16.4.12

My job is to study the undead.

My live sample watched me as my assistants and I dressed in our protective gear. Kevlar and oxygen masks, it feels like being a scuba cop.
It didn't watch either of my assistants. Just me. We stepped into the vacuum-sealed chamber that connected my world with hers. I noticed as the vacuum seal activated, its chest moving. Breathing? Pretending to breath?
"Jerry," I said to my head assistant. "Does it look like she's breathing to you?"
Jerry paused, and said, as the second seal unlocked, "Yeah, yeah I think so. What do we do?"
Daniel looked at us and waited.
"We have to get her tied down. We take the usual samples, then check to see if it's actual breath."
The three of us stepped in, and I watched it watch me and make its gummy smile as the two young men approached it.
They gently took her by the elbows and tied her down. I took blood and tissue samples, checked her reflexes. Her eyes were still working.
"How do we check if she's really breathing?" Daniel asked me quietly.
I took a glass sample dish and held it under her nose. Almost instantly, the heat and moisture made two small patches of condensation. She was actually breathing. I pulled out my notepad and wrote "actual breathing,  day 59."
Then I heard the sound I still have nightmares about. It was like a whining cat, high pitched, and ethereal. I looked up and saw Daniel and Jerry stepping away from it. She was pulling against the restraints, and making a face like she was baring her teeth, except that there were no teeth there.
"Don't release her yet. Let's she if she calms down," I said and we left the isolation chamber.
We ran the usual tests on the samples, and watched her through the corners of our eyes, struggling and pulling on her restraints.
A few hours later, I heard another scream, and I heard something rip. I looked into her chamber and saw that one arm had ripped the restraint out of the lining of her mattress. You could see the snapped bone trying to push through her skin, and she was pulling with the other arm to free herself. Soon enough, she had worked her way out of the restraints, and was pacing the window of her chamber, head tilted to one side, gums bared.
"Jerry, Daniel, take these observations upstairs," I said. They didn't argue.
I suited up, and took half a raw turkey in one hand, my revolver in the other, into the chamber. I stepped into the chamber and tossed the turkey across the floor past her. Her eyes followed it for a split second, then trained back on me again.
She opened her mouth and made this hissing sound, like air escaping a balloon. Then she lunged at me, mouth wide open and her good hand in a claw shape. Her body hit me with the whole force of her 98 pounds, and we hit the floor. I shoved her off of my gear and shot her in the face. One. Two. Three shots to the face. One: Between the eyes. Two: between the lips. Three: the center of the neck.
Just like I had been trained to do on my first day on the job, it hit the floor, it writhed for an eternally long moment, then it died. Some greenish-black gunk filled the bullet holes and scabbed almost as soon as it touched the air.
I sat in the chamber beside her for what seemed like years until Daniel and Jerry returned. All I remember is a lot of yelling, air seals locking and unlocking, and quarantine. Forty-eight hours alone, when all I wanted in the world was someone to hold me.

2 comments:

  1. damn fine work ... I'm rapidly getting hooked on this!

    ReplyDelete