Horror and Thriller Science Fiction posted October 16, 2017


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Some things are better left untried.

Denial

by Priest B. Brown


(Author's Notes: This is the opening line that was given.) " All your research, planning and money doesn't mean a bloody thing; you can't bring her back." Victor spat.

"No, Doctor, that's where you're wrong." Vladimir rebuked. "Your medicine and science aren't the only ways in this world... I, uh…"

Victor’s anger subsided as he heard the grief that failed his friend's voice. He gazed at Vladimir with understanding and compassion. "Vlad, this is hard for all of us right now. She wasn’t only your wife, but my friend too. She was dearer to me than my own sisters. Don't you think I want her back as well? We have to face reality, she's gone, and she's not coming back. This was an accident, and there was nothing you or anyone else could do to prevent it.   You have to forgive yourself and accept this. We all do," he explained in a choked voice.

Vladimir shook his head vehemently. "That's where you're wrong Victor, we don't have to accept this, neither one of us has to lose her. If you help me and we do this quickly, I know we can bring her back, I'm confident that we can!  I've read your research as well, and I know what you have done with those animals," he insisted taking hold of his friend’s shoulders. "Please Victor, help me bring her back, for both our sakes!"


Victor's eyes looked everywhere but into Vladimir's.  “Those were animals, not people," he insisted as he turned away and stared at the large fireplace. "They never revived normally, no matter what I did. The dogs didn't bark or wag their tails.  They didn't eat or drink, anything.  It was like they forgot how to be alive.  The pigs we tested would even attack one another for no reason.   I had to destroy every one of them in the end, Vlad. I don't want to see a broken copy of Anna, feigning life. I don't want to have to kill her with my own hands, please don't make me go through losing her twice," he pleaded as his tears began to wash down his ruddy face. 

Vladimir sighed deeply, “This is what I've been trying to tell you, if we do this together, she won't be a broken copy. We can fully restore not only her body but also bring back her soul," he declared once again taking his friend’s shoulders. "My research has led me to a new science, an ancient science that goes beyond our concepts of this physical world," Vlad touted reassuringly.

Victor's eyes now widened as he stared back in disbelief understanding his friend’s meaning. "You're talking about alchemy Vlad, not science. You're just latching on to any means because you can't think about living without her. I understand brother, but you're first and foremost a man of science, not some bloody wizard. You can't turn lead into gold or bring the dead back to life with charms and spells. People have tried for centuries and just end up being burned at the stake for all their efforts."

Vladimir's eyes shifted down to the ground as he shook his head. "Will you just listen to me for one goddamn moment Victor?  What I'm talking about is more than alchemy, more than science, more than our religion or modern medicine! I'm talking about combining all of them to bring an end to suffering in this world.  We can put a stop to death, here and now, my friend!  This will help all of mankind, not just us, overcome the scourge called death, once and for all," he announced staring deeply into Victor's blue eyes. "Think about it, the most brilliant minds living now, able to continue for centuries and unlock all of the mysteries of the universe!  We can do this Victor if we just try!  One thing is for certain; I can’t do it without you! Please, Victor, help me to save Anna!”

“Why me, you own multiple research facilities, hell, you’re a damn prince.  Why not just enlist one of your own notable physicians?”  Victor countered, his mind reeling with possibilities.

For the first time, Vlad cracked a smile. "Because none of them has even come close to what you have accomplished in a few short years, my friend.  Even without your experiments, you're still the smartest man I know. I've shown some of your works to my colleagues and other notable physicians only to have them scoff at it and claim that it was all a work of fiction. I don't need naysayers or pretentious bores at a time like this. I’ve personally witnessed what you can do, and I know that together we can do the impossible," he assured Victor, patting the side of his arm.

Victor rubbed his hand over his bloodshot eyes. He was tired, and he felt his determination slipping away under Vlad's persistent arguments.  "Vladimir, what is it that you are proposing we do? I mean, she's already dead, and she died in that carriage accident so her body, well you understand without me having to go into detail. You identified her," Victor reminded him.


