Blood and Broccoli 2: Leftovers

📅 Published on June 7, 2023

“Blood and Broccoli 2: Leftovers”

Written by Chisto Healy
Edited by Craig Groshek and Seth Paul
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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Drew was running. It was a dark night lit only by the occasional street lamp that beamed down on him like a spotlight but left the things behind him hidden away in the blackness. They were giving chase. He could hear the pads of their feet on the concrete, their snarls. Drew knew he couldn’t outrun them. They would catch him and tear him to pieces, rip his heart out, and eat it with their drooling maws. They always did.

Still, he ran. He did his best to get away, to try to be free. He screamed with fear and exhaustion. He pushed his arms and legs, willing them to take him somewhere safe from the pain he knew was coming, the pain he created.

He heard them closer then. It wouldn’t be long now. He bellowed his furious scream and pushed his body to its limit, but as he passed under the next street lamp, he made the mistake of looking back over his shoulder. He saw the illuminated jaws of the giant man-sized wolf about to clamp down on him. Drew barely had time for a gasp before the teeth sank into his flesh. Snarls alerted him to the presence of the others. In a moment they pounced. Drew could feel them biting, tearing, ripping his flesh away to get at his organs. The pain was intense. Then he saw the clawed hand rip his heart free from his chest. He stared in horror as the wolf’s fangs bit into the organ and his own blood sprayed out across his face. Then he awoke with a start, spraying sweat across his bedsheets and panting. His hand went to his chest as it always did. It was irrational. He knew his heart was there. He was alive. Still, he couldn’t help it.

Drew cursed and climbed out of the bed feeling more like a mental patient than a doctor. He rubbed his face with trembling hands. Drew was all too aware that the wolves in his recurring nightmare were a manifestation of his guilt after orchestrating the brutal murder of almost his entire family, but anyone that endured Thanksgiving with those people would have understood. Still, the guilt and the dreams remained to plague him regularly. Maybe I should have put the drug into a dessert like Mom’s bread pudding instead of something healthy and boring like broccoli. Then I could have felt less guilty.

He went into the bathroom and sighed when he saw himself in the mirror. He looked terrible, haggard, like a man that hadn’t slept well in months since killing his family. “Shit.”

After a few good splashes of cold water, he returned to his room. He hated this room. They said he could bring things in, work to personalize it, and make it feel like home, but how did you personalize a sterilized all-white room? What wasn’t white was stainless steel. How homey. He scoffed at it. This is my penance, my Hell. I deserve this, don’t I?

To make matters worse than the fact that the Corporation all but owned him, Drew knew they were planning something, something with the weapon he created. He knew it was coming soon just by the way people moved and talked with anticipation and anxiety, yet they wouldn’t fill him in on any details. His role was to make sure the drug continued to be made, to supply them with the means, not to know what it was for. They helped him with his own personal vendetta. Now he belonged to them. Fantastic.

Drew may have just thrown in the towel and joined his family, but there was a reason he couldn’t. This reason just added more guilt to his already heavy heart. With a deep breath, he left this terrible room, smiled at the armed and armored guard outside his door, and waved for effect. The guy seemed like overkill. Drew had no weapons other than a whistle and he was not a fighter. They claimed the armored guard was there for his protection but he knew them better than to believe anything they said. This place was a fortress. No one was getting in the front door, never mind all the way up to the ninth floor to put him in danger. They wanted to make sure he didn’t try to flee or take himself out because they needed him. He didn’t keep his notes on paper or computer. The math and recipe for his Christmas dish of destruction were all tucked away neatly in the back of his mind. It was his assurance that they wouldn’t kill him after he created what they asked him to, and paid him to. They did pay him and they paid him well. Every time he attempted to argue one of them would remind him of that fact. “You are wealthy, doctor. You would do well to remember that.” Blah. What good is it?

Drew didn’t hear the soldier walking behind him but he knew that he was. He always did. Once Drew got far enough the man would stop, radio the next guy, and return to his post. Hell yeah. I’m living the good life, right? Bastards.

Drew went to the elevator and gave an obviously fake smile to the guard standing within. “Your post has to be the worst,” he said. “Good thing you’re not claustrophobic huh?”

“Where are you headed, sir?” the guard said back from his statuesque place in the corner.

“You’ll see when I press the button,” Drew said, his grin more genuine this time. “Live a little. I’m a free man remember?”

“As you wish, Doctor.” Drew groaned and hit the button for Basement 1.

