Two men, one dressed in black and the other dressed in white, sit on silver chairs at a silver table. The whole room is silver, in fact. Other than the table and chairs, however, there are no furnishings in the room.
The man wearing black types on a tablet, looking up occasionally at the man in white, who glowers at him.
The man in black asks, “What is your name?”
His companion responds by pounding his fist on the table. “You know my name. How many times are we going to perform this charade?”
“Please answer the question.”
The man in white gives not only his name, but details about his family and his education—the kind of stuff phishing emails ask for.
This at first appears to be the sort of interrogation tactics associated with totalitarian regimes designed not to elicit information but to break the spirit of the person being interrogated. The man in black—the interviewer—remains cool, unemotional, and demanding throughout. He gives the man in white no information as to why they are there, what his own purpose is, or what he’s recording on his tablet.
Why are they there? Is the man in white a political prisoner? Is he a criminal? Is he a mental patient? The first seems to be likely at first. Doctor Benedict Stevenson—or, Subject 59—had been working on organic 3-D modeling. The reader begins to wonder if he’s gone a little loopy when he talks about not just modeling organs but modeling… minds. He posits if you map out every neuron, you are creating memories.
While the ending is not a complete surprise, this was an entertaining and engaging little story. I enjoyed it. The image of the silver room in the beginning was striking. The narrative dealt with such topics as the question of what it means to be human and simple compassion.
According to his blurb, author Lamont Turner’s work has appeared in Death And Butterflies and Scary Snippets anthologies, and Abandoned Towers, Jitter, Serial, and The Realm Beyond magazines.
The story can be read here.
Author: Lamont Turner
First published: Themes of Absence, March 28, 2020