Altered State – Part Five

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Short Story

“Doctor Lawrence? Why her?” seethed Karen.

Doctor Wilson rolled his eyes and went back to checking the charts.

“She’s been working on something in the main lab, so she’s our best bet right now.” He paused. “I still don’t get why you don’t like her; she’s been nothing but nice to you and everyone else.”

Karen huffed and left the room, letting the door slam shut behind her. I turned to Doctor Wilson and he shook his head.

“I know what you’re gonna ask, and no, I don’t know what her problem is.”

“Have you ever asked her?”

“Yeah, I’ve asked. But she never says anything, it just makes her get all pissy.”

Doctor Wilson went back to his work, but eventually up and went back to his office. He said there wasn’t much he could do until Doctor Lawrence got here. Karen came back once to make sure I had enough water, but she left soon after.

I was about to nod off, but someone burst through the doors, loudly exclaiming, “Hello!”

I jerked in my chair. Doctor Wilson had unstrapped me earlier, meaning that there wasn’t much holding me back from falling out. Whoever came through the doors caught me by my shoulders and sat me back in the chair. My heart rate was going off the charts on the monitor and a woman I’d never met appeared in front of me.

“I’m sorry for spooking you, are you okay?”

I nodded and she smiled.

“Excellent! I’m Doctor Lawrence, but please, call me Kate.”

She disappeared behind me to examine the machines.

Doctor Wilson came back in, followed by Karen. She spotted Kate and stopped in her tracks, turning back to glare at Doctor Wilson.

“Why didn’t you warn me that she’s already here?”

“Because I need you to be professional. Doctor Lawrence’s assistant wasn’t able to make it, so you’ll have to fill in.” Karen moved to leave, but Doctor Wilson grabbed her arm and spoke through gritted teeth.

“This isn’t about some petty one-sided argument you have with Kate. Do it for Ava.”

Kate strode over to Karen and offered her hand.

“Thanks for filling in today, I seriously appreciate it.”

Karen hesitantly took it.

“Please figure out what we’ve been doing wrong.”

Kate nodded and let go of Karen’s hand.

“Of course.”

She clapped her hands together and turned back to me.

“Okay! Let’s figure this thing out.”

She rolled her chair over and sat in front of me.

“I know you’re probably freaked out, and I don’t blame you, but I promise that it’s my job to get you out of this alive. Contrary to what you might believe, you’re not just some experiment to us.”

Experiment. I glanced up at Doctor Wilson. Our eyes met for a moment but he quickly looked away. It was hard to read his expression, but it looked a lot like guilt. I turned back to Kate, who looked earnest; I felt like I could trust her.

“We’re going to have to run some more tests, which means sticking some more tubes into you, alright?”

I raised my arms up, showing off the tubes that were already in them.

“If you can find any room, go for it.”

Kate laughed, loudly, and I could even hear Doctor Wilson let out a little snort behind me. Karen was examining a chart of where to stick the tubes in, but hesitated on one of them.

“Kate, why does it say to put one in her back?”

Kate looked up from where she was writing something down.

“Hmm? Oh, I think some of the energy drink is stuck somewhere in her body. I brought the antidote we’ve been working on in the main lab, so I want to get full coverage to flush it out of her system.”

Karen reached for a glass on the counter.

“Antidote? Where was this when everyone else was dying?”

Kate snatched back the glass.

“It wasn’t ready yet. It’s not my fault Brightside wanted to start testing without one. Doctor Kennedy and I kept lobbying for one, but they wanted to go ahead with testing anyways.” She took a deep breath. “The deaths are unfortunate, but they’re not my fault. I worked as fast as I could.”

Doctor Wilson was nodding, but Karen still looked upset. Kate held her ground, calmly meeting Karen’s glare. Without looking away, she said, “Doctor Wilson, please go prepare the antidote.”

Doctor Wilson walked toward Karen with an outstretched hand. She finally looked away from Kate and handed him the glass.

Kate gently poked a tube into my back and after a final check said, “Looks good. Now, let’s finally figure this, this thing out.”


Read from the beginning: Altered State – Part One

Read the second chapter: Altered State – Part Two

Read the third chapter: Altered State – Part Three

Read the fourth chapter: Altered State – Part Four

Photo by Dmitri Popov on Unsplash

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