“The scientist is heading down to the basement. Be on the ready,” Drew heard the guard say into his radio. He shook his head and turned to face the man.

“You people may actually be worse than the family I worked so hard to kill. What do you think I’m going to do? Where could I go? Doesn’t this get boring?”

“I’m just doing my job, sir.”

“Yes. Yes, I know. Fantastic. What an exciting job it is.”

“I am proud to be a part of the Corporation, Doctor.”

Drew groaned. There was no point. He couldn’t goad these guards. He’d already tried all that. They were unshakable. Part of him thought they may actually be robots. He wouldn’t put it past the Corporation. They hired him after all.

When the elevator stopped, Drew looked at the guard and bowed. “This is my stop. I bid you farewell, good gentleman. Until we meet again.”

“I’ll be here when you head back up, sir.”

Drew sighed. “Yes. Of course, I know. I know.”  He exited the elevator and walked down another bland white hallway to a stainless steel desk where a fine-suited man with thin-rimmed glasses sat enjoying a book. Drew walked up to the desk and the man looked up at him.

“Good day, doctor, What can I do for you?”

Drew started to respond with something sarcastic but stopped himself. He took a deep breath and started again. “I need to see her and I need some privacy. You know I can’t hurt myself or escape in there and she can’t get to me either. That’s not even mentioning the cameras that have been following my every move and recording it.”

“I have to accompany you, Doctor.”

“No. You don’t. You know you don’t. There’s literally no need for it. It’s like trying to explain off the need for a suit jacket over a vest over a shirt. What are you even doing? Who dresses you?”

The man put his book on the desk and looked down at his outfit. “This is an expensive suit.”

“I’m sure it is. This is an expensive compound. Pretty isn’t it?”

The man frowned. “I still have to follow protocol.”

“Five minutes, Martin. You want to pat me down first and make sure there’s nothing the cameras or armed guards missed before I got to you?”

Martin frowned again. “So help me, Doctor, if you take advantage of my kindness and make me regret this, I will see to it that you are turned into a monster of your own creation so you have no choice but to comply in the future.”

Drew nodded. Because you’re the first person to make that threat, right? Unoriginal, Martin. Come up with your own thing, he thought. “Of course. I understand. Got it. Okay?”

“Five minutes.”

Drew nodded again and waited for the man to press the button and unlock the thick door behind him. Then Drew hurried through the door, stopping before the clear plastic wall before him. He placed his palms on it and looked at the girl sitting on the mattress on the other side. She was the last surviving member of his family, his cousin, Trina. Her mouth was lined with dry blood and made her look like a kid who drank fruit punch messily. He frowned at the sight.

“Hey,” he said sheepishly.

Her eyes rolled up to look at him. They were wild, untamed, not the eyes he was used to seeing his entire life. He sighed. “How do you feel?” he asked. “Are you okay? I only have a few minutes of privacy.”

“What’s privacy?” she said with a wicked smile. She sprung to her feet, crossed the room, and slammed against the other side of the clear wall in a single blink. Drew gasped and stumbled backward. Trina laughed at this and sucked on a blood-soaked finger.

“Well, they feed me, cousin. They love feeding me. It’s like a game to children. Feed the animal. This is what I am now. When it starts to wear off, I get sick, cough blood, and begin to die all over again. Then they save me once more by turning me back into a monster. Thank you so much for your mercy.”

Drew noted the sarcasm in her tone but said nothing. He swallowed a lump in his throat and nodded. “I know. I’m sorry. It was the only way to bring you back, to keep you from death. I didn’t want to lose you, but I’m working every day on a long-term cure, a way to keep you alive longer. I won’t give up.”

“My life comes from my monstrosity. I crave blood and violence every waking moment. It’s either that or death, a kill-or-be-killed existence. I’m a werewolf junkie because of you and your goddamn drug, Drew. Now, you say you’re working on keeping me a monster longer. Well, you have my gratitude.”

Drew frowned again. “I’ll figure it out. I’ll save you for real. I just need time. If I left you dead as you were and didn’t inject you immediately, I wouldn’t have even had the chance. You would have been gone forever. I didn’t have a choice.”

Trina laughed at him. She poked the elongated fingernail of her bloody index through one of the air holes in the wall and wiped a streak of blood down his cheek with a gentle swipe. Drew touched his face and realized how easily she could have cut him, killed him even, when she only had a hole the size of a dime to access him. He shivered at the realization. Part of him wanted to inquire, to find out if she had hurt or killed any of her caretakers, disposed of her guards, or done anything to anger the Corporation. He wished he could, but he knew that he didn’t have the time for that. Instead, he took a step further backward and said, “They’re planning something, Trina, something big, something with my drug, but no one will tell me what it is. People are going to die. Have you heard anything?”

