Tell A Tale — Gothic Fiction

Split By Neshok Nayagam

"The splitting of the atom, humanity's greatest discovery," the professor had always said. So obsessed with it was he that many long nights were spent alone in his study, a flaming cup of coffee by his side, studying the topic and searching for something greater. Or so I presumed. It wasn't until I heard the screaming, that I finally decided to venture into the study.

The professor was an old and decrepit man; much of his stature reflected onto his workspace. The room was a measly 6 feet tall and could barely accommodate his countless books nevermind his rather large birchwood desk. It stood secluded in the rightmost corner of the asylum, where the sunlight never reached, insisting the need for privacy. The door was a marvel of carpentry, designed to look immaculate, yet radiated some kind of unwelcome. I braved against the bulky, coarse surface of the door, opening it with ease. Almost instantaneously did my gag reflexes kick in, an overwhelming flood of vile, malodorous stench rendering my senses useless. Mushy, clammy air forced its way through my throat, as I groped around for the non-existent light switch. I shuffled around, fighting for conscience, tapping book after book along the wall. I don't know how long I had been there, but the next thing I knew was waking up to the pitter-patter of tiny footsteps along the corridor outside.

I panicked. Legs thrashing, arms flailing, I propelled myself across the rough wooden floor. Suddenly, I felt all air rush out of my lungs, as I collided with (what I presumed to be) the corner of the room. The door opened. Time itself seemed to stop, as the professor stepped cautiously into the room, eyes filled with cold fire. Taking a long, relieved inhale of the toxic air, he traversed the room, seeming to have no difficulty in the utter darkness. The footsteps stopped. It must have been at least ten minutes that I sat there like a fetus, scanning for any life amidst the room. Only then, did the pain finally set in. I ran my hand slowly along the back of my thigh, and grimaced when I felt the protrusion. Grasping firmly, I drew out the humongous blood-coated splinter, holding back the screams of anguish. That's when I heard him sniff.

The lights came on, a rain of daggers piercing my eyes. I felt a hand on my collar, dragging me along the floor once more. The professor sniffed away like a dog chasing his treat. I struggled for conscience once more, as a multitude of events took place before me: stairs; machine; knife; blood. Pain. Blackness.

I'm awake now. My hands and feet are restrained and the professor stands beside me.

"Splitting an atom creates enough energy to fuel a city. I want to know what happens when you split a human."

He leers, eyes devoid of colour and humanity, yet seeming to penetrate through my very soul. He walks over to a small console and pulls a lever. My blood begins to boil, sweat almost streams out of my skin. Something begins to rumble, a lion awakening from its slumber. Suddenly, there is darkness.

I'm awake again, but I don't feel awake. My breaths are stale and absent of life. A bloody piece of broken glass lies in front of my face. Lifting my face off the ground, I looked into it, but I don't see myself. Whatever it is in that reflection... is not me.


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