Phantom Limbs XIII

Luck part 13…


Sunday 9th September 2116

James Dylan’s audio Diary

Another morning waking up in a hospital bed, another new surgery, more new machinery added to me. I’ve made a huge mistake. I couldn’t help myself, I was on edge. And I’ve always been one that can be talked into compulsive purchases. I bought the arm upgrade. They installed it and the update at the same time, I can’t even change my mind. It’s too late. It’s built into me. What am I going to do? I needed that money. Now how can I afford to buy Mily that gift for her birthday? That play house. She wanted it so badly. I can seen her disappointed little face when I close my eyes now. It’s worse than the dreams could ever be. What have I done? And Joanna, she’ll be furious, there is no hiding what I’ve done. How can I? If there was an award for worst father of the year than it would be me. Why couldn’t Joanna have come with me? Why did she need to be so self righteous? She could have stopped me, why didn’t she take my credit ships off me? She was always going on about how she was the smarter one with money. God damn her, she always has to be so right and now she’s going to laud this over me when she did nothing to stop it happening, if she had just listened to me for once. Worst of all I can’t even go get a drink to try and calm my nerves. I can’t drink for a few days while I am taking the medication to help they systems adapt better to me. Why should I need to drink though? Why would a man ever be afraid to go back to his own home. And I bet I won’t get any sympathy from her. I’m the victim here, I’m the cripple. She’ll forget that though, forget or ignore it like my damn colleagues. Anyway better cut this short, doctor is coming.

James Dylan logged out.


Phantom Limbs XII

Saturday 8th September 2116

James Dylan’s audio diary

Well here we are again, waiting for more robotics to be added to my system. Can’t say I’m any less nervous about this than I was about the last time I had this done, turns out that no matter how much electronic crap you have shoved in you you’ll be just as nervous as the first time. Might help if my wife was here for some support but she has made it very clear that she has no intention of helping me through any of this. She took Mily to the park and told me she might stay with a friend tonight. She made it out like I was saying the dreams were her fault. Then again after the last one I’m not so sure that they don’t have anything to do with her. Last night the dream played out as it usually does, the lights, the room, the table, you’ll be sick of hearing this by now. I was stood by Mily’s side, watching her being tortured. The silent screams…then one of the wires, it winds down and wraps around my neck. It tightens, I choke and I am lifted off the floor. The wire has cut off all air, I can’t scream. Nothing. I struggle but it is impossible to get my fingers under the wire as it grows even tighter. My body grows limp and in a last act I look up. Above me, the hub from where all the wires and tools are descending. It’s Joanna’s face. She wears a blank expression, eyes closed and it looks like it has been cut off somehow and attached to the ceiling but somehow still it looks as real and alive as the last time I looked at her. I am still being drawn upwards and as I am moved closer her eyes open. Only there are no eyes there…just more machinery and as her lids slide apart more wires tumble down like vines in a jungle, but with razors instead of leaves. The wires envelop my body and I can feel the agony as the razors dig into my skin, sticking deep into me and even worse they start to feel like they are worming their way even further into me. And then Joanna’s expression changes, from blank to a look of fury that I have learnt all to well these past few days. Her brow furrows and her mouth opens but no words come out. Only one long, angry. Furious scream of fury as the wires around my neck tightens again. Finally, as my body has done before in these dreams, my neck breaks like a smashed glass and I feel my body being lifted away in the wires before I jerk awake.

I couldn’t bring myself to tell Joanna of that one. Couldn’t even stay in the house. I have been wondering the city for a few hours now. As soon as the Apex clinic opened I was there, had to wait a few more hours before I could be prepared for this upgrade. Spent most of that time talking to the clerk about a new set of systems for arm augments they had had in. Took my mind off everything for a while…

James Dylan Logged out.

Phantom Limbs XI

this wasn only originally going to be a ten part thing, guess i can’t even keep to my own guidelines.


Thursday 6th September 2116

James Dylan’s audio diary.