Trina leaned her head back and gave a deep belly laugh that sounded as inhuman as she was now. “Suddenly you care if people die? I was with you, bud. We totally planned the whole thing and gave our family the gift of brutal violent death for Christmas. Have you forgotten that or just absolved yourself? We’re not the good guys, Drew.”

Drew closed his eyes tightly and shook his head as if he were trying to defend against letting her words in. “That was different. That was personal. They could kill innocent people, tons of them. God knows what they can do.”

Trina put her palms against the wall, streaking it with crimson. “God? You want to talk to me about God? Are you serious? God doesn’t give a shit about us Drew. Look at me. I’m not God’s creation, cousin. I’m yours.”

“If you know anything, please tell me. Time is running out. Any minute, our time alone will be up.”

Trina displayed a wicked smile of jagged lupine teeth. “Of course, they talk in front of me. I’m the monster in a cage. What could I do with the information?” Drew blinked. He stared at the thing that was once his closest family outside of his mother and he waited for her to give him more. “Aww hell, who would believe you anyway? They sold it to a terrorist sect in Russia. Everyone thinks all the bad guys are in the middle east. Just wait til this goes down. There’s a debate for the next presidential candidate coming up. The top candidates from each party will be there. It’s the perfect time for a rival superpower to bring us to our knees. They reached out to the Corporation and offered a metric fuck ton of money and now it will be taken care of.”

“But the corporation is based in America. That could literally destroy us. Both sides will blame the other. It will lead to civil war after removing our capable candidates and hope for the future. Why would they sanction that?”

“They don’t have to be based in America, Drew. They just happen to be. They’ll go anywhere. They don’t give a shit. It’s all about money and power and who has the best offer. This time it happened to be the Russians. Next time it could be anyone.” The candidate and his followers will be disposed of so he could be replaced by someone with a more clear conservative view and standing and the event will be blamed on the democrats. It will look like a bizarre monster attack, but it will have the conspiracy nut coming out of the woodwork with theories. People always want to explain everything. Everyone blames the opposition. It works double. No one but the people involved know the Corporation even exists so the fingers will never be pointed in the right place. It’s really actually very smart business. Who cares about the world or humanity anyway? I think you should let it happen.”

“Since when do you support things like this, Trina? We’re not the bad guys. We don’t help the bad guys.”

The half-wolf woman laughed again. “They’re all just food to me now. Are you a humanitarian, Drew? It’s okay to murder your family but not to support a good old-fashioned culling?” She laughed more. “You’re absurd. It’s all absurd. None of it means anything.”

“I have to stop them,” Drew said, more to himself than his cousin.

“Let me out. I can do it.” Trina smiled and the sight of it made him shiver with revulsion. “Think about it. They are going to turn people into killers just long enough to do what they need done, but me… you’ve made me into a killer for a long time now. I am trained, not just wild. I can beat them, and stop them from killing people you think deserve to live. They just have to outlast the duration of the drug.”

Drew shook his head. “It’s too dangerous. What if you lose? I can’t let you die again.”

“I won’t.”

“What if you give in to your own bloodlust and just add to the death toll? How can I know you will keep your end of the bargain?”

“Freedom. I save the candidates and the future and then you let me go.”

Drew bit his lip nervously. “But you’ll die. The drug will wear off eventually and you won’t have more.”

“Honestly, that wouldn’t be so bad. You have no idea what this is like, but fine, I know you won’t let that happen. You won’t let me go if it means you have to actually let me go. So give me a supply, a month’s worth maybe. I’ll stay in touch somehow. That will give you time to make a real cure and meet me with it before I run out and die forever. What do you say, cousin?”

The door opened behind him and he said quietly to her. “I’ll think about it.”

“Let’s go,” Martin said with a wave of his arm. “Time’s up and I’m not losing my retirement for you to chat with a monster.”

Drew wanted to argue but he didn’t bother. Instead, he merely nodded and followed Martin out of the room with a reluctant wave back toward his cousin who gnashed her razored teeth in response.

“Why do you talk to that thing anyway?” Martin asked when they were back out in the hall by his desk.

“That thing is my cousin.”

