My son stares at me through three inch plexi-glass with a dead-eyed expression. His features are distorted by the liquid that fills the tube. The tank is about 6ft tall and 2ft in diameter. He looks pale and pasty, and, let’s be honest, like he’s been dead for weeks.
He’s actually been dead for twenty years.
The last time he saw me he had turned back to see why I’d yelled at him and was knocked down by one of our neighbours who was three times over the limit. I’ll never forget the look on his face. Its haunted my dreams for twenty years.
The science of cryogenics was still in its relative infancy when he died. My wife and my own mother pleaded with me to just let him be at peace. Maybe they were right. But through a father’s earth shattering grief, I just clung to any small chance I may had had to see my son again.
So I ploughed all my savings into having my son cryogenically frozen in the hope that technology would advance to the threshold whereby he could be returned to me.
Now as the ‘awakening’ process begins I wonder what he will think when he is revived. I worry he may not recognise me, as it’s been so long. I’ve lost most of my hair and I’m at least five stone heavier than when we lost him. And of course the hardest part will be telling him about his mother, who has been dead for ten years. She just kind of withered away after losing her only son. I genuinely believe she died of a broken heart.
The vital signs indicate a heartbeat. This is incredible. He’s actually waking up. To be the first cryogenically frozen person to be successfully brought back to life is quite an honour. He’s going to be on the front of every newspaper, at the top of the news schedule for weeks to come.
But first, I can’t wait to put my arms around my boy and tell him how much I love him, how much I’ve missed him.
The liquid drains to below his chin and he takes a big deep breath before gagging and hacking in loud phlegmy coughs. Colour returns to his face and the stark reality of the situation hits me.
My son has risen from the dead.
A look of confusion spreads across his face as he looks around the inside of the tube erratically. His eyes eventually settle on mine and I see a spark of recognition. The way he looks at me is as if I’ve just shouted his name. For him he’s still crossing the road, it’s still 2030 and he’s confused and irritated that his dad is shouting him.
Tears fall from my eyes as I realise that the look on his face is the exact thing that has haunted me all these years. The confusion on his face soon clears and he opens his mouth to utter his first word in 20 years….