Last updated: Fri. Jun 30, 07:06 pm EDT

The cylinders in the clock rolled and rolled and rolled and finally hit 2:00 AM.

A small motor turned. The latches slowly retracted and the left half of the bed scissored downward, dropping Simeon's naked form onto a chilled plate of thin steel. Simeon started away, the cold running through his back. He gasped and coughed, choking for air, desperately trying to catch his wind, writhing around on the plate. For a few moments he retreated instinctively into a fetal ball, rolling back and forth like a pill bug in the hands of a sadistic child, trying to minimize his contact with the metal. He found the part of him that liked it, that felt the bite intimately and welcomed it, feeling the shock and the cool pain, hiding in his minority of pleasure. For a moment that worked, he thought he could feel the plate warming to his hip and belly and shoulder when he shifted an inch and it felt like his flesh was sticking and tearing off his muscle. He yelped and rolled sharply to the left, arm shielding his nipple, and slid onto the cool, forgiving concrete. Simeon staggered to his feet. A chill ran down his spine, shaking his body, and he stumbled around in a small circle for a moment, murmuring incoherently to himself.

Simeon looked over at Selia, still lying on her side of the bed in blissful, ignorant slumber. He stood there, heat slowly leeching from his bare feet, staring at her, so innocent and warm. She made a small noise and pulled the thick, soft comforter over her face. He stood and watched for several long moments, his mind slowly trying to digest a melange of questions and dream fragments and recurring disappointment, and turned, and slowly trudged towards the washroom.

It was another morning.

He made his way to the toilet, dangled his testicles just over the hole and slowly collapsed downward onto it, the paint warming to his butt. A switch flipped and his bladder released itself. He sat for a while, hunched and immobile, emptying into the bowl. When there was no more he reached for a thin washcloth, wiped the urine and sweat from his undercarriage, dropped it into the hole, pulled a lever - at which the toilet exploded into a roar of activity - and lumbered up towards the door, which he threw shut with a swipe of his arm.

Simeon turned towards the wall now and spent a while staring at his face in the mirror, tasting the sleep in his mouth. He looked at his face for a while, searching around the stubble and cheekbones and nose and eventually, for a moment, could see his eyes. This seemed to ground him in himself, warming his thoughts to the next few steps, making him able to instinctively perform the next act.

Simeon turned and shuffled three feet to the right, towards a vertical cylinder in the wall made from cheap semitransparent plastic, grasped the latch, and stepped in. He closed the door behind himself, reached up to manipulate the nozzle in the ceiling directly above him, slid a small level towards the center, and punched a button. A hail of water opened up upon him, instantly drenching him and driving him to his knees with its force. He rolled around in the bottom of the tube for a moment, alternately trying to expose and protect his sensitive areas, gasping as water rolled down his head into his nose and mouth.

The water shut off.

Last updated: Fri. Jun 30, 07:06 pm EDT

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