© Copyright 2005 - Darkraptor1 - Used by permission
Storycodes: M+/f; public; tv show; drug; wrapped; mum; crate; encased; shipped; delivered; cons/reluct; X
The newest reality TV series - "Who Wants a New Life".
“And welcome back to, ‘Who wants a new life’ ”
I groan as I watch the host of the show walk around on the stage floor, boasting to the audience about how popular the show is, and how they are going to choose the winner, blah blah blah.
For a few moments I wonder why on earth I’m here. It’s pretty simple. My life as a secretary at a business office was not exactly the most exciting job on earth, so I decided to try this new reality series on TV that promises that winners will have their lives totally re-done for them. Despite my family’s wishes, I went in to sign up.
That went simply enough. All I had to do was sign a few forms saying that I released the TV corporation from any and all damages, how I would not sue them for emotional distress, etc. The only odd part was near the bottom of the form, which read, “Contestant agrees that the corporation is allowed to completely change the contestant’s life in any way they see fit, excluding illegal activities.” I thought they wouldn’t do anything crazy, so I signed the form, and here I am on a stage in front of millions of TV watching people. Oh, before I forget, my name is Cheryl. I’m 30, about 5’5, 130 pounds, blond hair, female, and I wear glasses.
“So America, who is it going to be?!” The announcer’s voice snaps me back to reality. “Will it be…Liv…Terry…or Cheryl?” The three of us smile and wave towards the roaring crowd in front of us.
“I am such an idiot to be here.” I think to myself.
The announcer takes a small envelope from a stagehand behind the curtain. “And now, I hold in my hand, the winner of ‘Who wants a new life’!” The announcer boasts in his loud voice. “And the winner is…” He opens the envelope as slowly as possible, trying to keep the suspense going.
“Just get it over with.” I think. “I have some reports to type up tomorrow.”
“…CHERYL!” The announcer shouts. Withought thinking, my hands fly to my mouth to try and suppress the shriek of surprise that comes from my mouth. I’ve won! The audience and other contestants erupt into applause and cheering. My legs almost fail me as I try to keep my balance, my heart racing a mile a minute.
The announcer walks up to me. “Congratulations Cheryl! You’ve won! How do you feel?” I try to say something, but my throat is choked up, making talking impossible.
“Too surprised? That’s OK!” He turns to the audience. “All right America, you’ve voted to change Cheryl’s life! Now, lets do it!”
He turns to me. “Cheryl, to make everything a huge surprise for you, we’ve got to knock you out.” A doctor comes on stage, carrying a syringe. My eyes go wide with surprise. Is this even legal?
As if he can read my thoughts, the announcer says, “Don’t worry, it’s just a sleeping drug. It’ll knock you out for a few hours, then you’ll wake up good as new… except you’ll be different!”
Before I can say anything, the doctor quickly puts the needle through the skin and injects a clear liquid into my arm. Almost instantly my vision gets fuzzy, and I’m pleasantly warm and comfy. My legs are too relaxed to listen to my brains commands, and they give out under me. I start to fall down, but luckily the other contestants catch me. I look up at them, too lethargic to care about anything. Then everything goes dark.
I don’t remember anything about what happened after that. I did hear some muted talking and felt something against my arm, but that was it.
When feeling slowly started to come back to me, I was tempted to just lie in the darkness. I was way too tired to wake up. I tried to roll over to find a comfy spot, but my arms would not respond. That got my sleep-fogged brain working again as I tried once more to roll over. Then my brain woke up fully, and I opened my eyes.
I was in a room that was neither too dark nor too bright. As to be expected, I was quite confused. “She’s awake!” The singsong voice of the announcer said. I saw his face come over mine.
“So Cheryl, are you ready to see the new you?” I looked at him, too drowsy to say anything. My mind was trying to figure out the problem of why my entire body felt kind of numb. “All right, lift her up!” The announcer said. I felt myself being lifted up by unseen people. There was a mirror in front of me. What I saw shocked me completely.
