It was a quiet, brisk evening when I first met the doctor. He was a very interesting man to say the least. Dr. Huntington was the most accomplished geneticist of his time and often referred to as “the man with no limits”. But nobody knew the doctor quite like I did. The doctor was the closest thing to family I had. If it weren’t for Dr. Huntington, I would have died that night.
The night we met changed my life. I was on my way home from the gym where I practiced Muay Thai when I heard a woman screaming. It was the kind of scream that you could feel down to the soles of your shoes. When I had finally located the source of the scream it was almost too late. Two men tried to rob another man and his wife behind the Chubbyburger. The husband had been shot in the leg and passed out from shock. The wife was frantic as the two culprits tried to take the purse her husband had so valiantly tried to save. I was stiff from head to toe. I didn’t know if the gun still had any rounds left in it, and I wasn’t too confident about fighting off two armed robbers. But I couldn’t just sit by and watch this poor woman get mugged or end up like her husband. I managed to hit one of the robbers in the face with a rock I had found on the curb beside me and was then promptly pistol-whipped in the back of my head. I heard sirens. The next few days were a blur.
I awoke in what I thought was a hospital. I had two stitched up bullet wounds on my chest. It was about the time I realized this that Dr. Huntington entered the room, a small operating space with the smell of bleach. This room, I later found out, was the doctor’s human trials lab. The doctor had informed me that my “heroic” actions almost killed me. One of the bullets had grazed the bottom of my heart and the other had punctured one of my lungs. If it had not been for some super serum the doctor had been working on at the time, the wounds would have killed me. “Chem L” he called it. It had been a project for the military for rapid cellular regeneration, developed for soldiers. It certainly did a good job at healing my wounds, but that’s not all it did.
Dr. Huntington showed up right after I had been shot. The criminals shot me when I was unconscious. The sirens I heard that night were the ambulance that picked up the husband who had been shot. The doctor knew that in my condition, I would not have pulled through without his help. He found the closest telemat and teleported my body to his lab. That’s how it began. If it weren’t for the doc, luck, and “Chem L”, I would still just be another college dropout. But now I’m so much more. The doctor was not yet fully aware of the side effects of “Chem L”, as he had yet to test it on others. Because of this, I spent the next several weeks being held as a “more permanent guest” at Dr. Huntington’s lab so he could run the tests he needed. At first, this consisted of mostly blood tests, until we began physical ability tests. “Chem L” increased my strength and I was able to lift triple the weight I could before the accident.
As the weeks progressed, I began to hear whispers around me intermittently. They got louder every day. I informed the doc what I was experiencing. He ran some brainwave scans. “Incredible,” the doc was about to say. I asked him what was so incredible before he had a chance to verbalize his thought. He did not seem surprised I knew what he was going to say. He told me my brain cells began to mutate in a way he had never seen before.
When I was finally allowed to leave Dr. Huntington’s lab, I returned home to find all of my things in the same spot I’d left them before. I’m sure there hadn’t been a single knock while I was gone. Before meeting Dr. Huntington, all I had that mattered was my gym membership. Was it time to return to my simple life? Or was it time to be heroic? Simplicity was the least appealing option.
A little about WILLIAM: William Weyerman lives in Austin, Texas where he does stand-up comedy, writes, and directs short films.