I called it, the Research Assistant. But really, it is best titled Heartache:
Ellen waited in anticipation for the class to end. Dr. Jenkins had promised her a chance to be his research assistant on one of his current projects – some ultra secret venture in the field of human engineering.
Or so she thought.
Dr. Jenkins was a bit of a rock star at the university. His research had made its way into mainstream media and he spent many days making appearances on Oprah and the Nightly News. The university ate up the publicity, blindly throwing money at each of his new endeavors.
Ellen watched her professor as he finished his lecture on the biochemistry of emotions. She fantasized about him often - his dark hair and steely eyes making their way into her dreams most nights. She didn’t mind that he was twice her age. In fact, she liked the cool confidence of his maturity.
“Ellen, please stay after class. We need to talk.” Dr Jenkins’ seductive voice sent chills up her spine, causing her to tremble.
Flashes of her previous dreams – his lips on her neck, the feel of his skin on hers – pulsed through her body. She swallowed hard, forcing the sound to come from her voice. “No problem.”
She blushed as the fantasy continued in her thoughts. Her classmates chuckled, amused at the apparent crush between their professor and Ellen. She ignored them.
She always ignored them.
The students hurried out the classroom. Ellen starred at her professor, excited at the prospect of spending time alone with him. Her heart pounded in her chest as he approached her.“Shall we go to my lab?” he asked. “I want you to see what you’re getting yourself into before you agree to this.”
Ellen fought back her fantasies, her body warming in his presence. “Yeah, sure.” She walked next to him, barely able to breath, let alone move.
They walked in silence through the labyrinth of corridors to the lab. Ellen forced herself to move forward, her body quivering at the thought of what lay ahead. They reached the lab in minutes. Dr. Jenkins unlocked the door and ushered her in.
“So, Ellen, are you curious as to what this project is about?”
Ellen nodded as she glanced around the room. The walls of the lab were adorned with shelves of specimen jars. The center of the room looked more like a surgical suite, with a large table, a tray of sharp tools and bottles filled with various liquids. Ellen took in the scene, confusion mixing with her desire.
She cleared her throat as she moved her eyes from the surgical table to the strange jars on the wall. “Um, Dr. Jenkins, what are those?”
“They are part of my experiments,” he answered, his voice mesmerizing.
“But what are they?”
“Dissected hearts.” Dr. Jenkins paused and looked at Ellen. “You see, I believe I have found a way to stop human heartache. Completely.”
Ellen’s palms started to sweat as she stared at her professor, unable to turn away. “Really,” she choked, unable to say more.
“Yes,” Dr Jenkins continued, his voice detached. “But, I need to conduct a few more experiments to be sure. That’s why I need your help.”
He walked to Ellen and stroked her hair. Chills ran down her spine as alarm bells burned in her mind. Get out, her thoughts screamed. She stared at him, paralyzed. Dr Jenkins continued to stroke her hair, as her heart hammered in her chest. She gulped, desire giving away to the fear weaving through her mind. She opened her mouth to speak, the sound dying in her throat.
He put his finger on her lips. “Shh. Oh Ellen, I really need you for this project. All it will take is your heart.”
Dr. Jenkins turned, locked the lab door and took a scalpel from the table. He turned to face her, scalpel in hand. “So, Ellen, are you ready to be part of my research?”
Ellen’s heart pounded wildly in her chest, the last of desire engulfed by her own terror. She ran to the back of the room, trying to get away. But there was only one way out. And Dr. Jenkins was barring it.
“Now, now, Ellen. I know you want this.”
Her eyes widened, horror erasing everything else. Dr. Jenkins bolted for her, wrapping his arms around her waist and pulling her in as she pounded her fists against him.
Ellen’s screams echoed down the empty corridor of the university. Unanswered.
Happy Halloween everyone!