My head was there, but that was it. Where my body should have been, there was only a narrow compressed form built completely out of a white material. I stared at myself in the mirror. Then I suddenly realized what had happened. I had been wrapped up! Like an Egyptian mummy! I had been wrapped up from the tip of my toes to the bottom of my chin in white fabric. I let out a startled gasp and thrashed, trying to wake up from this bizarre dream.
“Calm down Cheryl!” The announcer said. It just occurred to me that I didn’t even know his name. “You’re supposed to be like this!” I managed to twist my head in his direction.
“Wha…?” I asked.
“We’ve wrapped you up like this to keep you safe and comfy for your upcoming trip.”
“What upcoming trip?” I managed to ask.
“Now that’s the surprise!” He said. “That’s part of your total life makeover!” He nodded to some stagehands. “Let’s take her to the stage.” He leaned down close to me. “Trust me, you’ll want this.” He said.
Before I could ask him what he was talking about, something came over my eyes and was pulled tight. My eyes instinctively closed as more of the material was pulled over my eyes. I realized they were wrapping my face! “LET ME GO! LET ME…” Before I could finish, a stagehand stuffed something that felt like linen in my mouth, silencing my protests.
“Careful!” The announcer said, abandoning his singsong voice. “Make sure she can breathe!” That brief statement touched me for a moment as bandages were wrapped around my mouth, securely locking it shut.
“MMMPPHHHH!” I shouted through the bandages that blocked my mouth.
“Sorry Cheryl, but we’ve got to get you out there.” The announcer said. The stagehands worked quickly, and soon my entire head was bandaged tightly within two layers of bandages.
I heard the announcer’s voice next to my head. “Just breathe slow and steady, and you’ll be fine.” He said. “WHHMMMMPHH?” I tried to ask. I was not used to being denied access to my own voice. But the announcer didn’t answer, and I felt myself being lifted up and carried someplace.
It was surreal, being carried someplace when I could not see anything. My eyes were practically glued shut from the bandages across them. I could faintly hear my surroundings, though all sounds were muffled very well. I could faintly feel how my limbs were placed. My legs felt really thick, as if someone had wrapped each of them separately, then wrapped them together. My arms were crossed over my chest, pointed upwards towards my chin, as if I was pressing on my chest. I tried moving them, but the bandages held them in place easily. Whoever had wrapped me had done his or her job very well.
I was carried for a few more seconds, and then I heard the announcer’s voice from somewhere up ahead. “And now, here is Cheryl, ready for her new life!” The stagehands carrying me broke into a jog, and I realized we were on the stage. A loud muffled roar managed to make it’s way through the bandages. I realized that the crowd was now looking at me, and I was glad they had wrapped my face. That way, I would not have to look at them.
The stagehands stopped and then stood me up. I staggered, trying to keep my balance. But several pairs of hands held me reassuringly, keeping me upright. I had to depend on them, because I couldn’t do anything at all. All I could do was listen to the announcer speak.
“You all may be wondering why we’ve wrapped Cheryl up like this.” The announcer said through the microphone.
“Yeah, I’m wondering that too.” I thought to myself.
“In order to give Cheryl a new life, we must treat her like a caterpillar. Just as the caterpillar must spin itself into a cocoon to become a butterfly, we have done the same to Cheryl. When she comes out, she will be a completely new person! And now we will show you, the audience, where we are sending Cheryl! But to keep it a surprise for her, we are not going to tell her, so she’s in the dark so to speak.”
I wondered what on earth the guy was talking about. “Sending me?” I thought. At that moment I began to have second thoughts about sigining that application form.
“I will now pull out a sheet of paper that has the country that we’re sending Cheryl too!” The announcer said. “And we’ll also put it on our huge TV so everyone can see it!” There was a few seconds of silence. “And here is where she is going!”
