Horror Mystery Science Fiction

'WOW, DAD, WHAT have you got?' asked Louise.

'Do not touch. I am going out; no one or anything touches that. Hear me? I mean it.'

'But, Dad, what is it?'

'Never you mind. Come on out of my office, please.'

Louise was looking over her shoulder as Dad marched her to the door. The lock clicked as Professor William rushed to his car.

His daughter pressed the handle down, and sure enough, it was locked. 'Whatever was that?' she wondered as she pressed her school friend's number. 'Pete, come over as soon as possible and bring your Dad's "special" keys.'

Pete jangled the skeleton keys in her face as she opened the back door.

'Idiot, put those away; someone will see.' She pointed at her father's door. 'I want that opened.'

'Are you sure? Your Dad will go mad.'

'He won't know; I'll be in and out in a few minutes.'

'What are you up to? Did he confiscate your iPad or something?'

'No. Dad brought in an odd package, like a sack of flat footballs. He didn't want me to see. Just open the door.'

Pete fiddled with several combinations of thin prongs of oddly shaped steel.

'Wait outside. Then you can relock the door and clear off.'


'Don't but me. Wait there.'

Louise crept in; there was no need to sneak, looking left and right. Pete was right behind her.

On the worktop, opposite her Dad's desk with a camera and mic set up, all aiming at the zipped silver packing.

'Did that move?' asked Pete.

'Of course not; Dad only works on dead beings.'

Pete tripped on Louise's heel. His hands slapped either side of the silver wrapping.

'Christ, watch it. I told you to wait outside.' Her hands replaced his and slid inwards; she touched the silver. 'Did it move?'

'Ah!' she held a stunted scream.

'What, what happened?'

Louise touched the wrapping with both hands. Pete cringed away but craned his neck forward. His chin was on Louise's shoulder.

'Get off me.'

'It did move, I saw it,' he said.

'Only because I touched it. It wobbled like a jelly.'

'Oh, God, I can't look.'

'Good, get out of here and out of my way,' said Louise. She leaned across it and poked the bulge again; she reached across, and her fingers searched the zipper.

'Pass me a tissue, please,' she pointed to a box next to her father's laptop.

Trembling fingers dapped the real or imaginary sweat. After scratching under her nose, she handed the used Kleenex to Pete. He looked at it and stuffed it in his pocket. Dry fingers held her prize and slowly, oh, so slowly, moved the zip towards her.

Both youngsters held their breath and stared at each other as the package opened—inch by inch.

'What is that?' asked Pete.

'It looks like a dead jellyfish.'

Gradually, it opened wider.

'It is a jellyfish with no tentacles, or whatever you call those bits that hang down,' said Pete.

'They are called nematocysts; do you know nothing?'

'My Dad is a locksmith, not a genius professor. Anyway, why has this one got no whatever you called them?'

The zipper was now fully open, and the clear jelly spread out. Louise studied its shape.

'That is not a fish of any kind.'

'Its shape is, well, like a small baby.'

'Two arms, two legs, what the hell?'

'Look out, your Dad's coming.' Pete looked around, hunting for a place to hide. Louise grabbed his arm and led him through the door and up the stairs.

'Come in, Vicar, I'll show you what I mean.'

'I must admit, I was taken back by your call. I remember you telling me years ago, "That as a man of science, you don't need codswallop of a religion". That struck me as strange as your dear wife was such a vehement supporter of our parish.'

'Well, yes, I agree I'm not a fan of images dreamed up thousands of years ago. But, as you know, my wife was a woman of science and a believer in God. Please come in. I've got something to show you.'

The men walked to the door.

'Oh, that's funny; I'm sure I locked up.'

'What are you showing me? There is nothing here.'

Louise and Pete crept down and strained their ears to hear each word.

'But, where has she gone?' said Professor William; he wiped the silver wrapper, testing it for dampness and even looked under it.

'Is this some kind of joke? Are you filming me so your bright crowd can laugh at me and my beliefs?'

'No, not at all. I wanted your advice.'

'Really? What kind of advice could a man of the cloth offer you?'

'It was about my dear departed wife.'

'We cremated her years ago. You even turned up, as I recall.'

The Professor was opening and slamming all his cupboard doors. 'Where is she?' He asked, shaking his head and tearing his hair out.

'Calm down, man, whatever is the matter?' said the Vicar.

'Louise, get in here now,' shouted William.

‘Er, yes Dad. Hello Vicar.’

'Ah, young Peter. Is that why the door was open?' asked William.

'Sorry, Sir, I…'

'Never mind, did you two open the package?'

'It was me, Dad. Don't blame Pete,' said Louise.

The Vicar stood, hands on hips, 'Are you going to tell me what's going on?'

'Pete, you run home; you do not need to hear what I want to say.'

The young lad didn't need telling twice; he bolted through the front door and ran.

'Where shall I begin? My wife, Louise's mother, was not cremated.'

'She was, I officiated over the ceremony,' said the Vicar.

'No, I switched the body. I'm sorry.'

'What? What were you thinking of?'

'I wanted to bring her back,' said William.


'Yes, I'm sorry. And I failed; I want another service for her sake.'

'Are you out of your mind? Where was her body all this time? And more to the point, where is she now?'

'Dad, that,' Louise pointed to the sacking, 'was not Mum.'

'Yes, my dear, it was. I was experimenting.'

'But, Dad, she moved when we opened the zipper.'

The Vicar crouched down, head in hands. Then, hands together, he prayed aloud.

'Oh, God above…'

William bent, rested his head on the table, lightly butted the surface, and muttered, 'What have I done?'

Louise walked over to the man of religion. She draped one arm on his shoulder. The other hand cupped his chin, then snapped his neck smoothly.

William heard the unearthly sound and looked across at his daughter. A faint glow shimmered around her head.

Then she whispered, 'Yes, husband, you are next.'


August 28, 2023 03:33

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