Thursday, September 7, 2017


The ABC's
By Kelly Kusumoto

The patient was old and tired and lied on an examining table while a bright green light scanned his head from chin to scalp. His breathing slowed with each passing minute. In his mind, thoughts of a finish line began to appear. Emotions of every kind fought for space inside his brain.

“Did you see it?” asked one of the scientists.

“Yes,” said another. “Is that it?”

“I believe so,” the doctor said. “Quick. Before it’s too late.”

Both scientists shuffled from the computer screen and grabbed their instruments before joining the patient at the table. One stood near his arm, the other perpendicular to the top of his head.

“Did you find it?” said the old man. “Please tell me I didn’t waste all my money.”

“I think we did, sir,” the scientist above him said.

“But there’s only one way to find out,” the one near his arm said.

“Well, what are you waiting for?”

They looked at each other and nodded. The one near his arm injected a serum into his IV and waited a few seconds. The old man’s breathing almost came to a halt. “Go.”

The one at the old man’s head took a long syringe and stuck it deep into the back of the old man’s neck and looked up at the doctor who was staring at the screen. He motioned with his hands to move to the right a little. The scientist mirrored the doctor’s hand signals until he gave a thumbs up. Then, the scientist drew back the plunger and extracted a translucent, light blue substance that looked liquid but acted like a gas. The scientist at the old man’s arm had moved next to the scientist at the head and was holding a vial. Quickly, the scientist with the syringe injected the substance into the vial and the two of them retreated back to the control room where the doctor stood wide-eyed.

Next to the computer, there was a device with all kinds of wires protruding to and from it. It was hooked up to a few other machines as well as the computer. There was a lonely slot empty and waiting for this moment. The scientist inserted the vial into the slot until it clicked home. The three of them looked at the screen. The doctor had opened up a word processing document and the cursor was blinking. After a few moments, the doctor made his way to the keyboard.

“Dr. Albenar, sir?” he typed.


“Sir, if you are there, please answer,” he asked the computer.

The cursor kept blinking.

There was a feeling of disappointment in the room. The two scientists dropped their shoulders and sighed. The one with the syringe bit her lip and frowned at the one who had the vial. They both looked at the doctor who was still eyeing the screen, almost in disbelief. “It doesn’t make sense,” he said. “What else could that be? It’s matter, but it’s weightless and almost invisible. It only showed itself when the doctor was at death’s door. It has to be his Life Energy.”

“Maybe it was,” said the male scientist.

“And now maybe it isn’t anymore,” said the female scientist.

The cursor continued to blink away aimlessly.

“Just because we believe in the afterlife, doesn’t make it true,” she said.

“It was a nice thought, a hope, albeit, a very calculated hope,” the male scientist said. “No one can say we didn’t try.”

The doctor shook his head. “No!” He pounded the desk. “Fifteen years, I’ve spent. A hundred patients. Each one, closer and closer. The data is all there. And for what? Nothing? I can’t accept this! Everyone will think I am a fool!”

Just then a beep came from the computer. They all looked and gasped. There was a line of text on the otherwise blank document. It read:

“You are a fool, Dr. Celsine. And everyone already knows it.”

They stared at the screen, dumbfounded and uncertain what to do.

“Are you going to say something, or just stand there like the idiot you are?”

Dr. Celsine shook his head scrambled to the keyboard. “You can see us?”

“I can,” the text appeared. “It’s like I am floating around, but I can only communicate through the device. I guess it’ll be known as the Celsine device from now on, eh?”

The three of them were giddy with joy and could hardly contain themselves. The male scientist started to tear up, which made the female scientist tear up as well.

“Stop crying​,​ you babies!”

They all laughed. “Can you hear us if we talk aloud?” asked the male scientist.

“Of course I can, Serbeins. I just can’t talk back.”

“Good thing for that!”

“And you, Biemel, you quit that sassy tongue.”

“Yes, sir,” she said, with a suppressed smile.

“I’m so happy, I think I want to call it the CBS Device,” said Dr. Celsine, “or maybe the ABCs Device.”

“Albenar, Biemel, Celsine, Serbeins Device,” said Biemel.

“Oh, I’d be so honored,” Serbeins said.

“I bet you would be,” typed Albenar.

A few awkward moments passed where they all looked to each other for what to do next. They had planned this outcome for fifteen years and now that it had come to fruition, no one had planned for what was next. Feeling the anxiety of the moment, Biemel asked, “So, Dr. Albenar. How is the afterlife?”

“It’s strange,” appeared on the screen. “Other than not having a physical body, I don’t feel at all different. It leads me to wonder, had you not extracted my life energy, where would it have gone? Is there some other place it goes to and if so, did I miss my chance to go there?”

“I never thought of it that way,” said Dr. Celsine.

“Well, there’s not much I can do now,” said Dr. Albenar. “How are the Sauxeit coming along?”

“Let’s get you into one and you can tell us,” said Serbeins.


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Kelly is a writer of all genres. He is the Lead Game Writer for Saltie Games, the Sports & Travel writer for, and a fictional writer with short stories published in literary magazines and websites around the world.

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