Written by Derrick Nadeau
Recap: After awaking from a horrible nightmare in which a dying woman with a slit throat attacked him, Scott tried to fight his exhaustion and head to work. When he arrived at work, Scott began to hear the disembodied voice of a man saying horrible things to him. Scott rushed to the bathroom to regain his composure, but was shocked to see the face of a stranger looking back at him in the mirror. Scott’s boss confronted him in the bathroom for being late, and wound up lying on the bathroom floor with a stab wound in his stomach. Scott panicked, left work, and rushed home. After seeing horrible visions of both the stranger, and the woman he had dreamed about, Scott called his girlfriend Melissa and made a desperate plea for her help. Melissa came to Scott’s house as quickly as should could, and was then stabbed several times by Scott, who saw her as another phantom woman with a slit throat in his mind. Scott panicked and attempted to run out his front door, but was met by several more naked women with their throats cut and bleeding. The woman attacked Scott, causing him to lose unconsciousness.
Scott heard the muffled sounds of conversation off in the distance as he began to slowly regain consciousness. Feeling groggy, Scott slowly opened his eyes and tried to focus his bleary vision, but could only see blurred shapes and a bright light. As his vision and hearing gradually improved, Scott could make out the shapes of two men standing near him. Scott surveyed his surroundings, and was surprised to realize that he was lying in what appeared to be a hospital bed. Scott tried to rub his eyes, but found that he could not move his arms because they were strapped to the bed he was lying in. Scott’s mind instantly filled with questions as he struggled against his restraints. Frustrated, Scott attempted to speak to the two men conversing near his bed, but found that his mouth was not functioning yet.
“This is a mess,” one man said. The man appeared to be older, perhaps in his fifties, with a strong build wearing a dark suit.
“It’s not,” the other man said. The second man, younger and smaller in stature wearing a white lab coat over his jeans and t-shirt, appeared to be uncomfortable speaking to the man in the suit. “It’s not a mess. Well, it is, but it’s not a complete loss.”
“Not a complete loss,” the suited man shouted. “How can you say that? We lost one of our agents! Not to mention the civilian that bled out on the bathroom floor of a factory!”
“I am aware of that,” the man in the lab coat shouted back, then paused to calm himself down. “I know that people have died because of him. I know that. But, that doesn’t mean we need to scrap the whole program.”
“Oh yes it does,” the man in the suit stated callously. “That is exactly what it means. He killed the agent that was assigned to watch over him, and he killed an innocent civilian. One death alone would be enough to prove to me that your program is a failure.”
“It’s not a failure,” the man in the lab coat exclaimed angrily. “It was just a hiccup in the program. Just an error that needs a little tweaking, that’s all. I know exactly what the problem is. I know exactly how to fix it. I know exactly how to fix him.”
“You’ve said that before,” the man in the suit said.
“I know,” the man in the lab coat said. “But I know what we did wrong. Just, give me a chance to explain it.”
“Who does this guy think he is,” the stranger’s ghostly voice asked suddenly, sending a chill down Scott’s spine. “Do you believe this shit? This little punk thinks he can fix me? He already tried that and obviously failed.”
“What,” Scott asked, his voice barely more than raspy whisper.
“Quiet,” the stranger barked. “I’m trying to hear this.”
“Fine,” the suited man said. “I’ll give you one chance to explain yourself doctor. Make it good.”
“Okay,” the doctor in the lab coat said, wringing his hands nervously. “Thank you. So, basically, the idea was that we take this vicious serial killer here, and reprogram him mind using the memory implants that I invented to make him a better person. A model citizen if you will.”
“Don’t talk to me like I am an idiot,” the man in the suit snapped. “I am fully aware of the point of this program. I’m the one who initiated it.”
“Right,” the doctor said nervously. “Of course. I was just trying to get some perspective.”
“Serial killer,” Scott whispered, appalled from the revelation.
“That’s right,” the stranger answered back. “I really enjoyed it too. Killing those bitches really turned me on.”
“Oh no,” Scott hissed.
“Anyway,” the doctor continued. “So, you government types decided to try to use my brilliant research with memory implants and use it to reprogram criminals. Which, by the way, I am still not happy about. That was not the intended use for them.”
“I am quickly losing my patience with you Doctor,” the man in the suit growled. “Get to your point.”
“Right,” the doctor continued. “Sorry. My point is that you had me take this evil man who kills women for fun, and try to turn him into a good, upstanding, church going, god fearing, perfect American citizen. My point is that you tried to turn this bastard into the complete opposite of his true nature.”
“I don’t understand this,” Scott whispered.
“Did they give me a lobotomy,” the stranger bellowed in Scott’s mind. “I was never this fucking slow!”
“What are you saying,” the man in the suit asked.
“It’s simple,” the doctor said with a sigh. “You wanted me to turn an evil man into something he could never be. His natural tendencies for wickedness are so deeply ingrained in his brain that his mind realized that his new personality was completely wrong. So, his mind rebelled and fought against the new personality you had me give him. It’s like when a foreign object, like a virus, tries to enter your body. Your immune system does all it can to fight that foreign object and eradicate it. His mind fought back against my foreign programming and his true personality came back. So, the programming failed. But, I have a solution.”
“And what would that be,” the man in the suit asked, his tone skeptical.
“Let me reprogram him again,” the doctor answered. “But this time, I won’t go to such extremes. The answer is not to turn him into the model citizen, obviously. Instead, we need to just turn him into just a boring, ordinary, working class stiff. Just a regular, average guy. Not too good, not too evil. Do you see what I’m saying?”
The man in the suit did not answer, but instead turned to face Scott, studying him for a moment. Scott struggled to move against his restraints, but found the effort futile. In his mind, Scott could hear the stranger’s voice screaming obscenities at the man in the suit. The man in the suit let out a long sigh before addressing the doctor once again.
“It will work,” the doctor said confidently.
“All right Doctor,” the man in the suit said. “I will give you one more chance. But that’s it. If the program fails again, if even one more person dies at his hands, then it is over. We will cut funding to your research and he will be disposed of. Is that understood?”
“Yes,” the doctor replied enthusiastically. “Yes, I completely understand. I promise you, this will work. You’ll see. This will work.”
“No more promises Doctor,” the man in the suit said. “Bring me results.”
Scott watched in terror as the man in the suit walked out of the room, casting one last distasteful glance in Scott’s direction. As the man in the suit left, the doctor walked up beside Scott’s bed and smiled down at him.
“I’m so excited,” the doctor said. “This research is going to win me a Nobel prize. So, you had better not screw this up for me, get it?”
Scott, feeling his strength almost completely restored, began shaking his head furiously.
“Looks like you are awake now,” the doctor said, pulling a syringe out of his pocket and preparing it. “Not to worry, this will take care of that.”
“No,” Scott shouted, his cry echoed by the stranger’s voice in his mind.
“Now, now,” the doctor said calmly, stabbing the syringe into Scott’s restrained arm. “Don’t fight it. It will all be over soon. And, you won’t even remember any of this.”
“No,” the stranger shouted, his voice echoing through Scott’s head. “Don’t let him do this! Stop him! Fight it damn it! Fight it!”
Scott struggled in his restraints violently, but soon found that his strength began to wane once again. With the sound of the stranger’s voice still screaming in his mind, Scott began to feel a calmness take over him again, as it had back at his apartment. Soon the stranger’s voice began to fade away as if Scott were suddenly miles away from him. Moments later, Scott slipped back into a deep unconsciousness. The last sound Scott would ever hear was that of the stranger’s angry cries as they quickly faded away.