Hello everybody. This is a scary tale I wrote a year ago in spanish (Esto no es un sueño), and now I present it to you in english. I apologize for any mistake I could make: if that's the case, please let me know, it's the only way for me to improve. I hope you'll enjoy this one.
NOT A DREAM
Where am I? What place is this? How did I arrive here? My name is...I'm ... I'm not sure... my name is... I am.. I have to remember. Well, sooner or later it will come to me, let's wait. I've got a terrible headache, as if I had embers behind my eyes. Who's there? Why do they torture me in such a ruthless way? Leave me alone! I need to rest for a while, but those blinding lights dont let me fall asleep. I try to close my eyes, but I can't feel my eyelids; I mean, it's like if I hadn't eyelids at all. I can't even touch them. That's enough, please! I have to remember, but there's too much cofusion in here; with all that incandescent lava flowing. I can't cocentrate! It's too hot in here! The eruption,.. I can't tell what moment it will happen. The answer is «inconclusive». Don't ask me again, the answer will remain the same every time. I have no data enough. What happened to me? There was some people around me, they were leaving and saying goodbye at the doorstep... No, wait a minute, it was before... Before what? I was at a party, I was celebrating something I can't remember, there were so many faces... I know them, but I can't remember their names. They are laughing, I am laughing too, but it makes no sense for me. I have no idea whether it's related to this place or not, or if there's any relationship at all. No! Here they are once again. Those things have come back! They are biting me. Go away! Leave me alone, please! I'll go mad if I can't get rid of all this darkness that surrounds me. Those things are horrible, they agitate in the dark. I know they are there, they are waiting for something. Why do you want to scare me this way? Those spotlights. You're hurting me. Where are my hands? Who does have them? I used to have hands, arms, teeth, feelings... Now, I was coming back home, sure enough..., I was coming back home, my home. Where are my wife and children? What have you done to them? I want them back! Can't you hear me? Aaaagh! That's enough, it hurts! I need to sleep. Will somebody make this dog shut up? He doesn't stop from barking, and tomorrow I have to wake up early in the morning. Can't you understand it? This probability is wrong; not this way. The mathematical model... I'm going to get off the road. I can't find the brakes. My arm hurts. Surely, I had a heart attack while I was driving. Am I dead? Yes, it seems very likely to me. I'm dead. So, am I in hell? Let's see. Have you done anything really wrong in your life? Don't say nonsenses, everybody makes mistakes! If I'd know my name, maybe I could remember, regret whatever I did, before it's too late, and get away from this place, go back home. Why do you show it to me? I can't stand up this anymore, I don't want to see it, Don't show it to me again! I must remember and, the moment I know what I did, I'll apologise and somebody will listen to me, they'll have to let me go, set me free. I don't know how to calculate that integral, the square root, one point seven, one, three, seven, seven, three, nine, two. I've got a pretty headache, though I don't know where my head is. The cubic root squared, three pi squared. The constant. There is no reason why I must be here, I haven't done a thing. I just want to sleep, only a bit, a few hours will do, but they don't stop from dragging me, they force me to keep going on and I have to run and run all the time. That building, the pillar 27 A, two seven nine. Who are those "they"? That woman, I had nothing to do with it, it can't be the reason why they sent me to this place. I was just a child, why should I feel guilty for that accident, I'm not guilty. I'm just an ordinary man. It's really cold in this emptyness. No, I can't be dead. I'm too young yet. What a silly idea! I know: the heart attack I had; may be it's all a vision, because of the medication, or because my brain has insufficient blood supply, it gets no blood enough in it to work properly. I hope they will not let me in this condition for a long time, I'd hate to end up in bed for all my life or something. Yes, it must be the medical treatment. They must be operating me, and I was influenced by panic. Hell! What a crazy idea! You thought you were going to stay here "for ever and ever". Don't be absurd! And, now that I've mention it, how long have I been here? I'm so tired... I'm really exhausted of calculating all the time. Those terrifying images, the eyes that look at me from the dark, drawing up their plans against me. They are there, I can tell. Why don't they go out from darknes, so I can see them? It's funny, all my body hurts but it's like if I hadn't one. I can't feel the ground beneath my feet. Fire, it's fire again, I'm burning! Seven, seven, two, nine. The answer is "NO". Please, stop, please, I can't go on. What's my name? Why did you steal my memories. Here they are again! Mom, is this you? Why are you here? Please, don't go! Wait a little more! That kitten, it is our kitten, Tris! we called him Tris! Integral, square rootof x-1...
