”I love you so much.”
James gently kissed Norah’s earlobe before untying her tourniquet. Gazing into her eyes, he squeezed her hand one last time. The surrounding machines hummed as he settled into the cold gray recliner beside hers. After unbuttoning their lab coats and pulling aside their shirts aside, they carefully placed their EKG sticks. They looked like something out of a B-movie as they crowned themselves with EEG caps. Their skull outlines on the overhead monitors slowly became a kaleidoscope of color. They stared into the infrared sea. “We’re going to compose a symphony with our hearts and brain waves.”, he began. “Our hearts and minds will be the modern day psalm that will sound of hope, glory, and praise to this supreme evolution of mankind.” They shared a lover’s gaze as James went on, “I’m so happy I get to share this crowning moment with the woman I love more than life itself.” Norah smiled, “I love you.” James was everything she wanted to be. Her lover. Her hero.
Norah nearly slipped into sleep for the melodic data scribbling. They closed their eyes. They sat in peace. They sat in anticipation.
They awaited the future..
Norah’s slip out of wakefulness was rudely interrupted by her husband’s screams. She looked to him and saw his skin become a red hue as his veins swelled. Tearing off her gear, she stood up and grabbed his lab collar. “James!”, she cried. His body writhed and tossed about. Blood shot from his nose and splattered onto his white coat followed by a trail of dark clots. She knew his brain was hemorrhaging as she became a helpless mess of tears. Powerless, all she could do was scream.
She looked into his blood shot eyes. Then a pulling sensation came from her chest. This wave became an undeniable magnetic force that reeled her in. His irises became larger and larger in her mind’s eye. She looked around in wonder as she was now floating in a hazel cosmos. “It’s the LSD, Norah. It’s just a bad trip. It’s just a bad trip.”, she told herself. As she floated on into the jade cosmos, she could see a black door in the immediate distance. Still floating, she arrived at the door and turned its knob. Gravity kicked in as she opened it and found herself standing on solid foundation. It was a faintly lit room.
James was there in his lab coat looking surprisingly dapper as ever. He turned to face her extending his arms. She ran and nearly leapt into them, “JAMES!”, she exclaimed. They held each other tight for a few moments. But then he whispered, “I’m dying, Norah.”
She broke from him abruptly. “What? James, I really don’t understand what’s going on.. I’m really confused!” He took her hands into his, “Norah, you must be within my psyche. The drug worked for you. For me on the other hand, adverse effects ensued. Perhaps I wasn’t fit for this..but you are.”
Her eyes welled with tears.. Her knees met the floor.. And she wept as he went on, “Norah, listen to me. Don’t let Brand get a hold of this. God only knows what this will do to the others. You, however.. you now have a gift. A secret. You must keep it. You must press on.” She looked up, “James, I can’t go on without you! Please don’t go!”, she sobbed. “Don’t leave me here!” James bent down and met her eyes, “Norah, I love you. I’m so sorry this happened. You’re the strongest woman I know. You were my light in this life and will be in the next. You must go now.” His hands broke from hers. He then turned and quickly slipped into the darkness.
Norah felt a crushing wave of energy as she was hurled into her physical being. She caught her breath and opened her eyes to her lifeless husband.
He was gone.
In a crying fit of rage, Norah violently pushed over the EKG machine before she too crashed to the floor. Pulling her hair and began to hyperventilate. “We were supposed to go together!”, she screamed. “FUCK..IT’S NOT FUCKING FAIR!”
Twenty minutes went by as the gray walls and stainless steel doors bore witness to her lowest moment. Their sector never did allow security cameras to protect the classified. She knew no one was coming. Bracing a dead limb, she pulled herself up to stand over him. As she rose, she took a look at the shell of a man that was once her husband. Her rage turned into quiet tears as she fixed his hair with her fingers. Even in death, he remained handsome. She straightened his blood spattered coat and nametag. “I won’t let you down.”, she told him. She leaned in and kissed his lips that were still warm.
Turning from him, she made a dash for the fridge. Violently swinging the door open, she grabbed an armful of viles and made her way to the sink. One by one, she unscrewed and emptied their contents. Upon completing this task, she went for their project notes. She then turned on the faucet and suspended the paperwork over the sink. With the flick of her silver zippo, she set the files ablaze. She dropped them into the sink just as the flames licked her fingertips. After the paper was a soaked mess of scalded scraps, she backed into the far wall and slid. After she plopped helplessly to the ground, she noticed a small, black walkie was in her sights. She leaned forward to snatch it from the wall. Then, in a low whisper, she delivered the news.
– “It’s Seizhelm. Over.”
-“Is everything alright, Dr? Over.”
She released a tearful exhale before answering.