As expected Joanna flipped her lid at me again when I told her that I had signed myself up for this update but she just doesn’t get it and I was just too tired to explain it to her. I haven’t slept all night and now I am sat here, in the bar again, running up a tab that I have no idea how I am going to pay for after this update and after I buy this damned present for Mily. But I can’t lie, the alcohol at this rate is the only thing that is keeping me sane, as stupid as that sounds. Anyway the procedure is in a few days, if no0thing else I can count on Apex top be there to give me the help I need. Not like those damn, so called, colleagues of mine. I went about today and explained my situation to all of them and to a man they were all unsympathetic. They carried on asking why a man who will now be earning more than they will needs to borrow money of them? As if I hadn’t explained about how I needed the upgrade, how I need this gift for my daughter. I even brought out the big guns, I said to Phil that maybe I wouldn’t need to borrow money if I hadn’t had the lost income from a few weeks off work. Wouldn’t even need the upgrade if we hadn’t had our little accident. Then he goes off on a tangent, says that it was a ‘shitty thing to say’, apparently the truth really does hurt some people. Then the rest of the guys came along and they were there backing up HIM! One of them even says that I only got the damned promotion because of my handicap and that I should be THANKING PHIL!

Great now the barmaid is telling me to keep it down, says she’ll have me thrown me out if I keep making a racket. Apparently there is more discrimination against disabled people in this city than I thought. Guess you only see it when you’re on the other side of it. Anyway Joanna is still in a huff with me, fortunately Mily was at home again yesterday, kept the battle axe off my neck, but she is staying with a friend tonight, there is going to be a riot when I get home, maybe I am a coward for hiding here again but I just can’t take the stress right now. I need some time to myself, away from the damned job, the arsehole colleagues, the judgement, thought I apparently can’t even escape that here. Thought maybe it’s just a gender thing, there is a woman over there, bionic leg, she’s had no trouble. Keeps looking across at me like I’m something foul she stepped in. The hell does she want? As if I don’t have enough problems with nosey bitches giving me the evils.

James Dylan logged out.

Phantom Limbs X

I realised i hadn’t added the ‘James Dylan’s audio diary.’ section of the opening in since about the 5th entry in this little sage. oops.


Wednesday 5th September 2116

James Dylan’s audio diary.

Well I’m doing something I never thought I would do. I’m recording this from the bar in town because I can’t stand the idea of going home. Ok let’s be truthful, I’m being cowardly. I took my advance on my wages and I signed myself up for the advanced augment, the one I was talking about before that should help stop the dreams. Well I had another awful one last night. It’s always the same start, the corridor, the flashing light, Mily on that table. This time I make it to the table, I am right there, I can reach out and touch Mily, but as I do so one of those damn arms reaches down and hits my arm, smashes it clean off. The shards rain down onto Mily and she gets cut up by them. Before I can stop myself another arm hits me in the head, it shatters but I can still see as shards rain down on my daughter. I haven’t had more than an hour or two sleep in days. I just sit up all night, afraid to close my eyes. I hear you can get alterations to your body, keep you energised during the day  so that you don’t need to sleep so much. If this surgery doesn’t work I may have to start looking into that. I really can’t live like this.

Joanna was talking the other day. There is something Mily wants for her birthday. It’s like this toy house that she can sit in and play in. It has a small working TV and an oven that can actually cook theses little premade meals that come with it. An iron I think. It’s all been made safe for children somehow and I know she would love it. But it’s expensive. I mean we can afford it, especially with this new job. But her birthday is so soon, and I need this upgrade. And I can’t afford both. You see why I am hiding in the bar? Maybe I can borrow some money from a colleague, this surgery doesn’t use up all the advance. If they will stop being such jealous pricks for a moment. How can they be jealous of a guy who lost an arm?

James Dylan logged out

Phantom Limbs IX

Monday 3rd September 2116

So the good news with the bad, I got the job. Yea my boss gave me an advance on my wage and now I have the money I need for a present for Mily. I asked the guys if they wanted to go out for a drink to celebrate though and none of them seemed very keen, in fact most of them didn’t really talk to me at all. I mean I get a little bit of professional jealousy but really I never thought they would be so childish, oh well, their loss. So I went out with the intention of having a drink on my own, just a little well done to myself and I saw, in one of the augment clinics, an upgrade for artificial system which promised a smoother transition into augments. Apparently it can shut down the artificial limbs at night and thus stop them from causing any interference with dreams while keeping a very low level of power just to ensure the arm, leg or whatever will reactivate in the morning. I had to know more and they man at the counter was very informative, said that it didn’t even cost that much, being as how it was quickly becoming an necessity with some people.

