Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Flash Fiction: Soul Survivor

Every Friday Kurt posts a new piece of flash fiction. This week...

Soul Survivor
Word Count: 599

“Hello,” said the older student, “my name is Benoit. Thank you for helping us with this experiment.” His accent was Belgian, his face scruffy.

Roddy shook his hand. “Anything for class credit,” he said, only half-joking.

“Won’t you have a seat?” asked Benoit.

Roddy sat down at the table, which was empty except for two shoe boxes.

“Thank you, also, for signing the waiver,” said Benoit. “This experiment isn’t strictly ethical.”

“Oh, that’s okay,” he said warily. He hadn’t really read it. But what was the worst that could happen, really?

“Now, let me tell you about this experiment,” began Benoit. “Certain tribal folk once believed that cameras captured a part of your soul on the image. We’re working with that hypothesis.”

“Trying to prove it wrong?” asked Roddy, eyebrow raised. This sounded iffy, but college student’s psychology experiments frequently were on the odd side. What does this have to do with psychology anyway?

“Not exactly,” said Benoit. “You see, I believe that the soul is, in fact, captured, but that the pull of the body is so strong that it draws the soul back before it can be transferred completely. So our goal is to take a photo, and then remove that variable.”

Something twinged in Roddy’s stomach. “Which variable?” he asked.

“The previous vessel for the soul. The one that draws it back in,” said Benoit.

“You mean… the body?”

“Precisely! We take the picture, destroy the originating body, and see if the soul remains in the photograph.”

“That’s… Wait, what are you doing?” asked Roddy. He had begun trembling.

Benoit opened a shoe box and retrieved a large hypodermic needle filled with blue liquid. He pulled a handgun out of the second. “The camera’s in the ceiling, so we’re ready to go as soon as you’ve decided which, ahem, shot you prefer.”

“Jesus,” breathed Roddy, backing away from the table. He fumbled with the doorknob, but it was locked.

“The gunshot would be quicker and, strictly speaking, better for the experiment,” said Benoit. “But it’s messy, and some people have an aversion to that.”

“Let me out of here!” yelled Roddy.

“The syringe is cleaner, and it’s probably painless, but it takes a few minutes to take full effect, and we don’t really know what you still feel after you stop twitching.”

“I didn’t sign up for this,” yelled Roddy, panicking.

“Well, you did sign the waiver. So make your choice.”

“I’m not choosing!”

“I’ll choose for you, and if you don’t hold still, I’m going to choose the gun.”

“I don’t want to die!” Roddy was cowering in the corner, tears streaming down his face.

“Oh, don’t worry,”—Benoit consulted his clipboard—“Roderick. Your soul will live on in the photograph, if my hypothesis is correct. Your body is going to die anyway; it’s just a matter of time.”

Roddy was curled up in the corner, rocking back and forth. “Why didn’t I read the waiver?” he asked between sobs. “Why didn’t I read the waiver?”

“If you’re so attached to living, you probably should have,” said Benoit.

“Oh God, oh God,” said Roddy.

“If we let you go, would you be more diligent about signing things you haven’t read?” asked Benoit.

“Every time,” said Roddy.

“Good enough?” asked Benoit.

“We’re good,” said a voice through an intercom in the ceiling. “Send him to the counselor.”

“What?” asked Roddy.

“You’re in no danger,” said Benoit. “These are props. This is a study in fear. You’re free to go.”

“What!?” Roddy repeated.

“Not really ethical, I know,” said Benoit. “But, you did sign the waiver…”

Edited by Carolyn "I Can't Guarantee I'll Start Reading Waivers" Abram.

Like what you see? Help me out by liking my author page on Facebook or re-posting the story using the buttons below.

No comments: