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This Can't Help Anything

Julian Hayden

By Julian HaydenPublished about a year ago 22 min read

In my left hand was a six inch long dagger, it and my forearm were caked in digital blood. In my right hand I was holding a dead woman by her ponytail. I stabbed her in the eyes before carving an upside down cross into her face. I carried her corpse to her bedroom and laid her on her bed on her back. I walked back through the house to make sure I got everything I wanted to do, done properly. I walked to the dining room, and adjusted the man sitting in the chair farthest from the entrance so he wasn't slumping over anymore. He had his eyes and face like the woman's upstairs. Just the same as the head of the woman on the plate in front of him. I walked out to the backyard and ignited the gasoline in the fire pit. The flames engulfed the body of the woman whose head I delicately separated from it. Pixelled flames just don't compare to the real thing.

I've never killed a single person in my life, but I really wanted to. They said I checked all the boxes of a person who matched all the traits of who would have homicidal tendencies. I just wanted to kill, but I never wanted my kills to be easy. Throuples provide me with a challenge, and plenty of bodies. My problem was I kept having the thought, long enough that the world caught up to me. I was ready for my first go at it, I found a house with three twits living together. All completely oblivious to the animal that had been stalking them.

If I hadn't had brought my plot to work, I probably would have fulfilled my dream. But someone found it, and soon after I was in the back of a truck. The government agents sedated me within seconds and stuck the cranial implant into my head. I woke up in my cell, my fully furnished home to myself. I got sent where all the killers go, and those who were about to.

Nobody knows where this facility is, the rumor was it was built on the border between Kansas and Oklahoma. The weather was too temperate, this place has to be in California. Some dingbat congressmen got enough support and funding to build this little slice of America for us. Something about how we can maybe be changed if we get what was dubbed by the military psychologists as "release and eval" every day. We can have jobs, normal lives, but no relationships. We make digital credits and there's no slave labor. Any criminal would want to be here, especially one like me. They even have a McDonald's here.

I hate to admit it but after I have my sessions, my mind is a lot sounder. I have two sessions a day, one after I wake up and another before I go to sleep. I wear a VR headset that communicates with the brain implant, and I use handheld controllers. A simulation is generated by my thoughts, and I get to live it exactly as I hoped I could've in real life. Then I go to work and live out the rest of my day.

The implant acts as a collector of my thoughts and a suppressor of my emotions. It controls my adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine. My coworkers here think that they might get repurposed for civilian use after they get perfected on us. A cure for all mental illnesses, or something needed like that. If it can work on people with body counts in the upper 30s, then it’ll work on a sad college kid just trying to make it to finals. I never wanted to go to college, total sham.

The hope of the scientists monitoring us is to see if we could someday be let back into society, but I doubt it. I could only imagine the prejudice I'd face if anyone were to find out, especially if I came back to my hometown. Word traveled pretty fast after I was picked up. I wouldn’t want to leave this place either, I love it with all my heart. I get three square meals a day, I have a job working in the water recovery plant, and I have a home all to myself. The only thing that’d make this better is some pussy, but the implant has made every guy here permasoft and every woman as dry as the Mojave.

“Patient #37892, Cosmo Clafton, please take a seat,” said my new implant analyst and therapist. I usually get a new one every month, which frustrates me, but I can’t get mad about it thanks to the chip. The program does the rotations, so the analysts don’t get burned out from hearing our clusterfuck of murder stories and homicidal ambitions. Rumor has it the analysts might get their own implants too, so they don’t have to keep rotating people. We have implants for complacency, so I guess they’d get implants for Stoicism.

“That’s me doc, but you don’t have to call me Cosmo.”

“Well, it is your legal name here on your file.”

“I changed it around the time I was planning on going on my hunts.”

“What was the name your parents gave you then?”

“Clarence, I think it’s the most boring name ever created.”

The new analyst pulled up the video files of my personal sessions on his tablet. Out of the nearly 1000 videos, two were flagged.

“Let’s take a look at the file from the first of this month.”

“What’s off about it sir.”

“Usually, your fantasies involve you killing three people in a polyamorous relationship. Those relationships consist of either two men and a woman or two women and a man. One of the men is placed in the dining room of the house they’re in and in front of the dead man you put the head of the woman or one of the women. The other woman or man is placed in their bedroom and the headless body is burned outside in either a fire pit or an oil drum.”

“Sounds like me Doc.”

“That was all that you did for over four years, until the first of this month. That day in the nighttime session, you imagined just a woman. You were together in an open field and the both of you engaged in coitus. You have the same knife with you like you always do, but after you and the digital woman engage in coitus you don't use the knife on the woman. You used it on your own self, stabbing yourself one time in the gut and immediately ending your session.”

