It really was strange. Well, the world was a strange place, and getting stranger by the day. Which he supposed was really only today and yesterday, so kind of early to declare a trend. But that wasn’t what was on his mind. He thought the pain would ground him here, that it would make the world real, that it would help him feel like what he really was. But when the knives were in him is when his mind wandered the most, like he had someone’s memories of it doing in class, focusing on random trivial things and going off on long tangents that had little to do with his original subject or train of thought, which, when he paused to consider that subject was torture and the falsehood of his identity, maybe wasn’t so bad.
The knife came out, and he was back. The razor’s edge left his body, and returned to the world.
“Please… you kill monsters, right? So do I. It doesn’t matter who I am or why I do it, I do, so I’m on your side. Enemy of my enemy, right? Please, if you let me out of here, that’s what I’m going to do, kill more monsters. Is that what you want? Just tell me what you want, I’ll do anything…”
Of course the man didn’t respond. He hadn’t responded for the last 6 hours, why start now? Under all the hazmat gear, he wasn’t even sure it had been the same man the whole time. He’d prefer if it was. He’d rather not have to accept there was a team of people willing to do things like this. After every exploration, the knife would come out and wounds would be cleaned and instruments would be washed and he would leave, and he or someone would be back. Now he was back.
“This doesn’t make sense. You guys are corporate, right? This is a waste of resources. I’m a resource, a dead man with someone else living the only life I had left, with a burning desire for revenge. Why can’t you see that? Who do you work for? Does your boss know what you’re doing? He’s going to tear you a new asshole so big that you fall in when he finds out what you’re doing you bastard this is your head not m-
Dylan wondered if this was a defensive mechanism he had always had, or something created for this new body. He wondered if he should keep referring to himself in the 3rd person as Dylan, both as its tackiness as a storytelling convention, as if he was cohabitating this existence with an omniscient 3rd person narrator, and because that wasn’t really his name. I mean sure, a life, experiences could be shared. Those could be both of theirs. But a name was something special, and that really was his at this point. Should he come up with a new one? Maybe an anagram of Dylan Kent, or would that be obnoxious? He also wondered where they had left to dissect. No, that was when he was dead. Vivisect, that was the word. He believed they were in his kidneys right now. It probably hurt. What did kidneys do again?
And that’s when she showed up.