• Chapter Two: High Voltage Horror

    “What sort of animal DNA sample is this anyway?” Chaucer asked curiously as he eyed the Petri dish. Hunter was busy messing with settings on the device and didn’t respond. Chaucer leaned over and watched his friend work. Hunter had removed the back panel to the device and was proceeding to mix and match wires from different parts to other parts. To Chaucer, he seemed to be randomly plugging in this and that, but to Hunter, he was on the path to increasing the device’s output. After a few minutes, Hunter seemed satisfied with his “improvements”, and replaced the back panel. Chaucer tapped him on the shoulder. He blinked and looked over.

    “Huh?” Hunter said dully. Chaucer shook his head.

    “I said, what sort of animal DNA is the sample?” Hunter thought for a moment before answering.

    “…Good question!” he finally said, causing Chaucer to hang his head.

    “You’re telling me you’re experimenting on something that you have no idea what it is? How are you going to collect accurate data from an unknown sample?” Again, Hunter thought it over. Finally he nodded to himself and replied,

    “This is just a test run. We don’t need any data from this except to see if the process works at all. I’ll grab another sample after this trial run that we’ll know what it is. If this fails, there’s no real harm done,” Hunter explained. Chaucer wasn’t convinced. Something wasn’t right, but he wasn’t one to bring it into the conversation. He simply nodded and watched. Hunter carefully aimed the device’s head at the dish, making sure everything lined up. He turned to everyone in the room and said, loud enough for all of them to hear,

    “You may wish to back up a little bit! This might get a little ugly!” At hearing this, everyone looked at each other before backing up to the door. Chaucer and Hunter were the only two left at the table.

    “What do you mean by ‘ugly’?” Chaucer asked cautiously. Hunter grinned.

    “Oh, nothing…Nothing at all,” he said. “Just that this pulse might have some minor side effects if someone is exposed to it directly for too long. I’m sure it won’t reach very far in the room, the others have no worry. We’re close enough to it now though that if something happened, we’d be right in the line of fire. Isn’t it thrilling?” he asked with a gleam in his eye. Chaucer blinked.

    “Uh…Yeah, thrilling…” he said warily. He still wasn’t sure what Hunter had done to the device. Upon thinking this, he remembered something he had meant to ask earlier. “Say, Hunter…Where did you say you got this thing?” Chaucer asked pointing at the device. Hunter at this point was putting on a pair of goggles. As he handed Chaucer a similar pair, he simply said,

    “I know a guy.”

    Chaucer knew this probably wasn’t going to end well, but he stayed put through it. He put the goggles in place and waited while Hunter made some final adjustments.

    “You may wish to stand back just a little bit,” Hunter warned. Chaucer was still eyeing the Petri dish. He absentmindedly mumbled a response and stayed where he was. Hunter shrugged and flipped the switch on the back of the device, which caused a loud humming sound. At first it didn’t seem to have an effect. The monitor on the wall showed no signs of movement from the sample. Chaucer and Hunter looked at each other for a moment before returning their gaze to the dish.

    “Maybe we should move it closer!” Hunter said loudly over the noise. Chaucer nodded and reached for the device. He grabbed the bottom and shoved it a little bit closer to the dish before pulling his hand back quickly. He thought he felt his hand go numb slightly as he released the device, but he still had full feeling. After a few moments, the Petri dish began to vibrate slightly. Chaucer leaned over to Hunter and said,

    “I thought you said this would only affect organic matter!”

    “So did I!” Hunter replied, trying to ignore the increasing buzz of the device.

    “Maybe you should shut it off!” Chaucer practically yelled as the sound was becoming unbearable. Hunter nodded quickly before attempting to shut down the experiment. At this point, the Petri dish was moving around freely in short bursts on the microscope. After a moment, Hunter said, frustrated,

    “The button is stuck! We’ll have to unplug it!”

    By this time, the device was actually beginning to move its head around. Hunter pointed at it and told Chaucer to hold onto it while he himself tried to unplug it. Chaucer nodded and grabbed hold of the shrieking machine. Hunter was having trouble on his own, for a few sparks were coming from the outlet. The lights in the room were beginning flicker on and off rapidly. Just as Hunter had almost pried the cord out, the device gave off a loud crack and short circuited. Unfortunately for Chaucer, he was still holding onto it when it went off. The shock sent Chaucer flying back onto the floor. Hunter sighed and walked over.

    “Crazy stuff huh?” he said with a nervous smile. Chaucer sat up and shook his head.

    “Never a dull moment with you around…” he mumbled. Hunter laughed and offered a hand to help him up. Chaucer took it, stood up and dusted himself off.

    “What a mess…” Hunter said as he surveyed the now burnt tabletop and the remains of the device. “Come on, let’s get out of here. Maybe we can try it another time.” Chaucer nodded and headed for the door warily. Hunter gave one last look around to see if he had missed anything. After a moment, noticed something odd. The Petri dish was still on the microscope, but something was wrong; the DNA sample was missing.