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Nothingsome

by Robert (Bob) Maschi 2 months ago in science fiction
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A futuristic science experiment goes wrong... or does it?

Nothingsome
Photo by Stormseeker on Unsplash

Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say.

Now, I’m no scholar. Just a working bum. But wouldn't this be a hard thing to prove using the scientific method? I mean, I’m sure you can prove it mathematically, even logically, but who in hell would volunteer to test it? Wouldn’t that require someone to actually go out there and scream? More, wouldn’t it require an observer, a listener, to do the same?

Those were the thoughts running through my head as I entered the circular dome.

The portal I’d entered through somehow melted into the interior. Vanished. It was cool inside. A cool that engulfed my naked form. Much smaller than it looked from outside. I couldn’t stretch out my arms, up or to the sides, without touching the ceiling or wall. It was bright yet there was no visible means of lighting.

Taking half a step, I leaned a shoulder against the smooth wall. Then, I waited. I’m sure it was only a few minutes. Yet it seemed like hours. Or, maybe I’d hoped it was hours because that’s how I was getting paid. Over a week’s pay for every hour this experiment took from me.

I’m not sure why they chose me over the dozens, maybe hundreds, of others who applied. I was never the smartest guy in any room. Not handsome. Not funny. My ex-wife used to joke that I was, “Cruelly and inhumanely dull.”

But they did choose me. And I needed the cash. Rent was way overdue.

It was sudden when my feet felt wet as a small puddle formed on the floor. “A leak?” I thought. Quickly, the puddle grew to encompass the floor. Then up. Up to my ankles. It felt warm and might have been comforting – if the whole situation was not. I bent down and swiped up a palmful of the liquid. It was clear as water but thicker. The consistency of milk. And smelled of vinegar and mint. I dabbed a fingertip and tasted it. Spat it out immediately as it burned sour on my tongue.

I tried to shake the stuff off my hand but it wouldn’t entirely come off. I tried to wipe it off with my other hand. Now, both hands were wet. And the liquid grew up to my knees.

This was getting serious here. I didn’t know what this stuff was, where it was coming from or where it might stop. I circled the interior wall, feeling up and down, looking for a seam. Anything.

Nothing.

I tried to leap up. To push on the ceiling. But the liquid weighed me down so much that I couldn’t put any power behind the thrust. I ordered myself not to panic. But when the pool reached my upper thighs, I attempted to climb the smooth wall by scratching my fingernails into it. I fell back, the liquid basin nearly swallowing me.

With nothing to steady me it took some effort to stand again. More than half my body was now submerged. I took a moment to think. An experiment. It was scientists who hired me and welcomed me to enter this thing. There was a reason. A reason that made sense. They couldn’t simply want to drown me. Could they? There would have been easier ways to commit murder. I’ve seen many of them on the TV.

Perhaps I should relax. Breath slow and deep and wait. Wait for the inevitable. For the experiment to conclude. Or begin. Or continue. Whatever.

“Don’t panic” I begged myself. But when the liquid reached my neck, I did.

“Help! Help! Let me out! Something’s gone wrong!” I shouted. Then I screamed.

But could anyone hear me?

science fiction

About the author

Robert (Bob) Maschi

I've been a freelance writer for a couple decades. My best editor and harshest critic is my long-term partner, Laura.

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