9.1 Scientific Methods

by Matt P.

“Jesus,” Siobhan responded, moving over to the bed. Antigone would have thought it silly—it wasn’t like Siobhan had any medical training, and normally one did best to stay away from creepy looking young women who proclaimed they had been waiting for you—but it was Siobhan. She processed nervousness through movement and action, so of course she would go right toward the strange thing. “Do they know you’re awake? Have you talked to a doctor yet, are you OK?” After a moment of seeing nothing terrible happen, Antigone and the others moved to join Siobhan around the bed.

The girl blinked owlishly at Siobhan, apparently taken off-guard by the sudden maternal—or sisterly, Antigone supposed—instincts. It took her a long few moments of consideration to respond. “I…yes. The doctors have been in here and they’re pretty sure that I don’t have any brain damage because of my nap. But you know what I almost was, right?”

“Yeah, yeah, Vampire, whatever,” Siobhan offered with a wave. Antigone laughed, while Lacey and Monica started at that—as did Scotty. They hadn’t exactly been brought up to speed on the whole vampire situation, and Antigone hadn’t exactly known when to bring them up to speed. Well, they’re up to speed now, she thought wryly. “Do you need something to drink or eat? We can raid the candy machine.”

“I’m not used to seeing you this…solicitous, Bonnie,” Monica offered as she looked at the pale girl. It almost looked like she was resisting the urge to reach out and touch the girl’s hair to see if it was real.

Antigone smiled fondly at her sister. “Bonnie has a hidden caring streak. When Ryan had his tonsils out, she played nurse for two weeks. She was with him almost constantly; we almost expected her to arch her back and hiss if someone came by.” Siobhan, prompted, arched her back and hissed slightly. “She’s very protective of the people she cares about.”

The girl looked baffled at all of them, and finally shook her head. “I don’t know why, but I knew you two would come back. I dreamed it when I was unconscious, I think it was the drugs they gave me. There is some weird shit in there.” She paused for a moment, leaning back against her pillow for a moment and then sighing. “My name is Sally, by the way. Sally Smith, and you’re not allowed to make comments about how it is alliterative.”

Siobhan held out her hand. “Siobhan and Antigone Richards, nice to meet you. These are Monica and Lacey, but their last names are being withheld to protect the innocent. And Scotty Rivotti, whose name is already plastered over YouTube, so he gets what he gets.” Sally and Siobhan shook hands, and she looked back at her friends. “I mean, our names were in the paper; no need to let bad guys doxx you if we don’t have to.” Scotty shrugged at that, apparently having known what he was getting himself in to when he put his last name on the internet.

“I have had people egg my house because they didn’t like my videos,” Scotty confirmed.

“Can you tell us what happened to you?” Antigone asked curiously, working to steer the conversation back toward something useful. “We found you in the woods near our house,” she offered, by way of explanation. Sally nodded at that, sighing and closing her eyes as she considered her words.

“I was at a party, and oh my god the rest of this is going to sound like an after school special,” Sally sighed, rolling her eyes. “I took some drugs that I was given, and I had a reaction. I think, from what happened, that was the point; they were either testing different strains to see what worked, or looking for people with a sensitivity to it. Or both.”

“I mean,” Siobhan commented, “That wouldn’t be a very good study, that many unknown variables…”

Antigone rolled her eyes. “They’re vampires, not the Curies. Also how are you struggling in Chemistry if you can poke holes in other people’s studies?” She then sighed. “And that’s also not the point. What happened next?”

“Our teacher is criminally under-qualified and probably lied on her resume?” Siobhan answered. “Also, too cool for school, all that cliche nonsense.” She offered the last bit with an artless shrug and roll of her eyes, to shoot for maximum cliche carelessness.

Siobhan had an almost limitless talent to derail conversations, and the other three took her bait with an ‘ooh’. “Oh that’s right, you have Ms. Easter. God, isn’t she terrible?” Monica asked with a sigh.

“Focus!” Antigone didn’t growl, because growling would have been counter-productive and mean to her friends. It was just that she was more used to dealing with Siobhan’s ability to run people off the rails, and knew it took a jolt to bring people back to where the conversation should be sometimes. Really, that was it. “What happened next?” She asked Sally, who smirked at her before growing more sober again.

“I woke up in some…facility, I don’t know where. But they were experimenting on us, trying to get us to become like them. They really liked me—something about my blood or my…soul, I guess, made me more valuable for making it. But I was also resistant to it; even when they were getting good results with other people, I wasn’t turning. They gave me what they expected to be the production model, and that’s the last thing I remember before I woke up here.”

“You were found with someone,” Siobhan asked gently. “A guy. Did you know him or his name? Was he taken with you?” Sally shook her head, and looked like she might be on the verge of tears at that. She reached up to scrub her face defiantly, to try to keep the tears on the inside and not break down.

“No, I don’t know his name. Maybe he told me and it was lost in a drug haze, I just know he had been there as long as I had—and he tried to protect me. I tried to protect the others,” Sally continued, “And he tried to protect me. I hope he got away, and that he didn’t end up back with them.” She looked at Antigone and Siobhan, focusing on them perhaps because they had been the ones doing the talking. Or because she had dreamed of them, which was shiver inducing in a way Antigone didn’t want to think about.

“They aren’t going to stop,” Sally said, swallowing. “I’m something they want, although God I wish I knew why. They’re going to try to bring me back. You know they’re coming for us, right?” She asked, her voice cracking with suppressed fear bubbling to the surface.