Laboratory (May Promptathon #5)
By Laura Nettles
“So, Dr. Frankenstein, how did you come up with the ingenious laboratory design? It’s so functional and efficient!” the reporter asked.
Dr. Frankenstein, his hair perfectly coifed, folded his arms in his lap, the sleeves of the starched lab coat crisp and razor sharp at the folds. “Well, it was an ungodly undertaking, I’ll tell you that.”
“Oh? Do tell.”
“Take the lighting here for instance,” the doctor waved his stained hand to encompass the large bulbs visible in metal casings hanging along the stone walls. “They are powered by electricity harvested from lightning by kites. We store it and use it until the next storm, which is usually very frequent on this mountain top.”
The reporter looked around in awe. “You have harvested the power of lightning?”
“More than just lightning, madam. We have also harnessed the power of life itself!” His hair sprang from its arrangement as madness swirled in his eyes. “I have studied from the alchemists of old, modern chemists and physicists alike. Through their knowledge I have come to the great epiphany of the secret of life!”
The reporter looked stunned, unable to speak. The mad doctor took it as a sign to continue.
“We recycle all things here in this laboratory. Water, food waste, and even human bodies.”
“Bodies, sir?” she squeaked.
“Yes, of course bodies! Would you like to just have them sit and rot in a grave, good for nothing but the worms and beetles? No, madam. We recycle them too. Give them life so they may continue to help the laboratory function. Unless they annoy me.” A dark glint flitted through the dark depths of his eyes.
“What happens then?” she murmured.
“They are recycled in a different way. Like Jim. He wouldn’t stop interrupting my work and told me to sleep all the time, annoying old fellow. No. He went another way in death.” He cleared his throat and looked at the startled woman. Regaining his composure, he started again. “Those humans who are not recycled into my experiments and brought back to life are used in the garden.”
The reporter nodded in understanding. “As fertilizer, I see.”
“Oh no, madam! As planters!”
She stiffened. “I beg your pardon?”
A smirk wormed its way onto Dr. Frankenstein’s face. “I opened up his chest cavity and planted some potatoes. His head is full of a bee hive. Ingenious really. Who would have imagined recycling a skull in that manner, head abuzz with insects instead of useless, annoying thoughts?”
The reporter shuddered but got a hold of herself. “Very poetic, Dr. Frankenstein. How else do you keep such a sustainable laboratory?”
“Our laboratory in on a mountain in the isles of the sea, as you know. The northern seas where it is cold and damp on the best of days. The village on this particular island do not like me very much, I mean…” he cleared his throat. “They do not understand my vision of progress and fear me for dark magic and think I only perform the darkest of arts in these walls. Well, they are kind of right.”
“They are, sir?”
“Well, my methods are not recognized by modern science and defy our maker. As you have probably noticed, only one woman who lives in this laboratory is my darling Elizabeth. The only way we have to add considerably to our numbers is to make our own members from the deceased of those down below.” Dr. Frankenstein smiled in glee. “But we have all the parts we need now to be sustainable. All jobs are attended to and the mobs are kept at bay.”
“You had mobs come after you?” she asked, surprised.
A dark chuckle smoothly escaped his pale throat. “Oh, my dear. More times than you can count. That is the reason why we had you arrive by hot air balloon. We are only approachable by the air or our own segment of beach for fishing and scavenging.”
“Yes. Why didn’t you let us take the beach approach?”
His eyes shifted to look to his assistant who nodded almost imperceptibly. “We could not have you leaving us at your own convenience.”
“You see,” he interrupted. “We have all the parts we need, grow our own food, fish for our protein, harness the fury of the sky, yet we lacked one thing until today.”
“A female brain worthy of reanimation. For him.”
Her blood chilled. The notepad and pencil falling from her hands onto the polished rockwork floor. The hulkingly tall assistant shot forward, caressing her face and staring deeply into her eyes.
“She will do.”
A scream tore from her slender throat.
All went dark.
When she came too, she felt sore and strange, like she wasn’t used to her body. What was her name again? She couldn’t remember. Her arms were wrapped in silken bandages, sliding over the slightly catching stitches beneath. A hard slab of metal underneath her was unyielding, grounding her with its discomfort. A harsh light was flooding through her eyelids, illuminated the blood coursing through them, tinting her world orange.
The words rang in her ears. Who was alive? Were they talking about her? Of course, she was alive! But then, why did she feel so heavy and strange?
The metal beneath her started to tilt, leveraging her into a standing position. The weight of her body shifted. She could feel her organs falling into place. Something was not right.
“Darling, open your eyes.” It was the voice of another. His deep voice was soothing and so full of longing.
She commanded her eyelids to open. It took a few tries, but they did flutter open eventually.
A tall, handsome man stood before her. He had to be eight feet tall. Yet, she seemed taller than she remembered now too. She came to his shoulders.
“You are my bride. I will care for you. Love you.” His calloused hand caressed her cheek.
She looked into his eyes. They were unfathomable. Not quite human. There was a capacity for violence, understanding and love as well. She was transfixed.
The longer she looked, the stranger they became. More monstrous.