The Nightmare
Thursday, April 20, 2006

Sometimes Simon has trouble sleeping. One-shot.


This was written a while ago while I was trying to do the joss100.

Disclaimer: I don't own it and the few assets I have are invested in moldy sci-fi texts.

Simon Tam is eight years old. Today was his first day in the fifth grade and in general sciences class, his instructor explained that they will begin their study of the human body this year. To aid them in their discovery of the nervous, circulatory and digestive systems, they will be using a life-sized head and torso with organs that can be removed. The dummy is wooden and roughly the size of a child, with glazed eyes that stare – though these are a minor feature considering the quarter of the skull that is missing, exposing half of the brain. The instructor, an older man with pale eyes, stoops as he smiles apologetically and asks that the students keep an open mind while using this antique instead of relying solely on the flashy animations and bio-discovery programs of the Cortex. Even when the students roll their eyes at this relic, he reminds them that science can not rely on simulations alone. During recreational time, while the other children are racing around the perimeter of the classroom or turning cartwheels or downloading Cortex games, Simon opens the dummy’s chest. Its two peach slabs of wood are held in place by hooks and metal rings. He carefully detaches the skin and muscle block, and places it gently next to the base of the dummy. With his legs neatly folded under his body, Simon begins to remove the organs one-by-one. Lungs. Heart. Stomach. Liver. Left Kidney. Right Kidney. With steady hands, Simon slips the hooks from the rings and carefully organizes the organs in a circle around him. The lungs and the heart and the liver break down into smaller sections, the major veins and arteries are painted and labeled, and Simon studies them all. Shifts them in his hands to feel their wooden weight. Before the chimes ring to call the children back to class, he puts all the pieces back as though the torso was a puzzle. He can feel the instructor’s eyes burning into his back as he does this. Tomorrow, Simon decides, he will pull apart the rubbery brain that is half-hidden beneath the cut away of the skull. “It makes a difference,” his instructor says as Simon takes his seat. “Doesn’t it? Feeling the weight. Better than the Cortex.” Simon nods and, in his mind, is turning the organs over and over in his hands. But now, at night, lying in his bed in the deep shadows of the dark room, the eight year-old dreams that he is the torso and someone – Simon can not make out a face – methodically opens his chest and removes his organs one-by-one. It is not painful, although he keenly feels the lack of something that should be there. When they touch his head, he wakes cold and sweating, knuckles white, clenching his bed sheets. He pads to the light switch and snicks it on. Simon examines his chest and fails to find a scalpel scar, but is unable to shake the feeling that he is empty inside. He does not touch the dummy again. Nor does he have to, as the instructor senses his interest in human biology and provides Simon with a faux-flesh torso to study, though it only has the trunk and not the head with its rubber brain. When he tells River about this dream years later, she wonders aloud whether or not that influenced his decision to become a surgeon before moving on to the topic of her thirteenth birthday party. The first he had ever missed due to an industrial accident at the Blue Sun complex flooding the ER with patients. It is a reoccurring dream that seems to surface in his subconscious whenever he feels . . .well, it surfaces at odd times. And it isn’t an easy sensation to shake. But when Simon comes to Serenity, the dream changes. No longer is he lying on the table, staring up at faceless entities whose hands move methodically within him. Instead, he is staring down at his sister. She is opened before him and, like the dummy, the upper left quarter of her skull is missing, rubbery brain exposed. She smiles at him as his hands (oddly enough, he suddenly wears blue surgical gloves instead of the white ones he wore at the hospital) move methodically and remove her organs one-by-one: Lungs. Heart. Stomach. Liver. Left Kidney. Right Kidney. With steady hands Simon empties his little sister. He does this with the same detachment he would a stranger. He organizes them neatly on a silver tray and studies them all. He turns them over in his hands and feels the weight of them. And sometimes he puts them back and makes her whole again, and sometimes he doesn’t. These nights Simon wakes sweating and cold and often hears his sister stirring in her room. Sometimes she settles and Simon shuts his eyes. Sometimes she gets increasingly aggravated and he goes to her. Either way, he will not sleep.


Friday, April 21, 2006 4:43 AM


Creepy. Reminds me a bit of Kafka, Burroughs and Palahniuk (the guy that wrote FIGHT CLUB, not sure if I have the name right).

Definitly a cut above the normal fanfics (no pun intended).

Saturday, May 13, 2006 2:24 PM


You've been reviewed by Firefly Talk.

Thursday, June 29, 2006 7:23 AM





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The Nightmare
Sometimes Simon has trouble sleeping. One-shot.

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