Sunday, 20 April 2008



Copyright (C) 2008 David C. Such

First published in AntipodeanSF (, Issue 119, April 2008.

Bands of metal secured his hands and feet to what felt like a cold stone slab. Casey couldn't remember how he had ended up like this. One minute he had been taking his dogs for their nightly walk, and the next moment he was here, in the dark, lying naked on a slab.

Casey shivered. None of the scenarios that he could imagine ended well. They varied from horrific to, at best, embarrassing.

He stared vainly into the dark, trying to make out details, something, anything. All he saw were bright flashes of light. He had read somewhere that this was a phenomenon that had first been recorded by the Apollo 11 astronauts. It was thought to be caused by cosmic radiation, but that couldn't be what was happening to him, not unless he was no longer on Earth.

Casey sniffed and drew in the metallic tang of scrubbed stainless steel. While hot sweat pooled at his lower back he simultaneously shivered from the cold.

A dry disembodied voice spoke, "This will go quicker if you relax number 64."

Casey looked from side to side but couldn't make out anyone or anything, "Who the hell are you? What do you want from me?" Casey hated not being in control of a situation.

"You may have heard that we only use 10% of our brains. This is, of course, rubbish, but there is an awful lot of redundancy. We are rewiring your synapses to remove this redundancy."

This was not one of the scenarios that Casey had imagined. "You need to stop this right now! I'm warning you — " Casey's voice tapered off as he fell into a dark well of unconsciousness.


Casey woke. He felt strangely light.

"You need to listen to me carefully, number 64. There are some side effects from the surgery that you need to be aware of." It was the same dry voice that had spoken to him before, this time coming from a hidden speaker.

Casey said, "You can go to Hell."

The voice spoke urgently, "Listen, you must be very careful what you wish for. Within a limited distance you have the ability to manifest new realities. You have been isolated for the safety of us and others. We will teach you meditation techniques to help manage your new ability but we need you to co-operate."

Casey laughed. He concentrated and imagined himself out of the room and free...


The Controller swore as Casey disappeared from the video monitor. He slammed his fist into the console. "God Damn it, not again!" he said. He shook himself to regain his composure. Turning to his companion, he said, "Ready candidate 65 for surgery."


Casey's frozen body floated gently away from the International Space Station's isolation lab.

He was free.


  1. Great work. I'll vote for Tristesse when it's on the voting list.

  2. Thanks Hoffburgler.

    You can vote for it now at:

    Thanks for commenting.