“It was. It’s not anymore. You don’t think you can trust it or believe it, do you? We’re all just food to it, Doctor. I would tread carefully.”

“And I would ask your opinion if I wanted it. Maybe you should be the one to tread carefully.” He fought the smile that tugged at him when he saw the nervousness on the man’s face. Drew turned on his heel and headed back to the elevator where, as promised, his armed escort was waiting. Drew sighed but offered no verbal complaint. It was pointless. He just needed to get back. He needed to think. He stood against the elevator wall and held his hands in front of him. His left index finger tapped frantically at his right hand beneath it.

“Are you alright, doctor?” the guard inquired.

Oh yes, perfect. Lovely. How could I not be alright? “I’m fine,” he said. “I just wish I could figure out the formula to keep Trina going without so many injections.”

“It must be difficult,” the guard said back but there wasn’t a trace of emotion in his tone.

Do you have a family? Do you have feelings? Do you have anything other than orders to follow, you piece of shit, robot? Drew took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Yeah,” he said rather than voicing any of his actual thoughts. “It’s difficult.”

Drew didn’t take the elevator back to his room. He took it to the top, to his lab. It was easier for him to think there. Working made things feel easier. Plus, he did have a job to do and if he didn’t do it, then they wouldn’t need him any longer and he was as good as dead.

When he stepped off the elevator, he just waved at the waiting guard. “Come on. I have work to do. Radio your buddy. Tell him I’m heading into my lab.” The guard did just as he instructed and followed behind him while radioing the next man up. Drew rolled his eyes unseen. When he reached the lab the other guard was already standing to the side of the door. Drew went in and locked the door. This was the one place he was allowed to be alone. He was locked in and the ceiling was lined with rotating cameras. They had nothing to worry about. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, then just stood with his eyes closed for a moment.

When his heart was slow and his head was clear, he got to work. He didn’t work on the wolf serum they would need for their little event. Instead, he worked on a longer-term cure for Trina. If Drew did somehow manage to get past the guards and let her out, they wouldn’t trust him anymore. Even if he made it out alive, they would keep his lab and try to get someone to duplicate his serum but they would never allow him the time to create something to save Trina. That month’s supply would mean nothing.

Drew injected a rat with the new serum and watched it evolve into a vicious monster. While he was waiting to see how long it lasted before it wore off, he worked on that month’s supply his cousin wanted. He owed her that much. As things have been going, he just made the next dose when she needed it. Each time he warred with himself on whether to keep her going or just let her die, and each time, he handed the shot over to the man in the expensive suit that came to pick it up. Without Trina, Drew was alone in the world, and alone with the guilt of what they had done. Trina shared the weight of that with him and he needed her to carry her half. It was horrifically selfish but at this point, Drew was aware of who he was. He could no more change himself than he could change his fate.

As if on cue, a knock sounded at the door. Drew huffed and went to press the button to open it. When it slid to the side, the smug bastard and his perfectly pressed navy blue suit was standing in the doorway with a beaming grin. “How are the day’s efforts, doctor?”

Drew shook his head. “This stuff takes time. I’m trying to change the formula and create a better version. I can’t just do that instantly. It would help if there were no interruptions.”

“Well, we need six doses for the event. I’m sure you’ve been told this, doctor.”

Drew balled his hands into fists and then relaxed them. “I’ve been told nothing. I don’t know what event this is or when it is if that is a deadline you expect me to meet, or who you intend to use it on.”

The man’s smile faltered for a moment but he recovered quickly. “The event is tomorrow. We need six doses from our good scientist for things to go properly, and if any one of those six doesn’t work as it is intended, you and your cousin will pay the price for that, as I’m sure you are aware. We saved your life and hers, and we can return you both to Charon. That said, I’ll return in a few hours to check back in. I’m sure you won’t let us down, Doctor.”

As the man turned and stalked off and Drew hit the button to close and lock the door, he heard the death rattle of a rat behind him. Drew snarled and punched the door. That wasn’t nearly long enough. He might have to actually let this happen, he realized, just so he had enough time to work, to create the proper serum for his cousin. She was right. He orchestrated the death of his entire family simply because they were annoying. No. That’s not true. He did it because they disrespected his mother and family, real family, mattered most. That’s why Trina had to come before the people at that rally. His monsters would go public and the internet would make sure they went viral. The narrative would be controlled and the city would rain blood in April but it would bring May flowers in the sense that it would buy him the time to get Trina out, for the two of them to escape. Then again she said the event was in a few days. What if she was lying? They could have sold to anyone. He had no doubt that they would.

