MemberJanuary 28, 2020 at 9:49 am
It happened in seconds. No one was looking at the sky, the few that were could barely see it. But the shape of the cloud and the telltale shockwave of sound let us know we were too late. The bomb went off at two in the afternoon. People were walking down the street with their families, children that had been playing on school fields were left entirely undefended.
The closest hospitals were all more than 100km away from anyone. The hydrogen bomb had a blast radius of over 40 square kilometers, people within the 15km were all instantly burned to a crisp the rest were left with deadly radiation burns that would see them die within minutes. Painful deaths were happening all over the city.
It doesn’t matter who detonated the bomb, all that matters are the things that started to happen afterwards. The people that were in the perfect spot to not die instantly would be the ones taken to hospitals first. No one expected most of these people to make it for more than a few days. Which is why the charred man is so important.
He was pushed into St. Johns hospital several hours after the rescue workers had started approaching the inner circles of the epicenter. Everyone ignored him thinking that he was just another burned husk when one of the workers noticed his chest moving up and down.
The entire body was covered in a black crust of what used to be his upper levels of fat and skin. No doctor had ever seen such a dead human body show so many signs of life. He was immediately wheeled into an operating table where they started working on removing everything that was dead. The little blood that could be pulled from his body was taken for tests.
After two days everyone lost hope, the man was breathing on his own but the radiation had destroyed almost all the cells in his body. The production of all cells had stopped and he was going to die in another few days, all doctors present decided to start pumping him full of painkillers. Hoping that he would either overdose in silence or die without pain.
“where the hell am I?” The customary thing I asked when I woke up in a strange place that was definitely not my own bed.
“That’s the hardest part to explain right now, first I think you should get up so I can show you what you are right now.” A mild mannered voice came from nowhere, I had no idea where it actually came from since I had refused to open my eyes.
I slowly got up and saw that I was somewhere impossible, it seemed like I was floating above my house, several hundred meters higher than any nearby building. Across from me stood a man, dressed in a black suit with his long brown hair blowing in a wind that didn’t exist. It took me several minutes to take everything in around me.
“Who the hell are you?” A demand he already told me he would answer. I noticed that despite his gloomy clothes he was slightly amused with a look in his blue eyes that told me he knew more than he would ever really tell me. “I, for lack of a better explanation, am you. I didn’t know that until only a few moments ago either. Actually I didn’t exist until a few minutes ago.” The brown haired man said, he was floating closer to me now. I wanted to pull away but I lacked the required skill to suddenly start floating away.
“That’s not confusing at all, let’s leave that then, what’s you name?”
He seemed to ponder this for a moment and then, with a slight bow of his head, announced “I am called Johannsen, and you are Jack. I heard your other question as well, I am your subconscious mind and you’re the conscious mind of our body.”
“Shit, are you trying to take over or something?” readying my fists for a fight I would probably lose was the only response I could think of.
This however, seemed to amuse the Johannsen even more. “No no, nothing as sinister as that. This is our mind, or the inner sanctum of our shared mind. This place contains all our memories and dreams. All the things we’ve ever experienced.”
Well shit that can not be a good thing. “Ok, since you know that do you perhaps know why we are here? Or how we got here?”
“Well, you may have blocked it already but we saw a big flash and then extreme pain. That was roughly four days ago in the outside world.” He looked quite sad at that.
It did remind me of something before waking up here, something I had thought was only a dream. I was with my friends, talking shit about the plans we had when a bright flash took over our vision. I felt a searing heat, then nothing. “Shit, are we dead? Is this death, just stuck here with only ourselves?”
“No, we’re not dead, yet. I can still hear things from the outside, we’re simply in a coma. Which is why I think we can do this.” He looked pleased at this, maybe we had only gotten slightly hurt. Doctors would never keep someone alive for no reason.
It happened three days after the man was pumped full of blood. Despite his heavy injuries his breathing was stable enough to only need blood transfusions every 12 hours. The congealed sludge that was oozing out of his body took a while to harden before blood transfusions weren’t required anymore.
The man wasn’t dying as fast as doctors thought he would, experimental doctors had started requesting access to him just to try and see how the body dies from radiation in person. However, on the evening of the third day his heart went from its erratic pained beats to a steady healthy beat. Something that should not have been possible even for a normal burn victim.
