Brand Name (1-20-18)

Souls have been proven to exist and to be what makes us sentient, we just don’t know what they are or how they work. Scientists begin to study them, poke them a bit, move them around, take them apart… [Link to post.]

“So, it’s not going to kill me, right?” The disheveled, bearded man asked while looking around at the white room he sat in. White light seemed to be coming out of every wall, including the ceiling and floor. He sat upright in a metal chair in front of a large glass desk. A beautiful woman with long dark hair sat behind the desk, but he did not know her name. It wasn’t important. He was here for the money.

“Mr. Spinne, unfortunately I cannot guarantee that an accident won’t happen. However, I can be completely transparent with you. We have had some patients react badly and die during the testing. However any financial compensation due to them was paid out to their families, with a bonus. If you like I can give you some references to double check. All I can promise you is that it is not our intent that you die, or suffer. The process is sometimes painful, but we will try all we can to make you comfortable.”  The man scratched at his beard while he listened.

“Call me Spider,” he said.

“Spider Spinne? That’s an interesting name.” The woman scratched out his name at the top of the file and wrote in ‘Spider’.

“No. Sebastian Spinne, but Spinne is German for spider. I like that better.” The man smiled revealing several missing teeth behind the dense brown forest of his beard. “I even got a tattoo, see?” He rolled up his sleeve to show a giant black widow spider tattooed on his arm.

“That’s nice,” the woman said. She corrected the name again and wrote in Sebastian.

“I’ll sign whatever. When do I get the money?” Spider sat up eagerly.

“Do you know what you’re signing on for Mr. Spinne?” He chuckled.

“Yeah, to get a million bucks and probably not die. Call me Spider.”

“That’s not good enough,” the woman sighed. “This institute has discovered the human soul. It answered many questions, but gave us ten times as many. We have been trying to learn all we can, and you are volunteering for that experimentation.” Spider burst into laughter.

“I’m selling my soul! Sister, for a million bucks you can have it. I ain’t usin’ it.” He slapped his knee, releasing a small puff of dirt.

“Please don’t misunderstand. We’re not removing it entirely. The procedure is more along the lines of a biopsy. We only cut out a small piece to experiment with.” Spider rubbed his chin through his beard and his eyes sparkled.

“What’ll you give me for all of it?”

“We have no intention, nor interest in buying all of it.” She placed the clipboard on the desk and pushed it towards him. “Please sign these papers if you agree. You will receive an initial physical, and if you meet our requirements you’ll be given 25% of the money today with the rest promised to you after you complete the procedure. “

“You got it!” He scraggled ‘Spider’ on the dotted line.

“Please avoid using nicknames Mr. Spinne, it’s a pain from a bookkeeping perspective.”

“My name *is* Spider,” He said with a flash of anger in his eyes. She decided it would be easier to adjust the names as she went.

“Of course. Sorry Spider.” She pressed a button and seconds later a pair of orderlies stepped into the room. “Please show Spider to the next room, he’s ready for his physical.” She handed Spider a small card with the number 33 on it. “You are subject thirty three.”  Spider grinned a holey grin.

“Must be my lucky day. 33’s my favorite number.” He took the card and followed the men out of the room. The young woman sprayed deodorizer in her office then left to the lab. She walked down the white halls and entered a larger white room. On one end of the room was a glass pane with Spider on the other side of it. He sat under a humming machine that scanned him with blue and red lights. Her assistant rushed to her.

“Dana, this guy’s amazing!” Dana glowered at her assistant.

“We’re working.”

“Right, sorry. Ms. Sharp.” the assistant cleared her throat. “This guy is amazing! His soul is entirely unique from anything we’ve ever seen.”

“What do you mean?” Dana followed her assistant to the bank of monitors. The younger woman pointed at the center monitor that showed a glowing golden light.

“His soul is *literally* glowing with golden light. It fried the rest of our instruments when we tried to scan it. I can’t wait to get a piece of it.” Dana stared at the glowing light on the monitor.

“How about the whole thing?” She smiled.

“No.. we can’t. Can we? We don’t know what’ll happen to him.” Dana shrugged.

“It’ll be a good opportunity to find out, right? Put something together, quickly.” She walked out of the room and into the room that held Spider.

“Mr. Spinne? I may have spoken too soon.”

“Spider. What do you mean? I’m not gonna get my money?”

“Oh, no Spider. You’re going to get more money than you ever dreamed of. When I said we were not interested in purchasing your soul, I spoke out of turn. Unbeknownst to me, my boss *has* been looking for someone willing to make the trade. For science of course. We’re curious to see what happens if a soul is removed entirely.” Spider sat up straighter and his eyes narrowed.

“What happens if I die? I got no family to give the money to, and I ain’t gonna be around to spend it.”

“Well since you’re making such a big leap of faith in the name of science, we can easily do the same.” The door opened and Dana’s assistant walked in with a clipboard. Dana took the clipboard and looked over it it. Then she handed it to Spider with a pen.

“If you agree to sell us your soul, you become our property. We will give you 10 million dollars. Today. Then you return in a month for the procedure. If you survive you will get an additional 10 million dollars.”

“What if I run away?”

“Mr. Spi-” He glared. “Spider. We have the technology to extract souls. We can easily track you no matter where you hide. But, I don’t anticipate that being necessary.”

“What if I commit suicide?” Spider asked. Dana shrugged.

“Your loss. We don’t expect you to die after the procedure, and we have the latest medical technology available to us, should something go wrong. If you kill yourself you’re only missing out on another 10 million dollars.”

“Alright,” Spider nodded. “I’m in.”

“One more formality. We’ll need to brand your subject number on you.”

“Can I get a tattoo?” Spider grinned.

“Of course. However I assumed you would want payment as soon as possible. Today is Friday and the tattooist won’t be back until Monday. If you agree to the brand you can get it now and I’m sure your money will help ease the pain.” Dana said. Spider rolled up his sleeve to show off his black widow tattoo again.

“Put it under the spider.” Dana nodded to an orderly through the glass pane. In seconds he appeared in the room with branding iron. The number 33 glowed bright orange on the tip.

“This is going to hurt.” Dana said.

“No shit.” Spider grunted and locked eyes with Dana. He nodded. The orderly jammed the branding iron into his arm.

“hnnnnnngnnn” Spider held his scream while he stared Dana down. The smell of burning flesh hit her nostrils and she brought her hand up to her face to try and cover her nose. The orderly pulled the brand away and Spider exhaled.

“Thank you Mr. Spinne. I have a courier on his way here with the cash.”

“Spider!” The fresh brand on his arm began to sparkle with a faint golden light. Dana chuckled.

“It doesn’t matter. You’re our property now. Enjoy your next month, *Spider*. Because when you return you will only be addressed as Test Subject 33. Not Mr. Spinne, not Sebastian, and definitely not Spider. Is that clear?’ Dana turned to walk away. Then she heard a scream from her assistant. As she turned she was knocked over by the orderly rushing out of the room.

Sebastian Spinne stood in the middle of the room, and he stared at Dana while she picked herself up off the floor. His eyes glowed with golden light. The [33] branded on his arm glowed with the same brilliant light. Dozens of black widow spiders crawled out of his scraggly beard and down his body towards Dana. They kept creeping out, more than she could count.

“My name is Spider.”

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