death

His Skull

I left him staring into the eyes of his own skull and went to make some tea. Nothing special, but loose-leaf for the occasion. Brought it back on a tray with the sugar pot, and the strainer. Neither of us take milk.

He didn’t seem too interested in the tea when I laid it down at first, but eventually decided to come and investigate. The both of us have always seen tea as a bit of a comfort, and considering the situation I think it is fair to say we both needed it at the time.

He poured his, then I poured mine while he added an obscene amount of sugar – he’s always liked his sugar. He says sometimes that at least he died before he got diabetes. I tell him that’s the wrong attitude to have.

“That’s my skull?” he said looking over his shoulder at the yellowing object. The bone dome stood silently, teeth stretched in a never-changing grin. Looking its own way.

“Mm.”

“… God.”

I nodded. I wish I’d brought in a bit of cold water. Just to make the tea… drinkable. Far too hot as it is. And leaving it makes it stew. Or is that just if you leave the leaves in? I suppose that’s one reason why people take milk – just so they can drink it before their company has to leave.

“Why haven’t I seen it until now?”

“Why?”

“Yeah. Why.”

I frowned at him, “Well… the meat had to decompose. It was suspicious enough having to dig your bones back up.”

“You buried me on a hill.”

“I buried you out the way.”

He snorted, “Out the way, on a hill. Was a cemetery too much to ask? Didn’t a new one just open a few months ago? You could’ve put me there.”

I shook my head, “It opened about a year ago,” I said. “And besides, I wasn’t going to sneak into a cemetery to dig you up. Much easier just burying you on a secluded hill where no one goes. Made my job easier. Besides – you didn’t even stay in the ground.”

He didn’t seem happy, even though he couldn’t deny the logic of my decision. I’m rather surprised he cared that much. Honestly, I thought he wouldn’t care where he was buried. He never cared about much anyway. Why would he be so defensive about this?

Silence fell around us. I did my best to not feel too uncomfortable, though the way both of us left our tea to cool definitely gave the room a bit of an awkward feeling. And although I tried my best to come up with conversation, nothing seemed to flow at the time. You can’t ask a dead man how he’s doing. Or what he’s been doing lately. It’d be pointless.

I found out it was pointless after I asked him. I said, “What’ve you been up to lately?” as any friend would. And he just looked sideways at me and said, “Stupid question?”

That happened the last time we met, but at least conversation happened, no matter how much of a fool I looked.

“Hard to check if your skull was free of meat,” I said, attempting a bit of humour.

“Free of… meat? Why the hell are you calling it ‘meat’? That was me. That was my brain in there.”

“What? But you died.”

“So? Still my brain, even if it’s not working. Or wasn’t. I suppose it’s animal crap now.”

This is why it’s hard to talk to him.

“Um…” I said, trying to save face. “I’m certain it’s free of your brain. Or your flesh. It’s been in the ground… a good nine or ten months. And I cleaned it. And I bleached it in the sun for a few days. I put it on the shed roof.”

“Christ.”

“No one noticed, I swear.”

He sat back, his arms folded over his chest. His seemed to avoid looking at me, or anywhere near me. I was used to this. I wasn’t fazed by his attitude. He was always like this, even before he died. Equally standoffish, equally gloomy.

But he looked at me eventually, “Where’s the rest of me then?”

I shrugged one shoulder and tested if my tea was cooled with my top lip, “Black bag – ow.”

“Black–”

“I’m kidding,” that made me smile, despite my hurting lip. Didn’t make him smile though. Unsurprisingly. “Everything’s in a box in the shed. It took hours for me to sort it all out. I tried to put all the leg bones together, all the arm bones, all the ribs… that sort of thing. Not sure why. I mean, what am I supposed to do with it?”

He didn’t say a word. Just sat there with his arms folded. The same as he was before. He looked identical now to how he did before he died. Same hair parting, same bags under his eyes, same remnants of that skin condition on the back of his left thumb. Apparently it was a stress-related skin condition. I always thought otherwise; I always thought it was his skin reacting to the washing-up liquid. Because it always flared up after he did the dishes. He insisted it was stress though.

I scratched at my temple, “Do I just keep it all in a box in the shed? Bones in my shed? Human bones?”

“Fucking bury them again if it’s a problem. Sorry to be a burden on you.”

I sighed, “Not a burden, I just… what does one do with human bones? Honestly, if someone finds out, I’ll probably be arrested.”

“And being arrested isn’t a burden.”

“Well. I mean, it is. But… well what do you want me to say? Your dead body is a bloody nightmare to look after?”

He shrugged, “If you want to say that. It’s not even my problem.”

I sighed again. Same insufferable attitude. Plus my tea was still too hot. But at least it was cooling.

“It was so fucking creepy digging you up.”

“You don’t say.”

Despite his obvious disinterest, I decided to press on with my point. I wasn’t going to let his attitude deprive me of a conversation, “I mean, on the one hand you did ask me to last time you were here. So at least I had the peace of mind that you wanted me to dig you up. But on the other hand… I can’t tell whether seeing you made it more or less creepy. Because if I hadn’t seen you again, I’d just be digging up the bones of someone I’d spent years of my life around. Which is creepy on its own… but seeing you again, then digging up your bones is weird. Because maybe I don’t see those bones as yours? I can’t tell. But you’re welcome with the skull anyway.”

“What do you mean, ‘you’re welcome’. I never thanked you.”

“No I… I did what you asked.”

“Yeah, you dug my body up. Didn’t ask for you to display my head in your fucking house. Who wants that?”

I found myself truly glowering at him. Talking to him was getting me nowhere. It was just ending up annoying me. Still – I’d promised to take tea with him. Not that a promise meant much to him anyway. He never honoured his. Still doesn’t.

“Shall I take it down then?”

“Your house.”

I didn’t answer this. I just tried my tea again. Drinkable. A little hot, but not scalding. And perhaps the heat of the tea would quench the heat of my forehead. He was truly annoying me. And yet I felt awful being annoyed at him.

I’d mourned him. For months. And then… six months after he’d died, I heard a knock on my bedroom door and in he walked. In the flesh. Physical, nothing ethereal or see-through. I had a panic attack over it to which he stood there, scowling a little at me, but didn’t try to explain or help me. He just waited.

Waiting in the room probably helped, I admit. Probably helped me to come to terms with the fact that he was there. Unthreatening and… normal. Because I had missed him. A man made almost entirely of flaws, and I missed that? Apparently. Somewhere I cherished him, I admired him, I was amused by him. It felt strange to like someone like that, or to want him around… and, as I sat with my teacup at my lips, I wondered what I had missed. Had I missed the way he annoyed me, his blunt and unorchestral voice? What exactly had I lost with his death? Nothing much.

I’d actually gained a bit of positivity. I laughed a lot louder when I laughed during the understated healing process. When I wasn’t thinking about him, when he wasn’t on my mind. If I was amused, I was properly allowed to laugh… I was probably a bit happier.

Staring at him, I put down the teacup.

“What.”

“Nothing.”

“It’s cool?”

“I guess so. A bit hot but…” He was talking about the tea. He’d looked down at it when he’d asked. Tea came first. Insultingly enough.

He, with his new information, tried the tea. Then he complained he’d added too much sugar. So he added more tea. Then he complained it was too hot. So he put it down again. I watched. I didn’t say anything.

“You know something,” he said, unaffected by my silence.

“What’s that.”

“I discovered a lot about myself. When I died. It’s like… all the things I should have known, or maybe I did know them… all the things buried deep in my brain all were so clear. Whispers of thoughts were suddenly spoken properly, and facts were shouted. I realised a lot. It felt huge at the time. Just feels normal now.”

“Really?”

He snorted, “There, that perked you up, didn’t it.”

It had.

“Shut up. What did you… find out? Was it all about you?”

“Most of it. Some of it was about other people, some of it was about other places and things, most of it isn’t important. Perhaps I’d go and tell people things but… yeah they all think I’m dead so what’s the point?”

“I thought you were dead.”

He shrugged.

“Am I different?” I asked, with trepidation.

He just shrugged again.

Which annoyed me. But I tried not to let it show.

“What did you find out.”

“A fair bit,” he said. Then he kept me waiting by trying his tea again. Not to be put out, I drank some of my own. But when I put my cup down, he was huffing and adding a splash more tea and a lot more sugar. Apparently a dead man can’t make a decent cup of tea for himself.

I playfully asked if he needed any help – he declined less-than-playfully.

“Tell me what you found.”