Drew knew that whatever this event was it wasn’t the end of it. They didn’t want him just for this. They let him use his own family as a trial run for the drug and now they were setting something in motion. The highest bidder, someone rich and psychotic with an agenda would continue to come knocking and the Corporation would continue to provide, which meant he would continue to have a job to do. Morals weren’t part of the equation as much as they wanted people to believe. He was no better. He wouldn’t be here if he was. And that didn’t change anything. He needed out and his only way to get out was to use Trina. In order to do that, he had to get the serum right.

A few hours later when the knock at the door came, Drew opened it and reluctantly put a bag of loaded syringes in the man’s hand. “Six,” he said.

The man gave his disgusting smile and said, “I knew you would come through. You always do. Pleasure doing business with you, Doctor.” Then he was gone.

Drew gritted his teeth. He squeezed his hands into fists and stood there, twitching with anger. He was beginning to hate himself as much as the cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents he killed. It didn’t matter if he hated himself though. He loved Trina. This is for her, he reminded himself.

Knowing that he just created the deaths of tons of people and helped to send his own country into further division and violence, Drew took a deep breath and got back to work. He worked long into the night killing rats and monkeys as he went. He felt worse about the animals than he did about the humans, but he didn’t feel bad enough to spare them. He had to figure this out before the Corporation came up with their next event. He knew it wouldn’t be long.

When he was too exhausted to think anymore he left his lab at last. “Where to?” the guard asked him, the moment he hit the hall.

“Christ,” Drew said. “I hadn’t even thought about it yet. Maybe I should go to the bathroom. Would you like to accompany me? You can wipe.”

“That won’t be necessary, Doctor.”

Drew nodded. “Right. Robots. I think I just want coffee. Take me to the elevator and let your buddies know I’m heading to the cafeteria. In fact, I would like to request the man in the suit to meet me there. Radio that in too.”

“As you wish, Doctor.”

Drew listened to the soldier radioing things in as he made his way to the elevator. Then he stared at the guard staring at him as they rode the box in silence to the second floor where the cafeteria waited for them. Drew walked in and there were people working. Sometimes he didn’t come here for his body’s nourishment but for his soul. These were normal people, people like him just doing jobs. They weren’t watching him. They were watching the mashed potatoes. It was a nice change of pace he often needed in order to stay sane. Am I really sane though? Would a sane man have even made it to this point?

Drew got himself a large cup of steaming black coffee and went to sit at a shining steel table. He sipped at it and waited for the asshole in the suit. Drew found himself grinning for a change when the man showed up and looked slightly ruffled, one side of his collar turned up. It was nice to see them feel some stress for a change. The man went to a cooler and got himself a beer. Then he came and sat across from Drew. “You wanted a word, Doctor?”

Drew sipped his coffee. “I did. You look upset. Hard night?”

“I lied about the event. It wasn’t tomorrow. It was tonight. It… didn’t go as planned.”

Drew raised an eyebrow at this. “That’s what has you, isn’t it? If it doesn’t go off right, you lose money and reputation. You don’t care about the lives or the blood. You care about the wallets, just like the people you sell your death serum to.”

The man frowned and sipped his beer. “What did you want to talk to me about, Doctor?”

“What went wrong? It was contained, wasn’t it? Tell me, my creatures aren’t just out there in the city.”

The man’s lip twitched. He sipped his beer again. “Of course, it was contained, Doctor. Why did you wish to speak to me?”

Drew stared at him. He read his eyes, body language,   all of it, and knew the man was lying. The protection against disaster was the fact that the drug wore off and the people died when it did, but a lot of damage could be done in that time. Drew thought about it. If he hurt their wallets and gave them things to stress over, to work to control, then they would be flustered enough to miss things and he could use that to get Trina out. “When’s the next event?” he asked.

“Excuse me?”

“When is the next event? I know you have one lined up and you’re going to move up the schedule because of whatever debacle just transpired. You want to save business. So tell me.”

“I will tell you what you need to know and that is it. You are not in a position to make demands.”

“How many people died tonight?” Drew asked.

“All of them. More than all of them. The things were difficult to take down. Is that your doing?”

Drew’s excitement faltered. “Of course not. It’s not the drug. It’s who you administer it to. You give it to people who pose the least threat. Enhanced, they will do damage but not the same as someone with a furious temper or combat training. You have to select them carefully. I did this successfully, not just because of the drug, but because of the decision-making and planning. Maybe you should let me in on more.”

