Slumped over on the cold, gray surface of the once-abandoned warehouse was Israel James. He hadn’t bathed or shaved in months. The stench of urine and feces caked over his tattered and beaten clothes were like fumes of death. Much of warehouse was filled with men and women who looked the same way. Tired and pale faced. In pain or in an unnatural state of complete bliss. For Israel James it was the former.
Standing over him was a short woman with long black hair and glasses. Dr. Michelle Caine was a board certified psychologist employed by CompuSci. She was also one of the company’s top engineers.
“Go away,” Israel James said. He voice slurred and trailed off. “You’re not real. You’re not even a real person!” James pointed at the doctor and laughed. But with his dry throat, it sounded more like someone was flossing his teeth with a pair of rusty chains.
Patients who exhibited madness never rattled Dr. Caine.
“Israel,” she began calmly. “Everyone knows your story. You had everything. You had it all. Then you made one bad choice. And it was gone. What we are offering is a chance to get it back.”
The doctor leaned down, snaking her head slowing toward his ear, calmly withstanding the foul smells pouring out of him as she did.
“Dignity,” she said softly.
The word hung in the air, as if a piece of juicy steak was now dangling inches away from Israel James’ face.