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Scientific Interest

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“Please, don’t do it! Don’t --”

The latest victim of the Mangler screamed in pure agony as he was cut into with a rusty surgical knife. He tried to writhe on the medical bench, but the tight restraints made that all but impossible. It was better that way. After all, the Mangler’s workers complained if there was too much residue to clean up.

The Mangler paid no mind to the tortured cries as he carved out a massive slit in the man’s chest, using precision that his former coworkers had envied him for. His eyes were cold and empty as he observed the bright red blood pouring out onto the man’s skin. What had been his name again? Trevor?

Names didn’t matter. He was someone that had crossed one of the Mangler’s workers and was subsequently led to the lab under false pretenses. The Mangler’s son hadn’t complained, nor did the AI have any work for him now. So, here he was, performing what would have been a nostalgic procedure.

The Mangler knew he shouldn’t get lost in thought. This work was vital for his research, after all. Now ...

Trevor was showing signs of high stress. He was panicking, shaking, crying, and clenching his fists so tightly that they were white. The Mangler observed in silence, trying to put it together. Pain responses were normal when the human body was hurt. It made sense for survival. But to have a reaction such as crying completely ... no, it didn’t mystify him. But if he could feel it, he would be.

The Mangler tuned out the constant begging and pleading when he walked away to get the retractors. It wasn’t much of a walk, but his lumbering frame and the equipment he constantly wore made it more of a chore than it should be. If only his assistants hadn’t refused to work on this man. Then he would be able to fully focus on him.

Fear shone in Trevor’s eyes as he watched the Mangler approach once more. The retractors were put in place, eliciting another pained scream. While the Mangler was quite used to this, it was harder to perform surgeries without the anesthesia his old work provided. But without it, he could observe the human condition.

Cracking the ribs protecting the heart made Trevor scream so high that the noises quickly faded into silence. The Mangler tossed away the broken ribs, then looked at his prize: a rapidly beating human heart. It pulsed with life. The Mangler watched it for a moment.

How could humans be so ... inaccurate about matters of emotions? The heart didn’t dictate such things, and yet they insisted it did. They spoke of pains of the heart, how one’s chest ached when being split from something -- or someone -- they loved. It made no sense to the Mangler; the notion was scientifically inaccurate.

His heart beat in just the same way as Trevor’s, but it didn’t make him feel. It only pumped blood through his veins, capillaries, and veins. It only carried oxygen and carbon dioxide to the proper places. It only passed on nutrients. It kept the body functioning, but it didn’t mandate the same things as the brain.

If only he could tap into the rage that he’d surely experience with such thoughts.

The Mangler watched the beating heart for some minutes, ignoring the heaving, quiet sobs from Trevor. His fingers twitched. A moment later, he took the scissors in his apron and stabbed the pulsing organ, causing blood to spurt up and splatter onto the apron and Trevor’s body. Unfortunately, some even got on the floor.

Perhaps it wasn’t the best move to do that, but Trevor’s squirming was going to make the examination of the brain impossible. Trevor proved the Mangler’s theory by twitching violently, coughing up blood -- and slowly dying on the medical table. His body jerked as the heart spilled precious nutrients and blood out, and his eyes began to glass over with the touch of death.

Eventually, Trevor was still, cold as death and covered in his own blood. His organs were shown to the world, all of them slowly shutting down with his brain. The Mangler watched as yet another body went through the stages of death. Rigor mortis would set in approximately two to four hours. If he wanted a pliable body, he would have to work now.

The Mangler grabbed his knife and began the process of opening up the skull.

Maybe this brain would give him the answers he sought.