This story was inspired by those dreams you have where you wake up in tears. They always seem to tear at the soul...and I thought 'why not use that as a form of punishment'. Also, I used a first line generator and it gave me "What was the Adage? Never work with children or animals?"

“What was the adage? Never work with children or animals?” He hovered over me and chuckled. “Au contrair, my friend, working with children nets the best results, but animals are easier to get nowadays.” His face twisted into a malicious grin. “Then there are people like you that make my life even easier. Not only are you in plentiful supply, the world doesn’t question the ethics of what I’m doing.”

“What exactly are you doing?” A suit in the corner with his arms crossed was clearly not as amused with this whole scenario.

“The intent of this experiment is to remove the subjects memories so that only the most painful exist.” The doctor continued hovering over me. “This subject is in prison for murdering his own daughter. Quite a sickening act even for the worst individual.”

“I didn’t murder her…” I mumbled my words in a low tone.

“That’s what you kept saying, yet, here we are.” The doctor grinned again. “Regardless of our friend’s lies, you will be witnessing the next step in criminal rehabilitation. Currently we throw these evil individuals in a ten-by-ten cell and call it a day. In the near future, and today, we will instead implant tremendous mental and emotional pain into the subject for a short amount of time in order to show them the error of their actions.”

“And how does this fix the prisoner?” Another suit asked his question.

“It’s not dissimilar to pain compliance that is used when arresting a subject.” The doctor looked up at them. “Except, by triggering this emotional pain, we can almost rewire the evil out of their brain, and do so within hours or days, not decades.”

“Please, don’t…” I begged in a whispered tone.

“I’m sorry, sir, you were chosen to be the first subject.” The doctor smirked down at me. “And the first subject you shall be.” He connected a device over my scalp and plugged various wires into each other. “Now, there will be a slight sting. Once the connection is made, you won’t feel anything and your vision will go dark. This is completely normal, and you shouldn’t worry about it. Within a moment or two, the machine will get to work, digging into your memories, and deciding, via a very complex algorithm, which one will do the trick. Then that memory will play in your head on repeat until the rehabilitation is complete.” As he finished the explanation, I could feel a slight pain in my head.

“And how do we know when it’s finished.” One of the men in the room asked the doctor.

“The machine will decide.” He reached over and grabbed his jacket. “Until then, let’s get lunch gentleman.”

I could faintly hear their feet shuffling as the room faded to black. Within seconds, I was back home, standing outside my front door. I could feel my heart racing as I reached out and opened my front door to find my daughter lying dead on the floor...