“Would you like some tea?”
Aaron Timothy Walker opened his eyes at the sound of the female voice and swallowed hard. “Um, sure” he said in a voice that shook from fear and more than a little apprehension, “it might help me relax some.”
The nurse, a buxom blonde smiled and wrinkled her nose at him. He relaxed and ignored the restraints across his legs and chest. Aaron focused his attention on the curve of the nurse’s hips and the overall shape of her magnificent body.
An IV was hooked to his left arm, and from time to time it would hum and then discharge sodium pentothal into his system. The nurse sashayed across the room, blowing on the tea. Aaron liked how her full lips formed when she blew the steam coming from the cup.
“Here you go,” she said, as she handed the cup to Aaron. “Drink up. It’s good for you.” Aaron gave her a smile and accepted the cup. He inhaled deeply, the IV hummed and discharged the pentothal, and he took a sip.
Aaron’s cobalt blue eyes grew heavy as the psilocybin mushroom tea flooded his mind. The last thing he saw was the pretty nurse holding a syringe and a square bottle whose label read: Sodium Amytal.
The universe opened its arms and welcomed Aaron to it. He seemed to float above the clouds, high enough to touch the gates of Heaven if he could only figure out the address. Aaron had enough memory to know he was strapped to the bed, his legs and chest firmly held in place, but he also knew that he was outside of his body.
“Ain’t no chains on me,” he giggled. “I’m a free man.”
Dr. Timothy Andrew Sanders IV walked into the room. He gave the nurse, Shirley, a cold smile and said, “you can go now. I’ll call you if I need your assistance.” She nodded and responded with a ‘yes doctor.’
He watched her leave. Her eyes met his when she turned to shut the door, but Sanders did not look away. It was one of the reasons Shirley continued to work for him. He wasn’t intimidated by her beauty, in fact, he acknowledged it and refused to hide his desires from her.
She smiled at him, but he turned to his patient and waited for the door to click shut. When it did, he looked at the camera in the corner of the room. It zoomed in on his face first, and then on the patient. The red light blinked informing Sanders that the device was recording.
“Aaron, can you hear my voice?”
“Yes, I can hear you.”
“How are you feeling? “Do you have any pain?”
“No, I’m good.”
“What do you see? Where are you?”
“I’m floating, man. Colors, such pretty colors are here. I like this place.”
“Do you remember what we talked about last time?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
“We talked about the bad people, remember?”
“Oh yeah, man. I remember. You said they had to go away. Butterflies.”
“No, they’re not butterflies.”
“I know the bad guys aren’t butterflies, man. I’m running with butterflies. They’re everywhere.”
“So are the bad people. If you do what I want, I can make it, so you never leave the butterflies again. Would you like that?”
“Oh yeah. Me and the butterflies like that notion. What do you want me to do, man?”
“I want you to kill the bad people.”
“Why? Can’t you do the killing, man? It’s such a downer doing that.”
Sanders smiled and scribbled a note in his journal. His latest attempt had cracked the mind of his latest patient. After all this time, he’d found the right amount of chemicals to open the mind to suggestion.
“You’re the killer, not me. Besides, the butterflies love you, and you love them.”
“That’s true, man. I’m down to kill the bad people if I can come back to the butterflies.”
“Excellent. You stay with the butterflies for now. I will come back and visit you in a bit, and we will talk about how to get rid of the bad people, finally.”
Aaron didn’t respond. Instead, he chased after the butterflies that seemed to shimmer and fade in the kaleidoscope of colors in his mind.
Dr. Sanders closed his journal and walked out of the room. Shirley’s hourglass figure filled his vision, and he smiled. He walked close to her, and leaned near her left ear and whispered, “come see me. We need to discuss your next assignment.”
Shirley followed Dr. Sanders into his office. He sat at his desk and pulled out a pre-loaded syringe. She watched as he shoved the needle into his vein and depressed the plunger. Sanders leaned his head back against the wall and closed his eyes as the drug raced through his system.
He opened his eyes, and Shirley was no longer wearing scrubs. Instead, she wore a white robe, a jeweled crown upon her head, and she held a scepter in her left hand. Her blonde hair was curled and hung midway down her back; her smoky grey eyes filled his soul.
“Doctor, are you okay?”
“Yes. It’s time for your assignment.”
“What would you like me to do, doctor?”
“Come closer, Shirley.”
“Yes,” she whispered breathlessly, bending at the waist, and leaning forward until their lips almost touched. “What do you want…”
He touched her face and his heart trembled from the excitement. A golden light shined from her soul, and it filled his entire being with her energy. He sucked in a breath and soaked in her presence.
“I want you…to bring Aaron down and flirt with him. Make him comfortable and give him something to rest. We start the next phase in the morning.”
“Is that it? You don’t want me to do anything for you?”
The drugs he’d taken wore off quickly, and Goddess Shirley was no more. She wore blue scrubs now, her crown was gone, and her light had faded. He gave her a cold smile and shook his head.
“Nothing for me, thanks. Just do what I asked you to do, please.”
Shirley stood to her full height of 5’11 and walked out of the room. It was always the same thing, she thought as she stormed away. He’d almost command her, but he wouldn’t follow through. Hot tears stung her eyes.