“Can’t a guy have a different fantasy every once in a while.”

“Most of the changes in fantasies amongst other patients here involve other forms of murder. Yours is the first one here that involves a form of suicide. It wasn’t just that day that you had the fantasy, you had it again last night as well.”

“Could it be that my chip got hacked?”

“These things don’t get hacked. Their firewall might as well be an angelic forcefield, incapable of penetration. It might just be that it has begun to register new emotions, adapting to new deep thoughts.”

“We aren’t allowed to be horny here doc, and for some people not having sex can put them over the edge.”

“Let’s not pretend that you know the inner workings of these chips. They are a classified product being worked on by some of the greatest computer scientists and engineers in the history of the United States. The worry here isn’t just that your fantasies are slowly becoming suicidal. The worry is that these suicidal fantasies could quickly become suicidal realities. We are going to have to change your therapy and analysis sessions from weekly to every other day. We can’t have one of the US government’s assets going and committing suicide.”

I’ve never had a suicidal thought in my life. I was raised to believe that every person who has ever committed suicide is in some way a coward. Whether it be a famous cook, a bullied student, or a long dead samurai. There’s no honor in suicide, only weakness. I still think that the reason for those fantasies is because I was just horny, and since we aren’t allowed to have relationships or even just have sex with the people here that could’ve manifested some shame. Couldn’t this be what they want though? I’m having less homicidal fantasies, which means someday I could have no homicidal fantasies. Maybe those suicidal fantasies could change to fantasies of having a normal life.

It was 8:00 AM the next day that the “segregation” happened. I was allowed to stay where I was, but all my neighbors that had been convicted of murder were moved to new homes. My new neighbors were people like me, people who hadn’t killed but wanted to. That’s when I saw the girl who was living on the end of my block. I was completely fucking flabbergasted. This woman was nearly identical to the woman in my suicide fantasies. A ten on ten stunner, a sight to behold. I started to hyperventilate, needing to go back inside my house in order to calm down. I’d never had a headache since I’d gotten here. The implant’s job is to keep our brains in controlled harmony, no headaches allowed. I had to get into my simulator, it felt like the only way to process this excruciating pain.

Back in the field, giant knife in hand, and across from me was her. She looked at me, but she was frowning and crying. The default face of all the simulated victims when I first see them has always been a friendly smile. I raised the knife at her to see how she’d react. She dropped down to her knees and covered her face as tears streamed down and down and down. I stopped and stared at her, her tears were starting to get to me. I decided that if I dwelled on this session for too long, it would only cause me problems later. This session already was suspect since I never have them right after I have my normal morning one. I raised the knife above my head, preparing for my usual suicide.

Her hands caught my forearm as it was coming down. I was totally shocked by her stopping me, and my eyes met hers. She then took the knife out of my hand and backed away.

“You know where I am,” said the digital woman, my new neighbor, before she cut her own throat with the knife. I started to run away, running as fast as I could. I never feel sadness or fear during my sessions. The open field led to a seaside cliff with horrendous rocks at the bottom. I jumped without a second thought, and my session ended. I had to call in sick to work because my headache caused me to start vomiting. When my stomach was empty I walked to the kitchen to dispense some painkillers and melatonin supplements. I could barely walk, the world was spinning and I could hardly see. I took the pills and laid down, my bed feeling the comfiest it had ever been. It was then that I started to dream.

I didn’t wake up in the bed of my home, but instead in a bed at the therapy and analysis center. My therapist was sitting in a chair next to me, flipping through his tablet. He noticed that I had awoken and gave me a tall glass of ice water. My head hurt less but I felt incredibly hungover. My muscles ached like I had done a five-hour workout followed by a 100 mile ultramarathon. My vision was back to normal, except I had gone color blind. There was a monitor reading my vitals through my implant. My hormones were completely out of whack, all beyond normal levels. It’s like my brain had rebelled against the implant, making a mess like a child for it to clean up.

“I didn’t expect you to get worse that quickly.”

“Maybe the shock of the move is what triggered it.”

“Nobody else in your section reacted this way.”

“What the fuck is so special about me?”

“More like what the fuck is so special about her.”

He’d been watching my emergency session, he must know what the woman did. He had to know about the woman at the end of my block.

“I couldn’t tell you the first thing about her Doc.”

“The emergency session alone is too much of a concern,” said the therapist as they set down the tablet, “the dream you had afterwards was much, much worse.”

Our sleep is dreamless, or at least they’re supposed to be dreamless. Our sessions are supposed to eliminate our need to dream, it’s our unconscious coming to the surface. Our sleep is only supposed to be for rest. But now not only am I the first person here to have abnormal sessions, but I’m the first that’s able to have a dream.