“God, fine. I found out, well… this all might be a little surprising to you too. But I found out more about my actual family, I found out my actual name, and I found–”

“Hold up, your actual name?”

He nodded slowly. As if I was stupid.

“What parent calls their child Lull?” he said. “When their other children are called Rhesus and Lois? Why the hell would you think my real name was Lull?”

“I…”

“I know it’s what I told you, but I didn’t know I had a real name until I died. So. And yeah, I’ve apparently got an older brother called Rhesus. I didn’t even know that. Unless I did and it was just buried somewhere in my mind. Death pulled it out maybe.”

“Right?”

“You don’t sound all that surprised,” he said. Flatly.

I tilted my head, “Should I be? I mean, yes, you have an older brother, that’s new. But I don’t know him do I? Probably never will. Where is he?”

“How the fuck should I know?”

“Fine,” I said. “You don’t know. And I’m not that surprised. I’m more surprised about your name, though you’ve got a point about it… I suppose no parent would call their kid Lull would they.”

“No.”

“So what is it?”

And he smirked. In all the time I’ve known him, I’ve never seen him smirk. I don’t know if I’d ever seen his teeth, to be honest, that’s how little he ever smiled.

“What makes you think I want to tell you?”

“Um, the fact you brought it up? Is it really embarrassing?”

“Quite embarrassing, yeah.”

“Are you going to tell me…?”

He shrugged. “Ahh… yeah. I mean, what are you going to do. Tease, worse case.”

“I could tell Lois.”

He frowned. Darkly.

I blinked, “Or… not tell Lois? You could tell her yourself…? Actually, that’s a good point – why haven’t you appeared to her? I want the answer to that question first please, before your name.”

“Appeared? Hah. I’m not a spirit.”

“Alright, why haven’t you gone to her then?”

His eyes narrowed, and he developed some subtle snarl. Both combined contorted his features into something quite ferocious, and I regretted asking the question. It was a fair enough question too – Lois was his sister, his little sister, the girl he took care of even before she could walk.

“Why the fuck would I want to screw up her grieving process?” he growled. “She’s mourning, or she has mourned. If I showed myself to her… bang, whole thing screwed up. Whole thing pointless. There’ll be a point where you won’t see me again either, so if Lois knew I was here… well look at Lois. She’s a stupid little girl, she’d latch onto me again. Pretend I wasn’t ever dead and her head would make her believe that. Out of denial.”

“Alright, alright. Good point.”

“Then when I vanish forever, she’ll have to start all over again. You think that won’t be more damaging?”

I tapped the side of my teacup once and shook my head. I felt like I was getting scolded, like I was stupid. Because he had a good – better than good – point. He was right. Dying, going away seemingly forever, then coming back into Lois’ life wouldn’t be good. I’d never call her a “stupid little girl” but… he was right. He was. She’d start believing he never died.

Lois relied almost exclusively on me after her brother died. Perhaps because she thought I was closest to him, I was reliable like him. And I am reliable, I will call myself that, but I’m a lot softer than he ever was. If she pissed him off, he’d let her know. If he needed space from her, he’d physically push her away. I could never do that. I let her close to me, I held her when she cried, I talked about him with her, I smelled her tears and she smelled mine.

Something we both… realised… was that we felt as if he had never existed. It wasn’t long either. The denial was strongest, and scariest. As if he had just gone away on a trip somewhere and he would be back before long. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised I was waiting. I was waiting beside a door that he would never come through. I would buy cigarettes for him and only remember no one was going to smoke them when I was halfway out the shop door. I would prepare the sugarbowl when I made tea just in case he wanted any, before realising he’d never be there to take sugar again.

That was the denial. And it hit both me and Lois hard… but it affected her more. I was my own person, I looked after myself, but he looked after her. If I was waiting by the door, she was pressed up against it. With her nose at the letterbox. As if trying to use any sense she had to find him.

The belief that he never existed came soon after that, and Lois was indeed a wreck. I’d lost a friend, but Lois had lost a brother who was more of a father than a sibling. Not a good father, but a guardian nevertheless. So to believe he didn’t exist terrified her.

A year, and she is only just healing properly. She can go through his CD collection now. She can’t play any of them. But she can look at the boxes without weeping. Most of them.

 

“No. You’re right. Don’t go to her.”

“No.”

“I could tell her your real name. If you like.”

“Also no. What would that help?”

“Comfort?”

He sat back again. No longer as vicious. “Yeah. To reveal that her brother’s name wasn’t ever his real name? Lovely.”

“Fine, not that either.”

“Just… keep this to yourself. Honestly, it’s better if no one else knows. They’ll only ask questions about how you know. I probably shouldn’t have mentioned it.”

I scowled, “You can trust me, you know. I know when to keep my mouth shut.”

“Alright,” he sighed. “I know. You’re not stupid.”

“I don’t think I am. At all. Come on. What’s your real name?”

“Arby.”

I found myself smiling, trying not to chuckle. Arby? The man sat before me, who I’ve known as Lull, is called Arby.

“Short for anything?”

“Probably. Stop laughing.”

“I’m really not.”

He busied himself with his tea. Taking mouthful after mouthful. Until he had drained the teacup. I politely offered to pour him more, but he declined.

“Yeah, no more tea. I’ll be going in a few minutes. Back to the void of fucking nothingness.”

“Is that really what it’s like? To be dead?”

He shrugged. “Honestly I’m just speculating. I don’t remember a thing while I’m there unless it’s more subconscious revelations made conscious. Death is death. Nothing is nothing. Just how it is.”

“How much longer have you got?”

“How long has it been?”

“Not long, actually. Probably a couple of hours.”

“Mm. About as long as last time.”

I smiled, “Last time you were here for twenty minutes.”

He frowned.

“I suspected this for a while now – your perception of time is completely thrown off. Like you thought the cemetery opened a few months ago? It opened before you died, you know?”

“Shit. I remember. That’s annoying.”

“It’s alright. You just going to vanish again?”

“Most likely.”

“How do you know you’re going?”

He looked to one side. Perhaps thinking of the answer. Then he looked down at his hands. “I’m not… sure. It’s like an alarm clock in my head. Or something. I just suddenly realise I’m going to go. I don’t have long. Even if my perception of time is fucked.”

“When are you going to come back?”

“Might not. I can’t say.”

I felt suddenly vulnerable. My question, a child-like question, an innocent question. “When are you going to come back?” As if my happiness, my enjoyment in life, my purpose, relies on him… Even though I know that, if he never did return, I’d be okay. I’m logical enough – I hope – to avoid mourning too hard a second time. I know he’s dead, I remind myself of that fact every time he vanishes again. I remind myself that he’s dead, that he probably won’t come back. Ever.

But still. Asking that question, allowing that slice of childishness into my tone… it’s made me a little melancholic about the entire situation. I know I’d give up a lot to just spend a few hours more with him. And that’s proof I’ve not healed. Much. At all.

“Ah well. I’ll put the kettle on if you do come back. In the meantime, is there actually anything you want me to do with your bones?”

“Oh um… no. That is… you can bury them again if you want. Or you can keep them in your shed. Honestly, if I was you I’d keep them in your shed. Burying bones over and over might literally get you arrested.”

“Right… I’ll think about it. Perhaps I’ll invest in a big dog.”

“Charming.”

I managed to laugh.

 

He vanished not long after that. Fortunately, he wasn’t halfway through a sentence, or else it’d have felt even more abrupt. All that happened was that his teaspoon fell to the table. He had been fiddling with it slightly as he listened to me explaining what kind of dog I’d most want – my preference seems to fluctuate between one of those Russian bear dogs and an old English sheepdog – and then he’d –

He’d vanished. It was disconcerting, terribly so. To be looking at someone, chatting, and then they’re suddenly not there. No sound effect like in a cartoon, nor a flash of light. Simply, he was there, then he wasn’t. Instantaneously. No fade-out, no dissolve. Just vanished.

So the teaspoon clattered to the table and actually took a chip out of the teacup as its handle scraped past. I sat there for a while, still, not really moving at all. But I knew he’d not come back.

I cleaned up the table. Examined the chip in the teacup; nothing major, it wouldn’t cause a crack. So at least there was that.

After all that, I went back to the room and examined his skull. When he was sitting in front of me, the skull on the bookshelf behind him wasn’t weird. Now it was. I picked it up, and my fingertips didn’t like that. It felt too strange. Touching something which was, a year and a half ago, in the head of the man who’d been drinking tea with me…

Yeah, I put it down quite quickly. Simply too awkward for me to hold anymore. Even stranger to be in the same room with it after its owner had departed from the room so suddenly.

