The Things You'll Do For Lov--- I mean Science

Submitted into Contest #48 in response to: Write a story that features a protagonist with an archnemesis.... view prompt



The cemetery is in complete silence at this hour. It’s as if no noise will dare to disturb the solemnity of the place, the slumbering spirits. No other living souls appear to be present, aside from myself. The moon is full, bathing the rows upon rows of headstones with a silver light. 

A shiver runs down my spine as I walk the all too familiar path, trying to tread softly so as to not upset the silence. How many lost souls have come to their final resting place at this site? How much suffering have their families and loved ones gone through? 

I’ve seen it all as a doctor. I’ve seen every kind of mourning in my long years, every kind of suffering. I’ve had to tell too many mothers that their children, the innocent beings they brought to life themselves, their heart and soul, have passed on from this world. I’ve had to stand there and inform countless patients of cancer spreading through their bodies.

How are you supposed to comfort someone in that moment? When their whole life falls apart and they realize they’ll never be the same again. When Death suddenly comes knocking at their door, less welcome than a salesman. 

I long to end their suffering.

I come to a stop before her headstone. Etched in the rock, it reads:

Beloved Daughter

May H. Lumieux

August 21, 1993

December 6, 2017

Forever in Our Hearts

It has an ornate design with a crying angel and flowers of many varieties, and is the tallest headstone in sight. It was the grandest thing my money could buy. Even though she, in life, was a modest soul, May deserves the best. 

I kneel to place a Casa Blanca Lily just under the words. The petals shine in the light of the full moon, a ghostly white. 

“I brought you your favourite flower, my love.” I whisper, placing a kiss on the solid rock. It’s nothing like the softness of her lips on mine. 

“You know what I like, Chasy.” May took the lily and kissed me. It was a long, loving kiss like you’d see in the movies. 

When she finally let me resurface for air, she laughed at my gasping. Her laugh was more beautiful than the moon. “Thank you, dearest.” 

I probably had a stupid grin plastered all over my face. I could never understand how this angel could fall for someone like me. “I should be thanking you. That was one hell of a kiss.” 

May laughed again. My heart was beating like a rabbit’s. “Chase,” She started, “I’ll kiss you everyday when we’re married.”

“Married?” My eyes widened, as did my smile. For just a second, my world stopped turning.

My love nodded. “I’ll be your May Vedaldi.”

I’m thrown back into harsh reality as my vision fades. The cemetery is still as eerily silent as before, but now there seems to be an even deeper sadness permeating the air. 

My darling May never did get to take my last name. She was stolen from me by a mysterious disease before I could call her my wife.

I couldn’t save her. I failed to save my only love from the one thing I should have been able to protect her from. 

I don’t want anyone else to feel this pain. 

I take a small, heart shaped box from the pocket of my coat, placing it down beside the Casa Blanca Lily. It’s nothing fancy, just a box that looks like it could have been used for chocolates on valentine’s day. 

“I’ve spent two years working on this, dear.” I smile at the tombstone. “It will fix everything. I will save the city like I couldn’t save you. And, if it works, you’ll be in my arms again soon.”

I reach out to activate the box...

A sound breaks the silence. A footstep behind me. I slip on my mask and begin to turn around. 

Shhshhshszzzzz! I’m hit from behind with a bolt of energy, sending me flying. I tumble over May’s grave, rolling quickly to refind my footing. I wince at the burn on my back that’s making sizzling sounds. I struggle for a second to stay standing, but then my power goes to work, beginning to mend the injury.

“I know only one person who can turn my back into bacon.” I adjust my mask to make sure it’s covering all of my face before turning to my nemesis. “Circuit.” 

A man about my height is standing on the path 4 yards in front of me. He’s built like a dancer or a martial artist, and wears the full supervillain get-up. The moonlight emphasizes the electric blues of his tight-fit, full-body costume, decorated with lightning bolts. A cape is flicking in the slight breeze. Circuit’s mask covers only his nose and the space around his eyes, blue racoon markings. Sparks dance across his body as though he is preparing to strike me again.

“Asclepius!” The antagonist spits my alias as though it’s poison. “Hand over the box!” 

I throw my coat off, revealing my costume: My old lab coat and scrubs, with added accents of red. No doubt there is a singe mark in the back, courtesy of the man before me. I feel a slight breeze on my burn, so he’s managed to put a hole in my costume as well. The nerve! A slim utility belt is draped around my waste. 

Pulling out a vial from one of the pockets of the belt, I quickly sprinkle a liquid made with Aloe Vera and other burn remedies and soothers onto my back. Aided by my ability, the burn stops sizzling and smooths over. All that’s left is a faint scar. 

“I won’t sit by while you destroy the city!” I bark, pulling a container from a different compartment on my belt. 

“I’m not the one about to destroy the city.” Circuit holds out a hand. “Asclepius, can’t you see it? You’re smarter than this. It’ll never work! Just hand me the detonator.”

The villain sincerely believes he’s trying to help, I can tell from his tone of voice. 

“It will work. It has to work.” May, I promise.

“You know it won’t!” There is a flash of blue as Circuit lunges for the valentine box sitting on my love’s headstone. 

In the blink of an eye, I open the container and toss it at him. This time, it contains powder. The dust lands on him and he stops in his tracks. 

“What is this!?” Circuit begins to scratch at his suit where the substance fell. He falls to his knees, grimacing. 

