Neil Grabty’s DNA was utterly unremarkable, as DNA went, but that wasn’t going to stop it from living on forever. When he donated his body to science, Grabty had visions of his transplanted organs saving lives or his cold form enlightening surgical classes in an operating theater.

Instead, he’d reported to the teaching hospital for one minor operation and told to return for a checkup in ten years. Incredulous, he’d forgotten about the whole thing until, nearly twenty years afterward, he met his untimely demise in a head-on collision. His head collided with someone else’s car, specifically, after a commuter ran a red light. That put an end to Neil Grabty’s personal stakes in what happened to his DNA, at least.

His body was rushed to a nearby hospital, but despite the best efforts of the surgeons there and the paramedics en route, Mr. Grabty was dead on arrival. His body was wheeled into the morgue waiting for someone to claim it, but nobody did–Neil was the only child of only children and seventy years old to boot. That was why he’d tried to leave his body to science, after all, but his donor card–and every other piece of identification he had–had been turned out of his pockets during the crash and lost in the ensuing fire.

Slated for cremation, Neil’s mortal shell lay under a sheet until the routine post-mortem that was performed on all unclaimed bodies slated for cremation and the potter’s field. Dr. Melville performed these, as they were the only work he could get after the accusations, the trial, and the acquittal on a technicality.

Certain strange growths on the inside of Mr. Grabty’s abdomen intrigued Dr. Melville; they were something he had never seen before, and he had seen a lot in his long and arguably unscrupulous career. They weren’t tumors and they weren’t cysts…what on earth were these strange structures in a dead man’s body?

Risking further damage to his reputation, Dr. Melville decided to ignore the order to cremate Mr. Grabty and resolved to perform a torough study–far more thorough than his post-mortem–on the cadaver’s abdominal cavity and the bizarre structures within it. Under the pretext of moving some supplies, he was able to transport it to the private lab he’d secretly built out of a disused mechanical space in the hospital basement. A container of dust and wood ash went to the potter’s field instead.

In his lab, during the quietest part of the overnight shift, Dr. Melville proceeded with a more thorough dissection. The smells of rubbing alcohol and formaldehyde commingled in his nose; the nauseating odor of science, as Dr. Melville was oft heard to proclaim. He positioned a camcorder to get a good view of the procedure and began making his first incisions in they mysterious structures below the cadaver’s sternum.

The body split oven violently at the virst cut, splattering Dr. Melville with all manner of unpleasant and unspeakable fluids. He jumped back, swearing and spitting, pulling his glasses hastily off his face for an emergency cleaning. The first thing he saw after shoving them back on was a massive…thing…rising out of what had been Mr. Grabty’s body.

Horrified, screeching, Dr. Melville ran for the door. The creature, emerging like a barnacled rope of twisted flesh, was behind him and gaining.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!
Advertisements