Are you Human?
The first thing I knew was this whiny sound. Hrm-Hrm-Hrm. Then a bright light, almost as bright as the sun. When I woke up, the light had gone, and I was on a white cotton sheet. In here. Don’t get me wrong, a concrete box, with concrete floor... very minimalist. Not where I want to spend my life.
And the scalpels.
Well, actually, it wasn’t the scalpels that was the really bad thing. It was the noise. Hrm-Hrm-Hrm. Always the noise. Sometimes it would stop for a moment. But it always started again. Sometimes my stomachs rumblings drowned it out. Then, every couple of hours a man would walk past me, ask me the question.
And I would answer it. And he would shake his head, angry? No, not angry. Maybe disappointed. He would shake his head in disappointment, and walk out, his feet tapping against the concrete floor. Sometimes, he did not come for three hours, but always, sooner or later the question.
There is no one else in this concrete box.
`No one but me, and even I am not really here. You tell me, why would anyone end up in a place like this being asked if they are human, and every time, every single time, telling the questioner the answer. No. No I am not human. No, I am an animal.
The first week was the worst. The second week was not so bad. By the third week, I was mad, angry, ready to beat the questioner into a pulp. He walked across the room, and I bunched my fingers into a fist, and with all my might tried to get up.
He looked down at me and smiled. Are you human? No.
Sometimes I try to edge myself out of the bed, turning myself on my side. Sometime, I almost succeed. But the invisible shield forces me back, forces me to lie on my back, helpless.
Why am I here? Sometimes, I can get a flash of remembrance. Sometimes, I see myself – no – no, it is not possible. What I see is not real. It can’t be real. I see myself strangling him. I see myself –
Are you human? No.
My mind hides itself, struggles to slide away, and every time I try to remember it slips a little. But, I have all the time in the world. I remember. I remember killing, the anger, the fear – my inner being watching what I was doing, as calm as can be, while the outside of my mind does speechless evil.
And I know why I can never leave this peace now.
The doctor comes again, looks down at me, his face blank. He will let me go if I choose. The sound of the treatment machine fills my mind, a dreadful hum. He will forgive me, if only I forgive myself.
He asks me the question. Am I human?
He steps back, down the concrete path, towards his machines, and turns the dial right up.