01 Feb The God Experiment
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to play God?
Some questions should stay unanswered.
We selected seven individuals for the study. My colleague found it important to have a radical mixture of gender and sexual orientation. Discrete cameras were set up throughout the participants’ home and places of business. We instructed the subjects to proceed with their daily activities, normally, as if nothing had changed.
We then told our people a white lie.
We told them that a team of scientists would be working to alter their lives.
Allegedly, this group analyzed the recordings and applied subtle changes to the subject’s real-time routines. Each modification would be would be designed to improve personal productivity and overall contentment. We told subjects that they should not notice any differences, whatsoever. It could be as simple as a passerby saying hi. We also forbid all contact with us during this time.
The reality was that we did nothing.
We just watched.
In the interest of avoiding the ire of recent legal proceedings… I will avoid using last names.
I worked with a respected Sociologist; named Thomas, or Tommy, for short. Tom’s prestige in the industry secured our funding in the first place. I considered myself the intern. My job entailed ordering pizza, bringing coffee, and answering phones. Sometimes, Thomas allowed me to watch the cameras while he slept or left the building. Not a bad gig for a twenty-three-year-old kid with a sociology degree.
That changed soon after it started. My hatred for my job started when our first subject, Michael, began to behave erratically.
The biography listed him as Subject001, a straight white male, age twenty-eight. He stood at six feet three inches. He weighed one hundred and ninety pounds. He had dark brown hair, with a blemish on the upper right corner of his eyebrow. Mike did not have a girlfriend at the time. Thankfully, Tom considered that factor.
It did not take long for things to go haywire. On the second day of record-keeping… I caught Mike talking to himself in the middle of the night.
“I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to do it. Are you sure? I don’t want to do it.“
The noise nearly caused me to fall off my chair. The rest of the day had been silent. I checked the cameras twice but found no one else there. Thomas had left the building on another one of his errands. I texted him an alert just as Michael jumped out of bed on the infrared and walked to his door.
“Camera three. 001 is losing his marbles.”
Tommy walked into our makeshift laboratory a couple of minutes later. He wore a look of guarded excitement and an undersized white coat that barely covered his overstuffed belly. Crumbs on his jacket suggested that snacking had caused him to slack off next door. Yet again. Tom looked fascinated when he saw the screen. He watched the monitor over my shoulder like a parrot.
Michael banged his head against the wall. My colleague sounded downright giddy when he exclaimed –
“It’s happening. Record this, kid.”
I did not know what ‘it’ meant. But I followed orders. After about twenty head bangs, Michael stopped moving. We waited and watched for ten minutes. We checked his vitals. Somehow, Michael was not injured.
He only fell asleep.
It is an eerie feeling to watch a man on the verge of losing his mind. The curtains in his apartment fluttered nervously in the wind. Every few hours; Michael roused himself from sleep and checked the window nervously, then returned to his perch by the bedroom door. He repeated this trend a few times throughout the night. He didn’t get back in bed all evening.
The next day, Michael got a promotion.
We had nothing to do with it.
We watched the whole thing from a hidden cubicle camera. Michael’s boss sounded truly grateful. She considered Michael’s job performance to be worthy of recognition. To boot – the firm had been particularly successful that quarter. That meant a big bonus. The shit-eating grin on Michael’s face told us that he considered the experiment to be responsible.
Our subject got very drunk that night.
We did not capture the bar in our video feed. I did, however, catch his walk of shame home sometime around two in the morning. I adjusted the audio and found the guy talking to himself once again.
“I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to do it. Are you sure? I don’t want to do it.“
Michael walked into the apartment and flicked a light switch. The room remained quiet and empty. He repeated his favorite little phrase over and over again. He futzed around the living room in an apparent panic.
“I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to do it. Are you sure? I don’t want to do it.“
It annoyed me. To be honest – I started to doubt my colleague. Unstable subjects tend to skew results. I had not considered the more dire consequences at the time.
“Who is he talking to?” I asked. Tom didn’t answer.
Michael walked towards into the kitchen and grabbed a glass of water from the fridge. His movement seemed extremely erratic. The overall behavior reminded me of an animal with rabies, especially the way one leg dragged behind the other.
