D-One
rating: +8+x

An old man lies in a small dark room. He stares at a window in the door; it brings in a dull grey light, but it's too high up for him to see the source. With every breath he takes, the thin blanket on his chest rises a distance so small even he can barely notice. He takes his eyes away from the window and turns his attention to the ceiling: a flat, dark gray surface with one hole in the middle for a burnt-out lightbulb that hasn't been changed for years. His eyes now turn to the old, orange jumpsuit he had taken off the night prior to sleep. It had gathered stains and holes over the years. On it was the designation for this man: D-1. Once D-1 was done staring at everything in his room, he closed his eyes. An odd feeling came over him, a feeling that fills him with dread for a reason he didn't understand. He began to think about his name, he knew that his name wasn't D-1 but he couldn't remember what it was before. So, in an effort to find his name, he tries to remember his past.

Back when the ceiling light shone, two figures walked into D-1's room. One was short and talked in a surprisingly deep voice, while the other one was tall but, was silent throughout the meeting. They took him to another room, where he was evaluated. They took his height, weight, temperature and made observations about other things that D-1 didn't understand. Once they were finished, the two figures stepped out and talked with each other, revealing the tall one's quiet monotone voice, about what they would do with him. Talk of asphyxiation and children's television was all he could hear before the sound of footsteps came along, cutting the conversation short. When they came back, D-1 was escorted back to his room and given an apology for having his time wasted. D-1, not knowing what was going on, accepted this apology and went back inside his room to wait for the next test. In the present, D-1 shudders as the same odd feeling coming over him, this time he can tell where it is, it's in his heart. He needs to go further.

D-1 sits on his bed, waiting for his next meal, he has no way of knowing how long it's been since his last, but it feels like it was forever ago. As he finishes this thought, something slides under his door fast, a tray of food hits the mattress, spilling its contents. D-1 runs to the door and strikes it with his fist, "Hey!" he yells at the top of his lungs. He stops before hitting the door again, overcome with fear. "What happens if they come back?" he thinks while sweating so much it stains his outfit. The more he thinks about that question, the worse he gets, his hands shake, and his heart beats so fast and hard he thinks it'll pop. It takes a while, but he realizes that time has passed and no one has come to his room again. "Did they not hear me, or do they just not care?" D-1 thinks to himself. After tossing the question around in his mind, he looks at his food. What appears to be a sandwich lays undone atop the tray. "At least it didn't get on the floor," he mutters to himself to eats it. In the present D-1s lips curl into a small smile. He remembers that sandwich tasting like bread and can't remember what meat it was supposed to be. There's a tremble in his heart that wipes the smile off his face, D-1 dives back into his memories.

Now a younger man, D-1 stays awake, anticipating his first chance at testing one of these anomalies he's been hearing about. No, not anticipation, dread. It's dread he's feeling. He's sweating bullets and feels like he'll throw up if he moves an inch, but he can't lay still either. Eventually, he hears a knock on his door. Quickly, he stands up while watching the figure enter the door. He can't remember any details about the figure, their face, their voice, not even what they said. After talking, the figure takes him out of his room while another person goes in and out of his room. The two figures then leave hastily. After weeks of D-1 being by himself, the figures come back and pull a fancy-looking key out from a hole in his bed he hadn't noticed before. D-1 is asked questions about his physical and mental health he can barely remember know and gives answers he can't remember either. He is placed back into his room without delay so he can wait for his next test. Currently, a cold plate of something that looks like eggs slide into his room but is ignored. On his bed, D-1's breaths get smaller and his heartbeat gets fainter as he tries to remember even further.

Even younger, D-1 sits in an alleyway behind a garbage can. As he rubs his hands together, he watches the people walking. Just formless shapeless blobs moving back and forth until one in a white coat comes up to him. With just a promise, he gets D-1 onto his feet and walking to his car. Somewhere to sleep and something to eat, it seemed like a good deal. All he had to do was help them out and, he got food and shelter for a month. It was right when he sat down did he recognize what he had agreed to do. The seat opposite of him was occupied by a man he could recall with surprising detail. He had a wrinkled, stained white shirt, short wild hair, deep circles under his bloodshot eyes that looked straight at him. The man had his hand close to his lumpy pocket, ready to grab whatever was in it in case D-1 tried to leave. D-1 stayed in that seat without looking away from that man for the entire trip, frozen in fear while he heard about incomprehensible things from the people in the front. He was getting closer to his name. He could feel it. He could also sense that feeling in his heart getting worse. He needed to find his name quickly.

His memory is faltering now, snapshots of frozen time are all he has. Telling his father about something that seemed like good news. His dad, now, with a red face, his mouth open as if yelling. Now he's in his room, putting his clothes into a case. Now he's outside, and the trees in front of him are blurry with his tears. He's next to the road with fixed cars passing him by. Finally, it hits him, he remembers the sound of his dad yelling his name. As the final wave of this odd feeling hit him, he finally fully understood what it was that was happening, he was dying. Yet, as he felt death come over him, he did not fight back against it, he had gotten what he wanted. Soon after, James passed away with a smile on his face. His keepers had forgotten him, and the outside world has forgotten him. There was a small, quiet, but there nevertheless, part of him thinks that his family had forgotten him too. None of it matters though, he remembered and that's all he needed.

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