Although I can’t see it, I know the announcer holds up a large card that had the name of a country written down on it. At that moment, the huge TV on stage lights up with the name of the country as well. I can hear a loud gasp from the audience. I tried to grit my teeth. I so wish I could see what was going on!
“Yes, there you have it. The country that Cheryl is off too! Let’s give her a warm round of applause!” I could hear some muted clapping from outside my shell. “Well, without waiting any longer, lets send her on her way!”
I was suddenly lowered onto something. A stretcher I think. It’s picked up, and I’m carried away, completely and utterly helpless. Then hands begin to move me onto, or into something. What on earth is going on?
“We’re going to put Cheryl into this crate and ship her off on a plane to her destination. It’ll be a short trip, so she’ll stay alive. Seal her up!” He says.
Then I suddenly realize what’s going on. I’m placed on top of some soft material, most likely blankets. Then lots of tiny things fall on my bandaged body. Packing peanuts! They’re really shipping me off somewhere! After thirty seconds, the peanuts stop raining down and I hear a lid being placed onto my container. The sounds of locks being clasped shut, sealing me inside. I’m being locked in a crate!
“Well, looks like she’s complete!” The announcer’s voice is exceptionally difficult to hear now. “Let’s take her away!” My crate is slowly lifted up, then slid into something. Then I hear an engine start up, and the crate begins to move!
As I lie helpless within my crate, buried between packing peanuts and blankets, cocooned in my wrappings of bandages, I’m utterly and totally helpless to do anything about my situation.
The last thing I hear from the studio is the announcer’s faint voice. “Good luck Cheryl, and enjoy your new life!”
If I could get out of here, I’d give that guy a piece of my mind. But I can’t. The only thing I can do is lie here and wait to see what happens.
The car (At least, I think it’s a car), drives for what seems to be hours. I wish constantly that I could get out of here and go home. To just go home and lie in bed and sleep this whole thing off as if it were a bad dream. I wonder what my parents are doing now. I’m sure they were watching the show when I won, so they must have seen what happened to me. Maybe they’re trying to rescue me.
Suddenly, the vehicle comes to a stop. I listen as voices talk outside of my crate. I strain, but I can only manage to catch bits and pieces of their conversation.
“All right… last shipment. Will… get… plane tonight?” “… should. It’s leaving… minutes. If… onboard.” “All… fragile.” “What’s in it?” “It’s a… relatives won. I’m sending… air holes.” “Why… up?” “So the thing… relax and hopefully… sleep.”
The people outside stop talking and I feel my cart being shifted onto something. Then it starts rolling down something, perhaps a conveyer belt. I’m scared stiff, but hopeful. All packages have to go through a scanner and people will see where I am, and they’ll let me out. My crate goes through a few turns, and then it slides down a ramp. But all my packing material protects me, and I don’t even feel any impact.
After a while the crate slows down. I must be getting near the scanner. Then the crate stops. I listen as hard as I can, and I manage to hear a person talking on the outside.
“Dang, scanner broke!” “Can we fix it?” “Not quickly enough. Use the metal detector to check for explosives.”
I think quickly. They might not be able to X-ray me, but I still have my metal bracelet on my wrist. But then I wiggle my arm within its wrappings, and to my horror, it’s gone! The stagehands must have taken it off when wrapping me!
For about a minute, nothing happens. Then I hear the voice again.
“OK, it’s clear. Send it on through.”
I try to scream, move, do anything to attract attention. “MMMPPRHHRRHH!” I try to scream, but the wrappings in and around my mouth deny me the ability to make anything outside of a muffled whimper. It doesn’t work, for the crate continues onwards. I stop struggling. For a while the crate continues onwards. Then it stops and I feel it being loaded onto something. Then it moves again. Then it stops. I wonder where I am. Then I hear another voice.
“Here’s the last one!” “Good, get it on, the plane’s taking off in a minute.”
I must be right outside the plane. I feel my crate being loaded onto another conveyer belt and being taken upwards at an angle. I hear the loaders continue to talk outside.