Suddenly, as if hearing something, Michael stopped and stared out the kitchen window. Water spilled all over the floor. Michael stayed in that position for five minutes.
Then, he offered one last line in the direction of the kitchen door.
“Are you sure?“
Then he sprinted outside without another word.
“Switch to camera four,” Tommy barked over my shoulder.
I did as I was told. I swear… that’s it. The memory of this still keeps me up at night.
Michael’s drunken shape came back into focus on the green grass of the apartment complex. The receiver taped to his chest captured rapid breathes as his haphazard footsteps traced a path that led in only one direction. Headlights and horns blasted only fifty feet away.
“Tom… this is a problem. This is a big fucking problem.”
I must have repeated that phrase a thousand times. But my pleas were ignored by my wide-eyed companion. I grabbed the office phone and quickly tried to find an emergency contact. All the while, Michael teetered in between traffic carelessly like a missing toddler.
“There’s nothing we can do,” Tom muttered. “What do you want me to say?”
Michael’s body exploded the moment it met the tractor-trailer.
He died that day.
Our benefactor compensated the family handsomely. Litigation was temporarily avoided. The God Experiment continued with the remaining subjects, uninterrupted, for five weeks.
The God Experiment’s second trial claimed a twenty-nine-year-old woman.
Her name was Caroline.
According to the bio, the subject stood at five feet, three inches. She weighed one hundred and thirty-five pounds. Caroline had dirty blonde hair that met mildly hazel eyes, with astigmatism affecting both lenses. Survey results indicated a surprising lack of romantic partners in the picture. Regardless, she was a female who pursued men, exclusively. That fact checked Tommy’s second box.
So entered Subject002.
Caroline lived alone in a small apartment close to home. She preferred it that way. The short distance made it easy to check on her mother, Jacklyn, twice a day. Jacklyn suffered from Stage II Breast Cancer, and the debilitating results of the chemotherapy just started to take effect around the time of our study. But, she never complained. Some had it worse. Her dad died from the same disease years back, and nobody wanted that.
Her brother was working now, and Caroline considered that a good thing. But, no one knew how long Shawn could stay employed. Minimum-wage positions tended to be seasonal. She told friends on the phone that the new job seemed lucrative but scary. What if something could happen to him? What if he died? If she lost either one, she might just lose her mind.
And so, late at night, Caroline prayed.
I liked to listen on the audio while Tommy snored in the hallway.
She asked God for the same things we all do. A game-changing cure for her mom, maybe, who started to look thinner every day. Perhaps her brother could land a manager position at that new store in town. “He has SO much potential!” she would say. Her voice rose slightly past a whisper every time she repeated that line. “Give him the strength to apply himself this time!“
Caroline also asked God when it would be time to meet a man worth the wait. That last one seemed a lot less important than the rest, though, and stayed noted as such in all prayers.
She repeated the routine every single night. Nobody ever answered.
That changed in the second week of our study.
Jacklyn had an important Doctor’s appointment in the morning. Her daughter stayed up late into the night with worry. She said seventeen prayers – six Hail Marys, six Our Fathers, and five personalized messages to the big man himself.
Somehow, the kid got something right.
Excitement overwhelmed the car’s audio the moment the two of them got back inside. Jacklyn spoke with an apprehensive tone at first.
“Wait… I can’t hear that doctor, he mumbles when he talks… the chemo actually worked?“
The backdrop of the corporate parking lot suddenly painted a beautiful scene. Mother and daughter embraced for several long moments. Static from their windbreakers corrupted the microphones for a moment. They both wiped tears from their eyes as they sat back in their seats.
“The chemo actually worked.” Caroline coughed a coupled times to clear her voice. “Doctor said you need some follow up scans… some new medicine, but… no more treatment!“
She paused and looked at her mother with admiration.
“You are in remission, young lady!“
I paused the video.
The moment caused me to tear up as well. The poor, battle-worn woman smiled brightly underneath her wig. She looked young again. I guess the recognition of salvation took off ten years. It was beautiful to see that something good happened, finally, in a string of so much bad.
