Naflafiwrimo Day 24: All the Time in the World

I like this one, I think I’ll expand it into a longer piece. How long? I’m not sure. I want to see what happens to Rupert, though.

All the Time in the World

The gavel falls and the judge pronounces, ‘I hereby sentence Rupert Stock to life imprisonment. His sentence shall not only be an experiment, one which may herald a new era of justice, but also a message and a lesson to other criminals: this nation does not tolerate such acts of inhumanity.’

Rupert is escorted out of the court. He passes his wife. She looks at him with revulsion and no recognition, as if he were someone she doesn’t know.

Funny how people can surprise you, Rupert thinks.

The doors to the court open and he is blinded by flashing cameras and a barrage of noise, which all seems to be directed at him. He recoils but the two men holding his arms pull him forward again.

‘Try and enjoy the attention,’ one of them mutters. Rupert can barely hear him over the noise of the crowd. ‘You’ll be sick of silence soon enough.’

They throw him in the back of a van, literally throw him, and he lands on his face. His hands are bound behind his back so he struggles to get up. As he rises to his feet the van begins to move and he falls over again.

There’s a police officer with a gun in the back of the van with him. He watches Rupert struggle with an impassive face. When Rupert finally manages to sit on the bench opposite the police officer the officer says, ‘I give you six months before you go insane. Most people would only last three I think, but being psychotic, you probably enjoy your own company.’

Rupert doesn’t reply. The officer doesn’t say anything more.

The journey is a long one. Rupert falls asleep.

He is woken up by the motion of the van as it slows down. It stops and the door is thrown open immediately. Rupert is pulled out and a black sack is pulled over his head.

They herd him inside and along corridors and down a lift. The descent lasts a good fifteen minutes. He receives regular jabs and kicks as he goes. One hit to his ribs sends a sharp pain up his side.

‘Getting rid of the death sentence is the best thing this country ever did,’ someone says. ‘Death is too good for the likes of him.’

Rupert almost smiles, but the pain in his side is too much.

They exit into a corridor and after another minute they stop. Rupert hears a door slam behind him with a huge metal echo and the sack is pulled off his head. In front of him is a chair with leather straps on the arms and legs. He’s strapped in and a man in a lab jacket appears before him. His skin is pocked with acne. He looks like a teenager but Rupert knows he’s even older than himself.

‘Hi Rupert,’ the guy in the lab coat says.

‘Hi.’

‘Fitting, don’t you think? That you should be the first?’

‘Get on with it, Sam.’

Sam grins and gets on with it. He injects a blue liquid into Rupert’s right arm, then pulls away. Rupert feels nothing at first, then the most agonising pain. It doesn’t seem to come from his arm but his head, radiating from the centre of his brain.

‘I hope it hurts, Rupert. I hope it hurts just as much tomorrow, too.’

Rupert almost says ‘fuck you’, but he passes out. The pain. You can’t imagine the pain.

He comes to in darkness, slumped against a wall. Restraints bind his arms and legs to the wall. They have enough slack for him to sit down without too much discomfort, at least.

There is no sound but his own heart and breath.

Tomorrow they’ll repeat the process, injecting the serum into his arm. They’ll do this every day for a year. He knows this because he helped develop the process.

After that year they’ll treat him once a week, then slow it to once a month, then once a year until his body has fully absorbed the chemicals and he is, to all intents and purposes, immortal.

And for all that time he’ll be rotting away here, miles below the ground, no hope of escape, no hope of ever seeing the sun again.

That part he’s not so keen on. But hey, he has plenty of time to work on that. All the time in the world.

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About lemonmachine

I am Kieren McCallum, a third-year English Literature student at UEA, Norwich. View all posts by lemonmachine

6 responses to “Naflafiwrimo Day 24: All the Time in the World

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