Within seconds, four men in black suits and guns burst through the double doors and right past Norah. They surveyed the scene of James’ untimely termination. Immediately following was a stretcher guided by 3 men in orange polos, khakis, and med gloves. They rushed over to his body and hoisted it onto the stretcher. One of the suited men looked around to find Norah, “Dr Seizhelm? Dr Seizhelm!?” Slowly, she raised her hand from the corner she was slumped in. He ran over and knelt down, “Are you ok?! What happened?!”
She stared into nothingness upon answering, “He injected himself and it went awry. I’ve destroyed the samples.” She then turned to meet his face,“I resign effective immediately.” His eyebrows sank as he felt for her. There were no words. Just beyond his shoulder, she caught a glimpse of a man performing CPR on her husband. The moment slowed as her mind tuned out all audio. She whispered,
She watched as the horrific seen went on. A member of the EMS crew broke away to deliver the unfortunate news. He stopped, though. Her look spoke of what she already knew. In a moment that seemed to play in slow-motion, “I’m so sorry” is what she read on his lips. She then watched her husband being rolled away and through the doors.
An hour had passed as she wrapped up her testimony to the men in suits. She claimed that he injected himself only. He did not want to subject her to any risks. Finding that simple logic acceptable, they nodded and gave their heartfelt condolences. They each offered her a ride home or perhaps to a friends or family member’s. She insisted that all she wanted was to be left to grieve in solitude.
After everyone was gone and the lab silent, she walked over to the far set of doors that faced the back of the building. She felt the cold night air brush her face as she stepped out into the dim lit night. Nexx Industries had a lush garden in the summertime. She looked out over the winter linen sacks that covered the tomato plants. Slowly walking past an empty, snow covered bench, she stepped thru the maze of hibernating plant life. She crossed her arms and dragged her feet as she walked in reflection. Stopping for a brief moment, she put her face in her hands.
Before she could weep once more, she felt a presence. The feeling came on like a wave as her arm hairs stood on end. She looked around and saw no one. This didn’t stop her from feeling a rush of adrenaline and a sense of urgency. She decided to flee and darted for the lab. Just then, a man in a black ski-mask stood from behind a tomato plant wielding a 9mm. She screamed as he suddenly grabbed her by the back of her neck and pulled her into him. His hand went over her mouth as he forcefully whispered, “Where are the viles!?”
Then she recognized the voice. “Brand”, she thought. He dug the cold metal against her temple. His hand dropped from her mouth and over her neck. “Please!..There aren’t any!..I’ve..destroyed them!-That virus killed James.”, she mustered through the choking. “The formula is destroyed too! No one should have this! Not even you!”
He released his grip and threw her to the ground. He then swiftly kicked her in the gut. “You lyin’-ass bitch! I know you have a vile somewhere! I need to get this to some people who know what they’re doin’!” With that, he delivered another blow that just missed her ribs. She coughed and gasped for air through the pain. Enraged, her head shot up and their eyes met. Glaring with intensity, she focused her energy into his eyes. That glare prompted his eyes to widen and his hands grasped his skull. She remained steadfast in her stare before he crashed onto his back. The gun had fallen out of his hands and his eyes rolled back into his head. It was clear Brand was experiencing a fatal seizure. His mouth dropped as he flopped about like a fish. After a few minutes, his body ceased moving.
Inexplicably exhausted, Norah dropped her head. After a few deep breaths, she looked up at Brand’s body.
“What the fuck was that?”
Still feeling the kicks, she struggled to stand. Once upright, she made a mad dash for the lab. She reached into her lab coat pocket for her card to swipe back in. When the doors opened, she bolted for the overhead cabinet to grab up her keys and purse. She slowed her pace as she entered the main hallway. Trying desperately not to let the cameras pick up on any subtleties, she made her way towards the exit. She waltzed through the clear glass doors and into the employee parking lot. Her pace picked up once she saw her black Chevelle.
With panicked haste, she hopped in and started it up. Taking a moment to adjust herself in the seat, she struggled to keep her composure. She made a left out of the parking lot to the main road. Making another left, she drove around to the back. With the gardens in view, she turned off her lights and rolled slowly onto the grass. She could see Brand’s form. A soft squeal of the brakes sounded upon parking. Then she popped the trunk and left the car running. She trotted towards Brand and grabbed his ankles.
Out of breath and scared beyond belief, she dragged Brand’s body for a yard before reaching her trunk. Little by little, she managed to inch his deadweight body into the vehicle. Dripping with sweat, she looked over his form before slamming the trunk shut. She ran to her car door and jumped in. In efforts to remain inconspicuous, her lights remained off as she slowly rolled back onto the road.
Xora remained silent in the back seat as he watched the girls start in on each other.
-“Do you mind telling me just who the hell is in-“ -“Look, it’s a long stor-“ –“Jesus, Norah you can’t just ki-“ –“LISTEN! YOU HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA WHAT I’VE BEEN THROUGH TONIGHT! I JUST NEED YOU TO SHUT THE FUCK UP, RIGHT NOW! OK?!”
“And what the hell are you wearing, Vera?”
-Kasey PierceShare This Post:by