Eat your Heart Out, Gloop
rating: +4+x

Milk on his legs, White up to just under his armpits, and Dark filled the rest.

Thunk Thunk. Thunk Thunk.

For ten years Theo had been locked in the facility, where the cool air and constant thunk thunk of the condenser keeping his room well below freezing. He had always hated the cold, but it wasn't like he had a choice anymore. Every movement was another second on that careless timer that was his body; the slightest touch of friction rubbed off almost-skin that would never grow back. When he looked closely at his joints, he could see the deep grooves that his limbs made when they sheared the tiniest bits.

All it had taken was one crazed man with one crazed idea. His thick white beard and friendly face promised Nothing but wild Adventure!, and the capital A in that sentence struck stars in Theo's ten-year-old eyes. Not long after, he went into the machine of Wonder, and that was when the Foundation found him. Bullets and bombs and things he didn't recognize flew with abandon, and his new captors had emerged victorious. If they had been only a few hours quicker, he would still be alive and free. Instead, his organs had been replaced with chocolate, and his home with this freezer. He hated the cold.

Thunk Thunk. Thunk Thunk.

It took Theo a while for the reality of the situation to set in. Thoughts of infinite food and free chocolate raced through his young mind until a doctor with wrinkled eyes explained everything. His organs and eyes and brain and every inch in between had changed, now various flavors of edible chocolate. But they would never grow back. This was all the chocolate he had. The Foundation had tried ways to repair him, but they could do little more than postpone the inevitable moment when Theo imagined his body would snap itself apart under the pressure. They advised him to move as little as possible, and it was hell for a young boy.

They treated Theo well enough, considering the situation. Access to television, video games, books, and the internet kept him busy on most days. Plenty of researchers and doctors came in to chat, and he learned more than he should have about the other people locked in with him. People who could cast spells, or turn into wolves, or survive almost anything, all had their own room in this dark gray building. Theo's only claim to fame was that he would die without his freezer. SCP, they always called him by a number. That was the worst part.

Thunk Thunk. Thunk Thunk.

About a year in, Theo had brought up the idea of a cold suit. Like Mr. Freeze! he had said. He thought himself so clever for coming up with it and had already begun thinking of his new superperson name. ChocoLad was the only one he liked, so much that he even asked for colored pencils to design his outfit. Unfortunately, when he told the doctor in charge of his “condition” of his brilliant solution, Theo could see the regret and sadness in her eyes, even though her mouth promised a distant chance at a possibility. Deep down, Theo wasn't surprised, though he still wished for a miracle.

The realization that Theo would never, truly never, go home finally set in. There was no solution, at least not one these doctors could find. That night, and for weeks afterward, he paced around his tiny freezer until that sorry doctor returned and insisted he stop. For the next nine years, he would sit and count the Thunks as he dreamed of warm beaches.

Thunk Thunk. Thunk Thun-kakakakakaka

Theo roused from his sleep quickly—yet carefully, out of habit—at the strange noise coming from the walls. That wasn't normal. He stood from his deceptively comfortable bed and walked closer to the large box in the room's corner that made up the bulk of his freezer's machinery. The problem was clear immediately: the familiar waves of cold air that should have been coming out were not. Nothing came through but that odd sound. Theo leaned in, hoping to clear it up, and could barely make out tiny breaks in the noise, filled with sharp cracks.

He recognized what it was. That day ten years ago came back to him, and he wondered whether the invaders were here to help or harm him. Would it even matter? They would just move him to another freezer and ignore him until he broke apart like a doll.

Theo stood and began to move to the door, but paused when he saw what he left behind. A white handprint lay splattered on the box, messy and dripping down to the ground below. He looked at his feet and found that the same splattering footsteps made a path all the way to where he stood. A teasing poke on his arm revealed a softness that shouldn't have been there. The room was warmer than it should have been, had the cooling systems just shut off, and Theo was feeling the effect of the heat as his limbs slid together. A quick glance at his bed revealed spots of melted white and dark dotting the sheets.

As carefully as he could, he stepped over to the door to his room and peeked through the square glass window into the hallway outside. A red alarm glowed over the unlit area, showing a dark brown figure about a dozen feet from his door. Theo didn't recognize it, but he had no time to be picky. He shouted as loud as he could manage, his vocal cords creating a slick bubbly noise that could barely be considered words, and he even risked a single bang on the glass to get its attention.

It wasn't enough. The thick walls built to keep Theo safe were his downfall, as his rapidly deteriorating mouth wasn't strong enough to call through. He tried a few more times in vain, but still the figure never moved. Another messy splotch on the door was all he had to show for it.

Theo was running out of options. He tried the handle, on the far-off chance that it would be unlocked, but was unsurprised when the door failed to move. There was no phone or intercom system inside and he desperately searched for another escape. But there wasn't one. Ten years he had spent wanting to be free, and he had long since considered every slim chance.

Theo knew the more he moved, the quicker he would fall apart, leaving him with few choices. He wondered what it would feel like if he melted away. There was still feeling in his body, even though it was all chocolate, so would he still think as a puddle? The thought scared him.

All options exhausted, he limped to his bed, now acutely aware of an intense heat coming from everywhere around him. His life was no longer his own to save. Even if someone turned his freezer back on, he had lost too much precious chocolate already. He imagined that sorry doctor having to scoop up his remains and toss it in the trashcan, crying because she never built his cold suit. He imagined that old man forced to go through his own machine and stand in the sun to melt away, so he too would know how it felt.

Hatred boiled up as the temperature grew faster than it should have, but Theo tried to cool his emotions as best as he could. Blaming others in what could be his final moments wouldn't get him anything. Happy thoughts, Theo tried to say out loud, but all he uttered was a meaningless gargle. It didn't matter.

Theo brought his feet up onto his soft bed, barely feeling some part of his milk chocolate shear to the ground in a dirty plop, and leaned back onto his pillow. He imagined the mattress beneath him was warm sand and the distant cracking noise some flighty birds. The soft lights above him were the sun hugging him with its friendly rays, and the walls instead the ocean. Thankfully, he felt no pain, and he finally felt no freezing cold.

For the first time in years, Theo felt warm.

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