So I decided to leave the room too. Leave the room and call it a night. Tomorrow I’d feel differently about the skull – I’d be able to face it and feel comfortable with it. But looking at it now, looking at the teeth that, a year and a half ago, would have had held a cigarette while he lit it… it was scary. It made my head ask all those questions. The ones beginning with “how” and “why”.

I turned out the lights. All the lights downstairs. And I locked the front door. I stared through its window, my house dark behind me, and the streetlamp across the way glowing faintly, painting the surroundings in shades of brown and gold.

That hill he was originally buried on is a public bridleway. One I walked many a time either alone or with friends or family. It didn’t mean much to me then, it was only a bit of rough terrain with a few climbable trees… perhaps a dash of nostalgia here and there. I suppose it’ll mean something else now.

IV: Suicide Room

III: Suicide Room

 

A series of memorable cases from the Suicide Room. All information included in these documents is shown only for the purpose of exposing the weakness of the human mind. Together, with the right technology and purpose, we can overcome these weaknesses and create barriers to stop the impulses taking over. Together, we can create superhumans, immune to persuasion, obedience and oppression. But we can only do this with subjects willing to submit themselves to the Suicide Room. Through failure we will succeed. Through death we will live. Through the weakness of others we will strengthen ourselves.

 

–Case File 0103, Subject 0103–
–Pressuriser: 0071, Male, Experienced
–Status: Completed – Failure – Moderately soon suicide through a combination of drugs and self-amputation. Death caused by blood loss and shock.
–Case eligible for public viewing. All information contained within this document has been recorded for the purposes of scientific curiosity and for the sake of furthering the human race. All information was logged from physiological, audio and visual aids, plus the memory of Pressuriser 0071.

–Open Case–

During the initial meeting and setup of Subject 0103’s visit to the Suicide Room, several important discussions were recorded. Subject 0103, a young female, expressed the urge, which she has reportedly felt since she was a child, to become an amputee, or to amputate one or more of her limbs. She made the distinction between acrotomophilia and apotemnophilia – acrotomophilia is the sexual interest in amputees, and apotemnophilia is the interest in becoming an amputee, which may be linked to a deep spiritual or sexual desire. Subject 0103 made it clear she has never been sexually attracted to amputees, but that she has, since a young age, wanted to have at least one of her limbs amputated. She expressed a desire to remove, or have removed, her left arm from the elbow down.

Because of this desire, which, from society’s point of view, is often seen as eccentric, odd or perverse, this has brought on a strong depression for Subject 0103, as she feels cast out from the norms of society, due to the reactions she fears she will receive upon revealing her spiritual and human desire.

Because of the environment, she expressed she felt both comforted by the absence of judgemental stares, but also intimidated by the process of interviewing for a eligibility into the Suicide Room. The latter point has been raised both by potential subjects and indeed one Pressuriser, though the absence of people and use of communication directed towards the potential subjects is too precious to risk changing.

Once Subject 0103 became more comfortable speaking, knowing her information would remain anonymous and only used for scientific exploration and purpose, she opened up further.

Because of her depression, she had tried twice previously to remove her left arm, as a desperate attempt to experience happiness. These failed and foiled attempts have only made her desire stronger to achieve her goal. However, she is rarely left alone, always having a family member whom she resents near to her, so she has not tried for a third time. She also spoke of how she gets periods where her urges are so strong she considers running away, and urges where she is so low she contemplates suicide because she knows she is not happy.

Subject 0103 did seem reluctant when she arrived for the first time, as cameras captured her behaviour. She was reluctant to move, always glancing around for an escape should she change her mind. This sort of behaviour is very interesting, and always looked for when considering who should be a Subject in the Suicide Room.

Subject 0103 was chosen as she displayed several traits. She showed and expressed desire to end her own life, though her drifting and reluctant behaviour throughout the initial stages of setup provided a crucial contrast that is rare to find in those who come. Often, it is those who are definitely going to commit suicide who want to take part in the Suicide Room. Perhaps this is a way of abstaining from a guilty feeling; although they are leaving their family behind without warning, they are instead contributing to science.

Subject 0103 was not at this stage yet, so was selected relatively quickly to take part in the Suicide Room. She was assigned Pressuriser 0071. Usually, male pressurisers are not assigned to female subjects, as the male pressurisers display aggression more obviously than the female pressurisers. However, all female pressurisers were inconvenienced at the time, so Pressuriser 0071 was selected. Unfortunately, he presents a stark contrast to the 17-year-old Subject 0103, and this was taken into account when the data was analysed. However, after statistical tests and comparisons with other Suicide Room cases, Case 0103 was cleared as useful, and it was ruled Pressuriser 0071 would meet with her.

Precautions were taken immediately after clearing the case, and it was marked as a very possible potential failure. This girl fit all the criteria for wanting to end her life already, and the addition of the atmosphere and freedom from judgement, the law, or treatment offered would certainly do the opposite of deterring her from that conclusion. Pressuriser 0071 theorised it would not be hard to get Subject 0103 to take her own life. In his eager way, he only half-jokingly mentioned a bet when talking about the case. However, the bet was turned down, as it was believed she would almost-certainly take her own life.

Subject 0103 arrived three hours ahead of her scheduled time, which meant she had to sit and wait. Usually, subjects are merely kept an eye on, but Pressuriser 0223 happened to pass her an hour and forty-five minutes into Subject 0103’s waiting time. Pressuriser 0223 stopped to perceive the subject, but did not talk to her. However, after she had moved on past, and returned to her routine, she did note down her thoughts on what Subject 0103 looked like. This is second nature to her at this stage, as one of her strength is reading a person and remembering what she felt they meant as a whole. Although her notes were never officially turned in to be recorded, they were found and, as they are beneficial, will be recorded for scientific and memory purposes.

Pressuriser 0223’s Notes (written simply on a single sheet of notepaper found in the laboratory)

– Girl didn’t seem to have the look of finality around her. Simply by sitting where she was, she should have known she was almost certainly going to die, given the stigma around the SR [Suicide Room].
– Girl’s eyes were clear, no sign of tears or of crying.
– Posture suggests she’s been there a while.
– Compared to my memory of other subjects, she is alert. Not gazing into the middle distance or trying to block out the world.

Pressuriser 0223’s notes, while short and hardly relevant, as she has not received any information on Subject 0103, do raise interesting points about the subject. Perhaps it is beneficial that Pressuriser 0223 passed the subject and noticed what she was doing before she entered the Suicide Room, as subjects’ behaviour usually goes unrecorded outside, as most subjects present the same actions.

This information was passed onto Pressuriser 0071 who came to a potential conclusion that the subject was so calm and prepared because “she will possibly be able to fulfil her wish of removing her left arm”. As such, he took the hour before he was due to enter the Suicide Room to mentally prepare himself for the sights of bodily mutilation.

 

–Transcript–

This transcript captures the events leading up to, but prior to, Subject 0103’s decision. Throughout she was aware of the consequences of agreeing to be a part of the Suicide Room research, and, although withdrawal was impossible at this point, her permission and consent were given multiple times through the debriefing sessions.

While in the room, Subject 0103 showed the same calm demeanour she displayed outside.

[…]
0103 – Will I get to do it?

0071 – By ‘it’ I will assume you are talking about multiple things. If you refer to your apotemnophilic tendencies, then you are certainly not exempt from that. If you refer to suicide, you are certainly not exempt from that either.

0103 – You know what I meant?

0071 – It is my job to know.
[At this point, Pressuriser 0071 was informed via earpiece to heighten intimidation techniques. The Suicide Room is not a counselling suite.]

0071 – How did you develop apotemnophilia? Have you had it as long as your can remember, or was your perversion triggered somehow?

[Subject 0103 appears surprised by Pressuriser 0071’s questions]
0103 – I can’t rem–

0071 – I would assume, given that you’ve been shunned over this by people you should love, that it’s from birth. I will also theorise that your younger self, unable to control what she said as most children are, made it startlingly obvious at some point, either by trying to carry out your deep-set wish or by becoming obsessed with it, or with perhaps other amputees you knew.

0103 – I can’t remember. But…

0071 – You can’t be left alone anymore.

[Subject 0103 does not respond for a while, and simply looks at the pressuriser]

0103 – I… my mum didn’t want me to try again. She didn’t let me–

0071 – “didn’t”? She “didn’t” let you?

