The very first memory I had was from almost 2 months ago. Considering it to be the only memory my brain made out in the real world, I am able to remember it like it happened yesterday. I woke up to a confused mind with my first ever perception being pain. With a stinging head, my body felt so sore I could barely move. I didn’t know what normal must feel like, not even to this day. As I started processing things around me I got used to the pain, much quicker than I thought I could.
As I got used to the pain, I went on to slowly recognize my other senses. Though it was all there, concentrating on all your senses and taking in that info all at once definitely wasn’t the smartest move. My body was not used to define what was necessary and what was not throwing me into a sensory overload. I focused on my nose that had been breathing multiple smells, my brain screaming the word chemicals. I could not taste anything on my tongue but felt a slight buzz, the insides of my mouth and throat feeling cold and parched. As my hearing comes into focus and I start picking up a plethora of sounds. As I focus away from the continuous beeping sound, I could hear people talking around me and I could only concentrate on what they were saying,
“TS-07’s mind is getting active, the body’s metabolism is off the charts, we need to change the muscle relaxant to a much stronger one, prep the deep dive device.”
“Do you think it will work? Unlike any test specimen from before, this one completely absorbed the Mutagen crystal, you think we can keep it subdued long enough?”
“TS-07 is a monster just like all the others we have worked on so far and we will handle with it like we handle a monster and will it work? We wouldn’t know unless we try, just make sure you add these functions into the program modules before you put it into the program.”
“Wait… these functions! Are you sure about these functions? A human’s brain might melt at this. And the numbers are too much, if they go through it for that long, would they even stay sane? The possible repercussions could break its mind”
“Is it human?”
“It isn’t, do what you have been told”
Just as I heard that and before I even had the thought of saying or doing something, my mind slowly started to fade away and I lost consciousness only to wake up in here.
This forsaken of a place that I do not have enough vocabulary to swear at. Even I was shocked at how much I understood right off the bat, at least I understood the language of not all the conversation. And just like whoever that good person was said, this place has been melting my brain if any of it even exists anymore.
The moment I felt awake again, I tried feeling my senses like I could just a while before that moment. But much to my surprise, I could not feel anything, hear anything, sure as hell couldn’t taste anything, not that I remembered how taste feels like. The only reprieve I had was my vision. I could see an endless white around me while all my other senses were muffed which honestly shot my panic through the roof.
As I was checking around I notice a screen of sorts in from of me, I tried touching it but my hand just went through it. I stood up and moved around looking at it and it moved with me and weirdly just as I could understand what was said, I could read what was written on it,
‘Welcome to the kindergartener dive, Test Specimen – 07, let us learn together’
‘Your brain activity is too high to initiate the kindergartener program’
‘Please calm down’
I could not physically feel it but my mind was running full circles trying to cope up with what’s happening and it was asking me to calm down?
I don’t have a sense of self, check.
I don’t remember who I am, check.
I don’t remember where I am, check.
I don’t know what this thing around me or this screen is, check.
I don’t know why I understand that this is all wrong and why I can understand what’s written on the screen, a very panic-filled check.
‘Brain activity still too high’
‘Please calm down’
And it's starting to bug me out even more, a mighty check!
‘Initiating isolation phase to let the host calm down their brain activity’
Time left on isolation - 23:57:36 hrs
As an instinct, my body that has been in panic mode trying to get a hang of the situation told me to be patient, a weird sense of calm slowly crept into me telling me to calm down and things can be figured out with rational if I can calm down. Another truly weird feeling, check!
Giving into it I slow down my brain before panic overtakes it and start checking around me, everything around me was still all white, I look at the screen and wish it would go away and it closes from my vision. I get up and walk around, though I don’t remember learning to walk, something told me I could and as I slowly started to get a hang of it. Step by step, awkwardly at first I started walking around and soon was running around trying to finding anything to do or perceive anything that can explain what’s happening better. It took almost the entire first day to calm down and come to terms with what was happening. It very magical what a complete day of isolation can do to you, how much you start craving stimulus, especially an anemic 5-year-old who can’t feel anything. As my mind settled down understanding I wasn’t left with much of a choice, the screen from before lit up again,
‘Mind activity at permissible level, initiating kindergartener program’
And that was when things went wrong, very wrong. Out of nowhere, a rabbit, a very big rabbit, almost as tall as me, white with black near eyes, standing on its hind legs and wearing a yellow checkered shirt and a pair of blue overalls appeared out of nowhere and started talking to me,
“Hi! My name is buddy, I’m your friendly educational bunny. Do you want to be my friend?”