Tommy appeared over my shoulder.
I did as told. We resumed the video a second later.
“Call your brother. He worries,” Caroline’s mother usually wore a gruff and unfriendly expression. But, today, nothing could contain the excited sparkle in those weary eyes. “And let’s get a drink!“
“Oh, he’s on speakerphone, he called us,” Caroline giggled. “Shawn, can you hear us?“
A confident, young male voice crackled through the secondary audio.
“Guess who just became a full-timer?“
Both of Caroline’s wishes came true that same day.
And so, the family celebrated well into the night. They chose a restaurant on the outskirts of town. We did not have this location on our camera feed. I hope they had a good time.
Once again, our cameras caught a drunk subject stumbling home after hours. I was alone at the time. When I enhanced the audio, her nervous voice caused my blood ran cold.
“Are they okay? Okay. Are they okay? Okay. Are they okay? Okay.“
Caroline mumbled the words on a loop like a depressing song.
“Are they okay? Okay. Are they okay? Okay. Are they okay? Okay.“
Tommy promised his wife a real dinner for the first night in who knows how long. I promised to cover. I called and texted him about a thousand times.
“Subject002. Same symptoms. We cannot let this fucking happen again. Answer the fucking phone, Tommy.”
I did not receive a response.
Caroline teetered around her family run in confused stutter step. She repeated her new phrase to the empty room a few more times. The whole thing seemed bizarre – too bizarre for just a crazy night of drinking. I did not think drugs could have been involved, at least, not voluntarily. The girl didn’t even keep alcohol in the house.
After five minutes, Caroline walked to the door and stepped into the rain. The temperature read forty-three degrees Fahrenheit. She did not have shoes, a sweater, or a hat.
I swapped through views as quickly as possible in order to catch up. After a few moments, the second camera found our subject in her backyard. A dusty cornfield sat on the corner of the rural property, and Caroline walked towards it slowly.
She did not look worried or appear to be in a rush. The mic caught cool, calm, and collected breaths through the rain. In fact, for the first time in the entire experiment, she seemed at peace. Blood pressure and vitals lowered to healthier levels. Her pulse did not indicate any issues.
Caroline reached the edge of the cornfield before long. She turned and took one last look towards the house, and smiled. Part of me still feels like she smiled at the camera.
Without warning, a blunt object struck her head from behind.
I sat dumbfounded and helpless as a blurry shape dragged our subject away. The audio caught one last line before the mic fell into the maze.
“Are they okay? Okay.“
Subject002 is still missing to this day.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to watch seven lives fall apart on camera?
Picture yourself on a train ride over a mountain covered in ice. You can hear the avalanche. A monotonous rumble of shifting rocks and billowing snow overloads the cold air. That noise can only mean one thing, right? You are sure Death is coming. But no one in the carriage screams. No one is crying. Instead, it’s calm and quiet. Right up until the end.
Subject003 was a transgender male named Courtney.
According to our biography, the participant stood five feet, six inches. He weighed one hundred and fifty pounds. In the photograph; dark, unblemished skin met stylish black hair shaved short on one side. Courtney was in a relationship, with a female, but the happy couple had not moved in together. I considered camera placement to be ideal inside the cramped studio apartment.
From an early age, Courtney exhibited clear signs that birth did not match the right body. Early onset identity crises led to complexities, including depression and anxiety, that went untreated throughout the teenage years. That madness ended when medical professionals took corrective measures to implement a lifelong dream. He worked a high paying job in the healthcare industry, and held a padded HSA, to boot. He paid for the whole procedure on himself. Even still, Courtney’s parents ceased all communication. That fact haunted him.
