1 comment

Adventure Funny Science Fiction

On a frigid day in Primm, Nevada, Mina Montgomery sat down and wrote: 

Mina G. Montgomery - 90162 Fairwater Way, The Eldervai 2

December 6, 1990

Sam and Kate Montgomery 

51 Pine Avenue

Doortree City, Wisconsin 54101

Dearest Mom and Dad, 

I have sold my original lab and moved onto greener pastures. My plans of turning the first Eldervai lab into an animal sanctuary quickly fizzled due to lack of funds when the investors realized that all the animals I housed were left over from experimentation. They found that offensive and a mockery of species conservation. 

With my endeavors failing, I moved into a new lab, The Eldervai 2, on the border of California and Nevada. There, a company by the name of Green Space decided to fund me two-hundred-thousand dollars to create a plant that is capable of dissolving a human matter. They said they were inclined to hire me after reading about my experiments on my blog, minadoesrealscience.org. The site prompted me to go on talk shows, both early morning and late night, and be interviewed by Cosmo Magazine. I know you subscribe to that publication, Mom. After my local press tour, I returned to the Eldervai 2 and prepared to meet with Green Space.

I arrived at their offices, located in the basement of a part-time bowling alley, part-time Italian-Canadian fusion restaurant. It was then that I began to suspect something unusual with the company and it is here that will begin my tale: 

I walked downstairs to meet with Giles Blueblood, the head of the company. His secretary, Sandra Plaits, gave me a cup of coffee with three sugars when I only asked for two. Giles was thirty minutes late to the meeting. The fool arrived with a McDonald’s happy meal while I was waiting outside his office. 

Giles finally summoned me into his office. It was a mess, piles of papers everywhere, dozens of fast food containers laying around and reeking with age. Giles motioned to a fleshy looking armchair across from his desk and I took it, leaning far to the right side to avoid what I hoped was only a tea stain on the left side of the chair.

“Doctor,” he said gruffly, “I hope that in this meeting today we can clarify the expectations of your research. Here at Green Space, we hope to advance the medical field by starting at the roots, pun intended, and growing a plant that consumes human matter.”

“A cannibal plant?”

“That would be a plant that eats other plants. I need you to make one that dissolves human flesh. We hope that by creating and understanding a plant with such abilities, we can better understand how some diseases originate in plants and harm human cells. We will, of course, provide the food for these plants.” 


“Yes, the human cells. Once you’ve fashioned the plant, give us a call,” he handed me a crinkly business card covered in ink stains, “and we’ll talk. If things go well, we might be able to help you move out of that rinky-dink lab of yours.” 

The meeting was quick, but I knew what I had to do. While presumably illegal, suspicious at the very least, I set out to develop a plant that could feed on our kind. 

Back home, I consulted my personal library, a wobbly bookshelf held up by books I didn’t enjoy, and pulled the volumes of relevance to my newest project. Cannibals of the Modern World made it’s new home at my workspace accompanied by the fascinatingly unpopular Plants that Snack on Their Friends. I concluded that my creature should start with a venus fly-trap. I knew that I had to go to their native home: the Carolinas, to acquire a specimen from its native habitat.

With the money Green Space had provided, I booked the earliest plane to North Carolina, home of the Southern Appalachian Mountain Bogs. The flight was upwards of five hours, but I arrived in North Carolina effortlessly. Before even booking a hotel and rental car, I walked to a sporting goods store and purchased waders for my bog exploration. 

The man who checked me out at the store seemed confused with my purchases - waders, hardhats, trowels, and buckets - but he didn’t comment for which I was thankful. I booked a hotel and a rental car from a payphone outside the gardening store. I knew that my best work could not be done in such a tired state so I spent one night in the place. I headed out quickly, but not before a continental breakfast. The rental company had left the car for me in the hotel parking lot. I loaded up and began the drive.

When I arrived, I parked as close as I could. Backpack on, buckets in hand, hardhat on my head, I stepped into the bog. I trudged through a patch of hobblebush before fording through the wetland itself. I hiked for well over an hour before I saw anything of notable interest. While not the fly trap I sought for, I saw sundew, a similar carnivore. I packed one and continued on.

I traversed until dark and had found not one venus fly trap. Disappointed, I walked back to the car using a compass watch. In my disheartened state, I walked mostly staring down at the ground. The light on my hardhat flickered when I sank in the wetlands a few inches. I managed to find a single venus fly trap just mere feet from where I’d parked! Eureka! I scooped it up and put it in a bucket and loaded the plants and my supplies back into the car. 