“Isn't this that baby cow we heard about?” “Yeah I think so. Just be careful with it.” “Yeah, yeah.”
A cow?! They think I’m a cow?!
Before I can try to attact their attention, the crate is moved inwards and then goes flat. I figure that I’m inside the cargo hold of a plane. Something moves me backwards, and then up against something. I hear some straps being tightened. They must be locking my crate in place.
This whole fiasco is so weird. With the bandages tightly wrapped over my eyes, I can’t see anything, only darkness. I can’t move, I can’t make any noise. I can only hear what’s going on. There’s a loud banging noise from nearby. Then silence. Then I hear a loud rumbling noise and feel some movement. The plane must be taking off!
More loud rumbling and shaking. Then gravity grasps me in its unyielding grip and pushes me against the bottom of my crate. I can feel the plane taking off into the air. And I’m its only unwilling passenger, being taken along against my will.
After a few seconds, gravity gently releases me after the plane apparently levels off. Soon everything is still and quiet. The plane must be on its way to its destination, which I don’t know. I have no idea which direction I’m heading. I could be going to Australia, Britain, Germany, or China for all I know. But there’s nothing I can do except go along for the ride.
For a long time I simply lie here in my crate. I think for a while, wondering what’s happening back home. What my family, what my friends are doing. How long it will be before I ever see them again. To delay boredom, I dedicate my time to inspecting the bandages that grip my body in an unyielding grip. I try to determine what material the bandages are made out of. By shifting and moving, the best guess I can make is a mix of soft cotton and soft silk.
Next I squirm and wiggle around to try and determine if it’s possible to escape from my encasement. But, as I expected, my body wrappings are too tightly wound around me and grip me tightly like a lover that refuses to let go. But in a way, I find that it’s comforting. The bandages protect me from my surroundings and keep me warm and snug. I feel quite safe in its embrace. Not what I was thinking when I first entered this whole fiasco. I suddenly find myself growing tired and sleepy. The mixture of the warm and tight cocoon, being awake for an entire day, and the steady distant hum of the engines is lulling me into sleep. I try to yawn, and find it rather odd that I can’t even open my mouth.
Trying to move onto my side is a difficult job when your arms are secured to your chest and useless to you. But eventually I manage to roll into a comfortable position. With my eyes forced shut, and the padding gently squeezing me, it’s easy to drift off. I go to sleep and everything fades away. The next thing I know, my crate is moving. I don’t want to wake up. I want to lie here and sleep longer. But the constant movement slowly forces me from my slumber. I wearily wake up, even though I can’t move or open my eyes. Yawning is again a futile act.
My senses go to work on figuring out what’s happening. All I can
tell is that my crate is being moved somewhere. I can faintly hear
people talking, but it’s in a foreign language. I can’t tell if it’s
German, French, Russian or Spanish. I start to tremble (as much as
the bandages will allow me too). I am truly by myself, in a foreign
country, with no one to help me. Other people are going to decide
my fate, without my consent. It is truly frightening.
My crate is moved around through turns and twists. I hear machinery moving. I must be in the airport, heading for the pick-up carousel. Soon the crate tilts downwards and slides until it hits something hard. But again, my packaging is thick and protects me from moving or getting harmed. Soon my crate is going around and around in an endless circle. My crate is waiting for someone, but who? Am I to be left here on the pickup tray until someone notices that one crate has been moving around endlessly? I can hear lots of people talking around me, but it’s in the language that I cannot understand.
It seems like hours have passed since the crate began going in a circle. I feel tired again, and the desire to sleep is creeping towards me. Then I feel my crate being stopped. It’s picked up and placed on what is apparently flat ground. I lie perfectly still, waiting to see what will happen. I hear lots of people talking around the crate. The tone is not harsh or gentle. Then they stop, and I feel my crate being picked up and placed on another surface, then being moved. I must be on a trolly of some kind. I’m being taken someplace, but where?