Courtney never considered himself religious. Survey results indicated that identification with a few major concepts. He believed in ‘a’ God. He believed in judgment and punishment, and some sort of peace in the end for us all. Like everybody, Courtney had his own issues with the Big Man or Big… Lady. On the topic of omnipotence, he wrote;
“If there is a puppet master, I am His missing string.“
I found that sort of dark. But, he still prayed for some things. The messages delivered by his bedside in the dark of night were to no one in particular. Each offering began with something like,
“I don’t know if anybody is listening, but…“
Because it felt safer that way. Easier not to Damn yourself with One if you got a chance with Another. He prayed for his family to talk to him again. He prayed for acceptance. He prayed for his little sister’s health, and another promotion, and better medication, and less makeup. But most of all, he asked for something most may be able to understand. He prayed for enough money to make his girlfriend a wife and start a life.
In the second week of our study, things seemed to be heading in the right direction. A late night conversation in the bedroom with Samantha broached the topic of marriage. His little sister, Sarah, texted often and claimed she felt fine. The course of his career continued to trend upwards, and bonus season claimed another happy participant.
However, we began to notice similar symptoms the Tuesday after Subject002 went missing. Courtney’s mother called that morning.
The conversation started pleasant enough. She talked about herself, mostly. The gossip at the library, favorite television shows… the usual. However, the topic eventually led to where it always did; her father’s drinking problem.
Dad must have heard that last part when he walked by. He offered one soul-crushing bit of advice into the receiver while Mom tried to escape the room.
“Tell my little girl, I say hello.”
Tom and I were both in the office at that time. The results of that single sentence were almost too horrible to bear. Courtney was in his car and approaching a bridge. The phone line disconnected… but he still screamed into it anyway.
“Mom? Dad? That’s it? You have nothing fucking else to say to me? Why did you even fucking call me? Why do you do this to me?!“
The line beeped without sympathy.
Something inside the poor man’s eyes looked dead inside. It did not require 720p video inside the dash cam to properly characterize the look of defeat and utter anguish. I wanted to help him but, as always… there was no time. Plus, the rules of The God Experiment forbade interaction.
Tommy looked ready to make an exception when Courtney pulled over and got out of the car. We switched cameras. Our participant stood on the narrow sidewalk and stared into the distance for a couple of minutes. Then he walked forward. Fog had started to pour in at that altitude. Rain had drifted in and out of the area all evening. Quietly, Courtney began to whisper one line on loop. Just like all the others.
“I am Your missing string. I am…. I’m just Your Missing string. Heh. I am Your missing string. IamYourmissingstring.“
Tommy appeared really worried at that moment. He grabbed his cell phone and furiously thumbed a text to a number I did not recognize. Then he reached over and paused my video, and instead pointed to an opposite monitor. Camera4 showed the inside of the car.
“What the fuck is that?” he asked.
It was impossible to see any features. But one fact seemed clear. A black shape sat very still in the back seat, at about medium height. After a few moments, the door opened beside it, and something exited in the opposite direction. We frantically adjusted the cameras to get a view. But there was no one else in sight.
I resumed the video and checked on Courtney. He dangled carelessly off a steel support beam as I repeated my favorite slew of curses. The cold, hard ground several hundred feet below did not seem to be worrying to anybody but Tom and me.
“Where do all the missing strings go?” Courtney asked our audio feed.
Then, he slipped off his shirt. He unattached the microphone. He finished one final sashay around the pole.
Then Subject003 took a dramatic swan dive into the below.
I still wonder about his question. I don’t think anybody really knows.
Michele was a transgender female who never quite adjusted to the cameras in her home.
That fact alone made her much smarter than the rest.
It is an unmistakable and itching feeling to be watched. Some people recognize it better than others. The sensation can creep through your guts like a virus. It makes all those little hairs on your neck stand on end. Survival instincts implore human beings to seek shelter in these situations. It is always best to avoid the eyes of the hunter. But, what if there is no way to be sure of safety? What if the lion has eyes in every corner of the jungle?
Subject004’s survey indicated a hermit-like behavior. She had few family and friends. Her employer was an online blog that allowed employees to work from home. The topics of conversation for this site were nothing short of the usual dog shit you see in National Enquirer and similar publications. Popular headlines included;
“Woman marries alien!”
“Bigfoot kept lumberjack as love slave!”
And more of the usual attention seeking crap. The more absurd, the better. Michele had been with the company for nearly ten years. Her articles on conspiracy theories built a reputation that stretched across the country. Nevertheless, a layoff at corporate headquarters claimed her job in the second week of our study.
