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Estimated reading time — 6 minutes

“Drip, drip, drip…” The sound of crystalline orbs of sweat dripping from my skin delivered an internal soundscape. The first few moments, I wasn’t bothered, but the repetition became increasingly unpleasant – especially when combined with the intense heat; a feeling reminiscent of a campfire invading my privacy. Needless to say, the whole experience grew more intolerable with every passing moment. And yet, despite my heightened senses, my vision was blurred. I could not see what was right in front of me, almost as if I was trapped inside a filtered photograph, where I was the only one in focus.

As time passed, more sensations and sounds radiated throughout my body. I could hear my bodily organs moving around, like they were trying to escape. I could feel something sharp digging into my skin, sending an extreme burning sensation into my nerves. Within this moment, I was confused and scared. There was a gradual escalation of both fear and my predictions that I’d either explode or pass out from the paranoia and pain. Whatever was going on, it was both physically and mentally taxing.

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Suddenly, most of my sight returned, though I wasn’t sure if this was something to be excited about. Surrounding me were what looked to be several figures reaching in my direction. Feeling confused and claustrophobic, I was jealous of their position. I reckon if I had swapped bodies with one of the forms in front of me, I would have been at least moderately at ease.

Eventually, my vision regained all of its clarity, bringing with it a puzzling sight. Before me were metallic utensils and blue gloves, all reaching towards me. No. Reaching into me. My body was exposed to a bright light, revealing my innards to whomever or whatever was in the room with me. I still couldn’t quite process the figures surrounding my body, as there seemed to be a fuzzy blur painted over them.

Everything felt like torture. I became aware of my confinement; a questionably prison-like situation, where I was facing an awfully violent jail sentence. Each layer of my abdomen was being torn to shreds. I was pretty sure someone tried to remove my liver, however, they were swiftly distracted by another area of my body. I started to hear voices, though zeroing in on the conversation was not successful. The sounds that escaped their mouths weren’t distinguishable – every sentence came in distant whispers. As soon as the words became clear, a flash of light blinded me, subsequently knocking me unconscious.

“Drip, drip, drip.” My own sweat sounded like pouring rain. I was usually fond of a nice rainstorm, always finding the noise calming and peaceful, but my ears weren’t falling in love with this downpour. Behind this blanket of sound was a homogeneous heatwave of sorts – not the sunshine after the storm as my muscle memory would have had me believe. Instead, my body was left confounded and severely uncomfortable in reaction to the temperature. To make matters worse, the view in front of me was unclear yet again.

Here I was, sprawled out on a bed of some kind, a series of utensils filling every one of my nooks and crannies. I felt like a cushion pin, being poked and prodded with sharp, sewing needles. Following the torture, more humanoid shapes materialized before me, though I was not certain for sure that they were human. They began to insert questionable tools inside of me, ripping open my stomach and toying with my intestines. Each movement was paired with an amplified sound and a dreadful notion of déjà vu. My insides being stabbed sounded like silverware meeting jam in a brand new jar. My liver being pulled sounded like kids jumping on freshly wet grass. As far as I could comprehend, something about it all felt oddly familiar.

My mind spun with the possibilities of false nostalgia. As my thoughts unraveled, my attention returned to the foreground.. I realized, as my flesh was torn apart, that my arms and legs were being shackled down. There were background noises behind the dismantling of my interior structure, that were beyond unpleasant; a discordant symphony of cries, whimpers, and screams. Children’s wails expelled from the distance, with the underlying jarring screeches of grown men and women. Closer voices made an overlay of translucency, with unmistakable sentences conveyed.

“Says here that a middle-aged man, about six feet tall, purple polo, buzz cut, and clean shaven appears to be the perpetrator,” someone uttered. “A violent case of a typical hit and run.”

“At least this specimen will make for some quick cash and quality antidotes; that’s what matters here,” another person stated.

As the conversation was being exchanged, my vision un-fogged for a moment, and a clear picture of one of the walls came into view. Vibrant blue lights were placed in a perfect vertical row, with a switch positioned next to each one. Directly over to the right, taking up an excessive amount of space, was a digital screen embedded in the wall. What was displayed on this screen, was extraordinary. It was a model of Earth, continuously rotating. Beside this spinning globe was an exact copy of the planet, spinning just the same. Below the two animations were the labels “Earth 1” and “Earth 2.” I stared for a minute before a third Earth popped up, with the expected caption “Earth 3.”

