Sunday, August 10, 2014



     “Simply fascinating!” Dr. Rogers exclaimed as he scurried across the pale brown linoleum tiles of his laboratory.
     “It happens every time! Every single time!”
     He thumbed through some papers and books across his desk. Lifting a black book with no writing on it and quickly discarding it as the wrong book.
     “I know I left it here somewhere…”
     He opens and closes the drawers of the desk rather abruptly, quickly glancing at the contents and pushing forward. The contents of the desk tremble with each shutting of the drawers. A small lamp falls off the end of the desk with a crash.
     “There you go again, falling for me!” he says addressing the fallen lamp, “I have no time for you right now…time…time, yes! That’s it!”
     The doctor paces back and forth in front of his desk, “Time…I was reading it, then I looked at my watch, I saw the time, I went to the bathroom…rather quickly went to the bathroom…”
     He darts out of the room still mumbling to himself. As he reaches the men’s room he slams the door open and stands in the doorway with his arm propping the door as wide open as it goes.
     “Which stall? Which stall? Blasted, I don’t remember. I’ll just check them all!”
     He has slowed his pace now to a calmer demeanor. He opens the first two stall doors to find nothing. The third door he quickly jumps back from after inhaling the odor protruding from the ceramic pot inside. A wince and a couple coughs later, he opens the last and final stall door.
     Sitting in the toilet paper dispenser is a small non-descript black book. He slowly and carefully steps towards it and picks it up with complete reverence.
     “There you are beautiful.” He wipes the cover off with his right hand and kisses the binder before clinging it to his chest and returning to the laboratory.
     He walks over to a solitary cage with a small mouse sitting inside of it. The mouse sits still but stares directly at Dr Rogers.
     “You little bastard, you!” He proclaims with excitement, “You ate him didn’t you? Yes! Yes, you did! I know you did!” Pointing at the two beady eyes staring him down. “And I guarantee you are going to do it again, aren’t you?”
     Dr Rogers sets his black book down on the edge of the table and walks across the room to another cage with a similar looking mouse in it. He grabs the mouse by the tail and looks him in the eyes as the mouse spins in circles dangling above his face.
     “You, my friend, are next!”
     He walks over to the mouse cage and opens the door slowly. Both mice begin moving frantically, as if dancing a tango that neither of them want to participate in.
     A cat jumps up onto the table startling all three of them.
     “Senor Whiskers! Get down! Shoo! These are not for you! Shoo! Shoo!”
     The cat just looks at him then jumps down to the floor.
     “Now where were we…ah, yes…”
     He opens the cage door and quickly drops the mouse into the cage. Both mice take a moment to stare at each other and size each other up. The first mouse pounces at the second mouse biting the nape of his neck. Both mice freeze in that position as if the first mouse were a vampire and was draining his victim of his life.
     “Soon. Soon. Come on…here it comes…and…”
     The mouse slowly releases his jaws from the second mouse. He starts stepping backwards slowly watching the second mouse go limp. A moment passes before the second limp mouse begins to twitch. The first mouse runs around the cage frantically from corner to corner making sure not to invade the space anywhere near the spastic
     “Beautiful,” the doctor whispers to himself. “Utterly beautiful. The circle continues - the circle of eternity. Run your course!”
     The second mouse that was lifeless just moments ago stands up straight and leers at the first mouse still running wild across the far end of the cage. Within a moment, the second mouse has lunged across the cage and clamped down on the first mouse’s throat.
     Blood trickles out of the throat and mouth as his body becomes flaccid and colder. No more movement. No more life. The first mouse’s body drops to the bottom of the cage motionless.
     “A vision of pure beauty!”
     Dr. Rogers writes continuously in his journal. As he writes, he gets so entranced with his own writing that he doesn’t even notice that Mr. Whiskers has returned to the table top and sits within a foot of the cage. Mr. Whiskers steps forward interested as to what is in the cage. He lowers his head and sniffs the metal bars. A small mouse head pops up startling him. The head drops quickly to reveal another mouse head behind it with blood dripping from its mouth.
     Mr. Whiskers, curious, pokes his paw into the cage. The mouse does not even flinch, but stares with great intent as Mr. Whiskers takes another swing at him.
     Doctor Rogers stands upright and shakes his pen in the air.
     “Damn! No ink! Where is my other pen…?”
     By this time Mr. Whiskers is sitting upright next to the cage, looking innocent.
     “Don’t! Please don’t!”
     Doctor Rogers walks away to another table on the far side of the room in search of his pen. Mr. Whiskers inches forward again, making eye contact with the mouse. He reaches his paw in and takes a swing.
     There is absolutely no reaction from the mouse.
     He swings again and the mouse lunges at his paw biting down on the lower part of his leg. They both sit motionless as if in shock.
     The mouse lets his grip go subtly. Before it registers with the mouse, Mr.
     Whiskers has the mouse in his paw, claws dug deep into his furry skin. A small bit of blood drips to the bottom of the cage as the mouse shakes less and less frequently in the clutches of Mr. Whiskers.
     Mr. Whiskers tries to pull the mouse out of the cage, but can’t fit him through the bars. As he keeps trying, he pulls a leg off the mouse corpse and eats it. Then another leg, the third and the fourth leg. He licks his lips as he pulls the rest of the body out and ingests it with a ‘smack’ as the tail is the last piece to travel past his lips and down his throat.
     “EUREKA!” Doctor Rogers exclaims from across the room, “I found another working pen finally!!”
     He walks back over to the cage to continue writing. As he writes he notices that things have gotten eerily quiet and feels a sense of being watched. He timidly looks up from his writing and glances over the top of the cage to see Mr. Whiskers two hazel eyes peeking over the cage back at him.
     “No, Mr. Whiskers. Please tell me you didn’t. I warned you not to! I even said please!”
     Doctor Rogers stands upright and slowly takes a step backwards, bumping into a stool and loses his footing. He catches himself before slipping and falling. He holds the pen up, pointing it at Mr. Whiskers, “You stay. You just stay. I will
fix this. We will fix this…”
     A loud hiss is heard as Doctor Rogers falls back against the wall.
     His pen drops at his feet.

