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Dissentor

The Experiment

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I wrote this last year in a late night writing session on my computer. I hope you enjoy reading it! First story in the new sub-forum! :D :cool:

 

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"All the researcher said was, 'Just push the red button when I tell you to, and we'll be done,'" a balding man, wizened before his time, recollected. He frowned as he tortured himself with the memory of January 31. His life had been very plain, one that would've filled any young grasshopper with bouts of ennui. That day in January had definitely been out of the ordinary, but that wasn't the reason why he still remembered it 52 years later.

 

He recalled that he was given the opportunity to help out in a scientific experiment for the handsome sum of $15. Being a teenager, a penniless one, he eagerly accepted the seemingly, once-in-a-lifetime deal. It was soon to become the single worst decision in his life. He put on his favorite pair of knickerbockers, a clean, white shirt, and a cotton vest in an attempt to look presentable and worthy of the $15 sum. He even tucked in his shirttails, something that occurred only twice before in his life.

 

The building he had been told to go to was sharp with a crispness to it that made it feel like the Army headquarters. He pushed through the doors and noticed the stucco walls, brightly lit interior, and the sudden warmth that contrasted sharply with the frigid winter he had just left. Inside, he was met by the city's leading science researcher, who guided him to what looked like a dilapidated conference room. It had patterned wallpaper that was peeling at the edges. The dingy appearance of the room contrasted sharply with the rest of the laboratory. He sat at the edge of his seat expectantly, leaning slightly forward at a tilt. The researcher started with a falsetto voice that cracked intermittently, as if he was still going through puberty. "You have been selected as one of the few people to participate in our new experiment. We are trying to discover the effects of electricity on a human being. You will be asked to push a red button at certain intervals..."

 

The researcher noticed that the boy was seemingly puzzled by the sudden influx of instructions and gently repeated, "Just push the red button when I tell you to, and we'll be done. Okay?" The boy nodded his assent and adjusted his shabby belt, then proceeded to stand up and shake the researcher's hand. He followed the researcher out of the conference room and was blinded momentarily by the intense lights. As his eyes adjusted, the researcher led him to another room. It was another modestly adorned room with a bare bulb hanging above a wooden desk and matching chair. Here he was dragged through rigmaroles of legal papers, documents, liability waivers, and other time-consuming paperwork. At least he still had the 15 dollars to look forward to. He would buy a brand new bicycle, the one shown in the display at Everton's. He would use the remaining money to buy several comics and some licorice. As he was daydreaming about the fun he'd have being the boy with the best bike in town, the researcher pointed him in the direction of yet another room. This one was much larger in size. There was a wall that divided the room in half. On the divider was a panel of one-way glass that allowed him to see into the other side. He observed a man that seemed to be in his middle thirties. The man was dressed smartly and wore a wedding ring on his left hand. On any other occasion, the man would appear to be a prosperous stockbroker, every inch of the man's appearance exuded vibes of upper class. Except the man was strapped to an odd chair. He recognized the chair that the man was sitting in was the newly invented electric chair, a contraption that was meant to execute criminals of the state.

 

He started to squirm uneasily and inquired in an offhanded manner, "What exactly does the red button do?"

 

The researcher answered with an equally casual response, "Nothing for you to worry about, lad," then added, "But when I tell you to press the red button, I want you to look that man straight in the eye before you press the button, understood?"

 

He nodded, his uncertainties raging unchecked within him. He did as instructed, sitting on a wooden stool while resting his right hand on the red button. The button was located on a metal panel and was the only thing protruding from an otherwise flat and smooth surface. The researcher signaled him to start by clenching a fist. Seeing the researcher's signal, he depressed the button for three seconds, as instructed. He couldn't see any evidence of electricity, but the effects were so gruesome that he couldn't tear his eyes away from the man in the chair. The man froze, his eyes seemed to dilate, and his tendons throbbed unnaturally. Even when the electricity was cut off as the button was released, the man continued to shiver for quite some time before going limp. When two members of the janitorial staff removed the limp man and replaced him with a fresh specimen, the researcher looked up from the novel he was reading, and signaled for the boy to repeat the step. This time, however, he hesitated and then refused to do as ordered. "You never said I'd be killin'... killing people," he whispered in subdued tones.

 

"You signed the contract, you've gotta finish it. Now hurry up, you're doing mankind a great favor by advancing science," the researcher snapped while making some marks on the clipboard he was carrying.

 

The process was repeated several times over. When the sun set on that January 31, the boy had depressed the button on two men, two women, and a child. As he trudged out into the cold, somebody slapped 15 dollars into his left hand, and he slid the crinkly bills into his vest pocket, his body completely devoid of any enthusiasm.

 

Over the next few days, he tried his best to forget about the horrors of the bloodcurdling moans and the twitches of the guinea pigs in the grisly experiment. He bought himself the bike and the look on the face of the village bully when he rolled into school the next day helped ease his nagging conscience. However, over the years, he had reoccurring nightmares where the people he had zapped that day in January cornered him against a large red button. When they started to close in on him, he woke up, screaming. All the psychiatrists he was sent to hadn't the slightest idea what was wrong with him, since he kept quiet about the experiment. His nightmares started to become an impediment to his daily life. The man bought a .12 gauge shotgun and locked himself in his house. He became highly suspicious of anybody, other than his favorite niece, Kaitlyn, who he had confided in.

 

Around ten years ago, he had started to hallucinate during the waking hours. It was now 52 years after the incident, and he still hadn't recovered. Trapped in his memories, he whispered over and over to himself, "All the researcher said was, 'Just push the red button when I tell you to, and we'll be done." The guilt had become too hard for him to bear. He polished his shotgun for the last time, cocked it, and with one pull of the trigger, he painted the wall behind him with his brains.