“Since we’re too busy with the re-establishment going on to do proper tests on you at this time, all I can do now is a quick fix.”

“What are you gonna do to me Doc?”

“For the first time in program history I am going to have to add another implant. It will help back up your original implant and keep your mind in check. We will send extra accommodations to your house to help keep you healthy. Once we get the real killers all situated, then we can see about getting you fixed.”

I got prepped for surgery and my second implant was inserted into my neck. I felt a lot better afterwards, and felt fine the following two weeks. I completely stopped having murder fantasies, and instead began to have the hero fantasies. I mean I’m having full blown there’s a damsel in distress who is being held in some prison somewhere that I have to kill untold thousands of soldiers to get to her fantasies. The girl is always the same, the same one at the end of my block. I’ve never talked to her in person, but in my sessions, I always hear her say the same thing.

For example, today in my session I imagined I was this US commando who had to fight through a small French village and kill all the Nazis there in order to get to the biggest house at the end of the village. I shot up and knifed tons of Nazis, it’s so easy to do, and sure enough I was at the last house. I got in a fist fight with the Nazi sergeant in the house, he nearly had me dead to rights a few times. I got him in a rear choke and managed to grab the Luger he dropped when I kicked down the door. I popped him in the head and dropped his filthy corpse on the ground. I get to the bedroom where she’s tied to a chair, and I free her. She gets up, grabs the Luger out of my hand, says her line, and commits suicide.

Doesn’t matter whether it's a gun, knife, sword, or even a caveman club she always kills herself. She always tells me, “You know where I am,” but I never go. I feel better again, I think the second implant is actually helping me. I want to be a hero, I don’t want to kill innocent people who are just harmlessly in love anymore, and I don’t fantasize about suicide. If I’m a success then whoever is making these chips is going to make buckets of money now that they know they need two implants to really make us better mentally. I have two matching scars right across from each other, perfectly symmetrical and neat. I guess if I go over to her house then I’ll have something to talk about with her. What the Hell, why not go and give this woman a chance. Obviously, she’s been in the back of my mind for a long time.

I knocked on the door of her house, which from the outside is exactly like mine. Guess that’s another thing we have in common. I neither feel aroused, nervous, nor do I feel excited. The chips keep all of those feelings in check and balanced. She welcomes me in, we shake hands, and she takes me to the living room. Sitting on the couch is her session equipment, which looks just like mine. More things that we have in common. I wondered what she was plotting and how she got found out.

“I guess being persistent paid off.”

“It helps that you’re predictable, sessions at 7:00 AM after a 6:30 AM wake up and one more at 10:00 PM before bed at 10:30 PM.”

“I need to be punctual for my job here, miss?”

“Suzette Olivier, here for the same reason as you.”

“Is this treatment actually changing you? I told all my coworkers about how these chips are actually changing my thinking in positive ways but they think I’m full of shit.”

“You think it’s because they put another chip in your head?”

“My sessions completely changed immediately after getting the second implant.”

“That sounds like it must be something that works.”

“I wonder if I put a good word in with my analyst. If it works on me then all of us will get them.”

“I doubt that’ll happen anytime soon. I haven’t seen my analyst since the segregation happened. They must be busy processing the violent offenders.”

“We haven’t heard a damn thing about that since it happened. I would’ve expected something simple like an email, but every single person must be too busy to tell us anything.”

“Maybe there's a way to find out what’s going on.”

“What do you have in mind Suzi?”

“Please don’t, only my mother calls me that. I was thinking that since these chips read our unconsciouses, and since you have two of these chips in your head, you could somehow mind hack into the compound’s mainframe and find something out.”

“You think I want to compromise my brain on a hunch?”

“Look, I was able to hack into your session gear and have been for weeks with just my thoughts and the billion-dollar tumor in my head. If I have that power with just one, then with two of them you’d have to be able to branch out into one of the computer systems.”

It was hard to deny her, after all she did have proof that his implant could be capable of so much more than helping us control our homicidal ambitions. I told her I’d give it a try, and with that we shook hands and I walked off to leave.

“Before you go, did me contacting you for the first time cause you any negative side effects?’

“I had a horrendous headache, I vomited until my stomach turned inside out, and once I was able to medically fall asleep I had a dream.”

“You had a dream? I thought these chips stopped dreams from happening. What happened in it?”

“I couldn’t tell you if I wanted to, I have no recollection of what I dreamed about. I know it's on file somewhere, but I can try to find it later.”

