Lab Rat part 8

Posted: January 18, 2011 in Deep Thoughts, Fiction, Test Subject

Sorry. Couldn’t stay away from it. Work was so slow that my mental energies were pretty much entirely devoted to what happens to Asher next. Yeah, we finally learn the name of our grungy protagonist. Eventually we’ll learn more about Ally too. Man, I love this story.

“Asher, wake up.”

I snap awake, but I don’t open my eyes. I twitch, and even the slightest motion brings me agony. Memory comes back to me. I threw myself into a stop sign. Why did I throw myself into a stop sign?

“Asher, if you don’t get up, I’m going to pour ice water on you.”

I still don’t move. My ice tray is empty. I know, because I put it back in the freezer empty. I say so. “I put the ice tray away empty.” My mouth tastes like I imagine a dirty bathroom rug must. Ugh. I still don’t open my eyes. “What are you doing here?” I ask.

“You weren’t answering my phone calls,” the voice says.

“My phone evaporated. So did my wallet. So did my favorite pants. I need an advance on my paycheck to buy new pants,” I tell the voice.

“You weren’t able to control the fire? Was anyone hurt?”

“Just the guy who tried to mug me. He hit the injector button when he tried to steal it. I’m pretty sure he died,” I say. I crack one eye open. “That reminds me: why didn’t you tell me you were going to turn me into a blowtorch? Maybe I wouldn’t have accidentally killed someone if I had a heads-up.” Ally stares into my one open eye with both of her brown ones. She doesn’t say anything. I think hard about anything besides how beautiful those eyes are. She’s got her black hair tied up in a pony-tail, and is wearing a black windbreaker and jeans and sneakers. It’s jarring to see her outside of the lab and outside of a lab coat. She looks me over with clinical disinterest. I must look pretty bad now that my bruising has all had time to surface.

“You look positively awful. What happened?” She asks.

“I, uh, tried to fly with telekinesis.”

“It didn’t work?”

“Actually it worked great. It’s harder to control than with the regular flight power.” I open my other eye. I should probably do my own inspection of my injuries. Right now I don’t know anything other than how much it hurts to move.

“What did you hit?”

“Street sign. I was going pretty fast. I put a coin through it at about half a block, too.” I can see a faint hint of a smile flicker across her face, but it’s so fleeting that I may have imagined it. Still, I’m sure she’s proud. I’ve worked with her long enough to know how happy she is when a test goes well. Last time we tried telekinesis, I couldn’t even grab a beer out of the fridge with it. “Listen, I’m gonna need some time to recuperate before I go out again…” I trail off. Ally’s rooting through a backpack over by the door. She must have brought a first aid kit. I hope.

She pulls out a steel cylinder and a black zippered case. She brings them over to my bed, and kicks away a pile of laundry. “Your place is a mess,” she says matter-of-factly. My only defense is a shrug. She sets the case down next to me, and I prop myself up on my elbows. A groan escapes through my clenched teeth. Lord, I hope she can’t smell my breath. Bad enough that she sees my place like this. She begins unscrewing one end of the cylinder.

“That’s a painkiller, right?” As I say it, I decide it’s a stupid question. A memory of my first day on the job surfaces. She did a physical examination, and her bedside manner wasn’t great. She was all cold efficiency with no thought given to comfort. “Ally – Doctor Allison, what’s in the tube?” I hope she doesn’t notice the raised pitch in my voice. She finishes opening the canister, and pulls out a syringe filled with a fluid that reminds me of window cleaner even after wearing a bracelet filled with the stuff for the last six months. “What’s in the – ow!” She stabs it into my shoulder and presses the plunger.

I kind of think I enjoy abusing poor Asher. I catch myself grinning every time things don’t go his way, which is most of the time. Maybe it’s a reminder that my own difficulties may seem bad, but are hardly insurmountable. I heard somewhere that a hero is someone who inspires us to hang on just a little bit longer. This guy is like that for me. Don’t be confused; there are plenty of real people who are my heroes, but I can’t think of a way that having one more would be a bad thing.


  1. Jenna says:

    Instead of using “evaporated” for what happened to the phone, you may consider “has been cremated,” or “incinerated,” because “evaporated” gives an image of water. That’s only my opinion though.

    • Kelsvs says:

      I understand what you mean. I chose ‘evaporated’ because the real scientific term for what happened to the phone would probably be ‘sublimated,’ but I didn’t think Asher would know that word. For now, I’m going to leave it, but I’m noting things you point out in the actual document. Thanks for the feedback!

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