Prompt by u/AlternActive:
A machine that allows to view and feel the last minutes of someones life has been invented. You, a convicted murderer, will be the first person testing. The victim was brutally killed.
What seems like hundreds of wires are connected to the helmet I wear, all of them connected to the machine around me. The machine that will let me view and feel the last moments of a life. Ever since the machine was invented, all convicted murderers are forced to go through it. I wouldn’t be the exception. I try to prepare myself for what’s coming. The end I’m about to experience is a violent one.
I hear the click of a switch. A buzzing starts up in the machine, resonating all around me. The buzzing grows louder and louder until I hear nothing else, can’t even hear my own thoughts. Everything except for the buzzing is wiped away. Then, with a loud snap, I’m transported somewhere else.
After the all consuming buzz, the silence around me is startling. My eyes slowly adjust to the darkness I’m surrounded by. I curl up my legs under my blanket, cocooning myself under its warmth. Only my face remains out in the chilly bedroom.
I hear the clicking of animal nails on the floor-boards downstairs. There’s a low thump, abruptly ending the clicking. The creak of a heavy footstep. My heart shoots in my throat. A person. I keep completely still, listening for more sounds. Another creak of a footstep, closer to the stairs this time.
I wonder why I don’t move, why I don’t run, but then I notice how much I’m shaking. Fear has completely paralysed me. Every thump of a heavy boot coming up the stairs worsens my shaking. The thumping stops for a moment, they’ve reached the top. Anxiety grips me like it’s never done before. My chest feels like all the air has been sucked out. My shaking turns into uncoordinated action. I wrestle with my blanket, trying to untangle my legs while trying not to make a sound. Once free, I rush to the other side of the room on the tips of my toes.
The heavy footsteps in the hallway stop outside my door. My breath hitches. A high-pitched sound escapes me without my permission. The handle turns. The door opens. A man walks inside, but doesn’t leave enough of a gap between the doorway and himself for me to escape. He looks at the bed, sees it empty and turns his head to me.
His face is half cast in shadow from the light of the hallway. A grin spreads on his face. In his hand, he holds a gleaming metal bat. He swings it menacingly as he takes a step forward.
My legs feel like giving out, but adrenaline surges through my veins, just keeping me upright. Tears run down my face. I try to scream, but nothing comes out. With a sudden movement, he rushes towards me. I run around him, trying to get to the door, but I’m not fast enough.
Pain erupts from the back of my head. My legs give out. The wound burns. With each heartbeat, I can feel it pound, feel my blood seep out. I press myself up with my hands. I feel my heartbeat within them, every vein in my body pounds in the erratic rhythm of my heart.
Over the pounding, I heard his heavy breathing. Nausea makes my vision spin. I hold in a retch. All I know is the pain, the pounding, the nausea, but his breathing overpowers it all. Everything in me is screaming to get away, but every movement sends my brain sludging around in my skull.
His breathing grows ever louder. He grunts with effort. The primal fear of not being able to see the impact coming gives me the willpower to turn around and face my attacker. The strike that would have hit my head and ended me had I not turned, cracked my left shoulder instead. Feeling my arm dislocate with so much force that the bones are pulverised, feeling the shifting bones, the cracking, sends unbearable agony through my whole body.
I don’t feel myself hitting the floor, but I know I must have, for my arm couldn’t possibly hold me up anymore. Through blurry, pounding vision, I see the man raise up his bat once more above my head. This is it. I’m going to die. I almost welcome the idea of it, knowing the pain would end the moment the bat made contact with my skull.
The door slams shut downstairs. The man’s head spins towards the hallway. “Katie?” Someone calls out. A moment later, the same voice curses as he comes across something. I know what. It’s a memory I would rather forget. The image of Katie’s cute little dog laying motionless on the floor with his head cracked open… Quick footsteps rush through the house, up the stairs. I try to call out, but the sound is caught in my throat. My attacker presses himself against the wall next to the door. Only a second after, does a woman enter. Me. I watch from Katie’s perspective as my own eyes grow wide as I take in the gruesome sight.
From Katie’s perspective, I see the murderer drop his bat and rush out of the room. I see myself turning at the sound, just missing his shadow sprinting down the hallway. I see myself through increasingly blurry vision. See myself fall down on my knees and call out Katie’s name. The nausea increases until it almost overpowers the pain. My vision darkens.
Then it stops.
The buzzing is back. This time, instead of growing louder, it slowly softens until it stops. Again, I hear the click of a switch. The helmet is roughly pulled off of my head. A man I barely recognise though the tears streaming down my face glares down at me. I sob violently. The shocking intakes of air barely giving me enough air to stay conscious. Maybe it would be better if I fainted. Then I wouldn’t have to feel the pain of what was done to Katie.
“Has this taught you a lesson? Did this convince you that what you did is absolutely heinous?” a cold voice asks me. Through my sobs, I try to tell him that it wasn’t me, that he has to watch it, that the proof is all there, but he won’t listen. “I have no desire to experience what you did to that poor woman.”
I would never hurt Katie.