I waited until my evening session to try out her theory. All day I made sure I had powerful thoughts, the kind of thoughts that could travel. I saw myself going through every computer on the planet, in the solar system. I was all charged up and ready to go. All I needed now was for the back of my mind to do the rest of the work.

I hooked up my headset and got myself ready to push my mind harder than ever before. I was back running to the edge of the cliff from my first session I had with Suzette in it. Instead of running and jumping down towards the rocks, I jumped up like I wanted to grab clouds like I was a kid climbing monkey bars. My jump must have been strong, because I felt myself actually flying upwards and transforming into pure energy. I went directly into the sun and zoomed through it, the sun had become the entrance to a bright, kaleidoscope tunnel.

On the end of the tunnel was a camera lens, overlooking a metal pit filled with people. I recognized some of the faces in the pit of people, they were some of my old neighbors and coworkers. They were trying to climb out of the pit, which looked more and more like a coffin as I observed it. The pit was surrounded by a concrete wall, and on the edges of the wall were identical Atlas-based robots. In their hands were automatic rifles, Sig XM7s by the looks of them. A voice cried out over the loudspeakers, one of which was right below the camera I hacked into.

“Ten seconds, precision instant kills, no hitting the hardware.”

“Yes commander,” replied the robots, and they took their shots. Two shots through the hearts, instant death for the people I used to know. After the last person was killed, the robots shouldered the rifles and went down into the pit. They carefully removed the head of each person down there and put the heads in refrigeration bags. The voice on the loudspeaker sounded just like my analyst. I think it’s safe to say that I know too much.

I returned to my body and got out of the headset. I felt a little wobbly but better than the first time I got hacked by Suzette. I walked out of my house and back to her place, but when I got there the door was open. I searched her house and couldn’t find her anywhere, but I did find the power source that powered her headset sitting on a plate on her dining room table. Somehow she was able to have a sense of humor even with the chip. I took the battery off of the table and walked back to my house with it. I jury rigged it to my headset, I assume she figured that more power in the headset meant more powerful hacking. Or maybe she knew that doing that actually would work.

I was about to put on the headset when I heard a helicopter land in front of my house. I looked out my window to see my analyst holding Suzette by her hair and pointing a gun at her head. He was flanked by two of the murder bots I spied on not even an hour ago.

“Before things get grizzly, I want you to know that I am so glad you’re a success Cosmo.”

“So what? Since I’m a successful experiment, that means you don’t need the rest of your lab rats?”

“This one I can’t wait to get rid of,” said the analyst, “enlighten him CR71.”

One of the robots walked over to me and showed me a picture of Suzette, a spy for US intelligence who’d gotten facial reconstruction and hair treatment in order to become the Suzette I met in my session.

“You know what I find funny about all of this?”

“What’s so funny Doc?”

“The dream you had; it’s starting to come true.”

“What the fuck are you talking about?”

“You started having hero fantasies because the dream you had was a hero fantasy. Here you are again standing in front of the bad guy holding the damsel hostage.”

“I guess it would seem to look like that wouldn’t it.”

I shouldn’t have rambled, because that gave Doc the chance to shoot me in the liver. The pain was so horrific that the implants could barely maintain the suppression of it. The bullet went clean through, and I could feel my life fading fast. I did all I could do, I put on my helmet and jumped out of my body again. This time I landed in the CPU of the robot to the left of the Doc. I fought through its firewall and took full control over the body. The robot shook the whole time I was taking over its system, Suzette looked at me the whole time. I used the robot's rifle and shot the other robot in its head, dropping it with quick precision. Doc pushed Suzette away to get another hand to fight me with. I grabbed him by the head and squeezed, popping his head like a baby tomato. The helicopter flew up and away, but I shot out its propellers and caused a fiery crash.

Suzette ran over to my body, and I walked over to her. I watched as my breathing began to slow down. Watching yourself die is surreal, and after I took my last breath, I felt myself losing connection with the robot.

“I think I’ll be going soon, but promise me you’ll destroy my body so these fuckers can’t use my chips.”

“You have my word Cosmo.”

I lost control of my legs and dropped to my knees. 30 seconds to shut down.

“Looks like I’m on my way out Suzy.”

25 seconds

“I wish things could’ve gone differently, that he didn’t take this path of destruction.”

20 seconds

“I don’t think we can control everybody, but sometimes we get lucky.”

15 seconds

“I suppose so.”

10 seconds

“I just hope that wherever I go, I will see you again Suzette.”

5 seconds

“You know where to find me.”


About the Creator

Julian Hayden

I write for fun so I can become a better writer. My focus is the writing of dramatic stories in whatever genres interest me. My goal is to someday have a published work of fiction that can be bought at a bookstore near you. Follow the THIS.

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