Brutalist Stories #13
Who was I when I came here? I stare at the wall with thousands of tiny scratches, each marking what I think is one day. I focus on one, was it the first, and try to remember, who I was.
“Student 1489. Rise and present restraints.”
So, I rise and present restraints, but there’s a flicker, an electrical nudge that bumps my mind and it says that this isn’t natural, that I shouldn’t rise. There’s something else there, a person that wouldn’t have just done what they were told in the face of command, but, I think they’re gone now.
They’ve weeded that person out of me, over and over again with the torture. Grinding me down into fine powder and gradually scraping it back together to form a whole once again. Why? Why am I here? What do they want?
“You’re here to prove a point,” the doctor says as I’m wheeled into the room. “You know that don’t you?”
“Yes, I know, Doctor. Thank you for reminding me.” They’re inside my head. I close my eyes and grind my teeth, they’re deeper than I ever could have imagined they would get, but why? Why keep me here, why break me and rebuild me? There must be a million, a billion other people out there who will gladly just accept what they want and do what they are told. Why not kill me? Why keep me alive?
“To prove that we can, of course,” the doctor says as she walks up to me and takes my jaw in her hand and smiles down at me. “There’s no real reason to any of this, we only do so, so we can prove that we can. You are here to rebel, I am here to kill the rebellion, not you, just a part of you.”
Has it worked? If they keep bringing me here? Can I remember what I was? Is there anything to hold on to? Do I want to? Am I ready to capitulate and surrender in the face of this? How long can I keep going, how long must I keep going?
“You’ll always keep going,” she says. “Because that’s what you are, and that’s why you’re here. We have a job, just as you have yours.”
My fists grip and my nails dig into my palms. Arms struggle against the restraints, my jaw clenches and teeth grind and I let out a low growl and look up at her. “You can’t do this to me, you can’t keep doing this to me.”
She just smiles back and says. “Good, Student 1489, it would seem we still have more lessons to be learnt.”
“I am a human too!” I scream and that little nudge I felt gathers and echo’s through my mind and holds me firm as I remember who I was, who I am.
“We know, that’s why you’re here.”
Building inspiration: Georgia Ministry of Highways