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Part 3: A self-proclaimed God
The house had been under surveillance for some time, even before the world got zeroed.
Years before the events that led to the world’s most drastic change since the death of the dinosaurs, a young gentleman strolled up the drive towards the house.
He wore a tailored, black three piece suit and brogues so polished his reflection appeared in them.
Back then the house was just a normal end terraced home, with only a small extension to the outside edge – a far cry from the Frankenstein’s monster of a dwelling it would become in later years.
He knocked on the door, waited.
Shuffling feet approached the doorway.
The door inched open.
‘Hi, Dr La—’ he began but trailed off when he saw that it was not the person he was expecting.
‘Hi, there,’ the pretty lady in the doorway said with a forced smile that suggested neither patience nor welcome. ‘You must be Dr Nicol. Unfortunately, he’s not in. We had a bit of a domestic and he went out to clear his head.’
‘How long will he be?’
‘No idea. It’s been ten minutes on some occasions. It’s been three days on others. I would invite you in to wait but…’
‘I understand. You don’t want me here all weekend.’
‘No. I don’t. One nutjob scientist in the house is enough…’ she smiled after this, but it sure didn’t feel like a joke.
‘Lighten up. I’m just playing,’ she smiled. ‘Come on in.’
The house was much tidier than he’d imagined from conversations with his fellow scientist.
He sounded hyperactive, hyperfocussed, but it seemed as though his efforts and energies were all being expended upon his work.
She must do all the housework, he thought. Maybe that’s why she’s so pissed off.
‘Would you like a drink?’ she asked, distracting him from his thoughts.
‘Oh, yes please. A coffee would be lovely.’
Smiling, she looked him up and down, while rolling part of her long black hair between her slender fingers.
She smiled as she felt his eyes running up her bare legs to where her dressing gown ended.
It seemed she had the perfect revenge in mind for her errant husband.
Nicol looked around the room while he was on his own in there.
There didn’t seem to be any photos of his colleague in there, which he found strange as most couples had at least one picture of themselves on show.
It seemed clear that this was not a happy marriage.
The coffee table reading made him smile; a copy of a bionic technology textbook, along with a Grey’s Anatomy and a number of crude, hand-written notes which seemed to cross-reference the two volumes.
Nicol hadn’t committed himself to the project as much as his compatriot had, but his dedication and expertise were already plain to see.
He quickly had a look at the first few pages of the book, which was also covered in almost illegible notes and diagrams.
The sound of the lady clearing her throat roused him from his investigations.
‘He’ll not be happy if he knows you’ve been reading through his notes without his permission, mind,’ she said. ‘I think he’d rather you seduced me.’
She fixed him with a sultry look and smiled.
He gulped as he noticed her dressing gown had opened all the way up her leg, exposing a shapely thigh.
This was certainly not turning out the way he’d thought.
‘I’m sorry, but I’m not here for—’
‘Oh come on, I can see how you’re looking at me. I’ve caught you staring at my arse on at least three occasions already.’
He said nothing, just blushed a little.
She smiled. ‘It’s ok. I fancy you too.’
She leant in towards him and he got a noseful of her scent.
He pulled back, got up off the settee and backed up, knocking the cup over in the process.
A dark brown patch swelled across the carpet and began to sink in.
‘Ah shit, I’m sorry,’ he said. ‘I think I’d better get out of here.’
‘Please stay. I could do with someone in the house with me tonight. I don’t like it on my own.’
‘I’m sorry, but this is a really bad idea. I must be going.’
‘You may as well, I’m going to tell him we did it anyway,’ she said, a checkmate of a smile on her face.
He said nothing, just made for the door.
Back in the car, he shook his head, exhaling hard.
‘Fucking hell,’ he said aloud. ‘Not how I saw this turning out.’
He thought of what his colleague’s wife had said and called to tell him what had happened, to get in there before she began spinning lies.
‘I just thought you’d better know,’ he said, at the end of the story.
‘It doesn’t surprise me,’ his colleague said. ‘I’m sorry I wasn’t there for our meeting. My wife and I had one of those discussions from which it is best to extricate one’s self.’
‘I can well imagine. Can we meet up now?’
‘If you like. I’m in the middle of some tinkering, but your input would be welcome. I’m over at my workshop, it’s a few blocks east of the house. You’ll see it a mile off.’
‘I’ll meet you there then.’
‘I look forward to it.’
Dr Nicol pulled up outside the building, a wry smile on his face.
The place was indeed hard to miss.
