“Unbelievable!!! Truly remarkable!!! Hu Man has done it, for nearly 10 years nobody could beat the record, but he did! He is a new legend, ladies and gentlemen. He managed to run 100 meters in 9.23 seconds. He is the fastest man alive! Truly magnificent!” The commentator was screaming and parading. Everything was extremely loud and covered in confetti, the whole stadium was one glittering, loud, happy place. Hu couldn’t imagine any other place he would have been right now, he did it. He burst into tears. Many years of training finally paid off, his dream was to be the world’s fastest man, even for a little while. He trained his soul and body for this, and sacrificed so much. He was slowly walking towards the winner podium, feeling ecstatic and full of life. Deep down he knew this is all thanks to pushing his limits, his physical limits, because in mind he was always ready. He finally managed to find that fine line for the psyche and corporeal to agree and make breaking records possible. He will have his finely sculpted body as proof that he has succeeded in life. He stepped onto the podium, onto the number one. Everyone was standing, clapping, screaming, they were part of a historical moment. Hu couldn’t hold his tears back, tears of joys were rushing down his cheeks.
The lights faded out slowly, all Hu could hear was faint screams and voices getting softer and quieter. He felt a warm sensation, friendly and welcoming glow was surrounding him. He has never felt this happy before in his life, all his precious memories rushed through his mind. The last moment he could remember was the picture of him standing on the winner’s podium, he would look at that picture with pride and tell his family with enormous pleasure how he couldn’t have succeeded without their help. Every family member was happy for him. His wife, his children and his parents. A sudden cold strike through his chest has made the thoughts vanish. He felt agonizing pain and started suffocating, coughing without a sound. Desperately grasping for air, clenching every muscle in his body. His mind was ready implode from the pain he felt. He felt cold, metal needles piercing his body, through flesh, through muscles, through tissues, through bones. In his mind he was screaming, cursing and dancing on the edge of sanity. Yet, his body was silent, he hadn’t made a move since all of this started. Hu tried to open his eyes, but couldn’t, as if his body wasn’t listening to him anymore. He continued screaming in agony for what seemed like hours. More and more piercing cold needles, but now he felt something else, something weird, something synthetic.
Just as he was about to lose his sanity completely a sudden jolt of electricity ran down his spine, he could feel all his nerve endings burning, the sensation was overwhelming and it was slowly crawling towards his spine. He felt the pain getting more intense, more real, slowly climbing upwards and burning his spine. When the sensation was about to reach his mind it just stopped suddenly, the pain vanished completely. Hu was now covered by complete darkness and silence, unable to move, he was shut off in his mind, alone. But at least everything was peaceful. Serenity at last.
He slowly opened his eyes, just to be blinded by bright light. When he got used to the light he could see his body, or what he thought was his body. It was a body, but it felt cold, comfortably cold. He got up from his bed. Another nightmare, by now he got used to them. He will get used to pain, it slowly fades but the memories will always linger on. He stood up and looked at the picture on his wall, himself standing on the winner’s podium, the fastest man alive. Hu turned his head and looked at the mirror. He could see his naked body. No flesh, no muscles, no bones, only an exoskeletal machine. He tried crying, he wished he could cry, but the tears never came.
By Dejan Vicai