My staring contest with the array of spheres was disrupted by a disturbance within my body, followed by someone letting out a singular “Fuck!”

“Not another mess up!” A different voice exclaimed. “You cut the wrong section and ruined the pure value of his heart. Now we have to hit the reset button once more!”

Immediately after the exclamation roared throughout the room, an unbearable light masked everything, causing me to shield my eyes before being knocked out.

Once again, I was woken up by the beaded sweat retreating from my skin. This was all a repeated process of the terrifying, gruesome, and intolerable bodily dismemberment I went through. It was my third time sitting through the claustrophobic nonsense, having my kidneys snipped and ripped out, and relying on my inconsistent perception of events to be my only hope for sanity. Saying I was lost would be an understatement. I was disoriented beyond belief. I hadn’t been on any prescriptions and always stayed away from recreational drugs and alcohol. My health was relatively positive, except for a few cigarettes every once in a while. Nothing I had ever consumed could have given me such a mind trip.

Suddenly, I could see everything. My feet were planted on the ground, side by side with those who were playing with my guts, staring at the metal bed I originally rested on. Everyone in the room was in fact human, and seemed not to take notice to my presence. I, however, couldn’t believe my eyes. There was a body still laying on the platform in front of me, a person I recognized and knew quite well. I was looking at myself; a victim to an autopsy. It was as though I had exited my own body.

A great volume of blood covered the sheets I had situated, which spread out underneath chunks of flesh and slimy entrails. The sight was horrific and nauseating, nearly provoking me to vomit. I distracted myself by looking around the room, hoping to find evidence as to what the hell was going on.

My investigation led my eyes to focus on a specific set of actions and machines. A piece of technology with a scanner-like attachment was being subjected to a series of organ placements, one by one. The machine seemingly zapped the organs, causing them to vanish. This device was hooked up to a monitor, which appeared to have images of various body parts, and the corresponding appraisal of each. A portion of the screen had, what looked to be, a crafting system. Multiple individual antidotes were typed out, with the correct human parts used to develop the medicine. For example, I saw a prescription called Patholoticsin that’s created by mixing arteries through chemical processes to help with artery-based diseases. After spotting this, I continued my search.

A tapping of tablets and scrounging through sculptures and model planets were my idea of solving the mystery. I came across an article presented on the screen of a device that was laying around. The headline read Transpersonal Travel: A Guide To The Unknown Consciousness, and the write-up expanded upon countless pages. Subjects ranged from the transporting of your mind to an endless array of universes.

While in the middle of reading, the screen went black. An immense dizziness came over me, along with diminishing eyesight and a weakness in my legs. I felt completely drained and eventually fell to the floor, fainting.

I woke up, my back supported by a rough surface. My face was covered in something wet, sliding down my cheek, a grating heat sunk into the surface of my skin, my chest pulsed from a rush of pain, and a cry of a baby entered my left ear. In a moment of irritation, I let out a boisterous, “Make this stop!”

Something disrupted my agonizing yell. I opened my eyes, and to my surprise, a canine tongue was licking my face out of friendliness. My back laid flat on asphalt, with the sun’s rays beaming down on me. A woman was walking by with a baby in her stroller. I was so relieved. Then, a man walked up to me. He was wearing a purple-colored polo shirt, had a clean-shaven face, and a buzz cut hairstyle.

“Hey, dude! Are you okay?” He asked in a worried tone. “I’m so sorry for hitting you. You came out of nowhere!”

“Um…yeah, I’m fine,” I responded slowly. “Just some minor aches that will probably go away in a couple days.”

“Well here’s my business card. It has my number on it if you ever need anything. Also, here’s a copy of my most recent book, a gift to you for the inconvenience!”

The stranger handed me the book and then went on with his day. I was left with repercussions of appalling memories, mild pain, a mind full of confusion, and a large tome in my hands. Looking down, I noticed its title…

Transpersonal Travel: A Guide To The Unknown Consciousness.

 

WRITTEN BY: R.T. Maxim


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