My Mad Scientist Girlfriend Whisked Me Away To Her Secret Laboratory Where She Injected Me With A Zombie Virus So I Can Be Her One-And-Only Forever!???
"Oh my God, Shelly, it's really you," I squeaked, shouldered my bag, and hugged my girlfriend tight.
Around us, the clamor of the airport rushed and crashed, but with her finally in my arms, it all seemed quiet. She squished against my chest and sighed.
When we finally let go and grasped each other's hands, I sighed too. I knew how she felt. There's this magical kind of relief when you meet someone that you know for the first time in the flesh.
We'd been dating nearly a year already, and yet, somehow, I was really seeing her. She was small and sweet, kind of mousey, with her brown, bouncy ponytail and her square glasses, the sort of person who looked like she'd read books in the park and do homework in coffee shops. The exact sort of person I'd fall for.
When she grinned my heart practically melted. "Hey," I said, but my voice was lost beneath an announcement from the airport PA.
"Come on," Shelly chirped, "you must be exhausted!"
Truth be told: I was. It had been a long flight, a longer day. I was hungry and worn out.
"Yeah!" I shouted back, and she tugged me along. The insistent pull of her hand upon mine (small, soft, warm, firm) was reassuring as she dragged me from my terminal, out into the crisp evening air, where all the noise poured out the automatic doors and up into the quiet, Velvet-blue sky. "It's beautiful," I sighed.
"You too," Shelly grinned, and I laughed and blushed and jogged to keep up as her pace got faster, more urgent.
"Hey, what's the rush?" I grinned.
Shelly just looked back over her shoulder, with this incredulous look, as if she couldn't believe I'd just asked such a question. I blinked. She bit her lip and looked me up and down and that's when my blush really flared to life. "Come on," Shelly tugged on my wrist again, "the car is over here."
We got there, I dumped my bag in the trunk and got in. We drove away from the airport, grabbed some burgers. We made out in the parking lot of the fast-food place (I'd blame Shelly for being impatient, but she wasn't the only one), and somehow managed to keep most of our clothes on, then we zipped home.
It was a thirty-minute drive but it went by so fast, both of us talking and laughing. Shelly's family home was pretty small, but something about it was really cute and fun. I wish I could tell you more, but honestly, I'm glad I can't, because just about as soon as she dragged me inside, my eyes were shut and my lips were sealed.
When we got to her room... Well. I wouldn't want to embarrass her, but suffice it to say, she was so beautiful, all sweaty and glasses glinting in the Starlight with each heavy gasp of her chest, and it all just makes me wonder how I ended up... Here.
In her basement.
In a cage.
Cold. Filled with dread.
It's clean, well-lit, and finished, not like the cobwebby basements I'm used to (stuffed with old bikes and old wood and old Christmas trees). It looks like the science lab in the middle school, with chrome countertops and glass cupboards and a mini-fridge in one corner. I woke up here earlier this morning, and I've been trying to gather my wits about me, but I feel dizzy, and it's hard to remember back much longer than a few days. When I think of anything other than Shelly, my brain gets hazy.
I shouted for a while, but it didn't do anything. I'd try shouting now, but I'm exhausted from rattling the bars of the cage. I'm lying on the floor now and the chrome floor is smooth against my cheek.
I'm starting to feel kind of nauseous and achy, when I hear the creak of a heavy door open and thud closed. "Shelly?" I croak.
"Hey there, sleepyhead," she singsongs down the stairwell to me, and I hear her click-clack down the tiled stairs toward me.
I slowly push my body up with my arms and get my knees beneath me. My vision swims. She seems so big when I see her through the bars. I lean forward. My forehead conks against the bars, and I wince. She presses the back of her hand to my forehead, and smiles.
"I think I've got a fever," I say, "I feel sick. And cold."
I feel a line of sweat draw down my cheek and neck and shoulders, trace it to my belly button. I groan. "... so your symptoms will probably persist for another couple of weeks, but don't worry, I'll take good care of you."
I don't know when I lost track of her words, too focused on the sensation of my own sweat, but she was clearly saying something important.
I shake my head. "Didn't catch that huh?"
I shake my head. She ruffles my hair, and it feels good; relieves some of my headache. "I feel sick," I grumble.
"I bet you do, turtledove," she purrs and scritches under my chin, and it's like my sense of touch is screaming. I can't help but drool. My jaw goes a little slack, and she smiles as she looks deep into my eyes, and somehow her face cuts through the fog of everything.
"You're my girlfriend."
"You wanna be my girlfriend?"
"Lucky for me," she says, "considering I didn't give you much of a choice." Shelly dabs drool off of me with a handkerchief. My chin is covered in it, dripping, puddles between my knees, mixing. The fire in my joints and my head returns as she breaks eye contact, and I groan.
"Not much longer," Shelly purrs and scritches the side of my head. "Just a couple of weeks."
I lay down. I think about how weird all this is, how I should scream for help, but I'm so tired and so in love, why would I scream?
Why should I scream?
Why... Should... I...