     A knock on the laboratory door echoes though the room. A older gentleman peeks his head inside.
     “Phil? Phillip? You still here working? It’s me, Grant. You left me a voicemail earlier today saying you were on to something big. I wanted to stop by and see how it was coming along.”
     He takes a couple steps in and closes the door behind him. He looks to his right and sees a desk of shuffled papers with one of the drawers still open. He looks straightens up a stack of papers and then realizes it would be futile to even try to organize any of this mess.
     He looks around the room and walks to the mouse cage. He glances at it, barely noticing the small amounts of blood on the bars and wood chips. Next to the cage, is a small black non-descript book. He picks up the book and begins to read out loud…

                        “In all my years of research, I have never seen or witnessed anything like this. A new type
                        of parasite. A parasite that not only needs a host, but can become the host temporarily. The
                        individual, or in my studies case – the mice, lose all consciousness during the visit, but then
                        become self-aware immediately following the transfer. The transfer always occurs through a
                        bite. One single strong bite which releases the parasite into the next host. Once a residency
                        in the new host is established, the parasite will consume the previous host for nourishment
                        and accomplishment.
                        What I have just witnessed is three transfers of the virus. Each transfer has been from mouse
                        to mouse. I am still unclear as to if it can transfer to other creatures or is limited to mice or even
                        rodents. I plan to find a stray cat in the next week to experiment with. I would consider using
                        Mr. Whiskers, but he has become like family to me and I wish him a long happy life, not the life
                        of a mindless victim. Or worse, the dinner for the host of a parasite.  Today I shall mark down
                        as the day ”

     “…mark down as the day…what?? The day what…?”
     A crunching sound reverberates through the room. Grant looks around trying to pinpoint where the noise is coming from and what is causing it. He walks around the table with the cage on it, cautiously taking his steps.
     He rounds the corner of the desk and takes another step.
     “Phil…?! Are you here, Phil?”
     His hand slides across the counter and he feels his fingers touch something. He looks down and between his fingers lay the skeletal remains of a small animal. He draws his hand back quickly and shudders.
     “Damn you, Phillip!”
     Another crunch is heard, breaking his sidetracked thoughts.
     He takes another step and rounds the other corner of the table. He glances over and sees Doctor Phillip Rogers sitting on the floor. His body half slumped over and his chest covered in a good amount of blood.
     “Phillip, what happened??”
     Doctor Rogers lets out a light groan.
     “Are you ok, Phillip?”
     Phillip looks up at Grant with empty eyes and begins to smile. Grant steps closer and kneels beside his friend.
     “Is there anything I can do buddy? Do you need me to call for some help?”
     Doctor Rogers grins, his mouth opens up and the tip of a furry tail falls out of his mouth. Phillip swallows the remainder of the tail with a big gulp.  Grant tries to pull back in horror, but Phillip already has him by his wrist bringing his arm closer and closer to his teeth.
“Phillip, don’t! Please, don’t!”

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