–Something strange is happening, doctor Santos; it's like if the specimen were offering some resistance. It's behaving in an unexpected way. Maybe we should suspend the experiment–said doctor's Santos assistant, while scrutinizing the grafic on the screen; the steep and abrupt changes in it, it's sharp and sawtooth-like shape, suggested him that something was wrong with the experiment.
–Nonsenses!–answered doctor Santos with a definitely scornfull tone and obviously annoyed at such a ridiculous suggestion–have you checked the electrode contacts. Sometimes, the liquid in wich the brain is floating can damage the contacts and change their conductivity. The circuit is very sensitive to electricity fluctuations, you know it perfectly.
–Yes, I know it perfectly well–the way doctor Santos had questioned his professional ability had deepley offended him, so he added–And, yes, I have checked the contacts in all the cerebral lobes. I can tell you they are in a perfect condition.
–And, did you check the temperature of the tank? We wasted the brain we experimented with last time, because of an inappropriate temperature control.
–Gauge was stuck. Nothing's wrong with the temperature. I tell you it's not the trouble. Something is happening within the sample. The programmed mathematical problems are transmitted by the computer right to the brain tissue without a problem. All that I'm saying is that the brain refuses to work as planned.
–What are you trying to mean? Come on, tell me. You have been trying to say something for weeks. There's a silent reproche you don't dare to say aloud. Are you a yellow belly, doctor Suárez? Tell me!–
–OK. If you insist... I'm fed up with this. My figures suggest that a residual activity remains in the brain into the tank, something related to the person it was once. And I don't think it's right to experiment with it.
–You don't know it at all, you can't assert it absolutely–doctor Santos cried, threatening him with his finger as if he tried to unload all his anger on it–Don't dare to put the future of this scientific project in risk. We are about to understand and simulate the way a brain works. The day computers think, like you and me do, they'll be creative. ¿Are you going to destroy it, are you going to stop a leap like that? Think about it before you answer!
–Is it all you are concerned about? Now, think about this: if the brains we are working with, keep being somehow the persons they were once, when they were still alive, what a terrible thing we are doing by stimulating it's electrical activity! Maybe they are reviving. I just can't even imagine how terrible it could be. How many years have been that brain connected to a computer, calculating night and day?–Doctor Suárez exclaimed, pointing to a tank, with a brain floating in it, surrounded by a net of cables connected to a computer.
–It would be hell–Doctor Santos said gloomyly–, but I don't want to think of this.
–Of course not. You'd loose financing and prestige, and you'd have to resign.
–If you hesitate to continue, you can give up right now. You can be sure I'll find esealy someone else to replace you. There are hundreds of candidates as brilliant as you are, ready to go to the finish line, someone capable of developing the entire thing, not so whitehearted.
For a while, Doctor Suárez hesitated. He looked arround and, slowly, as a man who has been deeply disappointed, he took off his gloves, droped them into the trash bag, then took off his leather apron, his white coat and, perfectly calm, he said: "Of course I'm leaving; right now. And you can bet to this: everybody will know about what's happening here." Doctor santos stared at him with a frightening look in his eyes, but he couldn't see it, because he had turn arround and he had began to walk out. Doctor Santos said something quietly –that his former assistant could not hear– as he took a scalpel that was on the table. "Don't be so confident about it. Everything's gonna be all right again whit a new brain to experiment with. You'll see."
Not a Dream by Carlos Olalla Linares is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.