Dreams. My dreams are hot, and filled with bodies. Running, screaming, chasing, fleeing. Shades of red and black, like naked bodies running through the night, barely illuminated by far-off oily flames of burning cities. I'm one with the mass, one of the many sprinting bodies, I am one.
When I wake up, my body is wet, and covered in sweat, and freezing. I'm naked beneath like six blankets and it's not enough. I don't know how many times I've woken up since I last saw Shelly, I don't know how long it's been. I'm exhausted, but fully awake, real, as lucid as can be. I shiver and pull the blankets tight and groan, and my groan is a wheezing rasp. The pain in my head is a little duller now, and Shelly must be cleaning out my cage regularly. The blankets feel clean, the floor feels clean, other than sweat. I force myself up on hands and knees.
When was the last time I've eaten? My belly aches for food, but I'm so nauseous that the idea of putting anything other than water in my body makes my stomach lurch up toward my throat. I look around like a dog, and find something new in my cage. A figure staring at me. A mirror.
The girl in the mirror looks like me, just barely. She's sickly pallid and her eyes are so dark, like she hasn't slept in days. Parts of her are bloated that shouldn't be, other parts are fine. Her long hair is stuck to the side of her face with sweat. She looks like a feral dog. Is that stringy, wild creature really me?
There's a stirring nearby, and I whip my head around to look for the source, my vision blurry and tilting worse than ever. My ears twitch when I hear her voice, "Awh, babe, you're awake. You shoulda said something."
"Shelly," I rasp. My voice is barely louder than a whisper, and I realize it's hard to breathe, not because I feel the tightness in my chest (I'm vaguely alarmed by the numbness), but because I cannot breathe deeply enough to raise my voice. I struggle, and as I do a viscous fluid pours from me. Yellow and bubbly and thick. Was that in my lungs? Before I realize it, I have spoken the words aloud.
"Mmhmm," Shelly says, "here, come here, you must be thirsty."
I don't know if I am thirsty, but Shelly says so, so I must be, and I crawl toward the sound of her voice. She passes a cold glass to me through the bars, and as soon as it touches my hands, I realize how parched and dry my mouth and throat feel, and I can't help but choke it down. It's just water, I think, but it feels so good to my dehydrated body.
"Good girl," Shelly muses. Shelly tells me that it's been a week. She says that some of my higher brain functions have been burnt out, and others have been taken over by the illness she's put into me.
The pain isn't so bad and it starts to get easier from here. I stop sleeping. I don't need sleep. My skin goes from sickly to deathly, my eyes go from dark, to milky. My vision goes from swimming to blurry.
Time passes, and I begin to feel hungry. Hungrier and hungrier and hungrier, I need to eat, eat, eat, I ram my body against the side of the cage until Shelly finds me. She gives me water, and when I reach for her hand, to bite it, she frowns and says, "No. Bad girl."
"Hungry," I whine, and she frowns deeper.
"Already? I guess you really are a growing girl," she sighs, moves over to the little fridge. I finish my water by the time she returns. "This should tide you over," she says and there's something in her hands, and before I comprehend what's happening, I've lunged for her hands, and she's dropped it on the floor of my cage; I'm clawing apart meat and shoveling it into my mouth, starving, hungry, hungry, hungry. "You need to be careful darling," she says as I eat, "if you're not careful, you'll chomp off one of my fingers."
I stare at her fingers.
"No," she says sternly, and I return to the scraps that I lick up off the floor, and tenderly she reaches through the bars and pets my head, and her hand in my hair is soothing. Suddenly, the hunger is gone as I focus on that touch, "Don't eat the hand that feeds you, love."
I tentatively reach for her wrist, and tug her down, and she kneels in front of me. I gaze at her through the bars, and she sighs. "You're so beautiful," she says.
"Shelly," I croak.
She smiles, a broad incision across her normally tight features, "I love you too."
Shelly sleeps beside my cage, and I stroke her hair. It helps when I get hungry. The sweating stops, the drooling gets worse. I have a big bowl of water so I can drink whenever I want. When she talks to me about what I am now. She explains the science. I do not understand. I do not care. I am hungry. She feeds me and I am careful not to bite her hand. She lets me lick the juices from between her fingers. She is happy, and she goes away, and I am in the cage.
I stare at the creature in the mirror, blood smeared across her face. She is beautiful. She is strong. I reach out to touch her, and she reaches out to touch me, and our hands touch, and her skin is so cold and smooth. I like her. I want to eat her.
We touch until Shelly comes back, and Shelly asks me a question. I blink. I shake my head. I listen. She tries again and I blink and I shake my head and I listen.
Shelly makes a face that means-I-don’t-know-what-it-means and she says. "Are you hungry?"
My tongue runs along the backsides of my teeth and I can feel every ridge and curve, every scratch along their surface, it's so much.
“Hungry," I rasp, and reach through the bars at Shelly's blur.
Shelly runs a finger along the underside of my palm and I groan as the touch cuts through me, in elastic bolts, bouncing through my hand deep into my elbow. Drool coats my chin and my fingers scrape lightly over her hand.
Shelly smiles with her breath, and tousles my hair. "Of course you are," she purrs, steps back out of reach, and I strain against the bars to touch her more.
