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A Quick Follow Up

·506 words·3 mins
Short Story Deadlines For Writers

The drive had been long and hot. The air conditioning only took the edge off. Pulling up to the small concrete building, he waited for the cloud of dust to mostly settle out. Taking a deep breath, he stepped into the oven of the Nevada desert. His eyes squinted against the dust, he walked up to the sun baked door, and gave it a push. The door swung open smoothly, as if the hinges had been freshly greased, and Thomas stepped over the threshold.

The room was refreshingly cool, though oddly moist. It was a typical cinder block room, painted with a yellowish wash via the cracking plastic covers of overhead lights. Against the far wall was a metal table, at which sat a man in a white lab coat. On the table was a manilla envelope. The wall behind him was mostly covered by what looked to be a two-way mirror with a door beside it.

“Greetings Mr. Philips, we’ve been expecting you,” the man at the table said, tapping his fingers on the manilla envelope. “I’ve gone over your report. It was … um … thorough. What can I do to alleviate your concerns?”

“Concerns is probably too strong a word. I’m mostly curious why a small military base is buying so much …”

“Yes, yes. I understand. Let’s get right to it. Would a visual inspection be sufficient?”

A little taken aback by the brusqueness of the response, Thomas said, “yes, that would be fine … Mr.?”

“Oh, apologies. We are a small group, and most of us have been here for … um … yes, I am Dr. Edgars. If you would follow me,” he rose from the table, and, opening the door behind him, beckoned Thomas to follow.

He was lead through a series of winding hallways, and eventually passed through a large metal door. The air had become thickly humid, and Thomas found himself staring at the largest aquarium he had ever seen. The water was a deep blue and was undulating with currents. To his right he saw a burst of bubbles as chunks of meat the size of his head plunged into the water, trailing rivulets of red and brown behind them.

“They’ve been here longer than the dinosaurs.”

Thomas turned. Dr. Edgars was now standing many feet behind him now, and wearing large plastic headphones. “What have been here…” Thomas started to say. Dr. Edgars pointed at the aquarium.

Looking back, there were now large sausage looking forms swirling around the meat. One of the forms pushed up against the glass. Thomas stepped forward to get a closer look. The skin pulsed against the glass. A high pitched whine started to grow inside his head. Turning, hands over his ears, and now wet with blood, he saw Dr. Edgars at the metal door. Edgars smiled, waved, and exited.

Removing his headphones, Dr. Edgars produced a walkie talkie from his lab coat. Pressing the call button as he walked, he said, “send a cleanup crew to Area 52”.