As with past participants, our video caught all the gory details.
Our subject cried in bed for days. She did not leave her apartment for a week. Doctor appointments stayed canceled, groceries were delivered to the house, and the few friends remaining offered nothing outside a few half-hearted text messages.
So it goes.
Michele pursued the employment market relentlessly. Personally, I thought this indicated a willingness to take life more seriously. The resume compiled online looked impressive to my untrained eyes. She called and begged several other companies that claimed to be hiring. She filled out a million applications online. But, I suppose the job market is tough for the type of person who once wrote that her landlord is a lizard. Most newspapers insisted on more serious experience. A few fellow blog sites openly laughed during interviews on the phone.
The windfalls of hope and repeated disappointment became tough to watch. All of these factors added up left Michele at home, all day, alone.
She turned to alcohol somewhere around the third week. Tommy blamed the strange behavior that followed on her excessive drinking. I remained unconvinced. The warning signs that I had come to identify seemed to be repeating themselves in Subject004. One hungover morning, Michele moved a chair into a blind spot in the kitchen. She sat there for four hours. The entire apartment stayed quiet during this time.
When Michele emerged, she seemed suspicious of everything from the cat to her own shadow. She searched the apartment endlessly for something, and that made us worry. During setup, Tom etched one of our cameras into the wood of her nightstand. Sure enough, she found it, after tearing the whole room apart.
She talked to us openly from that point on.
That revelation certainly affected our test results. But, as always, our responsibility stayed the same. Interference and correction did not present itself as an option. We were only observers.
The camera became a prop in Michele’s bout of self-destruction. She carried that and a bottle of Jack Daniels everywhere. She talked to both as if live streaming. Most of the messages were incoherent and similar to the nonsense she used to pedal for a living.
“Reporting live from the kitchen, water has turned a mysterious brown color. Back to you, Doc.”
“Reporting from the bedroom. Something is scratching underneath my floor. Can you guys hear that?”
“Reporting from the den. Someone is outside my door. Is that one of you?”
Nothing I saw or heard onscreen confirmed her theories. However, my concern started to get more serious when Michele refused to sleep. Two days without rest turned to three, and four, and five. Her behavior became manic. On several occasions, I caught her staring at the walls for hours at a time.
Soon enough, Michele found the remaining cameras. She took to hiding in blind spots that made it impossible for me to see her after that. The frequency and length of the live streams radically decreased. I hoped that where-ever she went, Michele finally found some sleep. The apartment was always very quiet during that time. There were no other voices inside.
One morning many days later… someone knocked at the apartment door.
Michele had not been outside in two weeks.
Tom snored so loud in the lab that I almost missed it. The knock started out quiet and unassuming. After a few unanswered raps, it grew more aggressive, until it soon became an absolute pounding that stirred my colleague from his sleep and caused Michele to sprint into my line of sight in a panic.
“Do you guys hear it now?”
“What do I do?”
I had no idea. Tom pulled out his phone again. He had a block on the device that obscured my vision from the side. I asked him angrily about the text messages. He started to answer me just as Subject004 walked over to the door.
“Shit. She cannot answer that door,” he muttered instead.
Michele could not hear us. She looked through the peephole neurotically. Then she shrugged her shoulders, caught a quick nervous breath, and unlocked the chain.
“Why don’t we have visibility in the hallway?” I asked, fearing the answer. It came a second later.
Gunfire erupted into our headphones. A bullet caught Subject004 in the head. I knew immediately that our Michele was dead.
She did not even have time to scream.
Tom pulled the plug from every computer, monitor, and power grid in the lab. Video and audio disappeared in kind. He fired off a few more rapid-fire messages. In a few short moments, the God Experiment fell completely offline. His next words removed any doubt in my mind.
“We have to help the remaining subjects. We are running out of time.”
God found me in the middle of a hurricane.
We were absolutely flying down an ill-advised stretch of I-95. Storm warnings vibrated the phones in our pockets like a pair of dildos. That evening, the roads stayed slick with white waves of spitting rain and bits of black ice that stuck to the asphalt like butter. I clung to the steering wheel and kept my eyes on the road, but still begged my friend to fill me the fuck in.
