WRHAMMONS.COM: THE WRITING, RUNNING, ETC. WEBSITE
Inside was the detritus of an academic career: a desk set against one wall of a cramped office, its surface piled high with papers topped with odd paperweights (such as a plastic mold of a skull missing its mandible), and many, many bookshelves overstuffed with medical textbooks stacked vertically and horizontally. Laura looked about the stifling room and saw her father sitting at his desk on a warm spring day, preparing his notes for a lecture on neurology as numerous corners of paper fluttered in a breeze from the nearest window.
It was when she looked beyond that window, towards the back of the office, that Laura suffered her first chill. At one end of a second, larger desk set against the far wall, a desk that she hadn't seen on her last visit, a human brain lay suspended in a clear liquid and encased in a glass case similar to those once used to house stocktickers. A nest of wires protruded from the brainís stem and snaked out of the case through a single large cord to a large metal box that was, bizarrely, set next to a television set and a VCR on the opposite end of the desk.
Laura approached the VCR, letting the Sunday morning light fall on her fair skin as she did so, and saw that the VCR was in "record" mode. She reached out a shaking finger to turn the TV on, but a voice warned, "I wouldn't do that if I were you."
The finger snapped back and Laura spun around in the radiant light to face the voice from the doorway.
"Can I help you?" A man Laura's age, sporting unshaven and hollow cheeks, as well as a white lab coat and a bed-crushed spike of hair, stood in the doorway with one hand firmly gripping a knob.
"You may. Perhaps." Laura took a step towards the door and reached out her hand. "Laura Tomsen."
The stranger shook her hand perfunctorily, then dropped it. "Peter Myers. You must be Doctor Tomsen's daughter."
Laura's smile brightened as she tucked a stray wisp of gold behind one ear. "He's told you about me?"
Myers gestured to the nearest desk with a chiseled chin. "Your picture's on his desk."
"Oh." Laura dropped her hand. "Did you two work together?"