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Elipsis
January 26th, 2012, 06:52 AM
*For Marty, who is the best evil scientist I know.*

Doctor Benjamin Martin was not your average professor of literature, though many of those who struggled through his often boorish lectures would say otherwise. He had a very regular schedule and would often be seen shuffling through campus, nose between the pages of some classical novel, at the same time every day for his morning class. Then it was off to a quiet lunch with colleagues, which for the eavesdropping waitress, wasn’t much for entertainment purposes but rather for normality’s sake. Other professors did not think much of his appearance, personality, or his unshakable and unchanging curriculum.

In the afternoon, he would be found in his office grading another batch of papers which he often graded above average but also left overly critical analysis for each one, filling the margins with the blood red ink he was so fond of. He always encouraged his students to visit him during his office hours but most were too intimidated or too apathetic to come seek counseling. It was very noticeable that his mind was always somewhere else. His students never minded this impediment of his for they were always either dozing in and out or attempting to get Dr. Martin as off-track as possible in order to postpone any upcoming assignment.

His office house always ended early, though what he was in such a hurry for was anybody’s guess. Around four in the afternoon, he could be seen riding his bicycle through campus once more and across town to the modest house where he had lived for so many years. Both his bicycle and his residence said much about his personality. The tires that he rode on were still stock from the factory though the bike was nearly as old as he. And his house was more than twice that age, being built as a farmhouse back when the area had been fields rather than a sprawling residential area on the outskirts of campus. Despite the history of his belongings, he managed to keep it all very well maintained.

Inside, however, could quite easily be considered a wreck. Books piled up anywhere there was space for them. The coffee table in the parlor was the centerpiece for those most important that day, completely covered in papers and dusty tombs, all for one small spot on the ledge where a coffee cup might sit. This is where he would spend most of his time. For hours he would sit on his old rotten couch and read, only stopping to crosscheck references, take notes, or venture to the kitchen for another fresh cup of coffee. Most who witnessed him in his natural habitat would say that he took his job all too seriously, but those who sat down with him and read what he did would beg to differ.

By the time it got dark, he would finish up his work, dress more comfortably for the cold, and ride his bike a few blocks over to the house of Brandon Carr’s. Brandon was Dr. Martin’s pupil. At the age of twenty three, Mr. Carr a tall and seemingly malnourished man, as his gaunt appearance would suggest. He lived in a small relic of a house on the edge of town with three german shepherds. While his peers would spend this time of night in front of the television or squander their time away on computers, Brandon would just be waking up for a long night’s work.

For the last two and half years, Dr. Martin had been giving half of every paycheck to Brandon in exchange for his assistance, company, and complete confidentiality. Brandon was also the sole benefactor of the professor’s belongings and wealth in the event that he died which was not the plan but planned for none the less. It was also agreed that Brandon be trained to an equal of Dr. Martin, just in case anything went awry. And though the assistant was young, had dropped out after his first year of college, and was almost completely shut off from the world, he was more intelligent than any student the doctor had in his years of teaching.

Dr. Martin approached the house, rolling to the stop in front of the garage and ducking quickly inside as not to be seen by passersby. The house was nearly as old as his own and the ceiling beams showed a dark rot that reeked of mildew. He opened the door to the adjoining house and was immediately greeting by the three dogs, all jumping and panting with glee. They all enjoyed his visits for it usually flagged their favorite time of the night: feeding time.

“Shoo! Hush now! Cerberus, get down!”

They all obeyed, for that was each of their names. Dr. Martin made his way to the sitting room, which were mere steps away. The house consisted of four small rooms: Two bedrooms, the parlor, and the toilet. Each room was designed for minimal living and the tenant was as a minimalist as one could be. Garage had been converted into a very functional workshop and the basement had been turned into something similar.

In the sitting room was Brandon, having his evening glass of wine to wake him up whilst shuffling through notes of the previous night’s work.

“Good morning,” he announced groggily. “Would you care for a cigarette?”

“Thank you, Brandon. It’s getting cold as hell out there,” Dr. Martin commented as he took a seat in his usual chair.

Brandon pulled out a smoke and poured another glass for his friend, though only the cigarette was accepted. “If you remember, we had some problems with the serum C-22 last night before you left,” the young man recalled over a handful of stained papers. “I suggest we use a lower dose tonight and see what kind of results we get.”

“And what if it has no effect at all? I can’t go grab another batch of chemicals from the science department again this month. They’ll start to grow suspicious.” Dr. Martin was agitated by the lack of progress.

“First of all, they’re already dead. What harm is it going to do? We can always flush the blood later or start fresh.” He exaggerated, hinting that their specimen might be too old. “And second, you’re a doctor. Shouldn’t you be able to order this kind of stuff for yourself?”

Dr. Martin stamped out his cigarette and exhaled heavily. “I am a doctor of literature, not a chemist. What we’re working with is perfectly suitable for our work as of now. We’ll do as you suggest, but sooner or later we’re going to have to look to alternate means of procuring our materials, just as we have with our specimens.”

Brandon set the papers down, growing uneasy. He quickly finished both glasses of wine in silence and looked up at the professor. “Well? Let’s get some results then!”

Higurro
January 26th, 2012, 12:54 PM
This is another very readable read and you have a wonderful sense of characters and settings. Just one question, should "dusty tombs" be "dusty tomes"?

SeaBee1
January 26th, 2012, 03:42 PM
Very well done! Nice setup for something sinister, I think. So maybe the 'tomb/tome' mistake was a 'Freudian slip'? 8-)

I had to read this line a second time before I realized you left out the 'was'.

"At the age of twenty three, Mr. Carr was a tall and seemingly malnourished man, as his gaunt appearance would suggest."

Again, an excellent start to what looks to be an intriguing tale!

Best regards

CB

LaughinJim
January 26th, 2012, 06:44 PM
Your piece is very nice and tight as an introduction to an obviously dark tale. It lacks a bit of polish, nothing more. I loved the three dogs all named Cerebus, the erudite reader now knows these two are up to no good. Its cleverness was also amusing. Just one grammatical note: in two places I noticed you ended an independent clause and later a sentence with a preposition. Although it is natural in speech, it is still unacceptable in proper written English of which you have a powerful command.

I am looking forward to reading your work in print. That’s where it belongs.

Keep the Faith
Tschuss.

Elipsis
January 26th, 2012, 09:25 PM
Thank you all for catching those mistakes for me. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

AlexBlack
February 1st, 2012, 10:17 PM
Very entertaining and brooding. Obviously keeping so secretive, naming your three dogs after a 3 headed hell-hound, and performing what must be human experiments laced with nonchalant murder are all things a normal person wouldn't do. These fellows are seriously dark, and for one of the most righteous of all causes: science. Can't wait to read the rest.

Dramatism
February 1st, 2012, 11:34 PM
Wow, this is amazing! I don't know of anything you can change about it. I love how it's so secretive and the unique pretenses behind it. A crazy professor with an equally crazy pupil. Gold! And I agree with Higurro. It is a very easy read, you didn't lose me during any part at all!

LaughinJim
February 11th, 2012, 05:59 PM
Just took a mo' to look again at serum c-22. I see you r point. There are other tangents out of this circular, inoperable path down the hal l. That reminds me of a poem I must post shorty.

Nevermore
February 12th, 2012, 11:59 PM
You keep a dark, brooding, chaotic theme throughout the set up of your story, and create enough suspense in such a way that the reader is intrigued and wants to read more, without being hopelessly confused. Very nice work.