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[This is Part 4 of my original short story "Blood Science" - a tongue-in-cheek look at a scientist trying to write Science Fiction and Fantasy from a logical perspective. See the "Coming Soon" tab above for more on the upcoming schedule, including the return to The Lab Rats Guide to the Brain.]
He set the printout aside and got to work on the yearly report for his sleep research. Later that afternoon, once the lab meeting with students was over, he returned to editing his manuscript, but was quickly interrupted by Professor Tepes.
"Bobbb. Could I haff just a moment?" Tepes' heavy accent revealed his Romanian origins, as did his particular approach to hygiene. Never a favorite of the students, they had taken to calling him 'Vlad the Impaler' after an incident where he had accidently stuck himself with one of his own needle-sharp recording electrodes.
"Sure, Emil. Sit down. "
"T'anks. I just vant to ask if you could talk to the students in your class about my lab space? I don't mind them using it during the day. I only need it at night, but they need to do a better job of cleaning and restocking during the day."
"Okay. I'll talk to them. Maybe I can get Jen to make up some signs."
"T'anks, Bobbb." Tepes said as he left.
Bob reached over and turned on the small fan beside his desk. Emil had a certain… "air" about him. Probably something in his diet. A little extra air circulation wouldn't hurt, either.
Now there is someone that would make a perfect vampire – black, greasy hair, widow's peak, thick eastern accent. If only he wasn't so… so unpleasant to be around. I just can't picture him having his way with a nubile maiden.
But what if it's all an act? A clever disguise? Yeah. I can use that! What better way for a vampire to hide, than to purposefully drive people away? Sort of like an undercover cop masquerading as a homeless person. Right. I need to find a place to work that in.
Bob started writing in the margins of his manuscript, oblivious to the time until the phone rang. He looked at the phone, looked at the clock, started to reach for the phone… and stopped.
"Sorry dear. I must have just left when you called." He hastily stuffed the manuscript and memory drive into his backpack, turned out the lights, and was out of the office door before the phone stopped ringing.
Bob reached for the bedside phone. It was on his side and not Trish's, since she wasn't likely to be getting calls from students in the middle of the night. He made an effort to not sound sleepy, but couldn't stifle a yawn, "Yeah, um, ah. Oh. Hello? "
"Dr. Bob, this Mike with Building Security. I hate to disturb you at three AM, but there's an alarm sounding in your lab."
"Hmm? Uh, yeah. Prob'ly the freezer. Was 'ere a power blip? "
"Yes, sir. That thunderstorm this evening knocked out the power for about 30 minutes. The emergency generators took a minute or two to kick in, but we've had power since midnight."
"S'okay. Prob'ly tripped a breaker. Jus' tell John to just hit the reset. S'long as he doesn't open th'door it should be good 'til I get there in the morning. There's nothin' crit'cal in there and the rest doesn' have to stay at minus eighty. "
"Doc, that's the problem. John's not here. None of them are here. The usual night owls didn't come in this evening."
Bob finally came awake with this latest information.
"None of them? Dr. Rose? Dr. Tepes? John or Nigel? What about that Goth girl, what's her name, Keisha?"
"No sir, this is the first night in the three years I've been working third shift that I haven't seen anyone else here. It's kind of creepy if you ask me."
"Okay. I'll be right there, in about 20 minutes. No wait…" Bob looked at the clock beside his bed. 3:11 AM. Yawn. " 's Friday, right?"
"Yes sir, Friday it is."
"Good, Suzie's Diner is open. I'm going to swing by and get a cup of coffee before I head in. Be there in 30 minutes."
[to be continued...]