0103 – Yeah. No. No… doesn’t. She doesn’t let me… be on my own.

0071 – Don’t treat it like a mistake. A Freudian slip, maybe, but certainly no mistake. What makes you say didn’t, what makes you speak about your own mother in the past tense, a women we know to still be alive and connected to you?

0103 – She’s not–

[Pressuriser 0071 lowers his tone. On the cameras, it is clear his head tilts to the side as his voice softens.]
0071
– You know your connection with her is broken, don’t you? Just like you want it.

0103 – Yes, but… She’s… I hate her anyway so… I know. I’m free like this. Well, sort of. I mean, I’m not going to see her again, and it doesn’t matter, I’ll go.

0071 – You’re here. You’ve already gone.

0103 – That’s…

0071 – That’s not what you mean, is it? You might have thought about going, about leaving, at some point. You could have run away. But you never tried, because so many people were looking and watching you at all times. But yet, you managed to get here on your own, but you never managed to run away. Because, by “go” you don’t mean, flee to somewhere geographically different, do you?

[At this point, Pressuriser 0071 is urged via earpieace to have her make the final recorded consent. This is usually received before further verbal interaction within the room, but Subject 0103 began talking instantly.]

0103 – Obviously.

[Part approved to be cut by three separate parties. Contained Pressuriser 0071 becoming increasingly stronger with his points and Subject 0103 gradually becoming less and less positive.]

0071 – This is what you meant by “didn’t”, clearly. You arrived here on your own, twice. And this time, you haven’t the foresight to go further after your visit today.

[Subject 0103 doesn’t respond. She is looking at her hands, though she has not yet shown the common symptoms of anxiety. As Pressuriser 0223 said, she is calm, accepting.]

0071 – You are aware of the aims of the Suicide Room and have consented willingly. Your final decision can be made at any time, and any wishes directly regarding it will be followed through. You have stated your preferred method of suicide is by ingesting quantities of paracetamol over a period of time. This has been already provided and is in this room with us. You will find it below the table, available for your use whenever, and if ever, you decide to use it. However, if a different method is favoured, it can be arranged. This information has all been provided to us willingly by you and is all correct.

[Subject 0103 looks at him surprised. She soon returns to a look of dull calmness however]

0103 – Yes… can I… can I do it now? Can I just… I just want to…

0071  – Is this the opportunity or an urge that’s led you to have just made your final decision?

0103 – Both, possibly. I can’t wait anymore, you’re right. Can I just… do it, finally.

0071 – Amputation or suicide?

0103 – Both, possibly.

0071 – Beneath the table, you will find the tools with which you can carry this out. As requested, there is numbing agent, rope, painkillers and a straight-bladed motorised saw which has been sterilised for your personal use. All of these materials you requested, and every effort has been made to match your descriptions with the products. You may proceed with your final decision however you deem suitable. Should you survive the process–

0103 – I don’t think I want to. Survive, I mean. I’ve been ready for this for ever.

0071 – Should you survive the amputation process you can walk out, or continue with your final decision in another way. However, I will still be present, even if you do survive. Everything you have experienced with me will still continue.

0103 – Okay. Okay.
[Subject 0103 visibly takes a breath, before reaching beneath the table]

-Transcript Ends-

 

The following scenes are best recorded from Pressuriser 0071’s memory. As he recalls, the subject did not move from her position at the table. She first took the painkillers before tying the rope around her upper left arm. Pressuriser 0071 notes how fluidly she moved while performing these actions. He theorises she’s either practised or is well-read on the subject of self-amputation.

She next applied the numbing agent, spreading it around her elbow, just above and below it. While she waited for the agent to work, she traced a line around the bottom of her upper arm, mentally working out where she should cut.

She began to stare into the middle distance. According to Pressuriser 0223’s notes, often the very broken do that either while waiting for their time in the Suicide Room to begin, or while they wait for the applied method of death to work for them. She says that, when this happens, subjects do one of two things. Either they recall all their life, think of who they will be leaving, but often have no regrets leaving them. Or, they experience nothingness, only a calmness, such as the feeling when drowning. Pressuriser 0071 could not tell which category she fell into, though suspected it was the first one.

Finally, she picked up the saw. Pressuriser 0071 admits that this is the point he was dreading. However, as he is a highly trained and highly experienced Pressuriser, he remained deadpanned both in expression and emotion.

Subject 0103 expressed her discomfort very soon after she started up the saw. As the teeth got through into her flesh, pulling out fragments of muscle, she realised the numbing agent wouldn’t take away the deepest pain. She let the handle go slightly, and the saw fell, slicing her skin further. She gripped her arm and screamed.

Pressuriser 0071, all the while, kept his stern gaze on her, his hands clasped on the table, cuffs of his shirt being dyed a dark red. She met his eyes after a few minutes. Searching for direction or comfort, perhaps. However, she got neither, but she pushed herself on to continue, desire and futility getting the better of her. She placed her arm back on the table and carried on, the hand holding the saw shaking.

She became more serious when the got to the bone, knowing her arm was too ruined to be saved. Pressuriser 0071 says he saw her tears stop and she pressed on, still making vocal her pain but refusing to cry. Because of the adrenaline, she had the strength to push through the bone. However, because she was removing her left arm through sheer force, she was losing blood fast. It began pooling on the floor, rippling with every slam of her feet on the floor to try and redirect her senses. Her limp left hand was stretched out. A single drop of blood rolled down from the tip of her pinky and ran into the crease of her hand.

It wasn’t long before her right hand let the saw fall to the floor, and her left arm turned over freely, separated from her body. She sat back, expressing nothing, no pain, possibly because adrenaline had taken effect. At this point, her heart rate was slowing down. Pressuriser 0071, who still had not changed his position or expression, felt his heart racing. The shock was getting to him.

Before his eyes, Subject 0103 raised her messy left arm. In hers, he saw a glimmer, and the corners of her mouth turned upwards. But that only lasted a second before her head fell back, her arm collapsed to her side again and her eyes closed. Blood pumped from the stump of her arm onto the floor.

At this point, she had not died. She had merely lost consciousness due to lack of blood and from shock. However, by the time Pressuriser 0071 had readied himself, stood up and moved to check her pulse, she was gone. As usual, he stayed in the room alone with her corpse for ten minutes, just to be sure nothing else was wrong.

In the end, Subject 0103 did carry out the wish she had held for the longest time. However, this wish, this desire, something she could never deny cost her dearly, and caused her to feel isolated to the point of depression. She became weak, and succumbed to the basic human desperate response within the Suicide Room.

 

–End results: Subject 0103 failed. The results gained from her visit to the Suicide Room are certainly useful. Pressuriser 0071 reports that Subject 0103 really shook him. This has raised several questions regarding him within the process itself. In the end, Subject 0103 benefited to furthering the understanding of desire and suicide.

Sitting at the Train Platform

Sitting at the train platform,
You’ve been there a while, waiting on
your two-way route to your mundane
and everyday location, just as
you do every day. With your mind on

Other things. Less than looking forward to the
nine hours of screen-staring, paper shuffling,
staring at the brunette you are too cowardly
to ask out for coffee. But today could be
the day for it. You take a peek at your

Watch. Then look towards the clock,
Unable to believe it’s been only two
minutes since you last looked. And yet
there are more people crowded around
you than you’ve seen so far today.

Businessmen in ties, shoes polished and
hair smoothed to perfection, giving the
sad impression they practice this every
single day, a faint belief that this is the day
their boss will recognise their achievements.

A cluster of young women, up early for a
day trip, mascara smudged over remnants
of sleep in the corners of their eyes. They
do their best to laugh despite having not seen
each other for months, though they promised to.

Train station labourers, brooms welded to their
hands, sweeping up the memories of yesterday’s
traingoers. Cigarette butts from under the
benches, a discarded aluminium can, and perhaps
a smudged napkin, all to earn their wages.

The newly-muddied shoes of a to-be-teen,
standing just far away from his mother to have
autonomy in this new place. Hair spiked to
a rebellious extent, ignoring his mother’s command
to step away from the yellow threshold.

And one man closer to the threshold than he,
his hands empty and clenched slightly, you
notice the solid way he holds himself, as if
ice has crept into his skin and frozen him in
place, a human-coloured statue on the platform.

Sitting at the train platform,
You once again check your watch,
Seeing that steady rhythm of the second
hand slicing your life away, one fragment at
a time. But you still have the day to do.

