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When Laverick left the converted garage, he was happily thinking through the next day’s research as was his custom – he always liked to know where he was going in his next session.
He was fishing the keys out of his pocket to lock up the heavy metal door when he saw movement out of the corner of his eye.
He turned to see his wife leaning against the wall, her face like a smacked arse.
‘What have you been doing in there?’ she asked.
He didn’t like her tone; it seemed she’d recently discovered something about his research.
Nicol, he thought, cursing under his breath. Surely he hasn’t told her what I’ve been doing.
‘Your friend told me he was worried about you. He said what you were doing in there wasn’t natural.’
‘Of course it’s not natural, I’m trying to bring dead children back to life.’
‘Why the fuck do you think?’ Laverick said, tears filling his eyes.
She looked him in the eye for a moment. ‘He’s gone, Hank. He’s not coming back.’
‘One day I will bring him back, I swear to you. If it takes me till my dying day.’
‘You need to let this go, Hank. Martin is dead. There’s no coming back.’
Laverick thumbed a tear from behind his monocle.
‘Show me what you have in there, Hank.’
‘I want to see. I need to check on something.’
‘You pick a funny time to show an interest. I’ve been working on this for years and you’ve never once listened to a word I’ve said.’
‘Let me in, Hank. Or I’m calling the cops.’
‘Call them. I’ve done nothing wrong.’
Before he could say anything else, she had shoved past him and moved into the building.
‘No,’ he said. ‘You have no business being in here. This is my workspace. It’s private.’
‘Your friend told me to look in there,’ his wife said, pointing to the chest freezer in the corner.
Laverick gasped. The bastard had told her everything.
He felt a sudden rage well up in him. At Nicol, at his wife, at the lack of funding and interest in his work. And, of course, the cruel fate of his beloved son.
‘What’s in there, Hank?’ she asked.
‘Nothing. Get the hell away from it,’ he snapped.
‘Show me. Or I’m phoning the police right now.’
‘No. This is none of your business.’
From nowhere, she shoved him, hard enough to make him stumble back and hit his head against the fridge door.
While he recovered from the blow, she darted in and threw the chest freezer open.
He moved in, grabbing her round the waist and trying to drag her back before she discovered his macabre secret.
He was too late.
The blanket was already pulled back, the steam already rising from the open freezer.
She stopped dead in her tracks, as though slapped.
She turned to him, her jaw flapping uselessly, no words forthcoming.
‘Yes, it’s him,’ Laverick said. ‘Well I couldn’t let him just rot in the ground, could I? He wouldn’t be in much of a fit state when I brought him back to life. This way everything is pres—’
He stopped as her right hand slapped him hard across the cheek.
‘You’re fucking insane. How did you get him in here?’ Her mind worked overtime. ‘Oh my God. You dug him up, didn’t you? Who the hell do you think you are?’
‘I’m doing it so he’s intact, ready to be revived.’
‘How the hell could you do this to him?’ she said, tears rolling down her cheeks, an outraged look on her face. ‘How could you desecrate the grave of our poor boy?’
‘I’m doing it all for him. Can’t you see that?’
‘You’re out of your fucking mind, Hank. And I’m taking him back to the cemetery first thing in the morning.’
‘The hell you are. He stays here until my research is at a stage where he can come back to us.’
She was reaching in the freezer to get him out.
Laverick wasn’t prepared to let that happen. His research was not going to be disrupted by her or by anyone else.
‘Get out of there right now or I won’t be held responsible for my actions.’
She ignored him, continued trying to get to Martin.
‘Last warning. Get out of there or else you’ll be very sorry.’
She ignored him and began to lean down into the freezer.
Rage welled up in him as if overwhelming a dam.
It felt as though anger had possessed him and he was no longer in control of his own body. He grabbed her by the hair and dragged her up out of the freezer.
Her cries were hidden by the racing of blood through his head.
He threw her to the floor with a thud.
An idea hit him like a ton of bricks and a sadistic grin crept onto his face, darkening his features.
‘You cannot be allowed to disrupt this research,’ he said. ‘My son will breathe again. And neither you nor anyone else can stop me.’
She gasped as she saw the insanity that dwelled behind his eyes.
Before she knew what was going on, he had injected her with something that made the room spin, made her legs feel as though they were made of spaghetti.
She fell to the floor, unable to get up again.
He led her to his car, locked the garage up and drove home.
She was still conscious but not able to react. Her eyes were wide, her words nonsensical.
Laverick grinned as he took off the belt from his trousers and fashioned a crude noose from it.
Finally she saw the lengths he would go to in order to bring Martin back from the dead.
He pulled the belt tight around her neck, squeezing so hard that veins stood out in his forehead and neck.
‘This is what he would have wanted. Call yourself a mother? You should want to do anything possible to bring him back, just like I have. He would be ashamed.’
His words were far away now as the room danced in and out of focus.
Laverick pulled hard until she had stopped convulsing and fell still.
He stared at her lifeless body, replete with purple face and bulging eyes, feeling utter hatred for her and what she had attempted to do.
When she’d been dead for at least ten minutes, he used a kitchen knife to cut the belt and called the emergency services, telling them he’d found her hanging when he’d gotten home from work. While he waited, he performed CPR, fully aware it was in vain, but wanting to make it look like he had tried to resuscitate her.
When the ambulance turned up, he was already weeping. Tears were something that came easily to him in the long, dark years since Martin’s death. All he had to do was think about his son’s fate and the tears fell like rain.
‘She’s been struggling with depression ever since we lost our son,’ Laverick sobbed.
The ambulance men checked her over, but it was pretty obvious she was dead.
‘I’m so sorry, Dr Laverick,’ one of them said.
‘I just can’t believe she would do this,’ he said. ‘She seemed to be getting better. And now this.’
‘I feel for you, Doctor, losing both your loved ones.’
‘I don’t know how I can go on from here.’
‘The police are on their way. They’ll take statements etc.’
‘Of course. Thank you for your help, gentlemen.’
The police interview went well; they didn’t seem to suspect anything was the matter. The suicide angle was a masterstroke as she had had one attempt shortly after losing Martin and had been on a heavy course of anti-depressants ever since.
A silver lining that he didn’t anticipate was the life insurance pay-out, which helped greatly towards his research.
A full decade passed between Martin’s death and Laverick perfecting his research.
Ten long years of obsessing, tinkering and tweaking were instantly worth it the moment he managed to bring a baby girl he’d dug up from the local cemetery back to life. (He kept a close eye on the obituaries for any kids who had died, and had an inside man at the morgue to help him with test subjects).
Her eyes had twitched and flickered and she had let out a cry that let him know that she wasn’t in pain – not like the poor sod with the battery in its skull. But hey, he had to start somewhere. This was like the cry that a new-born infant made when it was free from the womb.
Like the cry Martin had made just after he was born.
This was a cry that filled him with hope, that symbolised rebirth.
Tears of joy flooded down his face as he realised he had done it.
Another few years of research and obsessive, round-the-clock working introduced the use of the smart features, feeding, voiding and sleeping controls.
It was at this point that he finally dared to put his work to use on his beloved son.
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