Melody sat in the brightly lit hospital corridor, clutching a tissue, tears streaming down her face. She rocked back and forth in her chair. When any doctors or nurses walked in through the swinging doors, she looked at them longingly for any information but was more often than not ignored her or simply acknowledged with a nod.
That morning her son Anthony descended the stairs and sat at the breakfast table without a word, seemingly oblivious to the fact he wasn’t wearing any clothes. Thinking maybe he was sleepwalking, Melody tried to shake him away, but his eyes were wide open and as grey as stone.
His washed-out flesh was waxy and cold to the touch. “Anthony? Anthony, can you hear me?!” Melody pleaded.
“Hello, I’m Anthony.” He answered in monotone.
“Anthony, are you alright?! Please talk to me!”
He was unresponsive. His unblinking eyes stared for a moment before he stood up. “Time for school,” he said.
Anthony stood up and turned his back to Melody, revealing oozing maggot-filled fissures in his flesh. The slimy white grubs squirmed and rived in the necrotic tissue, their microscopic mouths eating away at the discolored edges.
Twelve years ago, when Melody Chambers held her newborn son Anthony in her arms, the first words she said to him was a promise to do everything she could to give him the best possible life. As a single mother working as an administrative assistant, she lacked the means to provide Anthony him the opportunities afforded to the children of the affluent.
She worked for some of the country’s wealthiest citizens, and even though they shared an office suite, they lived worlds apart. It seemed like a miracle to Melody when her employer, EvoTech, asked if she’d like to enroll Anthony in experimental trials. Tests for what the marketing department called “personal enhancement technology.”
The idea was to upgrade the human body by merging it with various technologies. Metallic implants skeletal graphs enhanced athleticism and brain powering nanomachines that would embed themselves into neural tissue that promised to vastly increase cognitive ability.
This was the leg up for her son Melody always dreamed up but never thought would fall into her lap. As far as she was concerned, this was a miracle.
The miracle workers were dismantling their Frankenstein creation to see exactly what went wrong. The doctors and technicians didn’t need permission to operate because the opaque contract melody signed made her child’s body EvoTech property.
A woman in surgical scrubs emerged from Anthony’s room, and Melody jumped from her chair.
“Miss Chambers, you can come in now.”
Melody breathed a sigh of relief. “Is he going to be ok?” she asked franticly.
She didn’t get an answer.
She followed the woman into the room. The gruesome sight of her son caused her to scream and spew vomit across the white tile floor.
“Oh my god, what did you do to him!?” she shrieked.
The lead surgeon answered her with no trace of sympathy.
“We checked the neural machines and skeletal graphs, and all seem to be functionally normal.”
The boy’s skin was stripped away so they could examine his hybrid skeletal structure, his scalp was peeled back, and the top of his skull cut away to give access to his brain, where microscopic machines were still firing synthetic neural impulses through his brain stem. By this point, the boy was a skeleton still wearing a face. His milky white eyes moved around the room and would occasionally mutter the words, “Hi, I’m Anthony!”
“You killed him! You fuckin killed him!” Melody howled.
“Please be calm, Miss Chambers, or we’ll have to remove you. Your son is not dead. His brain is still functioning.
“Hi, I’m Anthony,” he repeated.
“You’re all going to pay for this,” Melody cried.
The head surgeon gave her a stern gaze. “Miss Chambers, you signed the documents saying you knew the risks. For all intents and purposes, your son is alive. I suggest you make the best of it.”
With that, he turned and left the room with his staff trailing behind him.
“oh my god, baby, I’m so sorry.” Melody sobbed.
“Hi, I’m Anthony.”