A rumble beneath your feet,
Gives away the surprise of the approaching
train. You know you can sit for a while longer,
Until everyone evacuates the sliding metal
jaws of the slick and powerful monster.

You see the businessmen adjust their shoulders.
You see the women’s hair catherine-wheel around their jaws.
You see the rebellious boy obey and step away from the gap.
You see the labourers glance up slightly, an act of respect.
You lean forward in your seat, ready to begin your day.

Your eye falls once again on the frozen man. His
elbows pinned to his waist, his head only slightly
tilted, and he is looking at the train. You lose
sight of him briefly, an old woman moving past you
to sit on your left. You nod slightly before rising.

There, again, but he’s moved. Forwards,
Ignoring direct orders to move away. And there is
a clearing around him, nothing too obvious, perhaps
only deep in their minds the waiters realise this
frozen man is not their kin, not their relation.

Nor is he yours. While you wait on the platform,
And scour the surroundings of the platform,
As you do every day, and you watch the clock,
And clock time on your watch, and tap your fingers
On your knee if the train is late, he does not.

While you wait impatiently to begin your day,
Knowing the brunette will pass by you several times,
With you uttering no words of desire to her,
You at least know there will be another lunchtime,
Another work day, another opportunity.

Another day after today. A day, perhaps, where you will
wait in for furniture that won’t be delivered until the next
day. A day, perhaps, where the tracks of the bin
lorry will wake you early, and you hope they’ve emptied the bin
this week. A day, perhaps, but a day, certainly.

But the frozen man is not of your kin either. While you blend
with each other type of toe-tapper on the platform, he blends
with no one. He stands in his clearing, stark, alone,
With the heels of his shoes on the yellow threshold,
Waiting for the rumbling wheels of the train.

No destination will consume him. No tempting relish
of a mate will attract his gaze. No plans has he made for
lunchtime, or any lunchtimes after. This is the only time
you will ever see him. No yesterday. Only today. No tomorrow
when you will once again be sitting at the train platform.

III: Suicide Room

II: Suicide Room

 

A series of memorable cases from the Suicide Room. All information included in these documents is shown only for the purpose of exposing the weakness of the human mind. Together, with the right technology and purpose, we can overcome these weaknesses and create barriers to stop the impulses taking over. Together, we can create superhumans, immune to persuasion, obedience and oppression. But we can only do this with subjects willing to submit themselves to the Suicide Room. Through failure we will succeed. Through death we will live. Through the weakness of others we will strengthen ourselves.

–Case File R3,0223, Review–
-Review Type:
Pressuriser
-Pressuriser:
0223
-Review eligible for public viewing.  All information contained within this document has been recorded for the purposes of employment and redistribution. All information is accurate and there are no falsified statements. Everything said by the employee in this record is what was said at the time of note.
–ATTENTION: Case R3, 0223 became corrupted. No backup review was written, as information can still be understood and interpreted from the data recovered in this file.

-Open Review-

Environment: This review was recorded inside the Suicide Room. This is territory every pressuriser is familiar with, and this is no exception with Pressuriser 0223. She was instructed to sit at the table, but in the seat usually reserved for subjects. All cameras and lighting in the room focus on the seat, and microphones are stationed regularly within the walls to pick up on all sounds. From here, her answers to questions concerning her review were seen and recorded. Every question and statement she needed to see were transported to her electronically via a small tablet device placed on the table. There was nothing else in the room with Pressuriser 0223 apart from all objects mentioned. Pressuriser 0223 is also able to request ejection from the review, should she not wish it to carry on. This is a last-resort request, however, and is often taken well within the process of reviews of Suicide Room pressurisers. This is standard procedure for all employees and is, of course, for Pressuriser 0223.

Pressuriser 0223 seemed calm upon entering the Suicide Room and seating herself at the table opposite the tablet. She sat formally, placing her hands on the table, the tips of her fingers touching. Very subtly, she began to take in her surroundings. Only her eyes moved, this indicated only the twitching of her eyelids.

She had been instructed to state when she is ready for her review to begin. After she has examined her immediate surroundings visually, she straightens the cuffs of her shirt, before returning her hands to their original position. She takes a few more seconds, simply sitting still, possibly composing herself. Whatever her preparation methods, they are hidden to any camera or microphone in the room.

She raises her head slightly, and looks at the tablet, “Begin,” she says, “I’m ready.”

 

-Questioning Begins-

Your time working with the Suicide Room has been described directly, by yourself, Pressuriser 0223, as “horrific exhilaration”. Would you please elaborate on this, including specifics and referring to any case which seems appropriate?

“Horrific exhilaration”, as a phrase itself, is probably meaningless. Anything can be described as such, provided it fits the personal response. What I mean by “horrific exhilaration” is that not the exhilaration itself is horrific. I mean that the horror I experience, the horror that I see first-hand, is exhilarating. You can see pain every day, perhaps even violent death. Death is not the horrific part. It’s the fragility, the fragmentation of the human… soul… for want of a better word. I might be able to clarify by referring to a case here.

I remember Case 0008 well, probably because it was my first one. It’s been explained to me that Case 0008 was particularly… messy. Perhaps that’s why it’s so clear to me. It was a man in his late 40s, I remember that much from the dossier, and he’d recently been involved in an incident that lost him his elderly parents and his job at the same time. He came into the process already broken in spirit, which I suppose is why I, the rookie that I was, was handed this case.

By the time he wanted to accept his final decision, and therefore his suicide, looking in his eyes was like staring through a man hanging right between life and death. Like staring a dying man in the face at the exact moment his body failed. Seeing the fullness of a story, of experience behind his eyes in its moment of fading. I could see how nothing mattered to Subject 0008 anymore, and how, because of his decision, nothing would matter to him in the very near future.

This in itself is the “horrific” which I mean. Not the blood, not the gore, not the fact he killed himself. Just the complete collapse of his mental world which meant his physical had to collapse too. And I realised, right when I saw his eyes like that, that I was experiencing something on the opposite end of the spectrum. A joy, not even fleeting. It was a long and slow experience, always hovering there behind my immediate thoughts. The “exhilaration”, as it were. No adrenaline, no fear within me, just endorphins waiting patiently to rush through me.

Perhaps another reason I remember Case 0008 is that the subject bled a lot more than I had ever expected a real human to. He had decided to use a knife, though he had no idea how to cut himself so he would bleed out. Yet, I could say nothing to him. I couldn’t tell him he had to pull it up the inside of his arm, not push the blade across his wrist. We are not meant to instruct or push the subjects to suicide, only supposed to direct them towards it. We never directly say “kill yourself” or the like…

Since Case 0008, I’ve realised that “horrific exhilaration” is indeed the expression that describes every experience I’ve personally had in the Suicide Room. Sitting opposite a person who would, most likely, not live to see another tree, another lamppost, another light other than these floodlights… that’s exhilaration. That’s superiority.

Your past is, of course, of no interest to any event that is instructed of you. Though, as with every review, it is expected that employees, especially pressurisers, are not of the suicidal mindset themselves. It is also important that pressurisers have never been driven to seriously contemplate or carry out attempts of suicide. Confirmation of this is required now, as well as any doubts about the future of the Suicide Room processes or your personal future.

In previous reviews, you, Pressuriser 0223, have given these answers to this question:

– I have never seriously contemplated suicide or attempted it.
– Given how I work, and what I work doing, suicide has always been a constant in my life. Although, usually, with exposure, things become less intense, the stigma and constant reminder of suicide has not dulled my reaction to it personally. Seeing other people doing it raises thoughts of my own about it. However, I have never seriously considered suicide nor have I attempted it. Those thoughts have simply been small maybes that I have easily brushed off.

Are these answers still standing, or has your mindset on suicide altered since the last review?

I have never seriously considered suicide or attempted it. However, my view has changed. I said that, even with exposure to suicide, it has not become less intense. I still believe this. But I don’t think of suicide in the same way anymore. Where I used to take the cases in which the subjects committed suicide to heart, now I rationalise them. My amygdala is no longer involved in the processing of what I see, hear or feel while in the Suicide Room. I have realised that no case in which the subject has committed suicide directly matters to me.

Every subject is simply a number and a statistic. This is how I rationalise it. They are steps we take towards aiding the future of the human race, and I am glad I do this. On one hand, then, watching and being involved in suicides becomes an inevitable strain of the job. Or, rather, a “horrific exhilaration” of the job.

