Tau

            The dark space was… well dark. It sucked out the light leaving nothing in its wake. Richard who had just woken up was staring around wildly. At first he hadn’t noticed anything was wrong, but after some time he noticed the darkness he was in would not fade and so turned on a light. The result was… nothing. He could feel the heat radiating from the lamp but there was no light emitting.

He got up from his bed, his legs aching and carefully paced the room, his heart rate increasing and in his slowly rising panic hit his leg on something and fell flat on his face. This had the effect that his head now hurt, but more importantly it distracted him so that the initial fright was dissipating. The cold floor had lost its appeal after a time and he decided to get up from it and face the dark once again.

He looked around trying to make out where he was. Slowly he felt his way through the room, finding the bed, a chair, a table and several other strange things he couldn’t quite recognize. He grabbed hold of the chair he had found and decided to sit on it. He sat down and without being able to see anything concentrated on what he could do. For the moment this was limited to listening. He could make out several sounds, a generic low tone that was similar to cars passing by. Several other sounds were also out there but he couldn’t discern them, they could be anything from a squeaky wheel to a mouse to someone speaking softly. He suddenly noticed a squeaking noise he hadn’t heard earlier coming from somewhere beneath him. The noise was gradually becoming louder, coming closer.

“Who’s there?” he called.

No answer came; the noise was slowly intensifying, whatever it was it was defenitly coming closer to him. He concentrated and though the noise sounded like foot steps, every now and then the feet would be walking over a squeaking wooden board which was what he hear. Whoever it was, the walking came from somewhere underneath him and was coming towards him to his dark space. A louder creaking noise echoed and he thought it was the door to his room creaking open. Fear reemerged stronger then before, swallowing him whole.

“Who’s there?!” he screamed his voice trembling in fear.

“Dad, it’s me” answered a feminine, vaguely familiar, voice. “Did you fall down again?” she asked and touched his forehead.

“Who are you?” Richard demanded “and why is it so dark in here?”

“Oh dad, you lost your sight a few weeks ago, remember? I’m your daughter, Cindy… Remember?” her voice sounded hopeful.

He tried to focus on her, keep the thought in his mind but it was no use. The knowledge that she was his daughter was already fading…

 

Notes: I had a lecture on liver diseases and it was apparent that the lecturer was still nervous in front of the class. She kept on repeating herself and it took her a very long time to get through the material and so I naturally lost interest. That same week I had to make a presentation with my group about Alzheimer’s disease. That led to the question why is almost all the research centered around amyleoid beta deposits? Sure it was a key feature in Alzheimer but it wasn’t the only one. It seemed strange that nearly all the research groups wanted to get rid of the Amelyoid beta plaques and left the other feature of Alzheimer (the Tau proteins) out of it. Check the internet for Tau protein and you will find the key to this story. So the clue to this story is in the name. I wrote the story while not really listening to the two hour lecture. I finished the rough version in about an hour and gave it to my group to read. They could all relate to it and had a lot of fun reading it during the second hour of our lecture. I know it’s bad advise for students but at least it kept me busy… (2009)

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