Thursday, March 18, 2021

Microstory 1584: Courage

I wake up in a bathtub, covered in ice, and in an immense amount of pain. There is a huge sewn-up incision on my stomach.

I look at the tiled walls, look at the floor, look at the woman, whose voice I remember but whose face I don’t recognize. “So you’re the doctor, right?” I feel like a fraud.



“Yes. You won’t help me.”

I’m confused. “How is that even possible?”

“You saved my life.”

“I didn’t know you were still in here.”

She laughs. “You will help me. You have to.”

At the beginning, I was confused by the entire experience. I felt both privileged and like a fraud to be part of it. Then I remembered my PhD and the structure of the experiment that I had been part of. After a while, I came to accept the role that I was being asked to play. This person had incredible amounts of courage, strength and resourcefulness. I knew that I had to do whatever I could to help this person, regardless of whether she could do the same for me. I can remember every second of that night. Everything that transpired is still like a slow-motion film in my head. I remember my partner, Sam calling...

Conclusion up, and saying that I needed to meet her at this motel. She wouldn’t tell me why, and when I got to the room, she wasn’t even here. The last thing I remember, something sharp pierced my neck, and now I’m here. I never thought my life would end like this, but at least I’m doing something good. This doctor may not have taken my organs in the most ethical way, but with them, she can do a lot more good than I ever hoped. There’s something about me—my biology—that makes my organs special. They’ve made great advances in cloning human tissue by studying me, and the time has come for me to die, so they can leap over that last medical science hurdle. I should be mad, but I guess all this was inevitable. They could only do so much without taking me apart. She says she’s going to take the heart next, but that she wanted to thank me for my sacrifice first. Now that I’m too weak to fight it is what she probably really had in mind. For my last few minutes I call Sam, and thank her for setting this all up. I wouldn’t have had the courage to do it myself, so I’m glad someone was there to force my hand. I don’t call my family to tell them I love them. They know, and hearing their voices again would just make it harder. The light dims, and I disappear, but will live on in everyone whose life this technique saves.

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