Vlad waved his hands in the air.  “Victor, that makes no difference with you. I have all the other skills and know-how, but you Victor, you're a man of medicine that can do incredible things, I've seen it. You can ensure that what we do will bring the real Anna back to us, free from the trauma of that terrible accident. You can do the post-mortem repairs of her body so that when she comes alive, she’ll be whole," he confidently declared as he saw Victor thinking about his words.

This time it was Victor who was shaking his head. "What you're asking of me is insane. How can I believe in this witchcraft that you're proposing? I mean, Vlad, you’ve seen many people, including family and our dearest of friends, passed away, never once trying to bring them back. Don't do this to Anna and tarnish her life and memory. Let her rest in peace," Victor implored him.

"Whether you help me or not, I'm going to try this," Vladimir insisted as his lips turned downward and a deep scowl covered his face. "I owe this to her and so do you, Victor. We both have come so far in our research, and I believe that she can live again, just as she was before. She is already dead and lost to us if we don't try this. Can you really tell me, Victor, that you'll have no regrets if we don't at least try?" Vladimir insisted as he pressed the point further.

Victor deeply sighed as he surrendered his resolve. "Okay Vladimir, what is it that you want to do?"

"Good man, I knew I could count on you Victor," Vladimir said as his eyes began to glisten. "I have her body here in the basement cooler. I borrowed your embalming formula for preserving dead tissue. I hope you don't mind, but the formula was in your notes that you shared with me a year ago.  You're very thorough in giving not only the ingredients but the how to mix them."

Victor nodded, stroking his chin with his hand and thought. "That will give us about two weeks before the body starts to break down again. If we’re going to do this, we have to do it right away. I will need to call for my assistant, Igor. He's a smart young lad at the University where I'm teaching. He's very discreet and has helped me with all my other experiments."

"Are you sure we can trust him, I know there is a difference between working on animals and raising a person back to life? Are you sure he doesn't have any objections to this," Vladimir asked as he tapped his hands together.

Victor shook his head, "No, in fact, he sides with you, Vlad. He has been insisting for a while that we do cadaver experimentation using the same process on headless bodies so that we don't create needless zombies. I think I would just need to calm his excitement and help him have more rational expectations of our work. There is no guarantee that we will succeed," he stated somberly. "I'm sure we can get started in the morning."

Vladimir smiled back at him. "And there is no guarantee that we will fail either, my friend. You don't have to set my expectations. I will accept whatever comes as long as we've tried our best."

"Good to hear, Vlad," Victor stated tight-lipped. "I think if this succeeds, you and Anna should head back to Transylvania, that way there'll be no rumors or suspicions circulating about. People will no doubt freak out if they know we brought a person back from the dead. That is until we can show the scientific community that this is real science and not sorcery," he insisted.  “I’m going to the study and pen a note to Igor, what are you going to do Vlad in the meantime?”

"I'm going to my room and get some rest,” Vlad stated as he let out a long yawn and stretched. "We have a busy day tomorrow, so good night, Dr. Frankenstein," he stated shaking Victor's hand. 

"Oh, and you too Vlad. By the way,  do you mind me calling you by your real name?  I know most people call you Vladimir and I guess you have gotten used to it," Victor stated returning the firm grasp.

Vlad nodded his head. "Yes, that's fine Victor.  It's just easier being called Vladimir rather than explaining being named Vlad and that whole Ottoman history thing," he said, chuckling lightly.    "I even call myself Vladimir most of the time."
 
The two friends parted company and Vladimir headed for his room. He focused his thoughts on the ancient book that rested there. Vlad had already bookmarked the pages that outline the ceremony to revive the dead. He had ignored any references to curses or punishments, trusting that those were only superstitious dribble meant to scare away ignorant and common people.  It didn't bother him that the page heading when translated from the ancient Mesopotamian was ‘Curse of the Eternally Damned.'   His heart was beating faster even as his mind flooded with hope. "Soon Anna, soon we’ll be together forever,” he swore to himself.







 


Double-Blind Challenge contest entry


Grief and guilt are a deadly combination when added to desperation.
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Artwork by Kiberly at FanArtReview.com

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