This is an entry for Finish the Story Content - Week #38.
Here is @f3nix's story:
The Taste of Chicken
"What do you feel now?" The scalpel of a monotonous voice, cold as the halogen light blinding him.
"Let me go".
A sudden electric shock followed and almost broke the arched vertebrae of the specimen n. 19-B, while penetrating his limbs.
"What do you feel?"
"The ... the taste of a chicken".
Dense whispering, silent annotations, white everywhere.
He was floating in that white, for hours, perhaps days. Subtle lines, at the corners of his eyes. The last bulwark of Euclidean geometries. Over him, the ceiling was like an enormous virus. Not alive, not dead. Up there, all the gluttony of a pulsating white blasphemy was unfolding over his impotent being. A dodecaphony, ever hungry of new semitones in the musical scale of his moribund ego.
He felt his soul's entrails slowly peeled like an onion. That non-color was slipping inside him, like a sickly glucose sludge, inside every cavity, along every neuron, hair, capillary. It was a profound evil, different from pain. Pain is a vowel. If you're good enough, you can observe it from the outside of yourself till you inevitably lose consciousness.
That, instead. That was nothing less than a grinding profanation of his soul.
"Now. Some feelings?"
"Feeeeeeelings..." was the mumbled answer, the sound resembling the broken lung of a deflating accordion.
Silent annotations following.
The synaptic stimulation was proceeding well, soon they could present the product to Mother Unit. It was said that, in prehistoric times, the human being populated the nano-swarm, when it was still called Earth. According to certain niche schools of thought, this.. thing.. could have been at the top of the food-chain. Go figure.
A new product, very efficient in its own way and not missing that pleasant touch of chaoticness, this human. No doubt that the Mother Unit would have liked it and find it entertaining, if not even useful.
The chief demiurge gently closed the skullcap of the specimen n. 19-B and left the room with its cohort of servile apprentices in tow. Enough for today.
And this is my ending:
"What do you feel now?"
Specimen n. 23 was barely responsive. The intermittent shocks had worn him down. "Please, let me die," he implored.
He knew what was coming, still, he was taken by surprise when the pain surfaced. He was having trouble even remembering his individuality. Floating sensation blurred with white bloated ceiling meshed with searing hot pins seeping into his soul.
The voice was relentless. "What do you feel?"
He said the first thing that came to mind. "The taste... of... chicken..?"
Whispers, and the sound of furious scribbling.
Specimen n. 26-B wanted answers. A reason. Why they were doing this to her! If she had a reason, she could try and accept her situation. It didn't have to be true. Just an acknowledgment. Proof that she existed, that the insane torture wasn't happening only in her fractured mind.
But no answers came. Only the same question.
"What do you feel?"
She answered at once. "Voice of silence."
There was the usual pause, then the whispering. She sensed something shifting inside her head. The wrongness that was worse than pain appeared in her stomach, expanding downwards. It was milder this time. Encouraging.
"What do you feel now?"
She thought frantically. Sure, it was excruciating, but it was a dialogue. They were reacting to her answers. There was a right answer, and she had gotten close. She decided on a throwaway random reply, to verify if her assumptions were correct.
"The taste of chicken!"
The chief demiurge was satisfied. The goal was within reach. Fine-tuning humans was a tedious process, but practice brought efficiency. There was undeniable truth in the claim, that neurochemistry was a subtle art form.
Before presenting the finished product to the Mother Unit, the chief demiurge turned it on for a test run.
In their respective white rooms, the specimens felt a buzzing current and moved and spoke in almost-perfect unison:
The chief demiurge pressed a key.
Specimen n. 6 thought he had experienced violation before. He was wrong. The discharge entered his body like a foot would wear a sock. Back muscles spasmed, spine arched to the point of breaking. His bleeding eyes darted in different directions. Fingers and toes broke.
He opened his mouth to cry his anguish, but what came out was a song.
The demiurge pressed the next keys, activating more specimens.
It was the festive season in the nano-swarm. Time for family, celebration, the exchange of gifts and wishes.
The worker had fallen on hard times. Returning home late at night, he connected to the rest-feed. The holoscreen showed him the Mother Unit, flashing her demure smile and cuddling her baby--the Savior, reborn every year.
At her side, the chief demiurge's new machine, the neural harpsichord, playing a hymn. The worker sighed, relieved. Music so peaceful and soothing, his worries drifted away.
"Silent night, holy night..."