Shadow Crawlers. Part 46

Been a fairly busy week, I went to the zoo on Wednesday, which was cool, wandered around for a few hours, looked at animals, all that fun stuff. Also bought Pokemon X (finally) so I’ve been playing that. The only downside to it is that I got a mild sunburn on the back of my neck. Second ever sun burn. I lasted about 21 years before the first, less than two years until the second. In my defense, it was supposed to be a fairly cloudy day, so I didn’t expect it to be so sunny.

Then Thursday I went for a DXA scan to see my bone density, yay! It was actually fairly easy. Basically lie there while a machine takes low radiation x rays of my spine and legs. Hardest part was sitting around for a while first really. I’m pretty happy that it’s now been confirmed that I do have bones, which was always a secret fear. I also assume my bones are fine due to the lack of “We’re surprised you haven’t just shattered everything yet” or a rushed call of “Don’t move, someone get me a wheelchair!”

Apparently my intake of calcium is quite low, so I’ve to eat more dairy. I was also medically advised to eat more pizza, so ya know, that’s fun. Also, ice-cream obviously goes in that list as I was told to have more milk, milk and cream are basically the same thing, cream and ice cream is just cream that’s been deliciously frozen. So a medically sound meal would obviously be pizza and ice cream.

I would totally be the worlds greatest nutritionist. (At least until all my patients started developing heart disease/diabetes.)

On with the show!


Part 1, part 45

“And there has been no change?”
“No, he’s still unconscious.”
“Are you sure?”
“As sure as I can be without going in personally.”
“How long is that now?”
“19 hours. The sedative should have worn off at hour ten at the latest. The other two woke after six or so hours. We thought they’d have similar metabolisms, but apparently not.”
“Are you sure there isn’t some kind of allergic reaction going on?”
“No, there would be visible signs, elevated or struggled breathing, swelling, there are no signs of that. As far as we can tell he’s just asleep.”
“Have you tried to wake him yet?”
“Well, we weren’t sure what to do. We’ve tried playing loud sounds, but there was no change, short of going in, I don’t see what we can do.”
“What about some kind of spray? Would that be possible?”
“I don’t think it would help, the concentrations would need to be higher to wake him.”
“Have you tried smelling salts?”
“We can’t administer something like that without physically going in, the concentration would be too high in the room and could result in his death. So far we believe that his system is practically identical to humans, but to know that for sure we need to do scans. I’m not willing to risk people by sending them in. If he is awake and merely feigning, then he will try to use the person for leverage. That won’t work so they’ll be dead. The only outcomes would be finding he is awake and losing someone or finding he isn’t faking.”
“And if he isn’t faking?”
“Well, then I don’t know what we can do beyond provide him with a saline drip and nutrients. We could run tests on him, but as we don’t know much about his kind, well he could wake any moment. This could be some kind of danger reflex, play dead until the coast is clear. He is alive and breathing, but his heart rate and breathing pattern is slowed significantly. If not for the lack of movement he could be in deep meditation. If this was a battle situation, a quick cursory look would leave who ever saw him thinking he was dead.”
“Send someone in.”
“But what-”

“Either send someone in, or go in yourself. Those are your options.”
“I-Fine. I want it made abundantly clear that this wasn’t my decision.”
“Noted. We’ve already prepared a cover story. All that’s left is the details. Choose.”
The doctor looked around at his assistants, all too far away to hear the discussion, he studied each for a few seconds then finally made his decision.
“Amanda, please come here for a moment.”
One of the assistants straightened and walked towards them, she was young, mid twenties, and svelte, her long black hair was tied into a pony tail.
“We need you to go into the room and try to wake the subject.”

She looked into the room, “Don’t worry, you’ll be perfectly safe. Once the subject is revived, he will be groggy, you’ll have plenty of time to vacate the room, you could probably go and get lunch in the cafeteria before he’s at his full faculties.”
“If you’re sure.”
“Extremely sure. I would do it myself, but I want to monitor the data as it comes through, in case there is an anomaly. I’m going to prepare a tray for you to bring in, I’ll explain what everything is.”
The doctor led his assistant away while the other man watched, it was a shame to have to kill someone so pretty. He would have chosen one of the ugly ones. It wasn’t his lab though and they weren’t his people. He briefly considered sending a guard in, then discarded the idea, no point in wasting someone who would be useful in a crisis. If one of the bastards escaped all these scientists would just be cannon fodder.

Amanda wheeled the dolly to the door and waited for it to open, once inside she made sure it had been securely closed. The two guards who escorted her stayed outside, she didn’t know whether to be relieved or nervous. Obviously they weren’t expecting trouble, if they thought the subject would react violently, they would have sent the guards in with her. She was perfectly safe. Amanda picked up a small ampoule and stepped closer to the subject. She carefully snapped it open and wafted it under the subjects nose, but there was no reaction. She had expected it to work. Next she picked up the syringe, it was the only other option. If this didn’t work then she was to simply leave the room, taking everything with her. She located a good spot and carefully injected the subject, she removed the needle and quickly placed a small plaster over the puncture. It was the best she could do in these circumstances. As she placed the empty syringe back on the cart, she looked at the subject carefully. She thought there had been a slight increase in breathing when the needle slid into him. She brought her fingers to his neck, checking on the pulse, she counted and removed her hand, his pulse had increased, though not by much. She stepped back from the bed and pushed the cart towards the door, there was a light click as it opened, she stepped through, trying to keep her breathing calm. This was the moment when she was most exposed, when the subject was likely to attack. The door closed behind her and locked, she let out a breath. She was watching too many movies lately. She pushed the cart back towards the observation room, not noticing that the guards were already gone when she stepped outside the room.
“We detected a brief increase in both breathing and heart rate, but they settled back to their pre-injection levels almost immediately. At this point I just don’t know what is causing it. It certainly isn’t the drugs we injected him with, it has to be something else. While he didn’t attack my assistant, there is the fear that he is trying to lure us into a false sense of security.”
“That seems a little extreme don’t you think?”
“I think a healthy dose of paranoia is required with these subjects. If he gets loose in the building he could cause a lot of damage, particularly if he escapes.”
“I agree. For now we should monitor him for a few hours at least. If he wakes, we can inject him again and see how he reacts, if it is in the same way, we’ll know we have a window in which we can perform tests. For now though, I think we should send your assistant in a few more times, if he is trying to give us a sense of security, we should use it to get some more blood samples, is there any moveable equipment we could have wheeled in for further tests?”

Amanda couldn’t believe it, a promotion, she was now the second in command of the project, it came with a nice pay bump too, she couldn’t wait to get home and tell Steven, normally she didn’t mind the phone restrictions in the building, but at times like this it became almost unbearable, she needed to tell someone. They’d have to go out to dinner to celebrate. She looked at the list in front of her, not paying too much attention, she crossed off one line, then another. They were not tests that could be performed in the room. They were worried about moving the subject while he was unconscious, at least until they knew what was causing the apparent coma. She’d have to enquire about getting him set up appropriately, get some IV’s and a catheter inserted. She scribbled down a few notes, smiling to herself, she was more than capable for this position.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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One Response to Shadow Crawlers. Part 46

  1. Pingback: Shadow Crawlers. Part 47 | Alan James Keogh

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