I follow the movements of the crate as it is loaded onto a vehicle. Then the vehicle starts up and begins moving. I listen hard, listening for clues that might tell me where I am. The only thing I can tell for certain is that I’m in a city of some kind. There are a lot of cars moving around, and lots of people talking.
Eventually the vehicle stops at what feels to be several blocks away. My crate is unloaded and moved again on a trolly. Foreign voices talk cheerfully while I’m carted to a destination that is unknown to me. Soon everything is quiet. I hear a gentle humming and an upward motion. I must be in an elevator. I hear someone humming close to my crate.
I hear a cheery “ding” and the trolley moves again. Other then the person humming, it’s completely silent. Then the trolley stops. I hear a door being opened, and I’m moved again. I strain as I hard as I can, and I can hear some voices. The one closest to me sounds like a man, and the distant one sounds like a woman. A married couple perhaps? The crate stops. The two voices are now right over the crate. Judging by their tone of voice, they are curious about my crate. Then I hear locks being worked at, and I hear the lid come off. They’re coming in! My heart churns within my chest. I have no control or say in what’s happening. For all I know, they could sell me as a slave. I let out an involuntary moan.
The talking instantly stops. I freeze, too scared to let out even a whimper. Then the male voice speaks again, in a questioning tone. I can safely assume he’s asking the woman what on earth was that?
I can feel the peanuts above me being scooped out and shifted. Any second now, they’ll see my mummified body. I have no idea what will happen. I can feel some cool air, and I know there is now only an inch of peanuts between me and the outside world. I feel the last of them scraped away, and then all movement stops. I can’t see it, but I know that they’ve seen me.
For about a minute, nothing happens. There is dead silence in the air. The still-unseen people are probably trying to figure out what it is they are looking at. I’m glad my face is bandaged. It would be terrifying to look up at the people who are now in control of me, weather they know it or not.
The female voice asks something. The male voice says a response. I still don’t know what they’re saying. Then I feel something stroking my bandaged chest. They’re probably seeing if this mummy is alive. My mind races. Do I stay still, or do I let them know I’m alive? I decide that I might as well take my chances with these people. If I do nothing, they might take me somewhere else, and who knows what would happen then? The fingers stroke me again, and I make my move. I gather all my courage, and let out an “mmmphhhhh.”
Instantly the fingers withdraw. The two talk excitedly. They don’t sound hostile. They sound really curious. I don’t blame them. Then I feel four hands reach around my back and start to lift me. I lie totally still, waiting to see what will happen. The hands gently carry me somewhere. I am laid down on something soft and firm. Must be a bed of some kind. I lie perfectly still, not knowing what to do. I can sense the two people leaning over me. Then the male voice says something loudly. I think he’s trying to get a response out of me. I wiggle a little bit and go “mmmphhh.” The voices talk excitedly. Then the woman says something that sounds like a command. After a few seconds, I hear some scissors cutting near my face. They must be removing the bandages surrounding my eyes!
For a few moments the cutting continues. Very slowly, the darkness begins to go away, replaced by a soft light as layers of bandages are taken off my eyes. Then the last layer is removed, and my eyes are bare again. I pause. I have to open my eyes. I wait a few seconds longer, resign myself to whatever is to come, and open my eyes.
At first the light is too bright. I shut my eyes again. The woman voice says something and I hear the man jogging somewhere. Then the light grows dim. I open my eyes again, exercising muscles that haven’t been used in over a day. I can make out two fuzzy shapes above my face. My eyes adjust to the light, and I see who they are. A man and a woman, both roughly forty years old, are looking at me with genuine concern in their eyes.
As I try to figure out what nationality they are, my eyes wander. I’m in a mid-sized room. A large TV and stereo set are on a wall. Gorgeous paintings with black writing adorn the walls. There’s a large window across from me. I look out, and my eyes go wide. In the distance is a large volcano. I recognize it. Mt. Fuji.
I’m in Japan!