“Who were you texting? What is going on? Where are we going? SAY SOMETHING.“
Tom tore his eyes from the phone and finally turned to face me.
“How do you think we have any money?”
I stared blankly. I had never really considered the fact. Studies always had donors. It could be anybody. Individuals, institutions, companies, or organizations. As long as all they followed the letter of the law. Which we did not.
My colleague flicked my forehead like an asshole. I swatted his hand away and tried to focus on the road.
“Who do you think paid for all the computers in the back seat? Or the lab we sit in every day? How about the extremely expensive video equipment we used to monitor five individuals the weeks they were murdered?”
“Five? Priyanka is…?“
Tom guffawed at my apparent stupidity.
“Take the next exit.”
I did as told. The dripping water through the window made me shiver involuntarily.
“I did it myself this time,” he mumbled. “Better that way… for a dissident. Nothing but a little arsenic in her girlfriend’s peppered chicken.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?” I asked. “You have to talk to me, man. I’m the one driving.“
Tom took one long look at me before he finally sighed and replied.
“There is a man behind the curtain, Justin. There always is. We need to get away from Him.”
A massive oak tree fell from the side of the road.
It landed about twenty feet ahead. That should have given me enough time to stop. But the breaks in my car screeched unevenly. I did my best to swerve, and so… we did not crash immediately. Tom had time to offer one final line in the chaos before wooden splinters ripped apart the paneling of my mid-sized SUV.
“There is always a man behind the curtain.”
The next few moments in my memory is a mixture of broken glass and hurling objects. I can remember the tumbles pretty clearly. One, two, three, four, five suspensions of gravity in total. seat belts kept both of us stationed securely to the vehicle, but the same could not be said for the piles of electrical equipment.
The good news was that the last turnover put the car right-side up. The bad news was that we were in the middle of a New Jersey swamp. And Tom was losing a lot of blood.
He faded in and out of consciousness. My arm felt broken. Nonetheless, adrenaline allowed me to pull my colleague from the car and lay him down on the hill. My middle-class pipe dream sunk into two feet of mud with all of our equipment. We were stuck. The accumulating rain made it impossible to drag ourselves up.
I tried to stop Tom’s bleeding with my t-shirt. That was about as successful as trying to stop a spout with a pin. The worst wound the old man sustained struck his wrinkled, old head. Red bits of skin and flesh poked through my white shirt. The pulsing scrape seemed up the rain all the same.
I don’t think he had much time left. I do think the integrity of that moment made him reconsider a few things in life.
“He would have tortured her.”
The words again made me feel cold inside.
“Why? Who is He? Why does he care? I don’t understand… Tom, why would you kill one of our subjects?“
“It was just like going to sleep.”
A pair of headlights arrived by the side of the road soon after. I could barely see the figure that gracefully slid down the embankment. He wore an impeccable black suit that fit his thin and agile form flawlessly. I waved and called out,
“There is a man dying here.“
But He did not reply. The rain started to erode the embankment we were lying upon. The shadow in the suit watched me struggle to hold up Tom’s body with a broken arm and a couple of cracked ribs. He snorted audibly and said,
“Good evening to you both,” in an awkwardly confident tone.
I tried to reply back. Help had arrived. I thought we were saved. But, before I could, the man Tommy once called God shot him two times in the stomach. Then there was only one subject remaining in the study.
I wished I wasn’t alive.
That’s such a bullshit statement these days. What do the kids call it? Basic? The very same line could be applied to waiting in the doctor’s office with a common cold, or sneezing in someone’s face, or using the restroom in a public place. It just doesn’t mean anything, anymore, you know? Exaggeration and veneer have taken the guts out of the very words meant to imply the severity of my situation.
Truthfully, now. Let’s try that again. I wished I was not alive.