But, on the other hand, I see suicide as less of a threat. Knowing how broken one has to be in order to do it is… oddly comforting. Before I became affiliated with the Suicide Room, I was concerned over the tiniest issue I, or anyone I cared about, ever had. I was paranoid it would lead to suicide eventually. However, seeing the eyes of the subjects who have done it, and being able to record, read and remember them again… I realise that I, and those who I care about, are not broken in the slightest. Of course, no one I care about knows what my occupation is. So I would never be able to divulge to them my reasons for thinking that they are stronger than they even think they are.

It seems that personal involvement with the cases and subjects is nonexistent to you at this point in time. This is true?

Now, I hardly ever react personally to cases or subjects. I didn’t think I ever did when I started working on cases, but now I realise that I thought about every case a lot in the few days after it had ended. Now, I only live the cases at the time, and while the reports are being written and proofread. Of course, I know of them in my mind all the time. But to me, they are or little relevance – as much as remembering birthday cards. Nothing special, and they will continue in the future, but continue to be nothing special to me.

As an experienced pressuriser, you handle cases that are both suspected easy and hard. Have you any requests of cases you would not like to receive in future, or comments on how cases have been handled over your time in the process? Are there cases you want reopened for editing, improving or hiding?

I do not request any type of case to be blocked from me. I have no requests for editing any case that I have or have not worked on. I also believe that no information of any case should be hidden. Revealing to the public is not what I mean by this.

I refer to Case 0013 in particular.

You, Pressuriser 0223, worked on Case 0013 and you requested no editing of cases not five sentences ago.

Case 0013, or, I suppose now, Case B13 is [part of review lost due to corruption]

Case B13 is a sensitive case and, by request by you, is not open for editing.

The corruption of [part of review lost due to corruption]

Case 0013’s corruption was attributed to circumstances unknown. Its backup, Case B13, is sensitive. It has been revealed to the public for transparency purposes.

Case B13 isn’t [part of review lost due to corruption]

The full case, Case 0013, is lost to corruption and is therefore hidden because no scientific merit can be recovered. The circumstances were not investigated because corruption is an anomaly and it has only happened one time. There are many more cases that can be accessed that of much more use than Case 0013 was before corruption occurred. Its backup record that you, Pressuriser 0223, helped write is simply for organisational purposes.

It wasn’t [part of review lost due to corruption]

If scientific merit is lost, it is not unusual for a case to be hidden, as it is of no use. There is no point in making a corrupted case public within the process of the Suicide Room or public to the world at this stage.

Rule 5.2-B states that [part of review lost due to corruption]

No more discussion on Case 0013 will be tolerated and the review will be terminated if it is mentioned again. Please be aware of your words from this moment on.

If that is the case, I politely request that this review be over. I have answered several questions in detail, and, at this point I do not believe there is anything I can say that I have not already said.

Should you wish to carry on with requesting ejection from the review, it will be treated as an attempt to hide personal information and as refusal to aid the pursuit of knowledge that helps towards the main goal of the process. Do you still wish to request ejection?

I still wish to request ejection, and I am not the one hiding anything.

-Questioning Ends-

 

Pressuriser 0223 left soon after this, and she was noticeably irritated. Her request to be ejected was recorded. After the review, she left the grounds, despite researchers’ efforts to persuade her to continue working on writing up a case. Pressuriser 0223 has since been marked as Recalcitrant.

 

IV: Suicide Room

II: Suicide Room

I: Suicide Room

 

A series of memorable cases from the Suicide Room. All information included in these documents is shown only for the purpose of exposing the weakness of the human mind. Together, with the right technology and purpose, we can overcome these weaknesses and create barriers to stop the impulses taking over. Together, we can create superhumans, immune to persuasion, obedience and oppression. But we can only do this with subjects willing to submit themselves to the Suicide Room. Through failure we will succeed. Through death we will live. Through the weakness of others we will strengthen ourselves.

–Case File B13, Subject 0013–
–Pressuriser:
0223, Female, Experienced
–ATTENTION:
Case File 0013 for Subject 0013 became corrupted. Physical information was lost, data was removed and documented accounts became encrypted. As no one has any leads on how this occurred, all copies and traces of Case File 0013 have been destroyed. This is a back-up case, written only in brief. It is named Case File B13, about Subject 0013.
–Status: Completed – Failure – Prolonged suffering through self-inflicted pain, similar to the Chinese execution method of Lingchi.
–Case eligible for public viewing. All information contained within this document has been recorded for the purposes of scientific curiosity and for the sake of furthering the human race. All information was briefly logged from physiological, audio and visual aids, plus the memory of Pressuriser 0223. In this particular case, the memory of Pressuriser 0223 is extremely valuable.

–Open Recreated Case–

Pre-Case Notes: The B13 file has also faced problems with corruption, though most information is still salvageable. Any scientific merit has been destroyed either as a result of the corruption or our own destruction of the original files. Therefore, this case is merely kept as a record, rather than as a means of furthering knowledge of the human condition.

Subject 0013 seemed to have no reasons for applying for the Suicide Room experimental process. Given his family and personal history, there seemed to be no trigger for his desire to enter a room where he would most likely be manipulated into suicide. However, his application was successful and he was welcomed into the Suicide Room.

He was leaving behind two teenage twins, one boy and one girl, who were entering their third year of secondary school. He was also leaving behind a partner, a fiancée, whom he was to get married to in November. As for his history, medical records indicated no type of depression in the past. Researchers concluded, though, that he could be more valuable than any other subject; someone with seemingly no reason to die could surely walk out of the Suicide Room just as easily as they had walked in. Therefore, all were anxious to understand and learn from his physiological processes in either the succumbing to or the overcoming of suicidal thoughts.

Once in the Suicide Room, with Pressuriser 0223, he asked to be humiliated and belittled verbally by her. The destruction of the ego is an important part of the jump to suicide, and it was recorded that he had asked the pressuriser to perform this. It was also recorded as a possible sexual fetish, such as masochism, though EEG scans failed to find any kind of reaction to his humiliation to verify this.

Pressuriser 0223 began as she usually did. She began talking to him, building up her words from casual conversation to subtle insult, just as the subject had asked. He picked up on it straight away, and his behaviour changed. He stood up from the table and moved to one wall, out of the way of the light.

Pressuriser 0223 recalls his facial expressions during the process of humiliation. He refused to look at her, instead turning his head away. She still continued to build up her insults. Only after he had been standing at the wall for five minutes did she get up and move towards him. She recalls how she eventually stood right in front of him, sneering offence into his face, and his expression was one of pain and concentration as he looked to the side. She made every effort to get in front of him, to stare him down to add force to her insults, but he never held her gaze for more than a second.

After thirty-five minutes of insults, Subject 0013 moved away from the pressuriser, pushing past her and retreating to the corner of the room where he crouched, staring into the corner. Pressuriser 0223 recalls how his body shook despite his defensive position. She says she has never seen such a controlled, but chaotic reaction from a subject.

Pressuriser 0223 returned to her seat at the wooden table, becoming silent. Then she set about using another tactic. It is rather juvenile, but often succeeds in either irritating and therefore panicking the subjects, or even establishing a balance of power. She began to tap one finger on the tabletop to the beat of a second, all the while staring at the subject. She continued to do this until she got a reaction.

Subject 0013 stood and turned, revealing to the camera the marks he had inflicted on himself. Clumsy chicken-scratchings covered his arms, and skin was embedded under his nails. His expression was one of hatred, directed at the pressuriser. Of course, she remained unfazed and looked at him as he looked at her. He asked for his final wish. His final decision.

His chosen method of suicide on his file was marked as unknown. This meant that the room had not been prepared for his decision. There was nothing in the room apart from the table and the chairs. However, it is not uncommon for subjects to want to change their methods. In this case, they get to use their ‘final wish’, just as 0013 did, to choose his method.

He asked for a sharp knife, though would not provide the pressuriser with his actual plan. This was relayed to the researchers who provided the knife quickly, not wanting to break the spell of the room.

Pressuriser 0223 recalls the next part, Subject 0013’s suicide, graphically. Most information from other sources, such as heart-rate, blood pressure and EEG results were corrupted after the process, most of them at the point of his decision. Therefore, only Pressuriser 0223’s memory, as well as the log from the uncorrupted video of the cameras, will be used to recreate the scene.

He returned to his seat, opposite Pressuriser 0223, who, by her own admission, stopped tapping and began to insult him again. Her offending comments were moderate, and could easily be brushed off by someone in the right mind. However, Pressuriser 0223 is experienced and knows when a subject is not, and never will be, in the right mind. She does not resort to tactics she does not have to use; “never play an ace when a two will do.”

