Entering his large windowed office, he removed his jacket and put it on the coatstand to begin work. A collection of beakers contained fluids of varying colours. Every liquid was no longer a recognisable chemical but concoctions; added to by other concoctions dozens of time over to produce something new. Heating some and chilling others produced different results again.
He put on his lab coat and exited the office, stopping by the table to review his notes from the day before. The cover moved from the stairs; not unusual. Meissner occasionally liked to do spot checks on his operations.
“Police! Don’t anybody move!” someone shouted down the stairs.
From among the workers someone fired an automatic weapon into the first booted feet to come down. Wil stared in horror at the gunman. A glance at his blank expression and semi-closed eyes bespoke of a drug user.
Gas grenades tumbled down stairs and armoured police followed. Both Meissner’s men and police fired on each other; each convicted of their own survival. Gerald managed to shoot one, then two before a shotgun thundered into him.
Wil made to dive for cover as a stray round cut through three separate beakers. He clutched his side and attempted to support himself on the edge of the table. His strength fading, his arm gave way spilling another compound over himself as he lowered himself to the floor. More shots resounded above him. Authoritative shouts grew softer as his vision blurred and darkened…
His eyes snapped open in total darkness.
Did they leave me in the lab with the lights off?
He went to place his hands on his face skimming something just above his head. His extended fingers found a hard surface.
It felt metallic, dispelling the notion.
“Well that’s the last one,” said a woman.
Her voice came from somewhere close outside.
“Who was that one?” she asked.
“Gerald Thurlow,” said a man. “Killed instantly by shotgun blast.”
“He’s so big.”
“Everyone dies the same. How about we go up stairs for a break? We’ve been doing this all night.”
“Yeah, I could use a coffee,” said the woman.
Wil heard the clatter of metal.
“We can do more tests on Baxter’s organs when we get back,” said the woman.
“Who was he?”
“Nobody; just a chemist Meissner found somewhere.”
Will waited in ear ringing silence. He wriggled and pushed. His confined space shifted like a drawer, filling with light from a fluorescent tube. On climbing out, he saw metal tables, sinks, and instruments. One of the tables had someone on it covered in a sheet. He pulled it back, revealing Gerald’s face, then covered him again.
One of the metal cabinets had glass doors. On passing them; for the first time, he realised he was naked, but not cold. He gasped, pulling back from his reflection. His eyes had turned black and his skin; pale. Red craters in his arms told of the police raid.
“Am I dead?”