The Others (Part One)
The continuation of "The Thing in the Corner" series
Billy Hayes ran through the puddles in the parking lot, his black fleece hood protecting his head from the heavy rain. Once under the overhang, he stopped and pulled his hood back, looking up at the poster in the glass case outside the university auditorium.
A strikingly beautiful honey blonde appeared around the corner, heading towards him.
“Billy? Billy Hayes?” she asked.
“You must be Allison Prather, right? Nice to meet you! Thanks a lot for coming. I really appreciate it,”
“No worries. You mentioned your brother on the phone. Yeah, you know, after we talked I did remember him from Mr. Fincher’s class.”
“Figure Drawing, right?” blurted Billy.
“Yes. How did you know?” Allison looked puzzled.
“Well, he couldn’t stop talking about you for one thing. Also, he had some drawings…”
“Oh, no. Don’t tell me he showed you…?”
“No, well, yes, but only briefly, just once. I just, uh, you know, kind of barged into his room. He covered them up very quickly, I really didn’t see that much. He was a very good artist, my brother. Is a very good artist, I should say. Now, seeing you in person, I can say that the charcoal drawings, the little that I saw of them, were very, um, lifelike. Uh, damn, I sound like such a dork.” Billy said, blushing and changing the subject. “For some reason I, uh, you know, I thought you and he, you know, that you knew each other better.”
I am such a complete moron, he thought.
Allison turned away. She was no prude and had posed, like a lot of the other students, male and female, for the daily rounds of figure drawing classes. Hey, it paid well and it was purely for the sake of Art with a capital A. Being nineteen and a junior in the best art school in Northern California meant that she had to be a Bohemian and doing unexpected things was a natural part of that type of lifestyle. At least, that’s what she would have thought inDes Moineswhere she grew up. Here it rapidly became hard work, about as un-sexual a job as she had ever had. After a typical session she was wiped out. Who knew that standing still for hours could be so damn tough?
She ignored his last statement and had to suppress a smile when she saw Billy blush, thinking, he’s definitely cute, a lot cuter than most of the art school, wannabe Picaso jerkoffs she knew.
“I did speak to your brother, uh, Sam, right? You know, probably a couple of times, usually after class. He was kinda shy. I got the feeling that he wanted to say more, but you know, I’m always so busy. I have to take full-time classes in order to keep my scholarship. I never had a lot of time to just stop and talk, you know.”
“Well, he had kind of a thing for you. But you probably, uh, never, ah, just forget it, it’s stupid.” He shrugged.
“Well, I thought he was kind of cute, in a kind of a weird way, you know.” She admitted. “But seriously, I just don’t have time for any kind of social life at all.”
“You thought he was cute? Never mind,” he waved that away, “You must know then, that he disappeared several months ago?” he questioned her, already knowing the answer.
“Yes, well, it’s been all over the news and the police detectives came to the school asking a lot of questions,” she nodded.
“Yeah, well, the cops suck big dick. Sorry. Fuckers basically gave up a few days later. No fucking Amber alert for my poor fucking brother I guess. Did you know that on the same day he went missing, that a guy matching my brother’s description was brought to the hospital by the paramedics with a broken leg? Yeah. Uh-huh. And then he disappeared before they could identify him? Well not exactly disappeared.”
Billy was angry, his fists clenched. People walking by heard him and thought he and Allison were having a lover’s quarrel and gave him plenty of room. Billy seemed to realize that he was drawing attention and he lowered his voice, “Sorry. I get crazy every time I think about it. See that man in the poster?” Billy pointed up at the window. “I’m pretty sure he knows something.”
“Creepshow for sure.” Allison made a scrunchy face, looking at the picture.
Billy looked at his watch, then grabbed Allison’s arm. “Come on, it’s starting in a couple of minutes.”
Allison followed Billy as they entered the auditorium. They slid into some aisles near the back. Another thirty or forty students were scattered in the large lecture hall. A podium stood on the stage beneath a bright spotlight. After a few minutes the lights dimmed gradually and a disembodied voice rose timidly from the P.A. “um, Dr. Raymond Fraccin, M.D.”
The doc marched out from the wings wearing his signature yellow lab coat, a never ending source of derision around the UCSF campus where he lectured and taught three advanced bio-chemistry classes.
He started right in to his dissertation, which was very technical and loaded with slides and transparencies. He spoke very rapidly and went through about thirty slides before stopping suddenly, stepping up to the podium.
“Of course, you all know that much of this will be on your final exam, so I hope that you took notes,” suggested the doctor. This was completely unnecessary as most of them had scribbled furiously throughout and the truly intelligent ones just recorded the sessions. “Now I am going to say a few words about…Ethics.”
Billy could swear the old man was looking directly at him as he spoke.
“Is it wrong to, say, kill one man if it will save one hundred others? How about one thousand? Let me make it easy on you. Would you kill one person in order to save all of mankind? Hmmm? Would you?” Fraccin stared down at the audience. He pounded on the podium and laughed, “Of course you would. We all would.” The audience chuckled in relief.
“A hypothetical question. Or…is it? Science has wrestled with this dilemma since around the time when vaccines were being invented. Of course all of you dedicated medical students are aware that many thousands died from vaccine experiments before science perfected the procedures. You are all aware of this, right? You,” the doctor pointed at a young man in the front row with long hair, “you know this, right? Don’t answer, just trying to get your attention.” Again nervous laughter.
“But the sad truth is that science has not perfected these procedures, not by any stretch of the imagination. Annually around the world vaccines still kill hundreds, if not thousands of people. But millions more are spared the ravages of debilitating, painful, and often times fatal diseases. All because some are sacrificed for the good of the masses. Some must die in order for others to live, it is part of Natural Law.”
“But we scientists did not discover this. It is found everywhere in nature. In fact, it is the basis for Natural Selection. The weak must perish in order for the species to strengthen and survive!” Fraccin had gradually raised his voice and was now leaning over the dais, practically screaming, his fists clenched. The students looked up at him in fear. As the doctor looked over the crowd, a hushed murmur passed like a wave over the audience.
Fraccin managed to snap out of it, the spark fading from his eyes. He rearranged his transparencies and cleared his throat.
“I’ll take some questions, now. Anyone? Anyone? No. Well then, good evening. See you all back in class on Monday.” With that Dr. Fraccin snapped off the light on the projector and hurried off the stage.
The lights came back on inside the auditorium but Billy just sat there, staring at the empty stage, the doctor’s words ringing in his ears. The few students left straggled out, hugging notebooks.
Allison shook Billy out of his trance. “What the hell was that all about?”
“Come on.” Billy grabbed her arm and they went towards the front of the auditorium.
“Where are we going? Oh, no. I don’t think this is such a good idea.” She stopped, looking around.
Billy dropped her arm and turned to face Allison. “Look, I shouldn’t have dragged you into this. Hey, I know Sam was nothing to you, right? Thanks for the info.” Before she could say anything, Billy sprinted to the side door where Fraccin had exited earlier.
“Wait!” she called, but he was gone. Allison thought for a split second, then followed Billy out into the rainy night.
to be continued
Read "The Others (Part Two)" by bludstream
Read "The Thing in the Corner (Part One)" by bludstream
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