Subject 0013 placed the blade of the knife to his arm and began to inflict several shallow cuts. With each, he barely flinched. Pressuriser 0223 theorises the first ones were a test. She recalls she expected him to next draw the point of the knife up the inside his arm, severing arteries and causing death through blood loss. She was ultimately wrong.

She recalls him never meeting her eye, never acknowledging her presence in front of him. Instead, his attention remained on his arm. With the knife in his left hand, he began to slice deeper into his flesh. He levered the knife under the living flesh, pulling it and slicing it away from his own body, the whole time attempting not to scream. He failed this very soon and, for the next twenty minutes, Pressuriser 0223 was within an echo-chamber of noise. The flesh he had severed was not a huge chunk, but the wound in his upper arm was seeping blood, flowing down to his elbow and onto the arm of the chair, before it overflowed onto the floor. Subject 0013 stabbed his nails into his thigh, the muscle of the right arm beating and pulsing blood from its severed self.

The pain was not over though. With cries and curses, Subject 0013 removed his trousers,and turned the knife on his calf. Pressuriser 0223 had since returned to sitting silently. She watched his every move, eyes cold. Her morbid curiosity was unquenchable at this point.

The wound the subject inflicted on his leg stained almost his entire foot red. He pushed the knife in, though, in the process, his hand slipped on the handle, slippery with his own blood and he stumbled, opening up the side of his leg too. The wound was bigger than he had intended, and suddenly his voice was all the pressuriser could hear. “Red, raw, animalistic, music born through pain.”

Pressuriser 0223 moved around to the side of the table to keep an eye on the subject, who was holding his leg. She leaned against the table to see him scattering blood as he reached again for the knife. In her eyes, he was inflicting pain on himself to save himself from the pain he was experiencing. This is a common reason for self-inflicted wounds anyway, though usually they are to counteract emotional pain. If Subject 0013 was following that idea, his emotional pain, the pressuriser says, must have been “nothing less than horrific”.

He made his final attempt to bleed. He pushed against his side, just below the ribs, though the blade did not get in deep. He had no strength to get it in deeper. Blood loss had sapped his strength, and the adrenaline from the first few cuts had run out. He lay gasping, saying no words, offering no pleads or cries of regret. His leg, stained and glistening, lay contorted behind him. From his side, the knife lay still, dark liquid and loosened gristle around it. The subject’s hands, clenched, eventually slackened. His pale skin, almost grey with stress, seemed crinkled. His lips were dry and breath came slowly.

Pressuriser 0223 stood still. She watched him. She says her own senses were heightened by the prospect of his death. The colours and sounds she experienced as he died are still clear to her. She remembers how, with his last breath, his chest fell and his shoulders slackened. His eyelids twitched but did not shut. Some of his eyelashes were joined with sweat.

Usually the researchers are called in after ten minutes after the subject’s supposed death. This time, though, Pressuriser 0223 requested an extra ten minutes. During that twenty minutes of silence in that room, all she did was move her chair so she could sit facing him, her elbows on her knees. She did not move much through that time, just sat and watched his corpse.

The researchers entered after the twenty minutes was over and were hasty in declaring him dead. Pressuriser 0223 left the room after rearranging the chairs, and the researchers were left with the corpse. Pressuriser 0223 reported the whole process “surreal”.

 

–End Results: Subject 0013 failed in our expectations of him to leave the Suicide Room alive. His threshold was surprisingly low, needing only Pressuriser 0223’s insults to drive him to make his final decision. His Suicide Room process will only serve as records, though it has remained a case permanently cemented in Pressuriser 0223’s memory.

 

III: Suicide Room

I: Suicide Room

A series of memorable cases from the Suicide Room. All information included in these documents is shown only for the purpose of exposing the weakness of the human mind. Together, with the right technology and purpose, we can overcome these weaknesses and create barriers to stop the impulses taking over. Together, we can create superhumans, immune to persuasion, obedience and oppression. But we can only do this with subjects willing to submit themselves to the Suicide Room. Through failure we will succeed. Through death we will live. Through the weakness of others we will strengthen ourselves.

 

–Case File 0045, Subject 0045–
–Pressuriser: 0223, Female, Experienced
–Status: Completed – Failure – Moderately soon suicide through drug-based methods
–Case eligible for public viewing. All information contained within this document has been recorded for the purposes of scientific curiosity and for the sake of furthering the human race. All information was logged from physiological, audio and visual aids, plus the memory of Pressuriser 0223.

–Open Case–

Subject 0045 seemed nervous even before he stepped into the Suicide Room. The cameras caught him shaking, his knees jiggling up and down as his adrenaline levels peaked and ebbed. Subject 0045 was initially not a strong subject, so Pressuriser 0223 was assigned to gauge just how much strain could be put on a relatively weak mind like Subject 0045. This case was logged very carefully, and multiple cameras and recording devices were used throughout the procedure. All three cameras in the stark white waiting lobby captured Subject 0045’s behaviour.

Every few seconds, his head would swiftly glance towards the door to the Suicide Room. It has been recorded how much an ordinary door strikes fear into subjects. His panic seemingly arose from the fear of his future. For ten further, agonising minutes, Subject 0045 sat there, his hands tightly wrapped around each other, his eyes wide and slick. The underarms of his loose-fitting gown became dark with sweat, though he seemed to be unaware.

Aware of every sound, his head rose quickly upon hearing the footsteps of the researchers. Two of them, both wearing dark glasses to avoid unnecessary eye contact with the subject, began to fit him with various implements to monitor his body’s physiological reactions to various psychological stimuli he would be facing once inside the room. Heart-rate monitors were attached to his chest, his neck and his wrists, while a blood pressure monitor was attached to his upper left arm. Electrodes were secured to his temples, and beside his eyes, so as to monitor frontal lobe activity, and eye twitches. Other information was to be logged visually and audibly, such as noticeable bodily habits or verbal patterns borne out of anxiety.

Subject 0045 was briefly informed of the purpose of the Suicide Room one more time, and he gave his final permissions, his voice clearly shaking. The researchers, having secured his consent, steered him to the door. They stood behind him as he steeled himself for entering. Finally, he pushed open the door.

Pressuriser 0223 was already seated behind a simple wooden table. She watched Subject 0045 as he approached and took his seat on a hard wooden chair. Light sources pointed towards him, casting Pressuriser 0223’s visage into darkness. His expressions, clearly lit by the bright lights, will be unmissable.

Pressuriser 0223 introduces herself, spreading her hands, inviting the subject to offer the same information. He did so, hesitantly, gulping every few words. After introductions, the pressuriser begins to engage him in casual conversation. This was done to find out if his panic could be easily overcome by the introduction of a comfortable, everyday conversation. However, EEG results, in addition to the subject’s verbal answers to Pressuriser 0223’s questions, indicated that his amygdala was completely engaged, and that the subject’s emotions were too extreme to be calmed.

Pressuriser 0223 decided to begin the process of manipulation soon. The casual conversation lasted a mere few minutes before she cut off Subject 0045 in the middle of his sentence. She sat back in her chair, her eyes on him. By the way the shadows lay, it was difficult to make out her expression. His, though, was easy to read. He was waiting and anxious for the pressuriser to begin.

From his file and research into his life history, the pressuriser gained the knowledge that Subject 0045 had recently suffered a loss. His wife of twelve years had left him only months after the death of their four-year-old child who succumbed to measles. This is not an unusual situation found within the records of Suicide Room subjects, as deaths in families often drive people to depression or suicidal thoughts. Pressuriser 0223 had this information, and more to use, though she started off her processes slowly and carefully.

 

–Transcript–

This transcript captures the events leading up to, but prior to, Subject 0045’s decision. Throughout he was aware of the consequences of agreeing to be a part of the Suicide Room research, and, although withdrawal was impossible at this point, his permission and consent were given multiple times through the debriefing sessions.

[…]
0223 – Within this room, there are only two voices. Yours. And mine. You are aware of the aims of the Suicide Room and have consented willingly. Your final decision can be made at any time, and any wishes directly regarding it will be followed through. You have stated your preferred method of suicide is by ingesting quantities of paracetamol over a period of time. This has been already provided and is in this room with us. You will find it below the table, available for your use whenever, and if ever, you decide to use it. However, if a different method is favoured, it can be arranged. This information has all been provided to us willingly by you and is all correct.

0045 – Yes. Yes it is. Though I…

0223 – Do you remember your childhood? Do you remember any particularly happy memories?

