The seconds on the clock ticked by slower with each passing minute. I tried to look away but I couldn’t pull my attention away from the sweeping second hand.
The cadence of the clock’s antique internals echoed inside my mind as I struggled to remain conscious. Once again, I tried to pull my attention away from the clock but I was locked into a trance.
I counted…37…38…39…what comes after 39?
Maybe I shouldn’t try counting. I looked at the clock again. How long had it been? Hours? Minutes?
How much longer would I have to endure this?
The second hand clicked along. Did it just move backward? No, that can’t be possible.
How long have I been staring at this clock?
Why can’t I turn my head away? Did my heart just stop beating? Breath in, breath out. Nope. Still beating.
“…37…38…39…flatline,” the nurse noted.
“Time of death is 19:37,” the doctor said. “Mindwipe was initiated at 19:36 and 47 seconds. Patient #33 survived 39 seconds after the procedure was initiated.”
“Do you want me to note the eye movement, doctor?” the nurse asked.
“Yes, please. It was almost as if the patient was in REM sleep.”
The nurse nodded and noted the observation. “He also tried to move his head.”
“Yes. I noticed that too,” the doctor replied. “Let’s wheel him out and bring in the next patient.”
“Oh, and nurse,” the doctor called, “Please inform the patient’s family that they’ll be compensated for their loss.”
“Yes, doctor. The usual fee?”
“Ummm…let’s give them five day’s rations instead of three. He lasted a lot longer than we expected.”
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