I have spent the past few months writing a fiction novel. This is one of a few stand alone short stories that I wrote to explore the nature of the characters in the book. This is a work in progress. I would love to hear feedback.
“Seems like it’s just the three of us tonight.” The Doctor was sitting in his office, writing in a notebook, with a white mouse on each shoulder. “Hercules, Venus and little old me.” The Doctor pushed his wide rim glasses back on his nose and lovingly touched the snouts of the mice. The owlish man was at home here in this stark environment. Fluorescent lights illuminated every corner of the sparsely furnished office. The bookshelf next to the desk was filled with medical books. In front of the desk was an empty visitor’s chair, angled as if anticipating an uninvited visitor. Dealing with patients was a skill that he had to learn. With mice it was different. They didn’t want reasons or explanations. Mice observed quietly and didn’t object to participate in experiments. If only people were more like mice. The doctor whistled softly while he worked.
A heavy thump caused the door to Dr Lawless’s office to slam open. Without a word two bulky men holding cricket bats strode into his office. The Doctor immediately knew that he was in trouble. The mice jumped off his shoulders and ran to hide on the bookshelf. He fumbled under his desk for the syringe that he kept hidden for emergencies. A syringe filled with a poison so strong that it numbed your limbs within seconds of its injection. His hands were shaking. The problem was that there were two men and only one syringe. A tall blonde woman appeared in the doorway as if she was arriving at a fancy dress ball. Her hair was done in an up-style that displayed her long dangling earrings resting against her thick neck.
“I’m bored, Lion.” She glanced around his office. “You’re boring me.”
One of the brutes nudged Dr Leon Lawless’s shoulder with a bat, indicating that he should talk.
“How…how can you say that I’m boring you, Eyedea? After we’ve been working together for so long. We, we, we haven’t seen each other in months. How can I bore you if you’re never around me?”
Both her eyes focused on him. Her one natural green eye. And the… other eye. Even though Dr Lawless knew exactly how her mechanical eye functioned, it was still unnerving when it focused so directly on him. When President Eyedea More gave you a menacing look, the effect was similar to the lethal injection – your limbs numbed within seconds.
“I would prefer it if you called me Madame President.”
Dr Lawless swallowed. One of the men swung the cricket bat through the air as if practicing to hit a ball, or perhaps a person’s head.
“I gave you a new eye!” He protested. “Without me you would have been a pathetic half blind woman. I gave you power.”
“I beg to differ, Doctor.” She said with a sneer. “It is I who gave you power. It is you who would have been a pathetic creature without my help.”
With brisk strides she walked around to his side of the desk. The President was not good-looking, yet Dr Lawless had been attracted to her since their first meeting. She was large woman without finesse. The accident that disfigured her face made her appearance grotesque. To the Doctor she was beautiful and horrifying at the same time. The fact that she was the most powerful woman in the country made him want her even more. The combination of his attraction and fear made him grab the syringe tighter. He wanted to kiss her. On her double chin. All over her body. Or he could stab her in the throat. It would be the end of her. Her henchmen would run away. Nobody stayed loyal to a dead president. He was the one in power, not her.
She reached out and placed a finger under his chin.
“Look at me, dear Lion.” Her soft voice was filled with pity. “You know that nobody would have agreed to your experiments, if I didn’t allow it first.”
He looked her straight in both her eyes.
“I’m a visionary. Someone would have seen my talent.”
He clutched the syringe in his right hand and pressed the last bit of air out of the syringe. It was his moment.
As if sensing a change in his demeanor, the President ordered her bodyguards away.
“Leave us.” The henchmen looked disappointed that they won’t be getting the chance to dent someone’s head with a bat. Dr Lawless let out a small sigh of relief, but didn’t loosen his grip on the syringe. His odds were better now. One syringe and one other person in the room. The mice appeared from their hiding place behind the books.
She pushed against the desk so that she was seated on it, facing him. Slowly she removed her earrings and placed it on the desk next to her.
“I was at a dinner party tonight. With a few of the ministers.” Her tone was conversational, but Dr Lawless did not relax.
“The topic came up that I’ve been president for four years now.” She glared at him. “Four years, Lion.”
“You still have one year left as president.”
As quick as a snake her arm shot out as she grabbed him by the neck and pulled his face towards hers. In shock he dropped the syringe on the floor. She had a strong grip.
