She was pacing up and down the room, monologueing, rambling. To the courier, loss of identity seemed to be the underlying main topic, but he wasn’t sure and he didn’t care, preoccupied with feverish thoughts of his own.
“… sucks on your lungs when you exhale, trying to smother you with your own life’s breath. I am everything, everywhere and thus I am nothing. I imprison myself because if I were to truly go free, I’d be gone.”
After addressing the empty room for so long she was finally looking at him directly.
“Same with you really. The information you carry, it only is as long as it is imprisoned within you. As soon as it goes free it looses its worth, not a secret anymore. We are both prisoners, you and I.
“I cannot promise you that this will be over quick. It’d be against both our interests, don’t you see? We’d stop being what we are. So, really, I want you to keep your secrets. Hold on to them, because without them – you are dead.
“I know that sounds strange coming from someone in a plastic apron holding a scalpel, but I am sure you will come round to my point of view.”
For a tiny moment, he found himself able to talk, the muscles in his face and throat responding once more.
“Got anything for me?”
Laughter. A clear honest sound, welling up from deep down within her. A bright smile remained when the laughter itself finally died down.
“I get that a lot – but, I don’t agree.”
The smile was slowly draining away, gradually being replaced by something darker that might have been sorrow or anger or just weariness.
“If at all, then the world’s insane, the system’s insane. There’s a whole market economy out there, demanding I do insane things, paying me to do them. I am merely partaking in the market. I meet a demand. I provide what the client needs. I help people.”
She started to accentuate her statements with jabbing gestures of her fingers in their blood speckled surgical gloves.
“I give them what they want. I mean, take you for example. I am giving you what you want. I care for what you want. What you truly want. Do you know what that is? And don’t give me any of that ‘I want you to go away’ or ‘stop hurting me’ crap. Shall I tell what it is that you truly want? You want to survive. No, you want to live.
“And by doing what I do the way I do it, I’m giving you a chance of achieving just that. What do you think would happen if I were to just hook you up to that machine over there or take my sorcerous crowbar and pry open your brain, taking all your secrets – your most private thoughts and memories along with them -, neatly arrange them on a table and solve this puzzle straight away? Hm? Do you really believe the people who pay me would give you a pat on the head and send you on your way after that? No! They would kill you. Put a bullet through your head and dump your body. I’m saving your life here! At least show some fucking gratitude! People these days!”
She sounded really exasperated and, unbelievably, to the courier that was the most frightening thing to happen yet.
“Listen, I’m sorry I’ve lost my temper. I didn’t mean to. Let’s just have another session and after that I’ll remove your restraints and we’ll sit down for a nice cup of coffee – or something stronger if you prefer, okay? All’s going to be well. Trust me on that.”
‘No,’ he thought, ‘this, this tops it.’
If he had control of his voice at that point, he would have told her everything, all of it and then some, just to escape the possibility of her making true on that last promise.