“Not a chance, but I will take the information into consideration.” He put down the empty bottle. “If you don’t need anything else, I’m going to go now, Doctor.”

“Wait.” Drew saw him begin to rise and then fall back into his seat. “I have a new version, a better version. It worked on the last monkey but I need to test a human to know before you take it out into the field.”

The bastard’s smile returned. “I’m assuming you have it on you. I know you always like to have a security plan, just like we do. Well, Doctor, if you need to try it out, then try it out.”

Drew licked his lips nervously. “I’m not sure I follow.”

The man in the suit stood from the table. He took his bottle and banged it on the table, shattering it. Then he grabbed a woman filling the cooler with juice and milk and he slit her throat with the broken bottle. The blood poured furiously as she gagged and grabbed at her torn neck before collapsing. The other workers panicked and scurried away like rats. “Killing is simple, Doctor. These people are all disposable. It’s for the greater good. So now it’s your turn. Test your serum.”

Drew looked at him, his face a mask of the horror he felt in his heart. “The person that turns will kill everyone.”

“Oh please. You did it to your own family. Don’t give me that conscience nonsense. Test your serum, Doctor.”

Drew swallowed a lump in his throat and shook his head. “No.”

The man threw the blood-dripping broken bottle to the ground and reached into his coat to retrieve a silenced pistol. “Test your serum.”

“You can’t kill me. You need me.”

The man met his eyes, his stare intense. Then he lowered the gun, pointing it at Drew’s knee. Drew was breathing hard. He knew that the man’s threat was real. These people didn’t care who they hurt. Drew held up a hand to get the man to wait, to make sure he didn’t pull the trigger out of boredom. Then he reached into his pocket and withdrew a syringe, proving the man right. He nodded and stood. He didn’t see a single worker left on the floor. “They’ve gone,” he said.

“They’re just hiding. Find them.”

Drew swallowed and moved through the cafeteria, the syringe like a sword in his hand. He crept around, peering under tables and racks. Metal toppled and plates crashed as a man went running by. Drew gave chase. He watched as the man in the suit stepped into the fleeing worker’s path and caused him to freeze with a gun to his face. Drew hurried up behind the cafeteria worker. “I’m sorry,” he said, before jamming the needle into the man’s neck.

“No, you’re not,” said the man in the suit. “Don’t lie to yourself. Come now. We have to leave.”

Drew frowned but hurried out into the hall where two heavily armored guards were waiting. “Only put it down if you have to,” the suited man said to them. Then he closed the doors to the cafeteria and stood back against the wall. “Now we wait. Make sure you get the data you need, Doctor.”

Drew watched through the port-hole windows in the doors as the man he stuck changed into a man-sized wolf, his skin tearing and bones snapping, his joints refitting and jaw elongating. He roared in pain as his body changed. Then he roared in fury and went on the hunt. The workers hid and ran, they screamed and cried. They did all they could, and the beast let them. It toyed with them because it knew they wouldn’t escape. It would catch them eventually and it wanted to enjoy the game. The wolfman made the killing last. It took them one by one, ripping off limbs and chewing on them to frighten the others. A man ran for a window and was hit in the back by the severed arm of a coworker. The wolf pounced on him while he was down and scalped him with a razor-tipped claw. It let him crawl away bleeding as it pursued another. Drew stood in the hall with the man in the suit and the two robotic guards waiting for their chance to fulfill their duty.

Drew watched in horror at first but soon his horror changed to fascination and the scientist in him won out. He found the creature interesting and wondered about the man they chose to inject. Who was he before this? Who would he never be again? Drew found the man beside him noticed the change in his demeanor and was watching him now with a sickening grin. I should have stuck you as my test run, Drew thought.

Once everyone in the cafeteria was dead and mutilated, the wolf just sat in the room’s center eating the flesh of one of its victims. It didn’t seem to know what to do with itself now that the killing was over. The soldiers took a step towards the door but Drew put a hand on their shoulders. “Wait,” he said simply. “Not yet. Only if it attacks. I need to see how long it lasts.”

“Yes, sir,” the guards said, standing down.

Hours passed. Drew and the man in the suit were now sitting on the floor in the hallway. The guards remained poised at the door, ready to fire. “Are they robots?” Drew asked the man beside him. “Seriously? Are they?”

“Might as well be,” the man said back with a shrug.

