Monday, May 13, 2013

A Spark Despite

 (found this image on Facebook through Weird Tales Magazine... no clue as to original source)

There is a cold hallway of concrete and steel. There are four men walking down this hallway, each with a clipboard or a notepad in their hands. They wear white coats with nametags on the breast, and bear an undeserved sense of entitlement upon their shoulders. One, the tallest one, wears eyeglasses. They pause at one of the many doors in this hallway. It is a bare steel door, with a small reinforced plexiglass window set into it.
And this, gentlemen, is the reason you are here today. If you will please take a moment to look through this window, observe its contents, and then I will explain what you see.
They each comply, one after the other. They see a white, padded room, and a rather small woman in a straight jacket huddled against the far wall. Her hair is lank and matted, and she is weeping almost violently. Other details are apparent, such as the other objects in the room, but each man quickly moves away from the window before his mind begins to notice these too closely. They are… unpleasant.
The tall one in eyeglasses nods to each of them. Now, you will have noticed some peculiar details. Let us address each one. The first, no doubt, is that she is…
The woman begins screaming, and throws herself at the door, bashing her head against the plexiglass window until she bleeds. Her voice is infused with grief and rage, and somewhere deep in her eyes the men notice… something. This something makes them even more uncomfortable, and so they look away. Her screaming is muted enough by the room’s insulation that the glasses man can continue his dissertation without needing to raise his voice.
Ahem. You will have noticed that this woman’s state is such that she should probably not be alive. Her ribcage is burst open as if from the inside, and her heart rests upon the floor in the far left corner. The protruding bones are cracked and splintered, and you can see clearly inside her empty chest cavity. Her guts have been ripped out and are strewn about the room. And finally, the still-rotting remains of her arms. You will have noticed the dried blood mixed in with the tangles in her hair, and the amount of blood on her straight jacket. And yet somehow she still lives. You will have noticed the grief and rage in her screams, and the intense weeping, when she is still. You will also have noticed the odd spark in her eyes beneath the… negative… emotions.
This is a fascinating case, gentlemen. You are looking at a woman who has had everything she cared about taken from her by those she thought she could trust.
Her ribcage was torn open, her heart thrown to the floor, when her family betrayed her. Her guts were ripped out when her children were taken from her through trickery and under false pretenses. Her arms slowly rotted away over the years she spent helpless and ineffectual to remedy the situation, or to keep her promise to her daughters, to fix their lives. She has been abandoned here by family who were all too eager to see her become someone else’s problem, and never gets any visitors. They are only too happy to forget she exists.
By all the science we understand, this woman should have died from any single one of her wounds.
And yet there is still that spark in her eyes. It is a spark, gentlemen, of hope. She still hopes that somehow, against all odds, something may yet turn out right for her, in the end. In spite of her horrific injuries and circumstances, in spite of the cold, hard facts in front of her, there is still the human animal’s reaction to hopeless circumstances: the irrational urge to hope in spite of those facts.
It is too bad, really. But it will provide us with material for scientific study for years yet to come.
The four men in their pristine white coats nod in eager agreement and chuckle mirthlessly, congratulating each other; the woman’s existence has disrupted their neat little worlds but each one of them will probably go home tonight, have a beer or a glass of whiskey, and fall asleep with a clear conscience. They each shake hands with the tall glasses man and the four of them turn around and walk back down the hallway, as the woman’s furious, grieving screams fade into silence with each step they take.
She is no longer their concern. 

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