As the name said, it started talking to me like I was a child, slowly articulating each sound in the most irritatingly high-pitched voice I’ve ever heard which bugged me much more than I thought it would.
It started with simple things. Questions like my name, if I wanted to play with it, how I was feeling and suggesting another game. Then some more stupid questions and some more games most of which were like if I would start counting numbers with it or start singing alphabets where it did some and asked me to join it. Initially curious, I responded to it when it asked simple things and I started to talk and tried asking it who I was, where I was and why I was in this program. Except for saying “We are in the Kindergartner program - A great learn yourself to greatness, do you want to play with me?” on loop like a broken record for almost all my questions, it didn’t really let me know much.
After trying a few times and not getting any helpful response I started not responding to it at all. I thought if I tried to observe before I did anything else I could learn something new. Over the first few hours, it took different approaches in trying to make me talk while it kept singing and dancing and even went on to teach me my anatomy. With not much response from me, it went back to its saying, “Let’s play a game.” Only this time I didn’t realize that that was to be my nightmare.
‘Join Buddy in playing a game of fun and learning’
I didn’t even completely read what it said and closed the screen irritated at the circumstances, but what I didn’t realize it was all the real deal. As I kept ignoring it, the bunny kept trying to encourage me to join in till,
‘Observed host not participating in the intended activity, initiating punishment phase set by the system administrator’
‘Join Buddy in playing a game of fun and learning’
Before I could even finish reading what was on it, I was suddenly jolted to my feet and my body was forced to run around in circles, it started nice and easy and much to my wonder I could feel my legs again. It felt really exhilarating to feel myself and it was the first time I actually running and felt how it would until it wasn’t fun anymore. Just in a minute, I realized that I lost control of my body and it just kept running faster and faster. As my body kept running out of my control, I could start feeling pain in my legs. The whole thing was over in 10 minutes, but someone who is not used to the pain or feeling their legs, this didn’t feel fun. As I lay sprawled on the floor, my legs aching so bad I couldn’t even move, my vision darkened by a shadow, and when I look up,
“Hi! My name is buddy, I’m your friendly educational bunny. Do you want to play with me?”
Ever since that day I hated that bunny to the bottom of my core. I had nothing in my mind all day every day, hate for the forsaken buddy. But despite that, I had to play along with its stupid mind-numbing games and sing with it or go along when it is teaching me alphabets and then words. None of these things were done with excitement, it was just that I realized that there was not just one punishment and I learned that the painful way. Over the last two months, I figured out that if I don’t respond to a task or ignore the buddy 10 times for its activities a certain punishment phase starts. So far I got to experience a total of 14 different punishments. It started with over 10 a day the first 3 weeks and slowly I’m now down to either 2-5 a day depending on how much stimulus I craved.
The punishment chosen was always random from a list that consisted of 12 different physical activities that felt more of an all-out exercise than the so-called punishment like running, pushups, jumping like a frog, etc., It felt way too strenuous for me the first few times as I never experienced physical activity before. I didn’t fare much better every time it was one of those. This body was not mine; I didn’t feel myself in here and even though my body aches all over and I become too exhausted after it's done it just goes away right after. All this made me more of a masochist than subdued that it was probably targeted to make me. I was welcoming the stimulus since I knew I won’t feel it just a few seconds later anyway.
Then there was this time when my body sat down cross-legged and I couldn’t open my eyes or mouth and just sat there for almost 4 hours. Considering how much of my time I spent without any physical feeling, the back pain was a welcome in the so-called meditative state. The worst was that one time where I was punished out of the blue and though I knew I had it coming I never was prepared for it. I’m sure no one can ever be prepared when your head starts experiencing a splitting pain unlike anything ever before. It lasts for maybe a few seconds but I still had a lingering fear of pain even after passing out unable to bear the pain. That was definitely not something I welcomed and was very afraid of.
My weirdest flex was that I am able to contemplate all this, it was like I was given a brain pre-loaded with a bit of common sense and some language comprehension and some sagely wisdom to make fun of buddy and tell myself to be bigger than a simple program but still do it anyway.
Also, whenever I ask buddy something a bit complex, it goes into this weird repeat mode of wither saying that I was not old enough to know the answer to that question or just simply stops functioning. This I’ve used well when I wanted to get out of a punishment or a game or activity I disliked.
But of all the things, today, I want to try something new and exciting, something that I have been wanting to for a long time, something I know would have bad consequences. Today, I’ll try punching buddy in the face.