For the main hub of the story, see here: Project Human Adaptation
Project Human Adaptation - The Tortured’s Flame
First Test: Entry 8
Subject #6 stepped up to face her test. The amplifier booted up, but the surroundings didn’t change. After Subject #5’s test, this wasn’t too surprising. However, the light was green. This meant everything was calm. But that couldn’t be. Was she not even trying to think of a fear? I asked if she had come up with anything, and she said she didn’t. After all she had seen, was she just going to outright refuse to participate?
She said she wasn’t thinking of a fear because she didn’t really have a fear to think of. A human with no fears? Not likely. Humans, like most creatures, use fear as a way to protect themselves and avoid danger. Even if we don’t have the same defense mechanisms that other creatures do, we still have this one. There was probably a coping method of some kind at play here.
Subject #3 began questioning her, asking about sharks, spiders, snakes, and other common animals people often dislike. She responded that all animals were creatures of God and there was no reason to fear them. So, that’s the cause. Religion can be one of the strongest motivators, depending on the practitioner. Almost anything could be tied back to a deity’s work, and even the illogical can find a basis when seen through the lens of “faith”. It was definitely a good way to combat fear, but that was counterproductive for this experiment.
Subject #4 joined #3 in trying to name a fear that would affect Subject #6. They covered common options like monsters and ghosts, but she said she didn’t believe in them. With each new guess, her light remained green. Faith or not, if the fear was somewhere in her head, the amplifier would have latched onto it by now. She really wasn’t afraid of those things. I should have stopped them there, but Subject #3 continued. Pitching his voice lower, in a monster-like quality, he stepped up beside her and ask about demons. The amplifier turned yellow.
The events that occurred next are still a bit hazy for me. Everything happened so quickly. Within seconds of the illusion forming, everything fell apart. It wasn’t until I checked the footage of the events and spoke to each of the subjects privately, that I managed to piece everything together. I barely got a look at the surroundings during the illusion, but I have a pretty good idea what it was she imagined…
And as soon as she saw it, her mind immediately rejected the image. She screamed. The amplifier must have flashed red at that moment, but I never saw it. Instead, a bright flash of light shot out around her. It was fire. I could feel the heat; see the flames spreading out and–
I remember yelling for the amplifier to be shut down. The illusion had died almost as soon as it had appeared. Apparently subject #3 saw the most of what happened. He probably would have been burned alive, if Subject #1 hadn’t tackled him to the ground. He said the figure that replace Subject #6 looked to be some kind of demonic creature.
When the illusion cut off, Subject #3 said the figure didn’t dissolve like the others had. It seemed to shatter like glass. Just before it did, he could still see Subject #6. She was inside of the being. When it shattered around her, she was left like all the others after their tests. Subject #2 ran over and yanked the amplifier off. She held onto the crying girl until things settled down.
The first phase is now complete. As for my thoughts on this test, I’ll need more time to… process everything that had happened. The subjects will need time as well. Especially Subject #6. She is currently still resting. Subject #2 said it took a while for her to calm down enough to get some sleep. I will need to speak to her when she is ready, to see if she will be able to handle any further testing.
I will be cutting my full analysis short for now. As much as I want to make sense of it all, it may be best to take a fresh look at it in a few days. By then, I will have finished my talks with each subject individually.
And hopefully by then, I will have doused the image of those flames that have burned themselves into my brain.