And then there is the bad. I went straight home, told Joanna about the upgrade and she lost her mind. Accused me of becoming a technology junkie just like she was worried I would. She said that before long I would be living for the upgrades and that it hadn’t even taken long. That this whole business was going to ruin my life. I tried to defend myself, tell her how the dreams were ruining my life and that was when she smelled the alcohol on my breath. Said I was drunk and that was probably what was causing the dreams. Then she started asking how much more I had been drinking before storming out the house. I was so angry I slammed my fist into the wall, my augmented fist. Needless to say that the wall came off worse. I considered trying to hide the hole but I decided against it. I was so angry though, with her, with my colleagues, and worst of all with myself because I lost control. If Mily had been home to see it, god knows I would have been so ashamed.

James Dylan logged out.

Phantom Limbs VIII

Monday August 20th 2116

My boss came to me today and told me that he is hiring for a new position that is opening up in the warehouse. It’s not really much of a position, not quite a foreman but still better than an average grunt. It’s essentially someone who will do half the foreman’s work for half his salary. He came to me with this because he thinks I should apply, not sure why I jumped to mind but if he thinks I should I’m not going to turn him down. Anyway why shouldn’t I be in charge of a few of the guys? I work just as hard as they do plus I have a daughter to provide for. Now I don’t want to speak too soon but I think I may have a good chance for this job, what with how sharp I’ve been after my surgery I reckon my boss would be a fool not to pick me. Better start planning my interview topics, it may be sleazy but I think I’ll ply up my injury a bit. Play the brave solider who returned to duty after taking a bullet in service kinda thing.

As for the dreams, they’re getting worse if anything, the doctor says I have a few week on an increased does of hypnocil, if they don’t go away then I can try this new drug, it’s experimental but it should allow for a more seamless blending of my own brain waves and the neural link that keeps my arm going. God I hope so. Last night I found myself in the room again. Mily is screaming and I am running towards her but now my leg doesn’t move at all, I pull and pull and suddenly it shatters, like glass, why whole leg!” I start falling forward, holding my arm out to catch myself and then I realise my arms are gone, I just have bandaged up stumps like before surgery but now on both arms. I fall towards the floor and just before my face impacts on the ground I wake up. Last night I was thrashing so hard I even woke Joanna, and what sympathy did I get? None, she blamed the arm for affecting my head. She just doesn’t understand. If she could see what I have been seeing every night.god…

James Dylan logged out.

Phantom Limbs VII

Sunday August 19th 2116

Oh hell…I just woke up, recording this at quarter past 3 in the morning. I just had the worst nightmare. So much for the hypnocil. Gonna need to go to the doctor tomorrow, I need something stronger, Or an update to the system, or something, I just can’t have that dream again. How I didn’t wake Joanna up I don’t know, I swear I was shouting in my sleep but then again she always could sleep like a rock. This dream though, I was walking down a corridor. It was dark but every so often there would be a blinding flash of white light from down the end and around a corner which would take a few seconds to fade. I keep on walking down the corridor but the closer I get to the corner the heavier my feet felt until I am literally dragging them across this cold, smooth floor. I get to the corner and I turn to see a big open room. The walls are covered in what looks like factory machinery and there are hundreds of these mechanical hands descending from the ceiling. In the centre of the room Mily is lying on an operating table, completely bound to it by huge metal clamps. She was crying.

Every now and then one of the arms would swing down with some wicked looking tool in it’s claws and it would come to rest on her skin. Then there would be the flash of white light, though Mily would suddenly be shadowed, her body twisting as her face was pulled into a silent scream of pain before the arm would move away and she would go limp again. I tried to run, I tried to do anything to get to her but for some reason all I did was stand there. Stand there and watch the torture of my daughter before me. Even when I did start moving I was slow, slower than ever. My legs seemed to be welded to the floor and every step seemed to stretch on four hours. Mily’s screaming face never seeming to be getting any closer and all I could think was that I needed to be faster. Why can’t I go faster?

Finally I woke up. There was one last flash and I was lying in bed. I need…I need to do something, get a shower…maybe. But I can’t go back to bed…not after that.

James Dylan logged out.