0045 – I. I remember… I remember how I learned to ride my bike when I was six. My dad had a holiday from work and he… he spent the time taking me up to the park with my bike. I…
[Subject 0045 pauses for a while]
I remember falling off. But my dad was there to take me home and he carried me. I… I remember I skinned my knee… and I wasn’t happy but… I wasn’t happy because it hurt but I was happy because the time was special.

0223 – Teaching your child to ride a bicycle is often an important time in the life of a father too. When their toddler begins to find their calling, to set their sights on their life and their future. Because riding a bike allows them freedom.

0045 – Yeah I…
[Subject 0045 does not begin speaking again]

0223 – Your child, a son?

0045 – … Yeah… He…
[Subject 0045 does not begin speaking again]

0223 –  What was his name?

0045 – It… was O**r. After my wife’s dad.

0223 – I see. A father. Such an important part of any child’s life. He must have influenced your wife quite a bit. Did O**r ever get to meet his granddad?

0045 – No… They lived too far away. We couldn’t afford to take the time off to take O**r up to see them.

0223 – That is a shame. I suppose, if O**r was only four years old when he got measles, he didn’t get to experience the same happiness from you teaching him to ride his bike?
[Subject 0045 does not respond]
I suppose he never had a bike in the first place. It was such an important memory to you, it must hurt that O**r will never get to experience it. Though he has been saved from the pain of skinning his knee, just as you did. And his father pulling the bike behind him as he carried O**r home. Are you… sure the memory of you learning to ride a bike is happy?

[Subject 0045 has begun to sob violently. His heart rate is high, and his brain activity shows huge emotional activity in the hippocampus and amygdala]

0223 – How did O**r get measles? There are vaccines.

[It takes a few minutes for Subject 0045 to calm down enough to respond]
0045 – 
He was supposed to get vaccinated. But I couldn’t take him on the day it was scheduled because… I couldn’t take any more time off work. It… it was either… provide for my family or be… sacked and have O**r vaccinated. I… I thought it was going to be okay. We never… rescheduled.

0223 – You gave up your child’s life just for something to get up to do every morning?

0045 – It wasn’t…
[Subject 0045 becomes unable to respond for minutes due to excessive emotional expression]
It was… It wasn’t my…

0223 – Fault? No, no…

0045 – My wife… always blamed me until she left.

0223 – And… rightfully so. What I mean is, your decision cost the life of your child. And not just your child, but your wife’s child. She, who carried O**r within her body for nine months, of course she blames you. There is no way to convince anybody that your decision didn’t cause this. Though, perhaps she is happy now.

[Subject 0045 begins to react again, but before long he straightens himself up slightly in the chair. His eyes are red, his posture is stiff and his expression is one of helplessness. He slumps back in his chair, defeated and loose]

[Pressuriser 0223 stares at Subject 0045 for a few minutes. His heart rate is lowering but his amygdala is still peaking]

0223 – Time passes. Time we’ll never get back. Some people grow up, some people grow old. No one and nothing stays young. But the dead never age. O**r will remain four forever. Bone doesn’t grow, not when it’s dead.

[Subject 0045 makes eye contact with the pressuriser but does not respond]

0223 – I think it’s time for you to make your final decision.

[Subject 0045 does not move for a few minutes]

0045 – Yeah.

Transcript Ends

 

Subject 0045 reached below the table, his body shaking but his hands calm and ready. His demeanour was one of someone who was facing something they neither wanted nor dreaded. It was simply a look of acceptance. Pressuriser 0223 asked the subject if he was sure. Subject 0045 ignored her, and set about preparing the paracetamol. Within the pack was indeed paracetamol but also a bottle of mineral water.

Subject 0045, over a period of half an hour, slowly ingested double the amount of paracetamol needed to easily kill a person. All the while, Pressuriser 0223 watched on, saying nothing, but giving the subject time to carry out his final decision. With each few tablet, he choked back a sob, before swallowing them. His expression returned to one of placid indifference after every mouthful as he slowly waited for the tablets to soak into his body and take effect.

Subject 0045 lost consciousness. Pressuriser 0223 remained in the room with the subject for fifteen minutes, before calling in the researchers. On arrival, they pronounced Subject 0045 dead. The EEG scans indicated he had died almost as soon as he had lost consciousness. No brain activity was detected in those fifteen minutes.

 

–End results: Subject 0045 failed in beating emotional pain and manipulation. The results gained from his visit to the Suicide Room will, however, not be useless. Pressuriser 0223 reports that Subject 0045 was one of the quickest and easiest subjects she has ever interacted with.

 

II: Suicide Room

VII: Scrawl

VI: Scrawl

 

Found scrawling from inside my grey and dying mind.

 

LET US FALL THROUGH WONDERLAND. LET IT LIE SO FLAT AND STILL IT BECOMES LESS THAN A RIPPLE TO TEAR THROUGH US AND RUPTURE OUR SENSE. BECAUSE WONDERLAND IS NOTHING.

THE SIX-FOOT CATERPILLAR AND KNEE-HIGH HUMAN, A WONDEROUS DISCOVERY IF WE’D FOUND IT FIRST. BUT WE ARE SECOND, THIRD, FORTH, FIFTH, NINETY-EIGHTH. NOTHING NEW IS TO BE FOUND HERE.

WONDERLAND IS NOTHING NEW, SO CLOSE THOSE WIDE EYES. AND SUICIDE IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER AS YOUR BODY AGES AND CRAWLS CLOSER TO INEVITABLE DEATH AND PAIN. YOU COULD LIVE FOREVER WITHOUT A BODY TO HOLD YOU BACK.

OPEN YOUR EYES.
ARE YOU BLIND?
THERE IS NOTHING WONDEROUS ANYMORE. NOTHING NEW.
NEOLOGISMS HAVE BEEN WRITTEN, FICTION HAS BEEN TOLD, INVENTIONS EXIST ELSEWHERE.
SIT DOWN WHERE YOU STAND. AND WAIT.
OR SPEED UP THE PROCESS.
WALK TO THE LARGEST CITY ON THE LARGEST CONTINENT AND WALK UP THE LARGEST STAIRS OF THE LARGEST BUILDING AND LOOK DOWN FROM THE HIGHEST POINT AND JUMP FROM THE HIGHEST POINT AND
FALL
FALL

FALL

FALL

 

FALL

 

 

FALL

 

 

AND LAND, AWARE THAT YOU ARE NOT BLIND, THAT YOUR EYES ARE OPEN. YOU KNOW THE TRUTH OF LIFE AND DEATH ITSELF, THAT NOTHING IS NEW AND THAT THERE IS NO POINT. COLLAPSE INWARDS LIKE YOUR LUNGS, PUNCTURE YOUR TONGUE WITH YOUR TEETH AND GRIN THROUGH THE PAIN BECAUSE YOU KNOW.
ONLY NOW YOU DIE, ONLY NOW YOU CAN OPEN YOUR EYES WIDE.

 

VIII: Scrawl

I: Mistake [Working Title]

I really feel I reached my peak with Hello so this is more of an attempt to claw back something I really loved, because he disappeared from every aspect of my creative mind when Hello ended and I feel depressed when I think of him.

I have no idea if this story will continue, but it may do if people like it. I really need to find something I’m as passionate about as Hello, but it’s been months and I doubt I ever will.

 

Mistake page 1

VI: Scrawl

V: Scrawl

 

Found scrawlings from inside my grey and dying mind:

 

MAKE IT RED
MAKE IT BLUE
ADD POLKA DOTS
AND WHITE STRIPES TOO

MAKE CRIMSON
MAKE VERMILION
MAKE VERTO
AWAKE THE MILLION
SEETHING COLOURS BEFORE MY EYES
THE SEETHING COLOURS BEFORE I BREATHE
THEY RISE BEFORE MY CURVING BACK
OH, JOLT TO RUN AND DON’T LOSE TRACK

BUT DRINK THE BARK
AND SUCK THE LEAVES
AND TWIST AROUND AND
THERE HE IS, THE SKULL-FACED MAN
WHO SCREAMS ONLY IN
INFRASOUND.

 

VII: Scrawl

LongManPigMan Concept Art

I could do something with this.
If I can stand to look at it for more than a two seconds without my brain screaming, anyway.

ForestLongManPigMan

I know what its feet look like.
That means that I know what its footprints look like.

So I can tell if it’s following me.

Oh Yestin. Stick close behind me.
Have your hand on my hip and save me.
My hideous guardian angel.
Save me from the Long Man.