The Professor


3. Chapter Three

    Henry vomits into the bucket again, his head hovering in the brink of the pail. It’s his third bucket, but he just keeps heaving, and the vomit comes with some blood and some tremors— the full package.

    Professor nails Henry in the back of the head with his fist. “Stop it, child! You said you could handle it!”

    Henry’s eyesight goes colorful and he groans, heaving and choking in a breath. His throat is burning from the acid.

    Professor groans in annoyance and Henry hears him struggling to continue cutting the intestines out.

    Henry’s puke hits the pan again, and it makes a loud, metallic shplink. One after the other, just shplink, shplink, shplink, shplink.

    “Disgusting,” Henry hears Wright say through the ringing in his ears. “Can’t even handle a bit of dissection.”

    Henry vomits again, his stomach wrenching in pain and his throat clenching as it struggles for air, and hears a metallic scraping sound behind him. He wants to look, but he can’t for fear of vomiting, so he just hears the scraping as something supposedly happens in the guts of the woman. He pukes at the thought of the wet blood on the metal. He’s fine with dried blood, but this? This is absolutely disgusting.

     His stomach finally settles, and his now empty stomach twitches. Ugh…

    His head aches worse than it has ever before. He puts his hand to his temple and winces. Ow…

    He looks up from the full bucket and jumps when sees his boss right in his face.

    Ah! Professor!!!” he exclaims in surprise. “Warn me before you sneak up on me!!”

    Professor laughed maniacally. “Ha! You should have seen your face!”

    Henry’s eyes dart to the sharp, bloodied object in Professor’s hand and feels bile rise. He forces it back down. Ugh…

    Professor sits down the scalpel down on the metal table. It makes a metallic scraping sound. His poor head pounds in protest. Henry winces again.

    He’s tempted to look at the body, but doesn’t feel like vomiting again. So much of a lab assistant he is…

    He stands, his stilt-like legs wobbling wildly. He stumbles a few steps, his knee twitching. He groans in pain and grits his teeth.

    “Will you be alright, son?” Professor asks Henry.

    Henry responds with a small nod and a mumbled, “Sorry I couldn’t help.”

    “It’s alright, Henry,” says Professor, but he sounds irritated. “I’ll have Ben or Vic help me when they get back. It’s forgivable. It was too much to ask for you to help without the training.”

    Henry sighs. “Professor. Just say I disappointed you.”

    Professor rolls his eyes. “Fine. You disappointed me.” Professor presses a button on the table and Henry watches as the body rises back up in its elevator-like way. “But you do that anyway, so it doesn't matter.”

    Henry grimaces. He knows that Professor probably meant it as a joke, but it still kind of hurt his feelings. He lets out a small laugh. “Ha, funny.”

    Henry stumbles to the steel door, looking to the table and waiting for Professor. He wants to get out of this room. He’s been in it a few times, but never when an experiment was going on. He likes it much less now that he’s seen it while attempting to assist with an experiment.

    But Professor doesn’t move, just stands there, staring at the gears in the table that have been revealed since the body has been lifted. “Henry…,” he begins, his voice taking on a strange, wistful, thoughtful tone. “You may not have been a help today, but I love you like a son.” The short, middle-aged man turned to Henry. “I’m proud of you even when you fail.”

    Henry gave Professor a small smile. He rarely complimented him, but it made his chest swell when he did. The warm from the compliment spread through his veins and he walked up to Professor, stooping and scooping him up in a hug. “Love you too, Professor.”


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