Doctors across the hospital were astounded and quickly arranged to have a full body scan be done. What they saw inside was nothing short of unnatural, a spinal tap was done even without no one there to sign off on it. His spinal fluid was immediately examined by every doctor that knew even a little bit.
What they found astounded everything medical science knew. Mixed in with the dead cells were new lively ones, slowly clearing away the damaged or dead ones. No one knew where these new cells would possible have come from. It was per chance that a preborn expert was in the hospital, on a hunch he checked for one other cell among the bone marrow.
He found a new kind of stem cell that was rapidly creating new cells of all kind. Everyone present for the result immediately ran to the man to start running more tests. Despite being close enough to an atomic blast this man lying in a solitary room where his rotting flesh would not be a bother, his own body was creating cells that no living person should be able to produce.
“So, that’s how you fly, just kind of imagine pushing yourself against a wall and then you’ll move.” Johannsen explained with his familiar calm.
I had been floating all over the place for hours now, unable to really explore because I was directionless in a very frustrating way. “You think this will be important to remember on the outside?”
He was busy twiddling with a small ball of yarn when he answered, “More than you know, I want you to use our body to its full extent when you wake up.”
“So, how much longer do you think I will be in here?” I asked as I gently started to rise into the air above the colosseum I had created using an uncanny amount of imagination.
“I know how times works for us here, every two days outside is about two hours in here.”
I felt myself go pale at those words, it had been five hours since we met. Since this was inside our head we didn’t get tired, but it still took some time to learn how to do things. However, I could do a lot more in here than anywhere imaginable. Johannsen had quickly taught me how to bring memories to front, how to strengthen myself and now how to fly.
“I still don’t understand why I can’t bring memories of other people in here.”
He stopped fiddling with his yarn and looked me in the eye, for the first time he looked deadly serious. “This is the innermost part of our mind, even the living memory of an animal could be dangerous. I can’t control when you wake up, imagine a puppy forever young and walking through all your memories changing and affecting how you remember them. Forever.”
Imagining that was a horrible thing, still I had to find a way to at least communicate with others. Being stuck in here was not going to be good for my sanity. “What about just talking to the outside world then? Or showing images of what we are seeing?”
“Can’t do that just yet either, though I think you can connect with other minds. When I got bored whenever you were asleep I would usually do that with your sister in the next room over. Her subconscious dreams were always entertaining. Too much My Little Pony.”
I pondered that for a while, it explained why I had dreams about shows and events that I’d never seen before. It was the best reason I had ever found for why I was dreamless most nights. “So, what, you’re saying that I can go dream crawling?”
“Basically yes, just be sure that the mind you’re entering knows you’re doing it. Those subconscious thoughts can pull up some real horrors.”
The man was under constant surveillance, his organs had started working normally one by one. What should have been a dead body within a week was now a stable man without skin or any outer layer of muscle in a coma. Doctors were constantly doing new tests, each result yielded more amazing mysteries.
After two days of bone marrow regrowth more stem cells started showing up throughout his body. Each set of cells working tirelessly to produce new organs, each organ without defect and capable of working harder and more efficient than any normal human ever could. Doctors were constantly taking small samples to go and do new tests with. Everything seemed normal until an over excited intern made a simple mistake.
After examining a small piece of the mans newly regrown liver he dropped it onto the open flames of a Bunsen burner. What should have immediately been the sound of sizzling liver and the tell-tale smell of something burned, was nothing. Upon a closer look the intern saw that the piece of liver was entirely unharmed by the flame.
This led to more discoveries from the medical teams studying the miracle man. They tested every new piece of flesh they found, each turned out to be entirely fireproof. Some doctors had started petitioning to see if his flesh would be resistant to more when a report came in that the man was doing something else spectacular.
Where had been a glob of barely any flesh the man was rapidly growing new muscles. Within hours of the process starting his body had started oozing white blood cells. Under a microscope doctors found that unlike normal skin these cells were still very much alive, and aggressive. All equipment attached to the man was quickly dissolved.
Doctors were advised to stay away, no one knew how his body was producing cells at such a rapid rate. No one knew that it would the last time any normal human instrument would be able to cut off pieces of his flesh.