He had no idea how long he’d been there. It seemed like an age.
All around him was the sound of the other body parts. Two pages over the heart wouldn’t shut up. Thump-whoosh, thump-whoosh, it pumped its non-existent blood, as if everyone’s life depended on it.
They couldn’t actually talk to one another though, the various bits of human anatomy. That might have made the time go faster, less unbearable. (Though he doubted that he would like whatever the gonads would have to say for themselves.)
As far as he could tell, he was the only human being trapped in the book. The other bits didn’t seem self-aware at all. He still couldn’t remember how he got here in the first place. It was all so muddy. He was studying for anatomy, obviously. But why? Did he hope to become a doctor one day, or was it just for his own edification? He really didn’t remember.
All he had was an overwhelming sense of regret, that he’d left something important behind in the three dimensional world he couldn’t see, except on the rare occasion when his page was exposed. He tried to communicate to the people reading these pages, but they never seemed to grasp that the look on his face wasn’t a clinical profile — it was a plea for help. That was not a stoic pose, meant to outline the anatomy of his neck and head. It was a look of horror. And at the same time, as the page turned, and darkness enfolded him again, he wondered if he would be able to trap someone else here, the way he had been entombed in the pages. Could he do it? Could he cast another into this living hell?
The answer was yes, even if his new body was going to have a different set of gonads.
Alltop doesn’t have gonads. The girl with the anatomy atlas, a photo by bolandrotor on Flickr.