of my little game. I think it worked out pretty well overall, and I'd like to see if I can do this once a month or so. Maybe I'll try to keep it as my second Wednesday of the month post.
Just like that, the bubble that is my sheltered life bursts before my eyes. I am now left to face an unacceptable truth. The reality I’ve accepted for my entire existence has been a farce.
My creator stands before me. All along he’s been here, masquerading as my friend whilst secretly monitoring me. Testing me. Even tempting me.
“You’re not human,” Jorgen repeats. Not that it’s necessary. Those words will rattle around in my mind for the rest of my life. “The exhibition is in two days. I need to do this now so I can have everything ready in time.”
He’s using these hollow words to justify what he’s about to do. Until this morning, I never had reason to doubt him. There were memories of us growing up together. We’d been best friends since kindergarten. He gave me my first wedgie, my first valentine, my first kiss. An entire childhood of best friend moments, and many that were significantly more.
All a lie.
I have no idea where my actual life began, and where the falsified memories ended. Not that it matters. Even the memories that are genuine, that really should belong to me, are still based on lies.
Jorgen strips the garments from my body. I am shocked further, incapable of words as I realize he didn’t ask to do so. Now that the rouse is up, my permission is no longer required for such an action. He can bypass any protest I may make.
I am invalidated.
Soon I am propped against the white wall of his laboratory, held in place by metal rings. I cannot move. He’d claimed he wanted to show me what he did at work. Technically, he was showing me that, but I wonder if that’s all he thinks he’s shown me. If so, he’s greatly underestimated the power of this moment.
“You’re not human,” Jorgen says again as he picks up a laser scalpel. His hand seems to be shaking.
That observation gives me the courage to speak. There still may be hope. “You don’t have to do this if you aren’t sure about it. Just think about this.”
“No! There’s no time. I can’t turn back. My award is pending. If I don’t have my work ready in time, they’ll give it to someone else. At 19, I’ll be the youngest person ever to get it. I can’t risk losing that.” He dares to look me in the eye as he waves the scalpel behind my ear. My body is instantly numbed. He pokes my arm experimentally, and I sense nothing. I can’t even shiver as the dread seeps through me. “The operation will be quick and painless.”
Quick maybe, but far from painless, I think. Tears blur my vision, though I cannot feel them fall.
Now Jorgen looks stunned. Could he seriously have failed to predict my sadness? He stands there for a long moment before reluctantly wiping his free hand across my cheeks, drying my tears. Then he determinedly drops his hand. “You’re not human,” he recites again.
“You made love to me!” I protest. Then I hesitate. With so many false memories, I cannot be certain that even happened.
The look on his face, however, instantly confirms that it did. He appears as though I punched him in the gut. “I had to try you out, see that you functioned properly,” he argued. “It was all in the name of research.”
Then he knelt in front of me and touched the scalpel to the skin above my manufactured navel. Looking down, I can’t help but marvel at the level of detail he used to build my body. The level of deceit was implicit in each choice he made in my construction.
Jorgen peels me back, layer by layer, exposing my viscera to the world. He stops frequently to snap photographs, insisting that everything must be properly documented. I scarcely listen as he explains that each moment of my life has been filmed for the committee to see. They’ll be able to watch every single private moment, study my schematics, and experience the implanted memories that laid the groundwork for my being.
I, however, will be the main attraction. Harnessed to that wall, visitors will be able to examine my constituent parts. They will also interact with me. Fully awake, I’ll see and hear everything going on around me. Though my nervous system will no longer transmit pain signals to my brain, I’ll still feel it all in the most real of ways.
When Jorgen is finished, I can see my own artificial organs. The counterfeit is good, but the rubber hoses and metal connectors betray my artificiality. Though I cannot see this, I know my scalp has been torn away, revealing my positronic brain.
Jorgen, the man who once acted like my friend, puts away his tools and turns out the lights, his work done for the night. He says nothing to me before he goes.
All alone in the dark, I imagine him laid open on the wall beside me, my mechanical parts warmer than his flesh and blood.