Horror Science Fiction Thriller

This story contains themes or mentions of mental health issues.

Jacob sat up on the edge of his bed, the cotton comforter compressed under his weight as the morning sun warmed his bare feet. He let out a yawn that annoyed his sleeping cat, Will, who was curled up next to him. When his feet touched the floor, he felt an immense heat licking his toes.

His feet were dipped in flames, he was bound, and a man clad in shining armor pointed a sword directly at the tip of his nose. Jacob caught a glimpse of himself in the polished plate mail and was met with a reflection that was not his own. The soldier spoke in Spanish, and Jacob understood the demand for oro meant he wanted the treasures trapped within the city walls. Jacob was important here. A ruler of an indigenous tribe in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. He responded in a calm voice that was stern, but not his own “No hay oro en Tenochtitlán”. Agitated, the conquistador struck him across the face with the hilt of his sword, sending his head back.

When he leveled his gaze, he found himself dancing to Thriller with Michael Jackson and thirty other backup dancers in a top hats and white gloves. As Michael sang in a voice that verifiably shouldn't emanate from any human shell, Jacob's hips moved in perfect time to the beat. In unison, the dancers broke into the moonwalk across the stage.

Jacob stepped backward and fell in slow motion off the edge of the Golden Gate Bridge. As he fell towards the surface of the Pacific Ocean, he watched the swirl of rusted red lashings and a crowd of commuters yelling from far above him. He spun and caught a glimpse of Alcatraz before plummeting headfirst into the icy depths.

Jacob emerged from the warm waters of the Caribbean to a view of the light blue waves kissing the brim of the sand. He walked slowly, his legs dragged down by the water, toward the shoreline until he escaped the waves pulling him back toward the sea. A small crab peeked out from its burrow and pinched at Jacob's foot which threatened to collapse the entire tunnel.

A cactus spine was wedged in between Jacob’s toes. It punctured his leather boots as he sat on the sand in the heart of the Mojave. Here he wore a poncho and a wide-brimmed hat. He grimaced at the pain and pulled out the spine before scrambling to his feet. A small spot of blood formed on the boot as he lifted his eyes to the blooming Ocotillo and looming Joshua Trees. The sun dipped just below the horizon over the boulders that surrounded him, and Jacob was forced to raise a hand to shield his eyes against the sunlight.

When he moved his arm, he found himself floating through space in a multimillion-dollar bucket of metal. As the vessel left the atmosphere, the g-force pushed Jacob against the seat more vigorously than any rollercoaster on the third rock from the sun. As he entered orbit, the immense force lifted, and Jacob slowly removed his seatbelt and gently propelled himself off his chair into the weightlessness of a capsule devoid of gravity. He braced his legs against the wall and propelled himself toward the cabinets to eat a small celebratory feast of freeze-dried ice cream. Jacob tugged at the slit in the small plastic bag.

The shiny plastic wrapping of Jacob's Fruit Roll-Up came open to the delightful smell of high fructose corn syrup. Kids laughed around him as his childhood best friend asked if he would trade his Fruit Roll Up for a bag of celery. Insulted, Jacob pointed at his so-called friend and said, "Listen."

“I gave you a kilo last week. That's worth two thousand. Is it not?”

A man kneeled on the floor in front of Jacob with a black hood shielding his face from the bright florescent light above him.

“I’m sorry Jacob. It was an honest mistake. Competition is rough, and I had to cut some deals.”

Jacob scanned the room and was met with the dark eyes of men who had done the unthinkable.

“I’ll cut you a deal then," Jacob said. “Keep your leg or keep your arm.”

“Please. I’ll pay it back. I’ll withdraw the money right now.”

“No, focus for me. Right now you’ll pick an arm or a leg, because your bullshit has cost me both. You want me to pick for you?"

"My arm, my arm," said the man breathless. "Okay?"

Jacob pulled a Glock from inside his waistcoat, pointed it at the man’s arm, and pulled the trigger.

A small spout left the bright green water gun and landed on the edge of the pool. Jacob floated on a bright yellow inflatable rubber duck, beer in one hand, green plastic weapon in the other. He took a sip from the amber-colored bottle.

Jacob keeled over onto the ground in agony. Dogs barked as the politician's security closed in on his location. He was left with no choice but to break his false tooth containing cyanide, and swallow it whole. His insides burned with chemical potency and he frothed at the mouth. The poison melted holes into his vital organs like a red hot ball of steel through butter, and he keeled over onto the wet grass.

“You carry a lot of tension in your shoulders,” said the masseuse.

She worked her elbows into Jacob’s back in small circles. As her strong hands worked their way deep into the soft tissue between his shoulder blades, he let out a blissful grunt. Her hands continued onto his neck and then slowly up his head toward his temples, where she stopped again to massage in small, clearly defined circles, putting him to sleep.

Jacob woke up with leather restraints around his legs and body which pinned him onto a gurney. He tried to move but became painfully aware of the cold metal prongs restraining his skull. The spectacles of a man in a white coat hovered above him.

“The visions are not receding. We’ll need to increase the voltage”

Jacob’s voice quivered. “Please God. Make it stop.”

“The County has your best interest in mind Jacob, we just want to get you thinking straight again.”

The technician seated at the control panel adjusted a small dial, causing Jacob's body to stiffen as electricity coursed through the gray matter of his brain.

Jacob sat up on the edge of his bed, the cotton comforter compressed under his weight as the morning sun warmed his bare feet. He let out a yawn that annoyed his sleeping cat, Will, who was curled up next to him. When his feet touched the floor, he felt an immense heat licking his toes.

February 09, 2023 03:59

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Liv Chocolate
08:01 Feb 11, 2023

You’re a boss, Green Snek. This showed me a whole new side of you. I absolutely love the transition from one life experience to the other—it captures just what an eclectic mix of moments our lives are made up of from the moment we’re born to the second we die.


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Jeff Khoo
03:34 Feb 11, 2023

This was super wild! Got me feeling anxious. Nicely done.


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22:33 Feb 10, 2023

This was quite a wild and well-written ride!


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Laurel Hanson
21:03 Feb 10, 2023

First of all, I had to read a story entitled "The Floor is Lava." Secondly, love what you did with this prompt. It is a really skillful handling of the more difficult prompt, interesting to read, well crafted, and had me wondering the whole time how it would be resolved. Well done and welcome to reedsy.


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