05 January 2008

Brain Box

A completely cheesy story, that was written to feel like a Stephen King story, but ended up feeling like it does now - like a B Grade horror flick. Anyways, failure is the stepping stone to success...

?Well, Joseph Blake was executed yesterday, wasn?t he?? I said, looking at the newspaper in front of me. I was hoping someone would talk to me. ?I wonder whether he deserved it? ?Of courser, he deserved it!? said a man. I looked at the man who had just spoken. He was tall and lean, and had a thick beard. He wore a thin round specs and a long white coat.

?Oh, really, and why is that?? I asked. The reason that I wanted to know was because I was a reporter and was covering the story. William Blake was a serial killer who had killed thirteen people. He was finally caught and executed.

?So, tell me your opinion, Mr.?? I asked. ?Dr., Dr. Andrew.? The man said.

* * * * * * * *

A month passed by. I and Dr. Andrews became close friends, and one night, I was talking him in his house. It was quite late. ?So, Andy (that was his nick name), what do you think would be the right punishment for a person like Joseph Blake.? I asked. For you see, Andy was of the opinion that Joseph Blake?s execution was too soft and that it wasn?t good enough.

Andy didn?t reply and just stared at me. ?Andy? Is anything the matter?? I asked. Again, he didn?t reply. He seemed to be thinking of something. A minute passed by and then, he sprung up from his chair, and grabbed my hand. ?Come with me? he said and ran up the stairs. ?Where are you going?? I asked. ?Come to my study? he said. ?The study?? Andy never showed me his study before. He had said something about it being ?personal?.

As I stood near the study door, he took out a key and opened it. Inside, it was quiet dark, and warm. He motioned me to sit in a chair, and moved towards a cupboard. Once again, he took out a key and opened it. I couldn?t see what he was looking at, but a moment later, he put a black device on the table next to me. The device looked very strange. It seemed to be made of an extremely thick metal, and had slits all over it.

Without looking at me, Andy sat in a chair next to me, and fell silent. He seemed to be thinking something. ?Andy? What?s the matter? You seem troubled? I asked. Andy looked at me, still lost in thoughts. Then he said, ?You remember the time when you asked me what the right punishment for Blake would have been?? ?How wouldn?t I?? I asked, a bit surprised, ?I asked you just a few minutes ago!?

?Yes, yes I know. Now, Ahmed (that was my name- Ahmed Yusuf) listen to me very carefully. I asked myself the same question, about six years ago. At that time, if you remember correctly, a man nicknamed Doctor Death was being sentenced to death for killing about a hundred people wasn?t he?? I shuddered as I thought about the fact. ?Yes, I remember? I said. Doctor Death had poisoned his patients.

?Well, at that time, I talked to many of Doctor Death?s patients, just before they passed away, and I asked them what pained them the most. They all told me the same thing!? Andy?s voice was now shrill and excited. I leaned forward. ?They told me that the pain was excruciating, that it was beyond their tolerance. Many died just of the pain! Ahmed, this set me thinking. Doctor Death had killed so many poor souls, and he was being punished by the death penalty. But think about it. In the electric chair, you only feel pain for half a minute, right?? ?Well, I wouldn?t know, since I have never been in one? I said, but Andy didn?t laugh at my joke. Instead, he became more serious and continued, ?In fact, Doctor Death didn?t feel a fraction of the pain that his victims felt.?

?So what are you driving at?? I asked, half angry about him not laughing at my joke, and half annoyed about his lecturing. ?Are you saying that we should torture murderers?? Andy shook his head. ?No, there was something more that the patients told me. They told me that the emotional sadness that they felt was equally bad. They told me that they were depressed, mentally and physically.?

?So you?re going to torture the culprits mentally too, is that it?? I asked, in a mock voice. To my surprise, Andy laughed. He stood up and began walking around the room. ?Ahmed,? he said, slowly. ?Let me tell you something. The brain controls every action that we take. Every feeling that we feel too. The brain lets us feel pain, joy, sadness, and so on.? I nodded my head. I knew all this primary stuff.

?Now, Ahmed, there is a portion of the brain, located in the cerebrum, which controls emotions. It is called hypothalamus. This organ-tissues-what ever you call it, controls every single one of our emotions, understand? Which means that if the hypothalamus was removed, we wouldn?t cry, laugh, be afraid, or do any other behaviors.? His voice became sharp. ?It also means that if the hypothalamus was tampered with, we would feel emotions that weren?t real!?

I was beginning to realize where this was going. ?So,? I said, trying to frame my question properly, ?you are saying that if the hypo- whatever, was tampered with, we would laugh even if nothing funny was going on-? ?Yes, and we would cry even if nothing sad was going on, we would feel pain, even if nothing painful was going on!? Andy said.

I fell silent for a while. ?Andy,? I asked in a small, frightened voice, ?are you going to make people feel artificial pain??

