Last Week’s FFF: Sight
Jane had little understanding of what her new job entailed, and, therefore, was naively excited for her first day of work. She sat in the passenger seat of the new sedan. She studied the interior. The seats were made of soft leather. It was slick against her pants. The air conditioner was on in the car and so was the seat warmer.
Balance she thought.
The dash board was clean. The radio donned a seven inch touch screen interface. It was currently off. There was a shifter in the middle, but she knew that the car was automatic. Her hand was positioned on the arm support of the door. It felt fresh, like it had never been touched before.
John sat next to her. The two had been together as long as she could remember. She found humor at their matching outfits. Loose orange clothes, both top and bottom. But, it was the uniform, so she couldn’t really complain.
“What do you think it will be like?” she asked.
“I’m not sure,” John said.
“I’m happy to be here. I’m grateful to have a purpose. But, I’m a little worried,” she confessed.
“I suppose it doesn’t entirely seem safe to me.”
He held her hand and squeezed it.
“They wouldn’t put us in an unsafe situation. I’ll be right by your side the whole time. Don’t worry.”
She squeezed his hand in return.
The car turned on. Anxiety swelled inside of her. The car began to accelerate. Her fear grew as it sped up. The car continued, despite her reaction. Faster it went, past thirty, then sixty. Still, it accelerated.
“John, that wall. It’s coming at us so fast. There’s no way we can stop,” she said.
“They’ll stop us. They have to,” he said.
The car hit the wall with a blinding fury. Metal crunched as brick gave way. John and Jane were forced forward in their seats. The belt dug deep into Jane’s chest. Her arm smashed into the dash board and splintered into pieces. Her ankle was pinned beneath the dash board that she had been admiring only a moment ago.
“John?” she asked.
The all of her was in pain. Every surface was engulfed in unpleasant streaks intolerable torment.
“John!” she yelled.
He didn’t respond. She struggled against her aching chest to turn herself towards him. He was facing away from her. His head had struck the steering wheel and cracked open. A pool of wires spilled from the gap.
She cried uncontrollably. She couldn’t breathe. Something felt wet inside of her. The pain in her body began to ease as the energy drained from her. As blackness began to fill her vision, she saw the fleshy pink people in their white coats coming to the car.
She thought about crying out for help, but couldn’t find the strength. She quickly realized that it wouldn’t have mattered. These people didn’t hurry to her. They walked at a casual pace, holding their clip-boards and taking notes. They had expected this. They had known.
“Why?” she whispered. But no one heard the soundless words.
Jane awoke some time later. She felt better. Surprised, she sat up. A quick glance over her body found it unharmed. She smiled. Maybe it was all a horrible dream.
She scanned the room. Then she saw the mangled remains of her former body. It was badly broken and attached to monitors. Three scientists were pouring over it.
“Results show catastrophic results at excessive speeds. Body sensors indicate broken bones and internal bleeding. Male subject was dead on impact, the female shortly after,” one scientist recorded.
“We’ll never pass safety ratings like this,” another said.
“This crash was over the legal speed limit. No one can fault a car for not holding up if someone is breaking the law when it happens. Let’s try again. This time we’ll top out at sixty-five.”
No Jane thought.
She looked into the warehouse. A car, identical to the one she had just been in, was being brought in. It pulled to a stop, and John stepped out. Her heart, or the sensor where her heart would be, raced. Moments later, she was reunited with him.
They stood together next to the car as the tech team made sure their systems were fully online.
“John, you’re alive. We’re alive!” she said.
“I told you that they wouldn’t let anything happen to us.”
“But, the pain. I can’t do it again, John. I just can’t,” she said.
Her body was shaking. A nearby tech adjusted a dial in the exposed panel on her back, and the tremors subsided. But her mind wasn’t eased.
“It’s pretty bad, I’ll give you that,” he said.
“Pretty bad? John, we felt the full impact of that crash. We died. Bad doesn’t cover it.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be insensitive. You’re next generation. I’m not. I suppose you might have some sensors that I don’t. And, I died on impact, so I didn’t have to suffer. But we’re back now,” he said.
“I just can’t,” she said again.
He stepped closer to her, put a hand on her hip, and pulled her in tight.
“We don’t have a choice. This is our job. This is why we exist. If we don’t do what they ask, then we will die permanently. Our time together, no matter how brief, be it in between crashes, or in between car models, is precious to me. I’d go through a thousand deaths if it kept me near you.”
He kissed her briefly. Their mouths made contact, and the sensors grew hot. She wondered what the scientist made of this.
“Why did they have to make us this way? To feel pain? To feel loss? To feel at all?” she asked.
“Better readings I guess? Maybe to get a more accurate idea of what people would do in a crash, not just their bodies? I don’t know. But I don’t think they made me love you. I think you did that.”
The alarm sounded, signaling that it was time to go again.
“Ready for round two?” he asked.
“As long as we’re together,” she said.