I arrived back at my hotel and unpacked my supplies carefully, placing my specimens on the bedside table. I was exhausted and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. When I awoke, I packed and was about to call a cab to the airport when I was struck with a realization of the greatest horror! It would not be safe to take such rare and precious flora into flight. Even with the utmost precautions taken, I could not bear the risk of losing the key to my work. I returned the rental car and took a cab to the nearest truck stop. I hoped that there would be somebody who could get me most of the way there. 

A trucker named Billy Cobb was on his way to Bullhead City, Arizona, which was relatively close to Primm. He went under the trucking handle of Mud Duck. As it turned out, his little girl Charlotte was a devoted reader of the Cosmo publication and had read about me a month prior. Mud Duck agreed to drive me on the condition that I sign a copy of the magazine for his daughter. I gladly agreed and found a copy inside the service station. I purchased it on my Green Space tab and returned to the parking lot. I handed Mud Duck the autograph and took my place in the passenger seat, carefully holding my plants in hand.

“So, what are those there plants for, Little Missy?” 

“I’m a doctor. Call me as such but if you must not then use my name at the very least. Mina.” 

“My most sincerest apologies Miss Doctor Mina. I didn’t mean to offend.”

“Quite alright,” I said. “Few people respect women these days anyways, I’m more than used to it. These plants are for my work. I cannot share with you the nature of this work. It is top secret..”

“I see,” he said in a low southern drawl. “Well I hope it goes well for yalls. I’m sure I’ll hear about it from Charlotte once she gets that issue.” 

“Thank you, sir,” I said. During the drive, which would total thirty-three hours, we listened to the radio, alternating every few hours between NPR (my preference) and Rock n’ Roll (Mud Duck’s preference). At around one in the morning, Mud Duck decided it was time to stop for the day. He was kind enough to lend me his sleeper cabin for some privacy. He reclined the driver's seat and slept there. I slept poorly, for Mud Duck’s collection of aquatic bird memorabilia leered at me all through the night which kept me uneasy and on edge. When I awoke, it was to the sound of a loud quack from his alarm clock.

For two days we continued on the road, stopping just twice a day to relieve ourselves and gather sustenance, arriving in Bullhead City on the third day. I was relieved to be close to home. As you very well know, dear parents, I am the last person alive who would shower in a truck stop. For this reason, I had not showered in days and was absolutely filthy from my cranium to my lowermost metatarsals. My hands were especially scummy from holding the precious plants the entirety of the trip. Not for a moment did I let them leave my sight, taking them with me even to the restroom to keep an eye on them. 

I thanked Mud Duck with a nod and called a cab who could take me the rest of the way. I put my bags in the cab’s trunk and seatbelted myself and my plants into the backseat. I gave the driver the address of a grocer a few blocks from my lab as I didn’t dare give him the real address. 

The drive was a scant two hours. I walked the remainder of the way and finally was able to re-pot my specimen. I did so and left them in a temperature and humidity controlled incubator. I unpacked and bathed. I didn’t want to risk leaving my plants unattended, even for a few moments, so I bathed in the decontamination chamber in my lab. 

I set the alarms on the incubators and began to plan the rest of my operation. I would need to study the plants and understand the enzyme composition that they use to dissolve insects they capture and how I could alter that to dissolve human flesh. I would also need to extract seeds from the greenery to produce my own. 

I started with the seeds. With my homemade incubators, I can adjust the settings so that plants age with haste. I removed the pods from the fly trap and gingerly peeled them apart with a pair of tweezers, shaking the seeds onto my work tray. I potted them in the incubator. After a day of planting and incubating, I had flora ready for my experiments. I knew only one attainable substance that would be able to dissolve human flesh quickly: lye. I didn’t fully believe Giles’ bettering the world through medical nonsense, but I proceeded. A true scientist never gives up and I was willing to do everything in my power to accomplish what I agreed to do.

Entranced by my own ambition, I phoned Green Space and spoke with Giles Blueblood about getting the lye I needed. I phoned the hideous little man, the phone ringing three times. 

“G’day,” he said. “This is Giles A. Blueblood. To whom do I have the pleasure, or displeasure depending on who you are, of speaking to?”

Doctor Montgomery.”

“Ah.” He cleared his throat. “What can I do for you?”

“Would you be able to provide me with a large quantity of lye?”

“Certainly. I will have some sent over immediately. Good day.” He hung up.

I had one thought on how to make the plants immune to the lye. However, it occurred to me that repeated exposure could lower the effects of lye on the vegetation, allowing me to incorporate lye-producing glands into them so their solvent enzymes would be strong enough to dissolve human flesh. Once that was complete, I would begin to splice the DNA with that of large flora until the creatures were large enough to consume humans. 

