The Telephone

By Michael Berry All Rights Reserved ©

Other

Chapter 11

William Blake sat alone in his apartment, gulping down great mouthfuls of whisky down his burning throat. His lab coat was wrinkled and dirty and smelled strongly of sweat. It seemed to lock the sweat on his skin where it was, adding to the slowly rising heat from his tired body. His eyes were tired, but he couldn’t sleep. His entire body ached for rest, but their was little to no chance of that.

He sat in a large armchair, great comfortable stuffing locked inside for great comfort. But, tonight, his interests were elsewhere, far away from selfish self comfort.
His mind was haunted by the memory of the man they had used as a guinea pig, how their experiment had killed him and Richardson had forced them to bury his body in the back of the Town Hall, for gods sake. And why, because the damn thing hadn’t been tested by them, yet. They had just allowed him to waltz right up their and hold his goddamn ear to the unknown. He agreed to be a lab rat to hopefully understand something far beyond what he had experienced before, now that was taken away from him by a stupid mistake.
How much he wanted to grab Oswald by the throat and choke him, take the last breathe away from his body and extinguish his inhuman mind from the earth. William hated to hear him speak like that, how a simple human life wouldn’t get in the way of the experiment, nothing else mattered but that. His clenching fingers cracked the whisky glass, the whisky inside began to seep out through the cracks.
It burned him most to know that he had been a party to this decision, as did the others. Despite shouting the odds at Richardson, constantly reminding him that it was indecent, inhuman and he deserved a decent burial along with the many thousands already there. But, as if he had the talk of the devil, he had reminded them of who they were. Even if they refused to accept it, they were all the same as him, scientists who were the only scientists in the whole world and who shared the same drives and ambitions as he did.
But, Richardson’s go much darker and deeper than simple understanding. William thought to himself.
William and the others had a choice to listen to the two voices screaming their say in their heads. On one hand, their was the decent human side to them, constantly shouting that it was indecent and improper, that they should do what’s right and tell Richardson to go kiss his ass. But, just as powerful and loud, was the other voice in them, the voice of the scientist in them. That white-coated moron that devoted everything purely to science, tearing up everything else in their lives as it were trash. The voice screamed at them to listen to him, the individual loss of life was unimportant when the rest of the world was dead. Concentrate on the experiment, it said, and find out ultimately what is behind all of this confusion.
Somehow, with no clue from William, he had listened to the scientist, denouncing all humanity in him and denying his own heart. He felt trapped in his own body, what human part of him that was left now watched the scientist in him controlling his body, digging the feeble shallow grave for a real person.
We’re not human anymore, we don’t deserve to stick our noses in the afterlife. Now that we’ve rejected the human part of us, the afterlife for us doesn’t exist. It won’t open itself up for creatures without souls or hearts.
His body seemed to chew itself up from the inside out, as though some higher power was punishing him for what he had done and the part of him that was still human had to suffer it to, being dragged down into hell along with the demon in him.
He threw the whisky glass on the floor, it landed with a loud thud, the whisky spilled across the thick carpet.
He looked at his hands, the hands of a young man but scarred with the deepened lines and cracks of age, experience and wisdom. An old man’s hand. But, his eyes looked deeper than that. He still saw the dirt on his hands from digging the graves, burrowing itself into his flesh, a permanent reminder to his crime, a stamp of what he was, put there by his powerful punisher.
He looked on at the make believe dirt on his hands with saddened eyes, realising what he had become. Regardless of whether or not he fought it, it didn’t matter. He was now a slave to himself, a slave to his own mind. The scientist and fact-chaser in him pushed aside the human part and locked it away in a cage where he was forced to watch as his whole body and limbs did the work that the demon in him forced him to act upon.
He felt like his own prisoner. How much he wanted to believe that the uncaring side of was simply a spirit, a true demon from the very realm he sought to uncover that had somehow took possession of his body and that he could get rid of it with some kind of spell or charm.
But, he knew what the truth was, how he had no choice but to submit to the will of his own dark side and see it incarnated in the flesh in the form of Oswald Richardson.
Now, as if his mind wasn’t tortured enough, the memory of the woman who had sneaked into the Town Hall and lost consciousness suddenly hijacked his mind, unwilling to let go. He wondered whether giving her a taste of what they actually studied and worked on, and then giving her tapes and equipment to study herself, was total insanity. They had seen what had happened to the man before. He didn’t want the same thing to happen to her, he couldn’t bare the thought of another death on his conscience.
However, it was true that she had used her sexuality on him to twist his mind for her own purposes. That he knew wasn’t his fault, it was her decision to study the tapes for herself and that was no concern of his. He wondered whether the man in him was part of what the mysterious dark force in him was composed of. They say that lust is the work of the devil.
It was things like this that made him wish to god that his internal enemy would come out of the shadows and face him so he could finally destroy it and reclaim his own mind.
He sat back in the armchair, commanding his muscles to relax instead of being tense. He thought about the woman sitting alone in her apartment, sat in a chair next to a table and tape machines and tapes littered in front of her. He imagined her face in a state of despair, longing for help from someone she could trust. He used his imagination to move her arm up toward her hair, she brought her hand slowly through her hair, her eyes half closed, her lips parted slightly. A faint hint of expelled air was released from her mouth.
Stop, he yelled to himself. You know where the thought of women can get you. It’ll tear you apart.
Again, he looked at his hands, still seeing the dirt on them in his tortured mind. Slowly, as tears began to pour like a great ocean from his eyes, his head leant forward into his open palms. He sobbed intently into his hands, hoping against hope that somehow the tears purified and would remove the blood from his hands.

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