A spotlight shines down illuminating an elderly man in a brown pinstripe tuxedo. Three fingers in his tiny left breast pocket, and a silver pen held aloft in front of his grey eyes. He swayed his arm left, and back to the right, then tapped the air with his pen releasing a spark of green light. He opens himself up, embracing the darkness encircling his spotlight.
“Welcome to paradise, a world where your dreams will never come true,” he says proudly, voice clear and concise, it carries throughout the room and down the stations corridors before being consumed by the sound of hot air banging in the vents. Rats scurried about in the walls, screeching, and scratching, sending a shiver down the old gentleman’s spine. The noise settled, and he returned to a more relaxed posture. Three fingers in his left breast pocket, and a silver pen ready to conduct an orchestra in the dark.
“My name is Doctor Erik von Liechtenstein, but, if you call me that,” he looks around, blind to the audience, “then I will feed you to my rats.” He put the silver pen in his mouth, inhaled deep, then exhaled a white smoke, and smiled. “To you, I am just The Doctor.”
He flicked his pen and a green light mimicking ashes fell to the ground. Stepping out of the spotlight, The Doctor looked down to his polished black, no longer shining, shoes. He took another drag from his pen, then balled up his hand around it. He looked to the ceiling and proceeded to shout, “Marvin!” he shook his fist in the air, “I programmed you for one job! Just one fucking job! Keep the damn light on me!”
The light squeaked while it swiveled passed empty chairs, passed a metallic wall, over a messy desk, before it finally settled over The Doctor once again. He shook his head, sucked on his pen, then he took a step and the light followed.
“Good,” he said. “Next time, I will disassemble you, and launch you out into deep space.”
The Doctor breathed a sigh of disbelief. He straightened his vest, adjusted his tie, and began a slow pace. Ten steps towards the north wall, spun around on his heals, and ten steps towards the south wall.
“Where was I?” he asked himself. “Oh, right. I remember.” He took pause and gracefully held his palm out to the dark room, “Welcome to the rings of Tartarus,” and he resumed his anxious wandering.
“As I have already stated, I am The Good Doctor. A scientist, the Chief Science Officer aboard this… station, the locals call it The Nexus. Yuck,” he spit on the floor. “Anyway. I, The Good Doctor, happen to be the greatest scientist on this world we call Tartarus. I also happen to be the only reputable scientist on this insane planet. I did create this world; the only competition is the most high and mighty. It took me a lot longer than six days I tell you.” He kissed his pen and pointed it toward the Heavens.
“When your greatest competition created the Universe, it can bring the best… and worst out of Man.”
The Doctor looked out of his selfish circle to the invincible audience with a smile. “If the idea of a creator offends you, then you may leave, NAY, you may look upon me as your creator. I promise, your life will be as I intend it to be.”
The station shook, Marvin fell over pulling the spotlight with him. The door slid open and a shadow figure stood in its place. The lights of the room flickered to life, revealing a clusterfuck of a mess in an office. Books, disorganized and piled high all around, a beautiful mahogany wooden desk hiding under junk tucked away in a corner, and a dozen antique folding chairs assembled to face The Doctor. He halted, furled his brows, and reached out to simulate strangling a handful of broken mannequins, which were set in the chairs to simulate a small audience for his madness.
As he opened his mouth to chastise, the shadow in the door emerged and became a cream skinned robot wearing a maid’s outfit. She approached The Doctor but was brought to a complete stop by his emotive hand. “Sorry for the interruption Erik,” she bowed, “but, our guests have arrived.”
“What do you mean, our guests have arrived? They are sitting right there,” he points at the mannequins.
“Sorry, I will send the shuttles away immediately,” she bowed and turned to leave, but again, was halted by The Doctor.
“WAIT! Wait. Wait wait,” he said whilst he stroked his sharp, thinning goatee, staring at the lifeless dolls. “Your right.” He glided across the black tile and got close enough to her that his breathe left a fog over her blue lenses. He gently placed his pen hand on her shoulder, one finger laying down at a time, and he whispered, “activate the Orphan Project.”
“Doctor, even to you my dear.”
“Are you sure? We still haven-“she was cut off by a hard tap on her forehead.
“Do as I tell you. When your done, bring our newly arrived intruders to the holodeck,” he waved her away.
She bowed, swiveled at the hips, legs followed, then left the office.
“Marvin! Clean up this pigsty. When you are finished, meet me in the atrium, I have a gift waiting for you there.
The rusty robot saluted, The Doctor nodded, and he left the room.