Shelly shouts out, yet I cannot touch her, and I do not want to hear her. But then I hear thuds against the tiles of the stairwell, and my ears snap toward the sound. A new, blurry figure enters the basement, and I choke and hiss and strain further at the bars. I can smell, I can hear their heartbeat race.
"Shelly, what the fuck is that," the new thing says, and I whip my head back and forth. My stomach, I want, I want.
"A science experiment," Shelly says.
"This isn't some vinegar volcano, Shelly, what the fuck," the figure says, and my collarbone creaks as I strain to fight out of my cage.
"Down, baby," Shelly says, and I whine and fall to my knees, and my arm hangs limply at my side. "Atta girl, I'll feed you soon," Shelly says and my stomach twists and shreds at my insides in response.
"What the fuck is she? Did you do this?" The person says and takes a step back.
Shelly steps toward the cage, runs her finger down the center, to the big padlock. "I told you. It's fine. She came all the way out here from Oklahoma for this," Shelly says, as she touches the thing that she keeps inside the lock. I look at the lock and try to understand it. I stare at her fingers. "Look, she's perfectly docile."
The other thing is frozen. Her heart is racing. My eyes drift over to her, fixate on that heart, and I whine. Hungry, croaky purr.
"Go get her, babydoll," Shelly whispers, and twists the key. I smash out of the cage. The figure screams when I lunge across the room, arms outstretched, as she turns to run. I fall on her, heavy, bigger than she is, heat and ferocity in my eyes, and she screams again before my head dips down toward her throat, mouth impossibly wide, and I hear Shelly say, "No. Bad girl."
"Get off her," Shelly says.
I get up and move to paw at Shelly.
"See," Shelly says, "I told you. Docile."
"Hungry," I say.
I can hear the girl's half-laughed sobs, and smell her pee, and I'm starving. She smells so good, so fresh, so wet, so good. I lick at the roof of my mouth, and it’s leathery, and I'm starving.
"What the fuck," the girl sobs as soon as she's got her words back.
Shelly tickles the underside of my chin and I whine and paw at her, because it's not enough, I'm so hungry, so hungry, so-
"You poor thing," Shelly says. "Hey," Shelly says to the other girl, "It’s her dinnertime, okay, that’s all. Then we can go. Promise. Can you grab some livers from the fridge?"
The girl's breath hitches, and she gets up onto her feet, and walks over to the fridge. I stare at her. Shelly hugs me around the waist, and pulls me into her lap as she returns.
"Come on," Shelly says, "why don’t you feed her? It's fine."
I sniff the air, my eyes fixed forward.
"This is so weird, Shelly," the girl says, and I can smell her bloody, wet panties through the denim of her jeans. I can smell the bloody duck livers on a tray. She holds meat out to me, the smallest piece pinched like a baby achilles and I am the hungry styx. I pull at Shelly's arms, my tongue flops out of my mouth.
And I'm gentle. So, so gentle. So, so, so gentle and hungry. Bite, after agonizing bite, each one less than enough, until I'm licking the girl's hands clean, and she's hiccuping and crying and giggling, and Shelly's giggling, and Shelly says, "okay, go ahead," and I bite.
There are screams, but more importantly, there is blood and muscle in my mouth as I tackle her to the ground, and the blood and muscle are much more filling than the screams. Shelly pets me, combs my hair. I cough and hork down throatfuls of gore. She sits and watches and takes notes. I don't notice.
I've been famished for a-concept-of-time, but now there's a satisfaction that spreads through me and fills my entire life; I was hungry and it was agony. I am full and it is bliss. I moan as I eat, and eat, and eat, licking knuckles clean, yanking tendon from muscle with my teeth. I want to revel forever.
Shelly pets me. Shelly touches the girl's skull and says, "Here, outta here."
So I eat from there, and suddenly my body is cold. Suddenly my face is covered in blood. Suddenly there are hard chunks of calcium phosphate between my teeth, electricity in my head; I am so bloated that it hurts, and I clutch at this awful body. Suddenly there is carnage all around me and Shelly is smiling, and I am sobbing, and everything hurts, "What-wh-what did I do?"
"Shhh," Shelly purrs and pets me, but I am horrified. I slump against her leg. I can remember everything, but I try desperately not to. It hurts. "Let's get you cleaned up," Shelly says, and takes me by the arm to the shower.
I limp along behind her, and the shower helps a little. My body doesn't hurt quite so bad afterward, but I still feel so cold. I have a little time to digest afterward, and my stomach feels better. Shelly pulls me into her room, and we cuddle. We watch Disney movies, and she gropes me and I grope her, and we make out, and after a while we talk and I cry a lot.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry," I keep saying, and she keeps shushing me and petting my hair. And then I feel better. And we talk about life, and our plans, and it's totally lucid and gentle. Shelly makes some french fries from out of a red plastic bag, and I pick them off the tinfoil while we stand in the kitchen. We chat with her dad while he drinks Shelly’s smirnoff ice’s and asks if we want any. We have some ice cream before bed and everything makes sense.
"Goodnight, I love you," Shelly says.
"I love you too," I say.