I’ve never had a thriller/suspense on First Sight Saturday, but why not let some chills go down our spines in the cold days of December? Today author Richard Brawer shares an excerpt from The Nano Experiment, but first, since his fun fact is that he likes to tell jokes, here is one for all of us to enjoy. (I’ve never had a joke on First Sight Saturday either so we are tilling all kinds of new ground.)
Three elderly ladies were bragging about their sons.
The first one said, “My son is so good to me he bought me a beautiful condo in the city.”
The second one said, “My son is so good to me he bought me beautiful condos in the city and in Florida, and he pays for me to travel back and forth whenever I want.”
The third woman said, “My son loves me so much he told me he spends a fortune on a psychiatrist and all they talk about is me.”
SETUP OF THE SCENE: Fifteen year old Eileen Robinson is relegated to babysitting her two younger sisters while her recently widowed mother works at night cleaning offices. One night she sneaks out to hang with her friends. Trying to cook something, the sisters die in a fire.
Distraught and alienated from her mother, Eileen runs away. Befriended by a drug dealer she moves in with him. At twenty-one she is a single mother of two and wrongly convicted of murder. At thirty-two she is executed.
However, the doctor who performs the execution puts Eileen into a coma with a controlled dosage of medication, corrupts the EKG monitor to make it look like she is dead and she is transported to an island prison where she and 11 others are used as a guinea pigs in a nanomedicine drug experiment.
Eileen awakes from her coma strapped to a cot. She is confronted by the prison doctor that performed her “execution” and her antagonist, the warden in charge of the island prison who chases her after she escapes. (Of course she has to escape or there would be no story.)
“What you gunna do with me?”
“You are going to help us with a humanitarian effort.”
“We are developing a drug to eradicate HIV.”
“I don’t have HIV.” The only person I’d ever been with was my man, Thomas. And he didn’t have HIV.
He nodded. “Directly into your blood.”
“I wasn’t the one on death row.”
I closed my eyes. Do with me what you will, Lord. If experimenting on me is how you wish me to repent for what I did to my sisters, fine. I will cooperate.
The doctor took a corner of the coarse sheet and wiped my face. “Now, Colonel Springer will explain the rules.”
If the doc wasn’t the devil, the man he called Colonel Springer could be. He wore his black hair combed straight back which accentuated his receding hairline and high forehead, making his face look exceedingly long. As if to compensate for the missing hair on his head, a mustache curled around his mouth to meet a close-cropped beard that spread across his chin. His form-fitting black T-shirt showed off muscular biceps and expansive shoulders and chest.
The colonel stepped close to the bed and leaned down. His face stern and his eyebrows cinched in, he looked more threatening than any of the guards in prison. “You are on an island.” His voice was powerful and his hot breath smelled of strong coffee. “If you behave, you will spend your last days in this paradise.”
I jerked my arms again. “A lot of good it’s gunna do me.”
I swallowed hard and nodded.
“There are twelve of you here. Each of you has your own private bungalow. Before we leave, you’ll be released. You will be free to walk around the fenced compound. The guards have instructions to shoot to kill should somehow you get outside the fence without permission. Do you understand?”
“Inside the compound, when you’re not in the lab for testing, you can sit on your porch, bask in the sun, even swim. The fence goes into the water. It’s strong enough to hold the sharks out.”
“In case you think you can escape by water, which won’t do you any good because we are thirty miles from the closest island.” Springer smiled a perverse grin. “We feed the sharks with meat soaked in blood every day. They make wonderfully cheap off-shore guards. If you’re still thinking about escape, keep in mind, this island is only a thousand yards in each direction. You will be easily hunted down and eliminated from the program. Do you understand?”
“The entire compound including your bungalow is swept by surveillance cameras and listening devices. We monitor every move and sound you make.”
“Including the bathroom?”
“You didn’t have a private bathroom in prison, did you?”
“Then you should be used to it.”
Yes, I was used to being watched through the tiny window in my cell. Even though I was in a woman’s prison, there were male guards and they would stare at us when we pissed and crapped, and even when we showered. Perverts.
Doctor Metcalfe took over. “In your dresser you’ll find underwear, more T-shirts and shorts, and bathing suits. All in your size.” The doctor bent over and picked up a pair of sandals. “There are two pairs of these under your bed. Meals are served cafeteria style in the commissary building. You will be expected to rinse your own dishes and put them in the dishwasher, as well as wash your own clothes. Also, the commissary is stocked with sodas and snacks. After each meal you may help yourself to whatever you want. Bring it back to your cottage and put it in your refrigerator.”
“Wow, a vacation paradise.” I looked at the ceiling. Sorry, Lord I said silently. I’ll be good. I’ll do what you ask.
“I insisted everything be done to make you as comfortable as possible,” Doctor Metcalfe said. “You see, we even framed the picture of your children we found on you.”
I choked up. “Thank you for not throwing it away.”
“If you don’t cause trouble, you will be quite content here.”
“And if someone causes trouble?”
“There are no second chances here,” Colonel Springer said. “And no bleeding hearts from those amnesty or prisoner’s rights groups to protest your treatment. There are many more on death row we can bring here to take your place. Do you have any questions?”
“What did my mama say when she didn’t have a body to bury?”
“Your mother didn’t want your body. She left it up to the state to take care of the arrangements.”
I choked up again and tears flowed freely. After all these years, Mama, can’t you forgive me? But why should you? What did I do to earn your forgiveness?
The doctor again wiped them with the edge of the sheet. “I’m sorry,” he said. “Anything else?”
“What happens when the experiment’s over?”
“You’ll never realize it. It will be quite compassionate. Not like it would have been had we carried out your execution. The drug that was supposed to render you unconscious would have only incapacitated your muscles, not your brain or nervous system. The second one—the one that would have collapsed your diaphragm and lungs—is quite painful. It feels like you are being slowly crushed to death. You would have been in excruciating pain without being able to move a muscle or speak. So, do I have your word that you will cooperate?”
“You always have a choice,” Colonel Springer said. “You can live a few more months or you can die right now.” Springer slapped the rod he was holding against the palm of his hand. “This is like a cattle prod, only with a hundred times the voltage. You don’t want to be on the wrong end of it.”
“Excellent,” the doctor said and began to remove my restraints. “Colonel Springer will not hesitate to use his weapon on you if you suddenly change your mind.”
I rubbed my wrists, but I was afraid to sit up. As they left my cottage, the doctor said, “We will see you tomorrow for your first dose of medicine. There is fruit in your refrigerator. Have a snack. Wander around. Meet your fellow patients. Feel free to cohabitate if you desire.”
I thought, yeah, while you perverts watch.
END OF EXCERPT
Read the first chapter and the full reviews of “The Nano Experiment” at Richard’s website: www.silklegacy.com
“The Nano Experiment” is available in the Kindle format for $.99 at
Thank you for sharing a joke and an excerpt with us today, Richard. We welcome any questions or comments. I welcome readers to come back every Saturday to read a fresh new first meeting excerpt.