It took hours for the lye to arrive but as soon as it did, I began the exposure. I had to protect myself from the toxin so I donned goggles, gloves, and my most protective lab coat. While my basement lab did not have windows, I turned on the air purifiers to make sure there was a steady amount of oxygen circulation. The bag of powdered lye came with a scooper that I used to spread a thin amount of lye around the plants on the soil. I left the bag of lye in the incubation chamber and shut the airtight door behind me. I set the timer for three days (which the incubator speeds up to seventy-seven minutes) and left my spawn to grow. 

I repeated this process for one week. By the end of that time, the Dionaea Muscipula was so tolerant to the lye, that it began to crave the substance. Thrilled with my success, I moved on to the second step of my plant: obtain a large plant with which to splice the DNA. Salix Babylonica, otherwise known as a weeping willow, would be perfect with such a quick growth rate. Green Space assured me that the specimens were on their way. 

The phone rang and I walked the few blocks over to get the trees from Green Space. The woman waiting at the meeting spot was Sandra Plaits, the dull woman who could not even manage to correctly make me a coffee! While I had not the slightest idea of how she of all people could be qualified to deliver such crucial elements of my experiment, I took the vials of DNA samples and the maple seedlings and went on my way, thankful that she didn’t try to offer me any beverages. 

I spent the next week exposing the willows to lye. It was tiresome, but I knew it would be worth it once Giles rewarded me.. Once both plants were ready, I put their DNA under my microscope and separated strands of DNA and combined them back together in all sorts of combinations. When I’d created a fair few mixtures, I placed each in its own petri dish and laid them out in the lye-infused incubator to grow. 

Done with the most tedious steps of the project, life transitioned back to inbetween-projects-mode while the flora grew and grew. I was ecstatic with how things were going. Blueblood had instructed me not to test the plant’s digestion capacity until I delivered it to him. I did as he requested and let the plant age undisrupted. When the plant became so tall it hardly fit in the intubation chamber (which is nearly twenty feet tall), I gave Giles a call.. 

He sent Sandra Plaits to help me load the specimen into my truck. Sandra insisted on playing country music as we drove. I faked a smile the entire trip, thankful when we finally pulled into the Green Space parking structure. I sat in the waiting room, after refusing the coffee Sandra tried to shove into my hands, until Blueblood was ready for me. The flytrap was too large to be taken inside the door so it was loaded by Green Space workers into a warehouse I hadn’t seen before. Giles led me there and I showed him the manifestation of my ideas, thankful that my next-of-kin was back within my sight. 

I explained the process of how I conceived it, after which he invited me to leave the room so he could test the plant. I refused, saying that I would not leave until I had seen my design in action. He gave up fighting with me and made a few calls to his workers who were bringing the goods. By this, I assumed he meant animal parts with which to test the flytrap. I could not have been more wrong. A large cart full of rotting human chunks was wheeled in. This confirmed that Giles was lying when he said that my creature would be used to advance the medical field. I watched in horror as men in protective suits chucked limb after limb into the gaping mouth of the flytrap.

The plant gobbled up everything thrown at her, finishing her meal with a burp. I felt an odd mixture of pride at the success of my creature and horror at the realization that Giles Blueblood hired me because he needed an invention to get rid of human remains. He’d used me and my scientific ambition to fuel his cynical cause! I had been turned into a puppet, a vessel for his evil! I knew what I must do. While it may seem crazy that I was able to summon the strength for such a heinous act, I ran forward and with all my might, pushed Giles towards the fly trap. We fought, hand-to-hand, each trying to get the other into the beast’s mouth. My years of Capoeira training finally came in useful and I managed to roll out of the way just as the creature lunged forward and snatched Giles. A satisfying gulp alerted me that he was gone. His workers stared at me in shock. 

I was able to pass off the incident as self defense, finally being a woman comes in handy, and was not charged. I was, however, sued by Green Space for all the supplies I bought since apparently the check from Giles was fraudulent. Sandra sent me a very passive aggressive email to let me know that she too was now out of a job because Green Space went under after further investigation revealed that Giles Blueblood was an escaped serial killer. 

Anyways, I’m penniless once again so it looks like I’ll be moving into a smaller lab soon, but I’m taking my creation with me. I suspect it will serve as a good guard dog.  As always, return my correspondence with the enclosed stamp and I look forward to seeing you shortly for Hanukkah. 

Loveliest regards,

Mina G. Montgomery, PhD

August 23, 2023 02:20

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

1 comment

Sydney Moses
02:21 Aug 23, 2023

note: this story is the sequel to the other story posted on my page, “The Summoning and the Sacrifice." You don't have to read that one for this to make sense, but just thought I'd add this note if anybody is curious :)


Show 0 replies
RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in Reedsy Studio. 100% free.