This story is by Kostiantyn Kyrpach and was part of our 2017 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“How much time do I have?” I thought and injected myself with a lethal dose of poison. In a minute I’ll fall asleep, when the second minute ends, I’ll die. The whole plan was this. After my painless suicide, my body will be put in a special cell to keep it very carefully. All this time I am going to be absolutely dead. This is not a thing people usually dream about, and I’m not an exception, even though I’m a professional troubleshooter and know how to solve challenges. I was pushed to this by two quite obvious facts. I’m going to be revived and, of course, receive a large reward for the work done.
“Nick, I think he’s dead.”
“Okay, set a timer for 17 minutes and move the body to the cell. We cannot follow him, only watch the body.” Nick was looking at my unconscious body. It was just an organic cage which my soul left seconds ago. My body was taken away. In fact, it was strange to realize that I’m already dead, but still can get back to my body and live on… if I’m lucky.
All the suicides fall into the same place where they stay for a while. I had been carried there by some force, and, I did not resist. There was a high building of about thirty floors in front of me. The tower was completely covered in black glass. I could see people walking around the street undisturbed, they were alive and couldn’t even imagine that a deadman is watching over them. They have their own lives and things to do. I have my own. The Suicide Club was written on the door. This must be the place.
Ten minutes passed since my death. I followed the signs and they led me to the very top of this cold dark asylum for the miserable suicide souls. There I saw a small room with large windows of black glass through which I can see only pale dots of light of streets outside the building. There is a round steel table in the middle of the room. Two people are sitting at the table. One of them was a fat man with a bald head and a half-shattered face with dried blood on it. He shuffled a deck of cards in his hands. It looks like he shot himself with a big rifle. My man was sitting to his left.
“Come in, do not be afraid.” Said a girl of about seven and pointed to a chair. How is it even possible that such a child was here among the dead who committed suicide? I tried to carefully consider the other people in the room.
A brunette girl with long black hair and a skinny pale face was by the window.
“How did you do this?” The brunette asked me in a calm tone.
“Poison.” I answered dryly and looked at my man.
“Softie.” Said the mutilated face with contempt and threw the cards on the table. The brunette pulled a cigarette out of a pack and lit it up. I also wanted to smoke. To be dead, you know, is very stressful.
“How interesting, Mr. Vincent also died of poison.” The little girl stood two steps from me and her childish green eyes looked as if she saw a good friend in me.
He is the man who I was looking for. He drank a miniature flask of poison, as soon as he had been caught by secret state services with no chance of getting out. He could not give out any information, and the only possible way to keep it was… death. Strange as it may sound but Dr. Vincent had stolen the keys, the keys to the people. Twenty years ago, microchips were sewn into the first volunteers, for their safety. But this was not the main reason. The state wanted to get total control over people in order to influence global events, to manage wars, even if it was necessary to sacrifice a few thousand for the sake of millions. This could make it much easier with microchips in their heads. Now we have more than a hundred million people with microchips directly connected to their brains. And the keys to these brains have been stolen by one of the program’s developers, Dr. Sebastian Vincent. We do not know who holds these keys now and how they will use them. So, I’ve come to ask him.
“Dr. Vincent, could we talk privately?”
“You want to talk face to face…” the mutilated head man said sarcastically. “We are all dead, and our secrets are no longer secrets. So you can make a small talk right here.” He began to table the cards.
“Are you a doctor?” The little girl asked.
“Jim, my friend, why did you come here?” Sebastian did not seek an answer to his question, as he understood everything clearly. “What did they tell you?. I betrayed the planet and terrorists paid me for the keys to get the power over all the remaining people or something like that…” He looked away from me and stared at the little girl.
“So you’re really a doctor? Could you help me?” She asked. The man with the mutilated head smiled. The brunette turned her gaze to Sebastian, then to me, she had already smoked up half of her cigarette.
“You’re a fool, Jim.” He got up from his chair and walked towards the window. “We cannot die anymore, for we are already dead. And we will be on Earth forever, on the other side of the living.” Sebastian shouted. “Believe me, it’s better than being alive now.”
“Calm down, I know you did not want this. There could be some circumstances…” I tried to get our conversation back on track.
“I wanted. Damn, Jim, I wanted this.” He looked me straight in the eyes, his fists were clenched.
“You’re dead, but we can get you back, now it’s possible.” I was hoping he would believe me.
“Haha.” He laughed out loud. “Jimmy, my friend, you have a microchip in your head, and you’ll soon be dead, truly dead. Like every person on the planet. Not one hundred million, much more.” He paused. “All the people who stayed on the Earth. All fourteen and a half billion.”
Honestly, his words were confusing. I didn’t want to believe him, at the same time he has no reason to lie to me, and anyhow I cannot get him out of here. No one will reach him here, and won’t be able to kill. This is a completely different world, where you can’t kill the dead, and every dead man will live forever here, no matter how paradoxical it may sound.
“I went through all possible scanning to exclude any chance of a microchip inside me.” My confidence was leaving me, but I still remained calm.
“Scans are fakes for idiots like you, Jimmy. Did they promise to pay? Be sure, you won’t even have a penny to spend. They know how to push, they manipulate you.”
“How do you know that absolutely all people on Earth are chipped? You might be chipped as well. No one will leave such an important person as you without supervision.”
“I created this system, It took a little effort to reprogram my microchip. They were seeing the working and manageable microchip, but I could hide myself anytime. And one day, I escaped. But was alone. A single man can do a lot but not win a war, you know. My capabilities are not limitless, and I was caught. I waited for this and was ready. And here I am.”
I looked at my watch, only one minute left.
“You’ll be back very soon, they can’t keep you so long, but when you are back they’ll kill you right away.” Vincent shouted. “Think about it.”
“Tell me, why did you steal the keys, Sebastian? For the money?”
“I’ve already told you everything. And it’s true. You want to be sure? Follow me, you’ll see everything.” With these words, Sebastian opened the window and immediately stepped down.
It was very high. I looked at my watch, there were ten seconds left. I took a step.
I greedily gasp for air, like babies do right after birth. People stood above me, whose faces I could not see in the bright light.
“Jim, can you hear me?” It was Nick’s voice.
My body was still petrified and insensible, but I retained my mind. I looked at the silhouettes above me and tried to understand what was true, whom I really could trust, and how much time I had. The time before I die again and never coming back.