He sprung from his chair, his eyes gleaming with greed, his mouth twitching with joy. ?YES!? he yelled, his voice a changed one. ?Yes, I am going where one man has gone before. Don?t you see, Ahmed,? he asked, shaking me. ?Don?t you see? Using my instrument, we will be able to punish criminals, murderers?every one who does wrong!?

I stared at the metallic black box, wondering whether it was his ?instrument?. He picked it up (I moved away) and began walking around the room. ?Ahmed, every emotion that we feel is due to nerve impulses that are sent to the brain, you know that right? Well, these nerve impulses may send signals of pain, laughter, sadness, joy, any thing in the world. Now, these nerve impulses are essentially electrical impulses. Now, listen carefully! The types of electrical impulses that are sent to the brain are not all the same. They are varied. The impulses sent to the hypothalamus are electromagnetic!? He looked at me triumphantly. I didn?t understand the greatness of this information and asked Andy to explain. ?Electromagnetic impulses in the brain are similar to the electromagnetic impulses that electronic equipments send out. Now, put one and one together Ahmed!?

I looked at my friend, horrified! Was he implying that?? ?Ahmed, this box, which I call the brain box, is made up of special components- solenoids, copper, alnico?- which can be used not only to send out electrical impulses, but to control it as well! Meaning that if the brain box was connected to someone?s brain, I would be able to-? but he broke off, his expression changing. ?You know what? I think I?ll-? Again he broke off the sentence.

The man was crazy, I thought. I didn?t understand his idea. Using the brain box, we could effectively make a man feel all the basic emotions. But how? Would it work? I knew that Andy was strongly against those who did crime. But was his hatred so great that he would create an instrument to punish them?

And besides, I had a nagging feeling that I should tell him something. Well, it would have to wait now.

Andy picked up a phone and dialed a number. ?Who are you calling?? I asked. He didn?t reply. Instead, he spoke in a frenzied voice to whoever was on the other end of the line.

He put down the phone, and before I could ask, commanded, ?Go down and wait near the front door. A man will arrive soon. Collect whatever he gives you?.

I didn?t know what Andy was planning to do. But whatever it was, it wouldn?t be good?

A few minutes later, I returned with a cute little monkey. A man from the zoo had given it to me. Upon seeing the animal, Andy yelled, ?Strap it in the chair!? That was when my eyes fell on the metallic chair. I felt a wave of horror sweep me.

?Are you-? I asked, feeling horrible, but Andy cut in, ?Yes? .His voice was cold and rude. I put the cute, little monkey in the chair. Feeling disheartened, I only strapped his chest to the chair.

?Finished? Good. Now come here? he said. It was more of a command than a request. Before I moved away from the chair, I put a banana next to the monkey. ?What is it?? I asked, feeling angry. ?Look here,? he said, pointing to a small monitor, which was connected to the metal box. I stared at the monitor, while he strapped a metal cap on top of the monkey. ?Andy, what are you going to do?? I asked, feeling worried. Without replying to my question, he looked at the monitor. ?Look!? he squealed. Lines were forming on the monitor, lines that form on an equalizer when sound is produced. ?You know what this is? (Without waiting for my reply, he continued) The metal cap scans the brain for electrical impulses. Now, monkeys have similar brain structure to ours, and I think our experiment will work.?

Work? Was he going to create artificial emotions for the monkey? He was mad! ?Look!? Andy squealed again, pointing at the monitor. Now red lines were forming over the already visible blue lines. ?Andy, what are these lines actually?? I asked. Every thing was now a complete mess. I couldn?t understand anything. ?The blue lines are electrical impulses in the cerebrum. They show how much emotions the monkey is having right now. See this,? Andy said, and waved his hand at the monkey. The monkey moved back a bit, in fright, and I could see the blue lines changing formation. ?Amazing? I said. ?Then what are the red lines, Andy?? ?The red lines are the formation of electrical impulses that I am now going to create. Wave like formations show that happy emotions will be created.?

Andy moved towards the brain box, and turned a knob, labeled A. The red lines on the monitor changed formation. I looked at the monkey, prepared for the worst. Surprisingly, it began to laugh, and show its teeth. It stood up in the chair, and caught the banana; seeing it make sounds made me happy. Then, suddenly, Andy turned another knob, and the red lines formed a low line formation. The monkey?s happy expression vanished, and instead, it just sat in the chair, looking depressed. ?What did you do?? I asked Andy, feeling angry. To my resentment, he smiled, in the most devilish way! ?This, Ahmed, is what I have been working for. To see the culprits feel the same sadness that their victims felt. Don?t you see, by just turning this B knob a little, I can make people commit suicide. I can make they feel the real sadness.? There was menace, and devilish joy in his voice. ?But what about-? I was about to ask, when suddenly, the monkey?s face became pale. The veins in his arms bulged outwards, and his eyes became bloodshot red. It moved its head from side to side. ?What are you doing?? I screamed. Andy smiled, ?This is Pain. Pain that is delivered right to the brain. Pain that cannot be resisted. This, my friend, is how criminals will be punished!?

