“It’s called Penrose.”
“Penrose?” Shaun replied.
“Yes, like the Penrose staircase, the never ending stairs. It’s really just a metaphor to what’s happening to him.” Dr. Mazery explained. He walked over to the elderly mam sitting upright in the modified dentists chair. The man’s ankles were bound tightly with straps to outstretched stirrups, his bare feet twitched violently against the constraints. His hospital gown clung to his thin body as he writhed back and forth in the chair. Shaun’s eyes followed the curved line of a scar that extended from the right corner of his lips to the back of his skull, where a cord was inserted.
“Is he OK?” Shaun asked.
“Well he’s technically already dead. But yes, he will be,” Dr.Mazery explained, “he was just admitted yesterday from the hospital. Its very typical for preemies, first day patients, to respond this way. He just needs to adjust through the Penrose phase and he’ll settle down. This will help.” Dr. Mazery reached for a needle containing a sedative and injected it into the old mans arm. Immediately he relaxed into the weathered plastic of the chair and the cord from his head rested in a hole in the back of his head rest.
“Much better,” Dr. Mazery concluded, tossing the needle into a biohazard bin. Shaun noticed he wasn’t married. Or at least there was no wedding band around his finger. Not many people got married anymore though, he thought, as he thumbed the ring in his own hand. Its not worth it.
“What happened to him?” He asked.
“He died. Brain aneurism I believe. He was in the hospice wing of a hospital though so all the necessary equipment was there and he had already signed the papers. Once he was connected he was brought here for the initial readings to be taken, processed and then stored, before he is cremated. It’s called Preservation. It allows loved ones to see his last thoughts or images before death. Penrose is his brain processing those brain waves again, in a sort of loop, while the computer records them.”
Shaun looked at the old man. His body looked numb, relaxed even, but his closed eyes flickered and darted.
“Its just muscle stimulation.” Dr.Mazery tried to assure Shaun, “I know its a lot to take in, but take this orientation manual home. Read it over and get back to me if you still think the position is right for you.”
Shaun reached for the manual that Dr. Mazery held out to him and read the title. Data Viewer and Recorder: An Introduction. He looked between the manual and the man in the chair. Trying to remember his last happy memory, trying to remember anything before this all started. Dr. Mazery’s voice interrupted his thought, “and Shaun,” he said, “some things you can’t unsee”
**to be continued……*