The Cubic

Avatar Author: Jim Stitzel I dabble a little in a lot of things -- writing, webcomics, gaming, photography, web design, music, and more. I'm a full-time code-wrangler and a part-time farmer with 40 acres, a lot of animals, and far, far too much to do. Read Bio

The body in the zero-g cubic arched as energy flooded the compartment. The technicians watching saw the mouth open impossibly wide.

“He’s screaming,” one said.

“Wouldn’t you? This isn’t exactly a gentle process,” another replied.

“Good thing the cubic is sealed in the vacuum chamber. Who wants to hear them scream?” A nervous chuckle.

“You’d be surprised. A couple of the other technicians actually enjoy it. I studiously avoid working those shifts. There’s only so much of that a mind can take before it breaks.”

“At least we’re getting good results off this one. The last few expired too quickly.”

“That should make the boss-man happy. I thought he was going to start tossing staff in the cubic.”

A pregnant pause.

“I thought you knew. They put Mickey from night shift in this morning!”

Both technicians turned to stare again at the tortured victim.

“Dear lord. If he’s getting better results from staff than ‘volunteers’…”

They continued to watch – in silence – for a long time.

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Comments (4 so far!)

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  1. Avatar Stovohobo

    Nice follow up. The dialogue does a pretty good job of conveying both the plot and their emotions, but it almost feels unnatural because of all the conveying it does. It sounds like there’s more dialogue in here than necessary. I think it would be more effective if you let the readers figure it out (for example, describing another pause or their silent reaction after the “Dear lord…volunteers” line would be more suspenseful for the reader).

    That said, the story is still plenty suspenseful and interesting. It could just use some polishing in my opinion.

  2. Avatar The Third Robot

    The one liners are usually pretty open to interpretation, however when I read PJ Deane’s the first time, a image of something similar to this popped up.

    I think that you could have made it more intense by downplaying on the dialogue like Stovohobo said.

  3. Avatar Mostly Harmless

    I really like this – not what came to mind when I read PJ’s, but then it’s good to be surprised…

    Kind of darkly funny in a way, that prospect that everything could come crashing down on them is worrying, but you tell it with some subtle humour – I like it muchly – MH :)

  4. Avatar Jim Stitzel

    Thanks for the feedback, all. I’m trying to get my brain back into the habit of writing prose after doing almost nothing else but webcomics scripting for the last couple of years. Gotta rewire some synapses, apparently. :)

Inspired by

No one can hear you screaming… [Hell, yeah, I’m clich├ęd.]

No Escape by Wednesday [PJ] ((LoA))

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