Hello everyone. Aside from trying to complete my second novel by the end of year, find a new place, guitar lessons and full time work… I am also trying to get an academic article published in The Howard Journal of Communications. I have a big round of revisions to make before it gets accepted so I’ll be busy with all those different projects for a bit. I still want to try blogging at least four times a week so here is an excerpt from my second novel, The Visitor.
“Can you hold it?” Adam asked.
“No, rats are an important part of scientific experimentation, get used to them.” Dr. Calvin stepped back from the cage and signalled for Adam to put his hand in and extract their latest test subject.
“I guess I wasn’t thinking about this part of the job when I signed up.”
Adam timidly put his hand in, having to snatch the rat by its tail as it tried to flee from him.
With the rat dangling from his hand like a loaf of bread, Adam walked over to the platform reserved for their next experiment. Once the rat was placed in its holding cell, he retreated to the observation deck with Dr. Calvin and the rest of the physicists.
The observation deck was an elevated surface on the bottom level of the lab, with stairs leading to its peak. Desks were stationed all around the platform, with Dr. Daniels and Dr. Calvin ready to take notes on the experiment.
The rat was housed in a four-foot wide cage made of transparent glass, allowing the physicists to have a clear view. The teleporter was mounted on a tripod directly in front of the cage. A hole had been cut in one of the cage’s walls to allow the teleporter’s front end to be pushed through.
The latest version of the teleporter had a removable trigger that allowed it to be controlled remotely. The trigger would be disabled if it was more than one hundred yards away from its target, but this range was more than enough for the physicists.
“Everyone ready?” Dr. Rowan asked as he prepared to push the trigger.
Ten nods later, the teleporter was activated with the hope that the rat would be teleported to the preset coordinates.
The distinctive light appeared in the enclosed cage, automatically conforming to the size and shape of the walls around it. As expected, the rat shied away from the light and its panicked cries escaped the cage to echo around the lab. The teleporter’s light would dissipate after an hour if Dr. Patel didn’t touch the trigger, but the group was praying that they wouldn’t have to waste that time waiting.
After five minutes the rat’s cries ceased completely, and it was now staring ahead intently. Although the light was alarming at first, its rhythmic glow now seemed to relax its subject. Ten minutes passed, and the rat finally took a timid step forwards. The audience on the elevated platform leaned forward with anticipation, blocking out the world around them. With each step the rat took, the further they leaned forward. Finally, the rat came to a halt less than an inch in front of the portal.
“Please,” Dr. Calvin whispered, as if the rat would hear him.
A few seconds later, the rat lunged forward and the platform let out a collective sigh of relief. If the test was successful, Dr. Patel would be returning from his post upstairs with the rat in hand, where Dr. Daniels was keeping the door into the lab open for him. Meanwhile, the rest of the group eyed the elevator to the bottom level of the lab, hoping there would be a reason to celebrate.
Dr. Patel and Dr. Daniels steps were heard as they made their way down the stairs and their peers were immediately worried. Instead of the hurried steps from an excited duo, the steps were slow and laboured. Unless they were walking slowly for the rat’s sake, Daniels and Patel wanted to delay the news they had to give.
The door to the lab opened, with Daniels and Patel out of clear view until they entered the elevator. Daniels and Patel saw their expectant audience as they boarded the elevator, and simply shook their heads to signal that the experiment did not go as planned.
By the time the elevator descended the scientists were gathered around it, personal space was not a concern. Patel held out his cupped hand. Dr. Calvin was the first to see and reeled away from the group. A string of profanity broke the silence as the others got their first glimpse.
It was obvious to the group that the rat may not have survived the experiment. During planning, the physicists reasoned that the rat may not teleport at all and simply be stuck in some sort of limbo. Or that the teleportation would have adverse short or long term effects on its body. Despite those expectations, no one was ready for what they saw.
The rat’s body was intact, but that was the only good news. Its skin looked like it had been torn off in some areas, with its head and most of its torso consisting of exposed flesh. Its eyes had melted, forming a thick white gel that was slowly dripping on the elevator floor. Dr. Patel hands were already painted red with blood from the rat’s exposed veins, but he continued to stare at the body. He was not in mourning for the rat itself, but he and his peers realized that they had a long way to go before their project would yield any fruit for a demanding government: A demanding government known to punish individuals who failed to live up to its expectations.