“I don’t want to hurt you. It’s a simple itching powder. Circuit, I will save the city.” I step forward and pick up the box. 

I turn away from the man on his knees and again aim to activate the cure…

ZZZZzzzzaaappp! There’s a brilliant flash of light from behind me. I roll across the hard ground to avoid another strike. I feel the heat of the beam as it strikes close to me, burning up the ground. Grass shrivels. Turning, Circuit is standing on his feet again. He’s stopped itching. 

“I’m not even going to ask how.” I roll to avoid yet another blast. ZzzzzzzsshshhzzzAAAaappp.  

I’m going to get dizzy if this keeps up.

“Why are you doing this?!” Circuit is yelling. “You’re going to bring doom on us all, Asclepius!” 

I stand again, dusting off my lab coat. No doubt there will be dirt stains. I’m still holding the box, which is thankfully small and light. “Quite the contrary. I’m saving us.”

There's a moment of silence. The wind is starting to pick up, possibly signalling a coming storm. A cloud blows over the moon, blocking out most of the light. 

Circuit finally speaks. “How are you saving everybody? You call trying to start an apocalypse saving people?”

My eyes narrow at the villain. He’ll never understand. “If we bring back the dead, we’ll open science to all new possibilities. The more we understand, the more we can learn, the more we can improve.”

He stares at me as though I’m mad. “Earlier, you said that I was destroying the city. What did you mean by that?”

I pull another container from my belt, but I make no moves to use it yet. “Your bursts of electricity are causing damage in places you never would expect.”

Circuit frowns. “Where?” 

“Modern day medicine needs machines. Machines need electricity. When there’s power outages, people who need the life-saving machines suffer. Patients die.” May.

“Are you accusing me of murder?” I can tell the antagonist actually feels guilty, though he is trying his hardest not to show it. 

May opened her eyes again. She smiled at me, as though everything was okay and she wasn’t slowly dying. The machinery made a steady beeping sound, emphasizing the fragility of my love’s light. She was hooked up to all kinds of apparati. “Chase,” She croaked, “Don’t look so serious. Your vibes---” She broke off in a fit of coughs.

“Shhh.” I sat down beside her, trying to put on a brave face. It probably looked more like I ate something funny. I smoothed down her hair, which was almost one big knot at that point. “You should rest. You’ll get better quicker.” 

Her wheezing breath tried hard to prove me wrong. “If I fall asleep, who will be here to calm you down, hon?”

I sighed. “I should be comforting you.”

“Chasy, I love you. You should stop worrying. If I die now, I want you to move on. Don’t be miserable.” 

I shook my head. “Don’t talk like that, please.” I felt like I could cry. I could hear the fear in my voice. “I can’t lose you.” 

“Thank you for giving me this opportunity. I love being yours.”

Suddenly, the power went out. The machine stops blinking. 

No.” I stood up. “No no no NO NO MAY STAY WITH ME!” 

When the back-up generator finally kicked in, I was standing before the machine that controlled my only love’s life, frantically trying to get it working again. 

When the other doctors finally reentered the room, I was clutching the warm corpse of a lost soul.

It was on that day that I swore to find a way to bring her back.

I struggle to contain my anger for a second before softening my gaze. Circuit doesn’t mean to be the villain. As much as I want to accuse him, I can’t. He didn’t choose his role, as much as I didn’t choose to be the hero. “No. I’m saying your powers can be dangerous.” 

“There would be more danger in raising a cemetery of dead. We don’t understand anything about it.”

“Which is why we should try. So we can learn.” I sigh. “You won’t understand it.”

The villain lowers his head. “I don’t mean to cause harm.” He sounds sincere. “I’ve been getting better. I can control it easier now.” 

“Don’t beat yourself up.” I feel bad for him. 

“I know I have made mistakes, but I’m working to fix them.” 

I cautiously approach him, and he keeps his head down. I put a hand on his shoulder. “We’ve all made mistakes. You didn’t even make yours willingly.” 

Circuit realizes too late my plan. I have traded my canister for a needle. I stab it into his shoulder and jump back before he can shock me. SHHshshhhhhhhzzzzzzz!

Pentobarbital. Just enough to induce a coma. “I’m sorry, Circuit. I promise everything will be alright.” 

“Asclepius,” He looks hurt. A puppy dog masquerading in a costume. He begins to fall over, but I catch him and lay him down before he can injure himself. 

I hold up the valentine box. A drop of rain falls right on the center. The storm is here. I take off the lid and in the center of the container is a button. 

I press it. 

Immediately, a hissing sound emanates from the object. A fine powder begins to waft from the heart shape, being carried by the wind through the cemetery. The rain washes it into the ground, exactly as planned. 

It starts soon after. A scratching sound. I don’t know how I can hear it through six feet of dirt, but it reverberates around the place, growing louder and louder. 

Crrrrraaaaackk! The sound of coffins snapping. 

I’m so close. May, I’m here. 

I don’t know how long the scratching and snapping lasts before I see a hand break the top layer. I kneel beside May’s grave to help her dig out. 

Soon her form is revealed to me. The moonlight is gone and the rain has only picked up, but I’m sure she is just as beautiful as before. She stands up beside her headstone.

Only now it crosses my mind that I might be a villain. But in this moment, I don't care.

“May!” I open my arms to receive a warm hug from my one and only. We are together again at last. 

But all I can feel is a sharp pain from decaying teeth tearing into my flesh. 

July 03, 2020 12:58

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