Ben’s arms shook with a remembered cold from a year ago. The constant darkness of the donation center for fourteen days haunted Ben to that day. He still hadn’t slept with Melody, afraid the darkness might reveal his past. The truth, he slept with the lights on every night since he escaped the donor center. He couldn’t return to work and didn’t show up for another shift. The groans of pain from those dying of malnutrition and lying in their own waste. Ben sat down. People tripped over and cursed Ben, but he didn’t care. I’ve lost another one. The thought of being trampled to death didn’t sound fast enough.
“Stop moving or you’ll be making each other beautiful,” a man said.
The temporary silence almost made Ben believe that the man convinced everyone, but the bustle of feet and cries resumed soon after.
“Fine, if I can’t get you to listen, the art will,” the man said.
A red light turned on. The outline of an enormous sculpture cast strange shadows. In the haze of the red light, the sculpture looked like a giant statue of a person. But it stood tall, unlike the Atlas figure shown earlier. Did I just see a part of the sculpture move? It looked like an arm hung down toward the red light. When all the stage lights turned on, the sculpture twitched. It looked like everyone they’d just lost hung across each other in between the thick poles. Empty eyes stared back at Ben, and he recognized one patron, who tried to speak out at an earlier exhibit. Another, the woman the Apprentice forced to cut into a man’s shoulder.
“Melody,” Ben said.
Ben stood and walked around the sculpture of human bodies. I don’t see how these sick fucks can see this as beautiful. A blonde-haired woman laid crumpled on the floor at the base of one poll, positioned like a foot. They attached a burly man above her like a lower leg. Stop making shapes out of people. Ben focused harder on his search.
People around him recovered from their shock and cried the names of loved ones. At first Ben thought they searched for their loved ones too, but the ferocity of the tears told Ben they already found their loved ones. It took a few laps before Ben verified he couldn’t find Melody amid the cluster of bodies. If she isn’t here, where is she? Ben tried to look around to see if he could catch them moving her, but no luck.
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