Genre: Horror/Black Comedy
Word Count: 50,000
Disclaimer: These characters are mine. They live in my head and make me do crazy things like entering NaNoWriMo...
Rating: PG-13? Probably.
Warnings: Some gore. Written for NaNoWriMo last year and while it has been re-edited the punctuation police are still looking at it suspiciously.
Desperately Seeking Management Approval
The roar of creatures once human echoed around the corridors of the research and development building, soothing Dr Perez’s nerves. The presence of his creations in all their inhuman glory constantly helped to remind him of the great successes he had performed for the company, while the creature he was waiting for always reminded him of the few failures his life had held so far. Nervously pacing the entrance corridor, occasional rubbing at one of the multitude of faded blood spots he’d never been able to entirely remove from his once sparklingly-white lab coat he muttered a quick prayer to the Dark Powers That Be that his latest work would meet management approval. The sound of heels clicking on the concrete floor roused him from his reverie and he quickly attempted to smooth out his rumpled shirt and tie as the footsteps approached. The cause of Dr Perez’s dread - a tall, stunningly beautiful blonde woman in an impeccably tailored grey business suit complemented by three inch stilettos – nodded to him then set off down the corridor to the R&D labs at a rapid pace. Dr Perez had to scurry after her to keep up
“You had better have good news for me Ricardo,” the woman didn’t even look back at him as she strode down the corridor, “the Shareholders are anxious to see some return on their investment with the new takeover just completed.”
Dr Perez suppressed a shiver of fear at the mention of the Shareholders but he’d rehearsed this meeting all morning and he knew he needed to make a good impression. “It’s very good news indeed, Ms Charles. The test subject is performing better than we’d dared to hope. I believe we may be on the verge of a breakthrough that will revolutionise the industries of several of our subsidiary companies. I’m sure the Shareholders will be very pleased with what we’ve managed to achieve here.”
As they reached a heavily armoured door marked ‘subject observation gallery’ Dr Perez scurried ahead to swipe his key card down the reader at its side then held the door open for Ms Charles. “After you, Ma’am”.
Sweeping past him Ms Charles moved to the front of the seats laid out in rows in the darkened gallery and stood in front of the large glass panel viewing into the next room. Dr Perez secured the door then went to stand next to her, holding out a clipboard with a hastily typed personnel file attached to it. Ms Charles didn’t even glance at it, just kept her eyes on the seated figure occupying the next room. The lack of light made it difficult to make out too much but a phone and what appeared to be a keyboard rested on a table next to the figure.
“What was the theme for the décor ‘Nazi interrogation cell?’” she queried with a distasteful glance at the doctor.
“Nothing like that, I’m glad to say,” stammered Perez, “It’s just that we find dark greys and browns to be the most relaxing for the test subjects. Bright colours have a tendency to… aggravate them.”
With a disparaging glance at Dr Perez, Ms Charles took the clipboard and flicked through the personnel report, skimming over the information with a small frown. “So this Mr Turner…”
“Please call him Morris. We like to keep the conversation with them informal, it helps with the coping process.”
“Fine. This Morris applied for our normal medical testing process as a standard test subject?”
“Yes, he went through all the normal scanning procedures.”
“But he was part of the placebo group on his medical test. He had no side effects. Has an actual job and a family – though in the
Dr Perez wilted under the gaze and nervously fiddled with his tie, not meeting Ms Charles’ eyes. “It’s just that he was annoying,” he said barely louder than a whisper. “His personal hygiene was worse than a wild boar’s, he was vulgar and insulted all the women at the trial, he started fights with nearly all of the men. He’d mentioned that he hated his job and would leave if he could get enough money from the medical testing to pay his rent. One of the other students said he’d mentioned that his family refused to contact him and has written him out of their wills. There wasn’t a girlfriend – no woman could stand to be in a room with the slob for longer than a few minutes and when we did a blind reference for him from the call centre he worked for they were ecstatic to see him leave. Plus he did sign the full waver donating his body to us if anything went wrong with the medial trials. I did check everything.” He risked a glance up at Ms Charles’ face. “Honest.”
Ms Charles’ lips quirked slightly as if suppressing a smile. “So you’re out to save the world from ignorant boorish slobs? I’m impressed that you dragged yourself out of this little pit of despair for long enough to do his background checks. At least he does seem like a perfectly viable candidate. You’d better watch your back Ricardo, you might get a reputation for actually having social skills and decent amounts of independent initiative. HR might try to recruit you.” She turned back to the glass. “So what can your new pet do?”
Motioning towards Morris, Dr Perez walked over to a telephone mounted on the wall. “He’s still got a large amount of instinct left, most of which he can still tap into. The trick is making sure there’s no major brain damage from his unfortunate demise.”
Picking up the phone he pressed a speed dial button and a phone on the table next to Morris rang. The slumped figure immediately sat upright and fumbled drunkenly to pick it up. Morris raised the telephone to his face and let out a low “Uuurgghhh?”
“One, nine, eight, three, six, nine,” said Perez, and Morris thumped on the numeric keyboard in an approximately correct pattern.
“Uuurrrrggh?” Asked Morris
“No, that will be all, thank you,” replied Perez and watched as Morris placed the telephone back into its cradle. “It’s all about instinctive response really,” he said addressing Ms Charles again. “The neural pathways and the muscle memory are still there. The preservation techniques I’ve developed should be able to keep him in a working state indefinitely.”
Actually breaking into a smile, Ms Charles watched Morris thoughtfully. “Quite impressive. How long has he been dead?”
“Oh, nearly a week now.”
“Then I’ll call a board meeting. I think we need to show off your new pet.”