What’s so wrong with me that he won’t love me?
While Shirley went to take care of Aaron and complete her assignment, Dr. Sanders received a text informing him of his next task. He had no way of knowing his body was strapped to a table-just like Aaron’s- but he had enough original thought to understand someone outside of his ‘normal’ was pulling his strings.
Sanders wasn’t an addict. Until recently, he’d never even used drugs. His head ached from the rush of the cocktail he’d shoved into his bloodstream. Sanders wiped his eyes and unlocked his cell. He opened his messages that had commanded him to take the drugs. It was gone.
He let out a heavy sigh and walked down the hall to where Aaron and Shirley were. If he couldn’t trust himself, was the other two people even real in this dream of his? He stood in the doorway and watched as Shirley wiped Aaron’s mouth with a napkin.
Aaron and Shirley paid him no attention. Shirley giggled as she pampered Aaron, and Aaron had eyes for only Shirley. “It’s not real,” Sanders muttered. “It’s only a dream.” Shirley stood and took the cup from Aaron’s bedside table.
To prove he wasn’t going insane, Sanders walked over and swatted Shirley on her rear end. She gasped and spun around. “How dare you,” she screeched. “That is sexual harassment, and I will lodge a complaint with Human Resources!”
Aaron, still high from the magic mushrooms, snorted. Shirley turned and gave him a wink. Sanders though, he was more confused than ever.
“I’m sorry, Shirley. I didn’t think you were here.”
“Where else would I be? It’s ten o’clock on a Monday morning!”
Sanders looked at his watch. She was right, his watch read the same information. He shook his head and shrugged.
“I..I don’t know, Shirley. I’m not feeling well at all. Do what you must to correct my behavior.”
“Are you okay, doctor?”
“No, I’m not okay. I think I’m losing my mind.”
“Welcome to the nuthouse,” Aaron said, as he tried to work his way out of his restraints. “If I ever get out of these things, I’m taking Shirley to see the butterflies.”
Sanders wished him luck and walked out of the room. A beeping sound filled his ears and he covered them both with his hands. He fell to his knees and rocked back and forth as the sound continued to rise in tone and frequency.
Shirley giggled and knelt beside him. “You’ve overdone it, doctor. Come on, let’s get you to the office.” Sanders struggled to his feet, the sound pulsated throughout his ear canals and caused his head to ache.
“What is wrong with me,” he muttered, as Shirley guided him down the hall. This was as close as she would get to being held in his arms. Love was an elusive part of her life she’d never capture, but this would suffice.
“You’re resisting. You shouldn’t resist the call. Pain is the weapon of choice used to correct those who’re stubborn.”
“What am I resisting, Shirley? I did what the text demanded.”
Shirley hummed and walked Sanders to his doorway. He looked into her eyes, no mirth showed in them, no love either. She gave him a cold smile. She opened the door and led him to his chair.
“Sit here for a spell. The ringing will subside, although I hope it continues to ring for a while. You broke my heart.”
“How did I do that? I’ve never dated you, nor were we ever married. How could I break your heart when I only met you this morning?”
Tears formed in Shirley’s beautiful smoky grey eyes, and she bit her bottom lip to keep it from trembling. “How could you say those horrible things to me?” She sobbed; her thin shoulders shook as the tears rolled down her cheeks.
Sanders slumped in the chair and sobbed, “I’m sorry, Shirley. I can’t tell what’s real or not anymore. Forgive me, love.”
Behind the unseen glass, a row of white clad beings observed the trio of patients and their foray into the depths of madness. The beings watched as Sanders noticed the bed in his office for the first time. One of the beings made a sound, like when a person crumpled gum wrappers to throw away, and then made a notation of the significance of the moment.
Sanders crawled upon the bed and stretched out. His head ached and restless slumber pulled him into the darkness.
On the other side of the room, unseen by Aaron and Shirley, more beings watched as Aaron continued to tug at the restraints. His addled mind could not focus, otherwise, he would have noticed he wasn’t restrained to begin with.
Shirley sat in a chair next to the bed. She was still crying from Sander’s hurtful words. Aaron ignored her, even when she tried to tell him how to free himself.
The beings watched the show, each one fascinated by a different aspect of their project. More crumpled gum wrapper sounds came from the beings, more notations were made. Each one of the members held a tablet and scribbled notes and observations on them.
If Aaron, Shirley, and Sanders could see them, they’d not have a way to describe them. The white-robed beings wore hoods, and the hoods had no cut-outs for eyes nor for the mouths. A shield covered the portion where the face would have been, but in truth, the face was in the lower abdomen of these individuals.
It had no use for eyes, instead, they ‘saw’ via emotions. The higher the emotional turmoil of its prey, the clearer the beings could see. This was the sole reason for the experiments.
As previously described, the crumpled gum wrapper sound is the aliens speech patterns. Instead of ears, the beings communicated via brainwaves, the sound got translated into actual words in the mind of the receiver.
The alien overlords studied the trio of humans. Their level of interest would wane if the group proved to be unpliable. Humanity served a purpose, except for when it didn’t, and if they refused to comply with the whims of their betters, the aliens would discard them into the vastness of space.
Then, they’d need another group to train to carry out their mission.