Long nap. @mctiller’s 24-hour short story contest
This my entry for @mctiller’s The 24-hour short story challenge
Jake was a college student like any other, nothing out of the ordinary. And as such, he was always looking for a way to earn enough money to pay for his studies and other stuff, mostly other stuff.
He was in his room with his roommate, Mike. Lying on his bed, searching at craigslist for a part-time job that would help him get the extra money he needed.
"Mike, what do you think about working as a veterinary assistant?" Jake asked.
"How are you doing with animals? Dogs, cats, lizards ... ", replied Mike absently reading his email on his laptop
"I'm allergic to cats," Jake replied with a grimace
Mike rolled over his eyes.
"And pizza delivery?" Jake asked again
"Do you know how to drive a bike? Do you have a particular hidden vehicle that I do not know about? "
"Not at all," replied disheartened, Jake
"You could keep donating blood or semen, it's always a quick option, don't you think?"
"If I continue donating my blood, I'll be dead in two days"
"I’ve got it!" Mike yelled, surprising Jake and causing him to drop his cell phone.
"Damn it," Jake cried
"Let's see, what did you find?"
"This announcement says they wanting people to perform clinical trials! For 24 hours," replied Mike.
"Oh hell no! I won't be a guinea pig. They could be doing that type of tests where you take experimental drugs and end up suffering from anal leakage for months! "
"They pay 2000 dollars for only 24 hours!", added Mike
Jake jumped out of his bed, screaming
"Where do I sign up!?"
Jake was in a waiting room with 3 other young guys who came for the same reason he did: earn $ 2000 in 24 hours.
A nurse appeared and brought some forms with her.
"Please, fill out these forms with your real personal information"
"I also inform all of you that if you have taken any type of drug in the last 24 hours you will not get the $ 2000 today's test"
The 3 young guys looked at each other, one of them shrugged and ignored the nurse's comments.
"Obviously you will undergo blood tests which will reveal any substance you have taken"
Again they looked at each other and at the same time all three of them returned the forms and left, cursing all the way out.
The nurse made a disapproving gesture with her head and then looked at Jake.
"Well, you seem to be the lucky one today, sir." She smiled and left.
Jake was glad to be the chosen one
After being subjected to a series of physical and blood tests, Jake was led to a room where there was a coffin-shaped sleeping compartment.
"Wait here, in a few moments Dr. Wrinkle will explain about the final test"
Again the nurse left. Jake was surprised at how clean that room was, impeccable.
The chamber looked like a small escape pod from some spaceship, with lots of buttons, LEDs and a small screen that showed a series of random numbers.
Soon after, a man with a beard and glasses entered the room.
"My name is Dr. Wrinkle. I want to thank you for your valuable collaboration with the experiment that we will carry out today. If it is successful, it will not only be a great advance for science, but also for all humanity."
"All right then, Doc. But I'd like to know when I'll get paid? "Jake asked.
"Do not worry about that, if everything turns out right, you'll get an extra bonus of $ 1000"
Jake got his eyes quite open and drew a smile from ear to ear
"Let's begin! The sooner the better," said Jake
The doctor injected a blue liquid into Jake's vein and then pressed buttons on the device and it opened automatically.
"Lie inside the sleeping chamber, please"
Jake did as the doctor asked.
"You will take a little nap and when you wake up, you'll have earned your money," the doctor added.
Jake nodded and began to think about all the things he was going to buy with that 3000 dollars.
The camera was closed and then Jake heard by the speaker.
"Get comfortable and relax"
Jake began to feel heavy eyelids and decided to take that $3000 nap. Which for him was what he liked the most.
Everything was dark. Suddenly, Jake heard some metallic beats, followed by the sound of compressed air escaping. He smelled the fresh and cold air from outside.
"What's happened?" Jake asked
"I can't see!" Added fearful Jake
"Please, keep calm. They are the effects of cryo-hibernation. Soon your eyes will return to normal." A strange woman spoke.
"It's amazing, Doctor," a second voice filled the silence.
"I'm Dr. Portman. Can you remember your name?"
"I'm Jake", answered worriedly
"It was supposed to be a little nap. Why do I feel my body numb?"
"Can you tell me what date it is today?" The doctor asked again.
"It's Saturday, March 2nd, 2019, possibly Sunday, apparently I've been sleeping more than a nap."
"I regret to inform you that 100 years have passed since you entered the cryo-hibernation chamber. According to the data recorded."
The last sentence left Jake speechless.
"What did you say? Is this a joke? "
"It is not. You participated in a secret NASA experiment, which would allow astronauts to hibernate during long space voyages. However, the installation was attacked by activists and the personnel in charge lost their lives in a big explosion. Thanks to the cryo-hibernation chamber you were able to survive. "
Jake began to get exasperated and tried to escape immediately, but was subdued by the staff in charge, who injected him with a sedative and again he lost consciousness.
Jake woke up in a totally white room with a large window and tried to remember what happened. But soon, a woman entered the room interrupting his thoughts.
"How are you feeling today? Mr. Smith"
"I'm Doctor Portman. We knew each other yesterday, remember?"
Jake didn't answer
"I know it is not easy to assimilate news like the one you just received"
"Of course not," Jake replied reluctantly.
"What happened to my family? My parents, brother, sister? " He added.
"Everything in its time, Mr. Smith. I want to offer you a deal, for the benefit of science and humanity and obviously for your own good"
"Thanks to science and humanity I find myself in this predicament," replied Jake, staring through the window.
She remained in silence.
He got up and went toward the large window. He could see that everything was still normal. Trees, mountains, birds. Nothing out of the ordinary to have spent 100 years.
"What do you think? That the cars fly?" She asked
Jake didn't answer
"I'm sorry to say no. There are many advances, but we have not even left our solar system"
"My proposal is this: work for us. We must know how could you survive so long and we want to know if there are any side effects."
Jake closed his eyes and remained in silence.
The time passed. Jake was forbidden to leave the room. They started to do medical and lab test over him and he didn't oppose. Suddenly, he stopped talking and eating. His health worsened over the course of days.
Dr. Portman seeing the situation and the fate of Jake; she requested permission to remove him from the room. The doctor's supervisors granted her request. So she informed Jake that he should take a trip along to her. Jake and the doctor got in a small van; he offered no resistance to the guards that accompanied them.
During the trip, which lasted more than two hours, Jake continued without saying a word looking through the window.
Suddenly, the van stopped.
"We're here, Mr. Smith. Come with me," said the doctor
The vehicle door was opened by one of the guards.
In front of Jake, there was a very peaceful plain, with well-manicured lawns. Dr. Portman took Jake by the hand and led him down a small path of stones arranged so as not to mistreat the lawn.
They stopped in front of a series of tombstones whose last names ended in Smith
"They are your parents and along to them, your brother and sister"
Jake fell to his knees and his eyes filled with tears.
The doctor wiped some tears from her eyes and put her hand on Jake's shoulder. Then she leaned forward, posing her lips close to his ear, whispering:
"And they are also my great-great grandparents..."
Thanks again for joining me in this little story...
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