My head was filled with wool. I could feel gum clumping my eyelids together. Bright lights were beating down on me. Beads of sweat were dotting my forehead. I could hear people moving around talking. It was about then that I became aware of the straps binding me to the cool steel of the table below me. The first thought that jumped to my mind was aliens. I pried my eyes open through sheer force of will, unable to move my arms to aid.
I could see people in white lab suits and full face visors walking around. That ruled out aliens immediately. I strained to try and move my head, but leather bands held it down as well. I tried to call out but my tongue felt swollen, filling my mouth and sticking to the roof of my mouth. As I moved my eyes around I picked out bits and details of my surroundings. The bright lights that were the source of my perspiration. I also noticed a boom mic looming near me. Just in the corner of my eye I noticed multiple cameras set up.
As another figure walked by in one of the suits, I attempted calling out again, managing nothing more than a muffled gurgling. They waved someone else over and had a hushed conversation. The only words I caught from the susurrus were sedative, no, and blood. By this point I began to panic. I strained against the restraints as much as I could, but my efforts availed no slackening of the leather. I resigned myself and stared mutely ahead. That’s when I noticed it.
Directly before me was a circle roughly the size of my head. It had a dull metallic sheen and the longer I stared at it, the more I noticed the striations characteristic of brushed metal. Loud speakers crackled from the gloom beyond the fluorescent suns orbiting around me. I was certain the room was spinning. The voice of a gruff man boomed across the room. “Everyone clear the stage. We are live in five.” I blacked out.
It was unfortunately a very brief black out. Confusion and grogginess abandoned me as I came to again. The ominous grey circle still marred the view ahead of me. I heard the clack of a sound board. A pleasant female voice dripping with honey began speaking over the speakers.
“Hello, and welcome to the Hydraulic Press Channel. We’ve got the grand finale to our ongoing series that you’ve all been waiting for. Judging by the number of viewers, it’s apt to be one hell of a show that everyone will be talking about at work tomorrow…”
I began to tune her out. Memory began flooding back to me. I realized that my arms and legs weren’t numb and just dead weight as I had thought when I first woke up. They’d only been the first victims to the machine I was stationed under. I knew what was coming. The host was closing out her opening statements. I soiled myself.
The host was done talking now. The press started up. The circle above me began to grow larger with the hum of the machine at work. A strange noise came from somewhere. I closed my eyes. The cool touch of the metal never came. I became aware of the lack of sound. The loud speakers crackled to life again with the host’s voice.
“There is apparently an issue with the machine. But don’t worry everyone, we have our top mechanics on it. If you all will just stand by, we’ll get around these pesky technical difficulties to give you the show you want.”
Apropos of: This Prompt