A ball of light parts and dances on the fringe of the Universe. A woman floats along on nothing, motionless, enjoying the show. She is a body of light, a lost soul, and this corporeal form of hers has been lost here for an eternity. Memories of a past life faded long ago. She often wonders if this is death. No my dear, this is purgatory, and for you, this is only the beginning.
A grey dot appeared beyond the streams of playful light. As it grows, the streams of light scatter and fade away, blending with the dark cosmos of the Universe. She squinted for a better view, and just like that, a long paralysis, cured, touched by the hand of God, replaced by thousands of pins and needles stabbing viciously at every nerve, joint, tendon, muscle, and organ. She jerked violently, her stomach turned and a searing bile burned its way out into the void before her.
The spicey scent of cinnamon filled her stale nostrils. Her body trembled, slow to relax. Cold air returned to her shriveled lungs. She opened her teary eyes and before her loomed a massive beast. It resembles a great humpback whale with the tentacles of a giant squid in place of fins. Behind the beast, it left a trail of black ink. She felt euphoric in the face of this creature, so much so, she felt compelled to reach out and place a hand on its nose.
Her blue eyes light up space around the pair, her tears wash space clean, and the stars came out from hiding, igniting beautiful red, blue, and green nebulas. The beast excreted more black ink which encapsulated the duo. It pressed its nose into her chest deep, tight against her beating heart, washing away the girl’s pain. Her damp black hair felt warm pressed against her face in the loving embrace of the beast. Her hair tickled its nose.
The inhale of the beast was so powerful that even with all her might, she couldn’t push herself free from its grip. It sneezed, and suddenly, she found herself being ejected from the cockpit of a starfighter.
“SCARLEEETT!” a woman screamed.
The starfighter crashed into an asteroid, and a white foam expanded from Scarlett’s chest filling the space around her. A helmet, now wrapped around her head, and a radio now screeched in her ears, obscene travesties, and Scarlett hugged her head, trying to squish the pain away. Soon, though, the noise settled into a more pleasant, pulsating, ringing. From antagonizing to freshly restored, her senses calmed, so too did the spider foam encircling her, settling into a translucent gel. She felt weightless, dizzy, and once again, paralyzed. Slowly, she drifted from consciousness, while the gelatin pod spun out of control.
“Scarlett. Scarlett. Pick up, Scarlett. Can you hear me…?”
“Here you are Marvin, your gift, and she rests easy,” The Doctor says, “Seizures will drain even the dead I suppose. We will give her a few more hours.” He handed a holopad to Marvin, “If she doesn’t wake by then, we will put her into the garbage disposal, yes.”
Marvin’s lenses widened, “Doctor. This, orphans, heart, rate, is, increasing, rapidly,” he said in his synthetic monotone voice.
Annoyed with Marvin’s slight retardation, he swallowed his frustration and asked, “What is it? Not another attack, I hope. This one is in such fine condition.”
“No, sir, she, is,” his boring speech pattern interrupted as Scarlet opened her eyes and sat up.
“SHES ALIVE!” The Doctor shouted, throwing a fist in the air, knocking Scarlets holopad monitor out of Marvin’s mechanical hands. It hit the floor and the green light flickered off, leaving only a silver pen.
Scarlett, dripping in sweat, wiped her face with the inside of her forearm, looked around, dazed, and confused. She winced from the pain of moving her stiff left, then right legs out of her bed, letting them dangle. The bed, stainless-steel, protruded from a stainless-steel wall behind her, both well-polished. The other three walls, more stainless steel, but bars, boxing her inside of a metal cage. Scarlett slouched over and dropped her face into her palms, sweat fell to the black tile floor.
“Welcome back,” The Doctor said, face pressed between bars while his hands gripped on either side of his wrinkled cheeks.
Scarlett jumped in her bed, “What the fuck!?” The first raspy words to leave her mouth in only The Doctor knows how long. Her eyes darted left, then right, and she saw a woman laying on the floor of the cell next to hers. “Ashley!” she leaped from her bed, slipped on her own puddle of sweat, and banged her head off the floor, opening a gash on her forehead. She crawled over to the bars separating them and reached through. She stretched her arm as far as it could go, blood and sweat poured down her face, blinding her. To no avail, she gave up and fell back onto her knees. Defeated, she let herself bleed out.
The Doctor looked on with disgust. “We here on The Nexus call her Tweek,” he said, pushing himself away from the bars. “You know her, I presume?”
Work in progress…
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