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Orianna2000
10-31-2012, 02:13 AM
I read a short story several years ago, where a woman falls asleep beneath a dripping water faucet and wakes with a face that's hideously deformed. The dripping water had worn away her skin down to the bone. I thought it was a bit far-fetched, but the author was quite adamant that it was feasible.

Now I've got a character who falls asleep in a cave and there's dripping water everywhere. I wanted some water to drip on her face, waking her. But then I thought, if it's been dripping the whole time, maybe it would have deformed her face overnight.

So tell me: is this theory rational? How long would it take for dripping water to permanently damage someone's face? Of course, now that I think about it, it would be pretty difficult to sleep with cold water dripping on your face, so I'll probably have her roll over into the path of the dripping water, thus avoiding all problems. But I'm still curious about the effects of dripping water on the human face. Does anybody know?

Drachen Jager
10-31-2012, 02:23 AM
Water will not deform your face in that way.

If your face was exposed to any substance which would eat at your face that way it would certainly wake you up, presuming normal sleep.

The author who wrote that story was full of crap.

StormChord
10-31-2012, 02:28 AM
If the person can move, this is a non-issue. People avoid cold water.
If they can't, for some reason, then one of two things can happen. If they're conscious, they'll probably go crazy. If they're unconscious, they're going to need to stay unconscious for a reeeally long time for the water to even wear away their skin. The speed at which water could erode the human body is far slower than the speed at which the human body heals; unlike rocks, which turn into sand, the human body just turns into a slightly damp and slightly pissed human body.

Basically, no the theory is not rational, and it's physically impossible for water to erode your face. Besides, the author neglected to mention all the pain the woman would be going through as soon as the water would have managed to get through her skin. She would have woken up in a heartbeat.

druid12000
10-31-2012, 02:31 AM
There would have to be something in the water, a corrosive of some sort. Unless someone was in a coma for a very long time there is no way water could do that kind of damage, then the facial disfiguration becomes moot because they would die of starvation.

Was the character in the short story placed there under the tap and attended to for a long time? If not then ^Drachen's spot on, the author was full of crap.

Orianna2000
10-31-2012, 05:58 AM
It's been awhile since I read the story, so I don't remember if she was knocked unconscious or drugged. But she was only under the dripping water overnight, I believe. It was just plain tap water.

druid12000
10-31-2012, 06:28 AM
I read a short story several years ago, where a woman falls asleep beneath a dripping water faucet and wakes with a face that's hideously deformed. The dripping water had worn away her skin down to the bone. I thought it was a bit far-fetched, but the author was quite adamant that it was feasible.

Now I've got a character who falls asleep in a cave and there's dripping water everywhere. I wanted some water to drip on her face, waking her. But then I thought, if it's been dripping the whole time, maybe it would have deformed her face overnight.

So tell me: is this theory rational? How long would it take for dripping water to permanently damage someone's face? Of course, now that I think about it, it would be pretty difficult to sleep with cold water dripping on your face, so I'll probably have her roll over into the path of the dripping water, thus avoiding all problems. But I'm still curious about the effects of dripping water on the human face. Does anybody know?

It's not rational, or as far as I can tell even plausible. If it's not critical to the story I suggest letting the dripping water wake her. That is plausible and rational.

King Neptune
10-31-2012, 06:11 PM
Water with detergent is used to remove flesh from connective tissue according to a piece that was on NPR last year or the year before, but it takes weeks, and it is bare muscle that it was on not skin. Skin is relatively tough material; it can't be damaged by strong acids or bases, but even an sleeping person would move away from something that strong, because it would hurt.

Xelebes
10-31-2012, 06:21 PM
Dripping water from a roof? Full of crap.

Dripping water from a cave's roof? It gets a bit more interesting, given that there is a possibility that it is not all water. We could have natural chemicals like vitriol, lye, and the sort. The only issue is that A) there will likely be a smell and B) if it is dripping on your skin, you will likely experience pain.

WeaselFire
10-31-2012, 11:35 PM
Water, in itself, is not corrosive. It won't dissolve flesh. Write the story and forget the stupid short story.

Jeff

Orianna2000
11-01-2012, 12:11 AM
Thanks for confirming my suspicions! In my scene, I'll have the MC roll over into the path of the dripping water, which will instantly wake her.