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My eyes snap open.
Was I asleep? It’s impossible to tell. The darkness around me has blurred the line between my waking and sleeping states, and I can no longer quite distinguish between dreams and reality, but it doesn’t make a difference. It’s all a nightmare.
I hear the door to my cell open, and recoil as the pale light from the hallway floods into my chamber.
The man in the lab coat stands in the doorway. He beckons me by my name. I hate it when he uses my name. He tells me to come, and I obey, knowing by this point that resistance will only prolong my suffering. I stand weakly and gaze at him.
“Very good.” He says. “Come along.” He leads me down the familiar white hallway past rooms full of ghastly experiments and terrible concoctions, but I know where we’re going. We’re going to the camera.
“Here we are,” He says. We’ve reached our destination. He ushers me inside the small, white, room, his shoes clicking along the tile. On one side of the room is small camcorder atop a silver tripod, and a tape recorder sits on the counter next to it.
I hate this place. I wonder what deranged plot he will subject me to, what vile concoction he’ll force-feed me in the name of science. My eye falls on a container full of green liquid sitting alone atop the counter.
“Are you ready?” He says.
I try to respond, to say no, to beg him to let me go, but I know it’s no use. I can barely remember the sensation of speaking, as my voice has been mutilated beyond repair by countless experiments and tests. All that I can create now are squeaks and wheezes.
“Good, good. Then let’s begin.”
His skin is a sickly shade, almost green in the light. He presses record on both the tape recorder and the camcorder, and begins.
“Hello, gentlemen. This week, my assistant will be testing a new solution that I have created to foster hair growth. This solution is entering human trials for the first time, and I am eager to see the results.” He turns to me. “If you would be so kind…”
He picks up the green liquid. He holds it out, but I don’t take it. I stare at it for a moment, remembering in a flash every such time as this—the camera, the lights, the room, and him, this sadistic devil of a man, his hand outstretched with some pill, some drink, some knife to tear apart the very fabric of my being.
I explode, trying to scream, to curse, to strike the man, but my faint shrieks are only met with his iron grip as he holds me down and forces the serum down my throat.
It tastes rancid. It makes me gag. Hot tears well up in my eyes as he rubs forcefully on my throat, making me swallow.
“There now,” he says, collecting himself. “We’ll see the results in no time. That wasn’t so bad, was it?”
I feel the shame well up inside of me, my eyes to the floor. I can’t even remember who I am—so much of my memory has been cut out, and my mind is never released from the constant cycle of drug after drug after drug.
Oh no. The serum is beginning to have an effect. I close my eyes tightly and wait.
It begins slowly, but begins to gather speed. I feel an itch over every part of my body. I begin to scratch, but quickly realize that I cannot satisfy every twinge at once. It’s coming from my scalp, my arms, my chest, my back—everywhere. I feel something brush against the back of my neck. My hair. My hair is growing everywhere, all over my body, all at once. It’s enveloping me, coming out everywhere—my head, my eyelashes, my eyebrows, my arms, even my palms and my feet. It is overwhelming, and I panic. I can’t see.
“All right, all right, thank you, that’s enough.” I hear the man turn off his equipment and feel him grab me firmly, leading me out of the room.
“That was very helpful.” He shoves me into what must be my cell, and bids me a parting word before closing the door as I writhe beneath the never-ending lengths of hair racing out of my body.
“I enjoy our little experiments together. I’ll see you next time, Beaker.”
Credit: Daniel Z. Miller