It seemed illuminated enough as to be visible from space.
As Nicol got out of the car, he heard a rhythmic wheezing punctuated by mechanical thumps.
He rapped on the reinforced door which concealed the source of the sounds.
The door opened upon a tall, skinny man in a shabby suit.
He had a tidy black goatee and a dark monocle clutched to his left eye.
A welder’s mask was perched upon his pale, clammy forehead.
He extended a hand.
‘Dr Nicol,’ he said, a smile lifting his features. ‘It’s so nice to finally meet you.’
‘The same here, Dr Laverick. I must say, this is an absolute honour for me.’
‘And for me. Come in, I’ll show you the fruit of my intense labours.’ He waved an arm theatrically into the garage.
‘How have you not had the police sniffing around here?’ Nicol said.
‘Ah, a fair portion of my funding goes towards ensuring that that is never an issue,’ Laverick said, smiling a mischievous grin and tapping the side of his nose conspiratorially.
Nicol smiled. ‘Of course. Why am I not surprised?’
‘It is an obvious solution to a man of the world like myself, Dr Nicol. But we digress. I have much to show you. The principles we have both studied for decades are finally being put to practical use. I must warn you, the results are neither pretty nor sophisticated. At the moment anyway. But I am seeking new sources of funding all the time. Once I prove that my theory is possible in practice, it should be easy to recoup the necessary funds.’
Nicol nodded, impressed.
‘I warn you, it’s not something you easily forget, so are you sure you want to open Pandora’s box?’
Nicol thought about it for a few seconds, trying to picture what could be so horrific that Laverick had seen to warn him of it twice now.
All he could imagine was the glory that their research could bring.
‘Open away, Dr Laverick.’
In spite of the repeated warnings, Nicol recoiled when Laverick took the lid off what looked like a baby’s coffin.
Clods of dirt still clung to the outside of the tiny box.
Inside the box was a pitiful, partially rotted infant, with what looked like a miniature car battery stuffed into the back of its skull.
‘I did warn you,’ Laverick said, a sly grin on his face.
‘Does it work?’
Laverick turned to look at him; ‘See for yourself.’
He flicked a switch on the battery’s housing and there was a low electrical hum and the faint smell of rotting flesh being singed.
The baby twitched a little, its eyelids flickering.
Then it let out a hideous cry that left Nicol in no doubt as to how much pain it was feeling.
Its right hand came up to its head, the fingers curling and splaying in time with its cries.
Its tiny chest heaved in agonised breaths.
‘Alright, turn it off,’ Nicol snapped, already feeling less sane for viewing it.
‘Our first step on a long road to glory,’ Laverick beamed.
Nicol felt a little sickened by the grin, and by the pleasure Laverick was taking in the infant’s torment.
‘Are you alright, Dr Nicol? You look about ready to toss your cookies.’
Nicol said nothing, just took deep breaths and tried not to think about what he had just seen.
‘Now please understand that this was just a trial, to see if the theory was sound. As you can see, it certainly does work. The next subjects will be more aesthetically pleasing, I can assure you. The level of technology I have designed for the next generation is a total step up from this.’
‘I’m excited to see it but not at the same time,’ Nicol said, smiling an awkward smile.
‘Ah, come on, research like this was never going to be for the faint of heart, Dr Nicol. You’ve got to get your hands dirty. Or else our shared dream may never be attainable.’
‘You’re right of course. I just don’t want to take as hands-on an approach as you are.’
‘That’s understandable. But there are other avenues you can pursue. The development of the organ modifications, perhaps? Or securing funding from other areas?’
‘I’m not sure I want to pursue any of this. I can’t see it ever being advanced enough to be sold. I think we’d be throwing our money down a black hole.’
‘I know it’s crude at the moment. But trust me, this is a prototype made at the bare minimum of expense. I have funds reserved to make a slicker model, I just needed to ensure that the theory is sound, which we now know it is.’
‘But it doesn’t do anything. And to be honest, the poor thing looks as though it should have been left dead.’
‘I’m in the business of bringing dead children back to life. Giving broken parents a second chance at the lives nature has so cruelly taken away from them.’ Laverick was extremely animated at this point, his arms gesticulating wildly.
Spittle flew from his mouth.
His eyes were bulging a little out of their sockets.
‘Which is very noble of you. But I need to invest in something that is going to give me a little money back.’
‘Don’t you understand? This isn’t just about the goddamn pound signs. Allow me to show you one more thing. I’m sure I can change your mind.’
Next chapter is here