Then the beast must have been bored because it rose and charged the door. The man in the suit grabbed Drew by the shirt and dragged him away from the doors. “Let it pass,” he screamed to the guards. Don’t kill it unless it tries to take someone important or leave the premises. Let it die naturally.”

“Yes sir,” the guards said as the doors burst open and the man-sized wolf came barreling through. It ripped one guard’s throat out with a swipe of its claws and then it charged off down the hall toward the elevator. The surviving guard followed the beast, his gun out before him.

The man with the suit helped Drew to his feet. “Shall we,” he said with a smile. “For science, of course.”

“Of course.” Drew followed the man with the suit who followed the soldier who followed the wolf. Up ahead there was screaming. The hall was streaked with a red carpet of blood down its center. When they caught up with the soldier he was holding his gun in trembling hands and looking all around the hall. “Sir?” he said when they reached him.

Seeing the guard’s fear actually made Drew feel some relief. So they’re human after all. “It must have taken the elevator?” the man in the suit said.

“Sir?” the guard repeated.

“He’s right,” Drew told him. “The new version retains more humanity.”

The guard reached forward, hit the button for the elevator, and then jumped back training his gun on the doors. There was a ding! The doors opened and a head still wearing its guard helmet rolled out. What was left of the body was slumped in the corner of the blood-drenched silver box. “Well, alright. Let’s go then,” said the man in the suit, shoving the guard into the open elevator. He looked at Drew. “After you,” Drew said to him.

When they were all inside, they stood in awkward silence, the blood of the dead guard rhythmically dripping from the ceiling around them. Plip. Plip. Plip. “I shouldn’t kill it?” the soldier asked again as the doors opened on the next floor.

“No,” said the man in the suit. “There’s no blood. It must have gone up further. Let’s go.”

“What if it didn’t go up?” Drew asked. “Retaining more humanity, what if it went down? What if it went to the street?”

“God dammit,” said the man in the suit. He hit the button to send the elevator to the street level. When the doors opened, the main lobby of the building was littered with body parts. Everything had been sprayed with blood. It looked like a mad artist ran about swinging cans of paint. The front doors to the building were crumpled and smashed as the wolf didn’t bother using the handle, retaining humanity or not. Drew just stood there staring in amazement at all the carnage and death. The thing had toyed with the cafeteria workers for hours and now it made haste, just laying waste to everyone in its path. Was it losing control or perfectly in control?

The man in the suit whirled on him and grabbed him by the throat. Drew wasn’t ready and he gasped and choked. “What was the purpose of this new version, Doctor? And why shouldn’t I just kill you now?”

Drew pointed to his throat as his face colored. The man dropped him. “Answer the question.”

“To create a true weapon, sir, a soldier. That would be worth even more wouldn’t you say?”

The man studied him a moment and then said, “Dammit. Alright. We’re going after that thing, you and I.” He turned towards the soldier. “Radio for clean up and watch the door for anyone other than us. Let no one in to see this. If the beast comes back, you have my approval; kill it.”

“Yes sir.”

Drew followed the man outside and wondered if this was his last day on Earth. In case it was, he breathed the outside air in deeply. The man grabbed him by the arm and dragged him along. Drew realized he was being dragged towards the sound of screaming. “I would prefer the other direction,” he said.

“Shut up,” the man told him.

“Right. Yes. Of course,” Drew said. His hand slipped into his pocket and embraced the syringe hidden within. As they got closer, he could hear the roars of the beast he created. When it came into sight it was howling up at the sky. A human arm came in an arc and landed at their feet.

“I thought you said this thing retained more of its humanity,” the man said.

“Yeah,” was all Drew could say.

Cars were honking. People were screaming. There was gunfire from somewhere. Blood was spraying in every direction to coat windshields causing wrecks, decorate telephone poles and storefront windows, and paint the street. “He’s an artist isn’t he?” said the man pulling Drew along.

“A regular Picasso.”

“I was thinking more Rembrandt myself.”

“Okay,” Drew shrugged. “Kill it and let’s go home.”

“It’s too late for that,” the man told him. “The cat is already out of the bag. No point in damage control.”

“Oh,” Drew said. This fricking guy. Unbelievable. Too late to save lives and reputation. Let’s watch the artist paint.

Sirens rang out in the distance. “The police are coming,” Drew said nervously.

The man actually grinned when he turned to look Drew’s way. “Now we’ll get to see how he does against a real opponent, one that is armed and trained, with backup and resources at his disposal. I hope you are recording this data in that head of yours.”

“Always,” Drew said back.

