The boy with the machine heart sat on his hospital bed nestled into starched sheets white as snow that hadn’t even touched the ground yet – for there were more things to tell, to say about this place. I promised. Otherwise he wouldn’t even be here, right now, his head turned to the right, staring through his reflection in the window, half-hidden by curtains the colour of chalk.
Dark was the night outside and his other self stared back through him, crowned by the stark light of the lamps, emanating from his head like a cold halo, clinical. The room was sealed by the light, the window pane reflecting its interior only due to the darkness outside, capturing and throwing it back to bounce off the bed, the walls, the night table and the little dots printed on his shirt, dancing before your eyes if you looked at them too long.
The brooding silence was thickened by the humming of the machines next to his bed, complete with the regular bleeps of the beat picked off the lump of metal and tubes within his chest that sounded decidedly mechanical, even more technical and accurate than the noises produced by organic hearts when translated into the tongue of machines. Although the boy was not yet aware of the fact, his new heart had started whispering with the other machines present in the room. Shyly at first, mumbling only to the device listening to it diligently, unburdening itself coyly, unconscious of having spoken in the first place. Then, more boldly, it started debating with the TV set lurking ominously in the upper left corner of the room in stand-by, giving off that high-frequency sound only animals and the young are able to hear. It negotiated with the fluorescent tubes and the crackling hidden deep within the wires running through the walls. They had a lot to do, it and its bearer, a lot to do in this place. Indeed. When it was about to inquire about the state of affairs from the fire alarm, the door to his majesty’s realm opened slowly inwards, admitting one of the doctors on their white coats suffused with authority, perfumed with the sweet smell of formaldehyde that went to your head and made you sing.
The doctor looked at the boy, his mouth opened and out came the sound of poetry, each syllable cut out with utmost precision. The doctor had prepared well. The entire afternoon he had sat in his office gagging up words through his throat in order to cut them to size with his scalpel on his desk, leaving their edges as sharp as a razor. After he had finished, being happy with the result, he shoved them back down his throat, swallowing hard, having trouble to keep them down. They were eager. He had to admit to having done well. Usually, he wasn’t one for boasting, but this time . . .
When he stood in front of the king the words tumbled from his mouth, clattering noisily to the ground, making the entire room ring with their liturgy. Some of them hit the floor so hard that they ricocheted off the tiles, sending sparks off in every direction. The doctor had done well. It was worth repeating. The doctor had done well. What more had a patient to wish for?
One of the lamps flickered having been hit by one of the particularly heavy words. The heart flinched perceiving the inaudible, momentary howl pulsing off the lamp. This place wasn’t quite what it had expected. The boy, finally, turned his head, slightly shifting his weight, provoking the sheets into rustling. The doctor instinctively took a step back, he didn’t like the rustling of the sheets and what they had to say. The sound echoed strangely through the small room while the boy looked right through the visitor, a gesture much more menacing than a direct stare from him could have ever been. The doctor took a careful bow and left, retreating backwards, the whole time facing the one in the white throne.
The door closed. The boy got up, testing his feet delicately upon every step and opened the windows to let the rest of the doctors’ words escape the confines of his four walls, filling it with measured handfuls of sleek night air.