If you thought the Devil capable of immense torture, then God will almost certainly offer you a pleasant surprise. He brought me somewhere inside. The drugs that coursed through my veins in an IV were unlike anything I had ever experimented with in college. Pain became something to rest my hat on when breathing was no longer a required chore. The shapes inside my teeming space blended together like three white rabbits shuffling through a surgery room. I felt insanity grip the corners of my brain and hold it tight like a vice. I prayed to Death through gritted teeth and begged him to visit that night.
But He didn’t.
Tommy knew about this fate. His last words told me everything I needed to know.
There is always a man behind the curtain.
“I would like to talk about The God Experiment.”
Through all the chaos of pain and pounding vibrations in my body, I could hear the voice as clear as could be. It boomed and resonated throughout the hollow room as if on echo. I spoke back as a humble servant prepared to meet my maker.
“Subject005 is a little lady named Priyanka. She is a twenty-five-year-old, bisexual female…“
A white rod of lightning intercepted my mind.
“Subject005 was killed by Subject 6, Tommy…“
The pain grew worse. God did not like my answer. I asked him why. His response was to draw a deep breath and let out an overwhelming sigh.
“The kid’s too loopy. This is not working. We will have to try again later.”
I looked around the room and tried to take in my surroundings. The walls were stained with waves of brown water damage and growing mold. The floor felt concrete. My bare feet were tied up to the legs of a rickety wooden chair. I shook it nervously.
“Fuck!” God screamed in annoyance. “This is not the plan. This is not the fucking plan.”
A female voice called out from somewhere in the background.
“Life never fits the plan, Diego. But, you were the handler on this one. Your fuck-up.”
A third deep tone murmured its support. Diego’s reply seemed angry. I did not know why.
“His memory is supposed to wipe. The Feds tested it years ago. Hell, we have used these same drugs on Subject006 for six years. Is it too soon?”
The female voice sounded downright cocky when she replied.
“Not too soon. Just doesn’t always work the way you want.”
Their voices converged in a cacophony of whispers too difficult to understand. Somewhere underneath all of the horrible things churning inside of me, clarity approached.
“You’re not God,” I offered the words to the room in a daze.
“Oh, now he gets it!”
The male voice laughed again.
Then he punched me in the mouth.
“Haven’t you heard? The State is God.”
The G-Man looked at the bruise on his fists while I spit a pool of blood in his direction. It all added up in that moment. The subjects were dissidents. They were destined to die because our government wanted them dead. Our purpose in The God Experiment was only to ensure death came at the right time.
“We have to kill him. The Attorney General…”
The lady cut off her partner.
“The AG doesn’t have to know anything.”
They both paused.
“Do you hear that?”
I took the momentum of the moment to throw my chair to the floor. The struggle that ensued did not favor my side. I broke the legs and managed to scurry free. But soon enough, the third giant crow wrapped his arms around my arms while the other two punched me.
When Tom dropped burst through the unlocked door to our room… I outright laughed at his sheer stupidity.
The fat man was covered in blood. It dripped from his head and lab coat like an absurd, C-rated horror movie. However, his next few actions were nothing short of heroic. Without them, I would not be alive to tell this story today.
Thank the Lord – Tom brought a big old gun with him.
Two bullets caught my attackers immediately. The third let go of me just before Tom shot him in the knee. I stumbled out of the room and escaped the scene of the crime just in time. Tom caught one more bullet himself that night. He died alongside the same men that ruined his life.
* * * * * *
The government selected seven subjects from radically different backgrounds. Their names were Mike, Caroline, Courtney, Michele, Priyanka, Tommy, and…
The reason behind multiple genders and orientation seems pretty simple. Our handlers wanted to prove a point during this run of the God Experiment. Everyone is vulnerable, at any time. Anyone can be ‘taken care of’ outside the public eye. The subjects we watched were targeted for execution by the same government that collects their taxes. And so, there is no more apt description for our commanders in chief.
The State is God.
If you ask for more answers… I am afraid they are short in supply. For the past six months, I have been forced to hide, and I do not know why the Feds allow me to be alive. I can feel their eyes every time I go to bed. Just before I submitted this final update, the camera on my laptop flicked to red.
The State is watching me. They are watching you, too.
I only wanted someone else to see.