The cops didn’t hesitate. They came out guns blazing. The beast leaped right and left from vehicle to vehicle, climbed onto the sides of buildings and up to their roof and then off onto his enemies, ripping them in half only to carry their spine away in his immense jaws like a dog with a chew toy. “Christ,” Drew said, turning away with disgust. “What if it comes over here?”

“I’m very quick, Doctor,” the man said, patting the gun on his hip.

Drew took a step to the right to make sure the man was directly in his path. Then he craned his neck and peeked around the man’s broad shoulders. As he watched the monster crash down with two heavy feet on the roof of a police car denting it inwards loudly, Drew asked, “Would you sell my drug to the middle east as well? North Korea? China?”

The man laughed. “It’s not up to me. I’m just your handler but if you want my opinion, the powers that be would sell your drug to the Devil himself if he brought his wallet.”

“That’s what I thought,” he said. His hand tightened on the syringe in his pocket.

The enormous wolf had an officer in each giant hand and flung them in opposite directions. More sirens sang in the distance but Drew knew they would be too late. He took a whistle that hung around his neck and blew on it. The beast stopped moving. Its ears perked up and it stood poised.

“What’s it doing?” the man asked. Drew knew he didn’t hear the whistle. Humans couldn’t hear such a frequency. He answered, “I don’t know.”

Drew blew the whistle again. The thing leaned its head back and howled. The man said, “Either it hears something or it’s calling something. This is fascinating, fascinating indeed.”

The beast hopped down from the dented police car. Its movements were slow and casual. Bystanders too afraid to run, backed away slowly and silently, watching with terror gleaming in their wide eyes. The beast headed right toward them. It grabbed cars that were in its way and tossed them aside like they were no more than a child’s toy. Behind the man, Drew smiled. He saw the man’s hand rest on the gun holstered at his hip. He was ready to draw. I wish I could say I’m sorry, but I’m not, Drew thought as he pulled his hand from his pocket and jammed the syringe into the man’s neck. He quickly drained its contents and pulled it back returning it to his pocket. The man’s hand left his gun and went to his neck. “The hell did you just do?” he asked angrily.

Then he fell to his knees and shortly after onto his face. The wolf was there staring at Drew, looking him in the eyes. Drew smiled. “You only have a few more seconds before your clock runs out,” Drew told the animal. “Feed for me please.”

The beast lingered there a moment and then dropped down to tear the suited man’s throat free. The arc of blood sprayed upwards dying his fur. Then the giant animal backed a step, trotted in a soft circle, and laid down, resting its lupine head on the dead man’s chest. Drew nodded at the beast. Then he turned and headed back the way he’d come. The wolf would be a dead human by the time emergency personnel arrived. This was 2023 though. Drew knew people had to have recorded the scene and uploaded it to the internet. The truth of his genius would be out before he made it back to the building and he had to go back because he couldn’t leave without Trina.

At least the experiment was a success. Just like with his family, the soldiers and the man in the suit acted exactly as he expected them to. Human beings were so predictable. You just needed some time to learn them and then you could plan their reactions just like that of chemicals. His new serum was a success. The beast lasted much longer. It retained more humanity and it obeyed his whistle. Trina would live and even more importantly, she would be his and answer only to him.

Drew smiled at the thought as he entered the front doors of the building into the  Texas Werewolf Massacre of a lobby. The guard left there and ran over to him. “He didn’t make it,” Drew said, “but the beast has been put down. I need to sleep. It’s been a long day. I’m going to return to my room.”

“As you wish, Doctor,” the soldier said. “The cleaning crew is working on the mess.”

“Good,” Drew said, as he walked over and hit the button for the elevator. When he was inside, he looked at the dead soldier in the corner. “Haven’t replaced you yet huh? Guess they didn’t expect me back so soon.”

Then he headed to his lab instead of his room. He needed to make as much of the new serum as he could to keep Trina going until he could set up a new lab somewhere. It was almost time to leave and the Corporation wouldn’t like that. They were going to have to run, run far and run fast. He would destroy everything he wasn’t taking with him. Trina would be the only monster this Frankenstein made, and she would answer only to him. The thought of the future excited him, but first, he had to work. Drew entered his lab, closed the door behind himself, locked it, and turned on the stereo. As he got to work, Nirvana blasted from the speakers, “There’s something in the way, yeah.”

“But not for long,” Drew thought with a smile. “Not for long.”

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by Chisto Healy
Edited by Craig Groshek and Seth Paul
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Chisto Healy

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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