 

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"Come on, Ben, move along there! I can't wait to see Uncle Randy's face when he hears this!" Kaitlyn shouted, unable to contain her immense excitement.

 

"Gosh, you certainly seem to be happy today. Did Mr. Andretti retire?" Ben, her boyfriend, inquired with a jovial smile. Mr. Andretti was their extremely disagreeable French teacher.

 

"Wishful thinking, Ben," she answered, "But the Daily Post has some wonderful news. There was an article about the controversial experiment conducted 52 years ago regarding the electrocution of humans. The data from the experiment was dug up in the archives room when they were shutting down the old lab. It turns out that they weren't testing to see the effects of electricity on human beings; they were testing to see how willing people were to electrocute other people!"

 

"Wow, now your uncle won't have to continue feeling guilty anymore. Congrats, Kate!" Ben grinned.

 

Kaitlyn bounded up the steps to Uncle Randy's apartment and knocked four times, the amount of knocks the two had agreed on. When he didn't come, she wondered aloud to Ben, "Hmmm... that's odd, he's always home..."

Edited by Dissentor

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Wow!

 

That was perhaps the most unique reading experience I have had for sometime! It started off a tad bit slow, but I stuck with it and was glad that I had. You have a disturbed mind my friend, but it pays off with good stories. Don't stop writing, this is precisely the kind of thing this board is looking for.

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Wow. :) That's, like, amazing. :P That's like, really... Wow. :cool: The only thing though, it kinda changes from the flashback abruptly... It kinda threw me off. :D It's still really amazing though. :P

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That was perhaps the most unique reading experience I have had for sometime! It started off a tad bit slow, but I stuck with it and was glad that I had. You have a disturbed mind my friend, but it pays off with good stories. Don't stop writing, this is precisely the kind of thing this board is looking for.

Glad you stayed with it, a lot of people say that the ending is what makes this one worth reading. Thanks for the read and review. :D

 

The only thing though, it kinda changes from the flashback abruptly... It kinda threw me off.

Good point, just added in a line divider. Hope that helps a bit. Thanks for reading, Mel. :cool:

Edited by Dissentor

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Long story, but well written. I noticed a lot of big words, you must be really smart. That was indeed a very interesting story! Well done!

 

~Mole

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Very nice Diss. Perhaps one of the most brdt stories on this board :D You have a hint of Rowling in you with all that suspense. Now here's my PROS and CONS.

 

-PROS-

Very nice grammar

Very nice description of the setting

Very good plot

 

-CONS-

Moved a little to fast from one scene to another

Not much description on characters such as Ben

Too short :cool: ( make more)

 

-OVERALL-

Very nice story indeed. You without a doubt have a soffisticated vocabulary. I hope to see your stories once more, and thing if this was writting a year ago think how much better you must be now.

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Woh... That's A Crazy Ending :D...

 

Very Nice Diss, Like It Alot :P

 

I Swear, I Wasn't The BEN In That Story... :cool:...

 

~Lost

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Very nice story Dissentor! I don't really know what to say :xd:. But as GCR said, I think you want to work on the flashback's are too abrupt. Good plot. I don't have any other CONS than the flashback's :P. Ending's pretty good as well, although I'd rather wish he didn't commit suicide :o, but it's your story :D. Again, very nice! :tongue:

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Wasn't that an actual experiment?

First time someone said that to me. It was an actual experiment back in the 1950's. The test was, like in my story, on human psychology and not the actual science of frying someone in a chair. But the test subjects went under intense mental strain for decades after the experiment due to the fact that they were never told that the experiment was on them, not the people they were "killing". I read this in a science magazine and that gave me the idea for this short story. The plot twist ending came from injecting a little irony. :xd:

 

Congrats on picking up on that, that's observant. :tongue:

Edited by Dissentor

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*Shudders* I heard of that experiment. It was... to test the effect killing would have on young minds, I believe.

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Thanks for the support guys and girls. I tried to fix up the flashback confusion that you guys pointed out. I'm also going to continue my Stranded Silence story.

 

So yeah, thanks! :beret:

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*Shudders* I heard of that experiment. It was... to test the effect killing would have on young minds, I believe.

 

Really? I heard it was fake and that nobody was actually killed.

 

Oh grats on book club. Now I need to start writing more..I'm jealous!

Edited by Dark_Minwu

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Wow, that is one of the most disgustingly odd stories I've ever read.

 

But you did the emotions well, in my opinion.

 

You have a twisted genius, my friend. Now go collect some dead bodies and make yourself a monster to drown little girls. :jester:

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Woah! That's a really great story! I wish i could write like that.

 

The only thing i noticed is that the dialouge between Ben and Kaitlyn seems a little fake... They use a lot of words that i know i wouldn't use in a conversation with my friend.

A few examples:

 

"Wow, now your uncle won't have to continue feeling guilty anymore. Congrats, Kate!" Ben grinned.
You could change it to something a normal person would say, like "Wow, now your uncle doesn't have to feel guilty anymore. Congrats!"

 

But you are the author, and you can leave it if you want. Just a little constructive critisism.

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Great story mate, little bit repetative in some places but generally fanatastic story, well done :P

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//- The non-flashback part was...so...messed up. Seeing how willing people were willing to send electricity through other people? Those scientists have sick minds...sort of like your imagination :P I liked the flashback though.

 

Jeff :beret:

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holy mother fudger that was good. :P i wish i could write that well. now that ending was almost ironic

Edited by wolfsbane

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Very powerful and haunting. Makes you think...

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very nice. oh noes i read this before bed.... better prepare for a nightmare. :P

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