Lab Rat X

Posted: January 20, 2011 in Fiction, Test Subject

This is part 10 of [Test Subject], or a couple pages into Chapter 2. Technically, Steel is still longer, but I feel this is much better written. Tonight’s entry is a little shorter than usual because fighter practice resumed tonight and I’m tired and sore.

“Asher, wake up.”

How long was I out? I’ve never been shot before. If at all possible, I think I’ll avoid it in the future. I open my eyes. There’s blood all over the place. I look down. My sheets are soaked. I’m covered in gore. Ally is sitting cross-legged on the floor and writing furiously in a notebook. That reminds me – I’ve got reports to fill out for her from last night. The gun is lying in the black case next to her. I cough, and gurgle. I spit up blood. I suddenly miss the taste of my morning-breath.

“How many times did you shoot me?” I croak.

“Four. Left leg, right hand, stomach, and chest. The regeneration performed well. You’ll need to eat.” She continues writing as she talks. I inspect myself for injuries and find none. “You need to eat a lot more than you do, Asher. The energy for all these things you’re doing doesn’t just magically appear. It comes from your body. From the looks of it you no longer have the fat to spare for this, which means you need to start eating much more.” I see that she’s right. Looking past the gore and the circles of brand new skin, I’ve gone past well-defined and shown up at emaciated.

“I’m surprised you didn’t shoot me in the head. You’re usually pretty thorough.”

“My testing was adequate for now.” She stops writing and looks up. “It’s one thing if you don’t survive a field test. It’s completely different if I put a bullet in your brain and you don’t recover.” A look I don’t really recognize crosses her face. It vanishes quickly. “You’re taking the day off. You need a new phone and a new wallet.” She looks around. “New sheets and clothing too.” She tears a sheet of paper out of her notebook and hands it to me. I take it, and blood immediately soaks into the paper. I need a shower too. “Get everything on this list. I need you in good shape if we’re going to keep this up.” She packs the gun and notebook into her backpack and stands up. “And for heaven’s sake, clean up this place.” She turns drops a roll of twenties on my coffee table before disappearing out the door.

Man, that is a beautiful woman. I shake my head to derail that train of thought. I stand up, and the blood oozing down my bare skin tickles. I go turn the shower on and get cleaned up. This shower is much better than last night’s; it’s amazing what a difference being able to move can make. I towel off with my slightly bloodied hand towel. My stomach gurgles insistently. She was right. I am hungry. I find my pants and my boots and put on a blue plaid button down shirt. I roll the sleeves up and get to work cleaning my studio.

The next part is going to involve Asher doing some of the mundane crap that Dr. Allison has ordered him to do. I’m still working on a way to make it interesting. If it comes out boring, I’ll skim over it. I want it to feel like he’s a real person, but I don’t want to get so bogged down in mundane affairs that the story becomes tedious. I’ve read more than a few books that I felt had pacing issues of one kind or another, and I’d like to dodge that bullet if at all possible.

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