It was horrible. I saw the monkey?s face change. It tried to get loose, but the chain bound his to the chair. It grasped the banana, and began squashing it. And then? the ear piercing cry. The monkey was in pain! Its eyes shed tears, and in its animal voice, it tried to beg for mercy. I looked at Andy. My friend had transformed into an animal! He sat there, looking at the monkey, devoid of all emotions. ?Andy?? I called out, with tear in my eyes. The metal chair began to rock, the animal tried to escape? Then, there was a deathly silence. The animal stopped screaming. I looked at the chair. There was a deep silence. Then, Andy got up, and said, in the quietest voice, ?It?s dead?

* * * * * * * *

For the next 12 months, I did not see Andy. He was in his laboratory, working on that thing of his. I felt anger at him. Deep resentment. I had a nagging feeling that I should tell him something. Well, forget it, I thought. I wasn?t going to tell him anything. I wasn?t going to talk to him. Then, one day, the chief Prison warden of the state prison called me up and asked if I could come. He didn?t tell why. When I reached the prison, I saw a large crowd, gathered around a glass chamber. Inside, sitting in the metallic chairs, were six men. The warden came up to me and explained. These six men were murderers that had been caught six months ago. They were awarded the death penalty. Now, they faced the brain box. ?The brain box?? I asked, looking startled. ?Yes, don?t you know? Your friend, Dr. Andrews is doing it.? Then he pointed towards another smaller chamber. Inside I saw the man I used to call my friend. And next to him? was the brain box. ?Sir,? I said, panicked, ?You cannot do this. Stop the execution. You don?t know what will-? ?Yes, I do.? The warden said.

Then, as I stared at the six men, he explained, again, that the governor had authorized the execution after witnessing a trial test. Six metal caps were fitted on the heads, as I looked at the young men, I somehow felt sorry for them. Somehow?

When Andy turned Knob B, I left the building. As I unlocked my car in the parking lot, I heard the ear piercing screams?and then?the deathly silence?

* * * * * * * *

Three months later, I went to the local police station to file a complaint against vandalism. To my surprise, I saw Andy there. A man called out to me. ?You must be Ahmed. Hello, I am detective Stiller. Please, could I have a few minutes of yours?? I nodded my head and followed him to the interrogation room. ?I was planning on calling you. Please take a seat.? Said Stiller. I took a seat far from Andy. He looked, (to my astonishment) devastated. ?Ahmed,? said Stiller, handing me a folder. ?Inside the folder you will find the report of the 6 gang case. Have a look? I read the folder. It was about the six men that had been executed three months ago. ?I already know this,? I said. I had written a report on the gang. ?Yes, I know. Now comes the part that you don?t. These six men are innocent.? ?What!? I cried. ?Yes, all six of them. We mistook them for another gang. The night the murders took place; these lads were at the wrong place at the wrong time. They are just farm boys.?

I stared at Andy. So that was why he was looking so sad. ?So, the execution-? I asked. Just then, Andy burst into tears. Stiller left the room. Unconsciously I moved towards Andy, and patted him. I was consoling my friend. ?It?s all right, it?s all right,? I said. ?It?s not all right. These- these? Andy said, in between sobs, ?These lads worked for their parents. Do you- do you?-? He voice broke down. I looked at the folder. There was a picture of the six men and their parents. Both of the parents wore black glasses and had a walking stick. They were blind? ?What kind of a beast am I?? Andy cried. I consoled him. My head was filled with that piercing screams? of loving sons.

Now, I could no longer ignore the nagging feeling that I should tell him something. I said to Andy, ?Andy, I tried to tell you something, but I pushed it away. Now, listen to me. God Almighty will punish the wrong doers in the hereafter. They will rot in Hell fire. We are not the ones who decide the right punishments for the wrongdoers. How many times could we have incinerated Hitler for incinerating 6 million people? Only once. And we wont know who are innocent and who are guilty, will we?? Andy looked at me, his tears drying up. ?You?re right, Ahmed. I was foolish. Men cannot decide the right punishment for men. God will see to that. Ahmed, Let?s go home.?

A few days later, the mayor called the two of us. ?We will need the Brain Box for another execution,? he said. Andy smiled. Just then, there was a loud sound. ?What was that!?? the mayor asked. ?Why don?t you find out?? I asked, smiling. The mayor sent one of the assistants to find out what had happened. ?No, sir. We cannot give the Brain Box. You see, it?s a long story? said Andy, and with that, the two of us left, leaving the Mayor baffled. A few minutes later, the assistant rushed back into the office. ?Sir,? he said, ?we found the men?s restroom blown up. And in one of the dustbins, was a black, metal box, blown out of shape. I wonder what that device was?...?


  1. Sorry but horror(whether scary or not) is not my cup of tea. And its seems to be the same for u too.

  2. wow thats the most messed up story ive ever read it was good but it was weird you could do better