“You said that I would have an army. You said that I will rule this City!”
“I told you, I’m working on a plan.”
“You’ve been working on a plan for the past four years! You have nothing.” She shoved him back into his chair and walked to the window. It was dark outside. A few streetlights were shining down on the parked cars.
“I’ve shared my dream with no one else, Lion. I’m not asking for much. Just one city to rule. I dream of a city where people live under my command. I will discipline my subjects. I will be a kind ruler.” She touched her forehead as if trying to brush away a headache. “Democracy is such a stifling reality to deal with. I want to make decisions without consulting a group of annoying people. I want to be in charge!” She said the last words the way a petulant child would demand a cookie, complete with stomping her foot.
She turned around and walked back to the desk. Fearing another attack, the Doctor cringed as she reached out for him. This time, her touch was soft and caressing. She stroked his face with the back of her hand.
“Have I not proved to you that I can be a kind ruler? Have I not responded to all your requests.?”
“You have Madame President.”
“So, what is the problem?” Her hand clenched around his neck again.
“You said you could give me power. You promised. Where is my army?”
“Madame President, I think it is important not to get too emotional right now.”
“I have given you enough time. Show me what you have done so far.”
Suddenly a mouse ran up her leg and she jumped back with a squeal.
“Aargh, you and your mice!”
Feeling more confident with the President a few meters away, Dr Lawless took a breath and announced triumphantly:
“I have created a super human.”
The President eagerly looked around the office, the mouse forgotten.
“Where is it? Is it a robot?”
“It’s not a robot. It is at home.”
“Take me to it!”
“It… he is a person, just like you and me, and he is probably sleeping right now.”
“So, you’ve got nothing to show me.”
Dr Lawless pressed a switch on his desk. Theatrically the wall behind him started sliding upwards into the ceiling. He opened his arms in a welcoming gesture. “Madame President, I would like to show you my experiment.”
She followed him into the sterile white space. The walls were lined with medical instruments laid out in rows on steel tables. A large cage with white mice in was suspended from the ceiling. Of to one side was a glass display case. They both went to stand in front of the case.
After staring at the glass case for a few seconds, the President cleared her throat.
“Lion. It’s an arm.” She didn’t conceal her disgust.
“Not just an arm. This is the most incredible experiment I have ever conducted.”
“Is the arm of the super human?”
“Indeed, it is.” The Doctor’s eyes gleamed. The president felt a shiver of fear run down her spine, but shrugged it away.
“Why do you call it a super human?”
“He has abilities that other humans don’t have. I’m using this patient as a prototype. I have fitted his body with a mechanical arm. The mechanical arm gives him unusual abilities that he did not have before.”
He rushed to explain more.
“If I know that this prototype is successful and that I can control it, I will use the same technology to create an army. For you.”
The President smiled a sadistic smile. Again her manner changed to that of a spoiled child.
“I want an army.”
“There is the small matter of getting people to become a part of the army.”
She flicked the problem away with a wrist movement.
“I will issue a decree that forces people to enroll.”
“It’s not that simple. I am able to experiment on this patient because I was the one who amputated his arm. And I am able to control my patient, because I have the arm in my possession.”
“I see. You need body parts to control the army.” The President’s voice now held a hint of respect for the Doctor. “I don’t know if you are a genius or a lunatic, Doctor Lawless.”
They stepped back into the Doctor’s office.
The President walked to the door. Just before she left the office, she turned around and said: “I’ll figure out a way for you to get your body parts.” With a smile she turned around and whispered to herself “And I will have my army.” She threw her head back and laughed.
The President’s malicious laughter echoed through the doctor’s office. He sat staring into space with a grin on his face for a few minutes. The movement of a mouse on his shoulder disrupted his thoughts. He picked up the two shiny earrings on his desk and placed it the bookshelf.
“Oh, Hercules, we are going to have so much fun. Where’s Venus?”
He looked around his office. A white mouse was lying on the floor underneath his desk. A few drops of poison had leaked out of the syringe.
“Oh, Venus. No, darling, no.”
The Doctor picked up the lifeless mouse and pressed it against his face, rubbing his cheek against the soft fur.
Then he turned to his laboratory. He carried the mouse like a precious package and laid it out on the table.
Just before he slit the mouse open with a scalpel, he said in an icy voice:
“Now, little one, I have something planned for you.”