Phase 2

Madie had promptly quit her waitress job. She remained awestruck for three hours. She had brought a dead man back to life. He remained unconscious on her lab table/hospital bed while she paced near the computer station. She knew her theories would work, but she was still coming to terms with the reality that she had completed her experiment. Seven long years. Five at the facility in Washington and two in her own little lab she built after being fired. After seven years, she had done what everyone thought was impossible. Only a few had even attempted what she had. To her knowledge, she was the first to succeed.

She felt unsure about what to do next for the first time in her memory, so she went into autopilot and began checking the reanimated man’s vitals every fifteen minutes. She searched her desk to find the few pages that the coroner gave her.

  • Name: Adam Robert Monteller
  • Birth: 23 April, 1974
  • City of Birth: Harrisburg, Illinois
  • Deceased: 16 September, 2006
  • Location Pronounced Deceased: Necaise, Mississippi
  • Cause of death: Automobile Accident
  • Age: 32
  • Height: 6′ 2″
  • Weight: 224 (12 hours posthumously)
  • Marital Status: Never Married
  • Next of Kin: None

And at the very end it read:

  • Remains to be cremated per city ordinance

The entire world believed Adam Robert Monteller had died and was cremated as directed by local legislature regarding unclaimed persons. That is, if anyone was even looking to know that information.

In reality, Adam had been brought back from death in the basement of a house leased to one Marcy Reynolds, the alias Madie had created in case any persons clad in black suits came looking for her. She assumed she would have been added to the national watch-list upon leaving her well-funded and well-guarded laboratory environment. She was surprised they never came looking for her when she used her real name. She was very careful to maintain a visage of normalcy. She even acquired a job a local university teaching biology for the first year after being forced out.

Now she had accomplished her life’s work. A dead man was no longer dead. She jot down a few notes and checked on Adam. The anesthesia wore off after a few hours and he came to. He groaned, and Madie rolled her chair over to him ready to interact. She also had a dose of anesthesia ready should she need it.

“Adam?”

He groaned and his head lolled from side to side. He was still feeling the drugs.

“Adam? Can you hear me?”

Another groan, but he was able to direct his attention toward her. His eyes were slowly adjusting. She gave him time.

“Where….where am I?”

Madie smiled. “You are in a recovery room. You had a bad accident. Do you remember anything about it?”

“I…I can’t…”

“It’s okay. It may take some time. You are still feeling the effects of the anesthesia. Do you think you can drink some water?”

She rolled over and grabbed the bottle of water from the fridge unit by her desk. She cracked it open and held it to his lips. He groaned in pain and she forced him back into the bed. He was able to take two sips before the pain caused his consciousness to slip.

“Careful,” she said, “We don’t want to open the incision. You must be in a great deal of pain. I will give you some medicine to help you rest.”

She reached for the anesthetic, realized her mistake, then quickly gave him a dose of morphine instead. He drifted into a deep sleep within a few minutes.

Madie hung her head. “Idiot,” she muttered to herself. She had pushed the original dose of anesthesia in a temporary moment of panic when first started regaining consciousness. Now she would have to wait almost twenty-four hours before she could begin Phase 2.


She lived a few blocks from a local hospital where she knew the local ER doctor from her days back in medical school. Her name was Rachel. She was brilliant and could have been a top-class surgeon if she had the desire, but she insisted she was happy helping those who needed help in a crisis. She had almost become a pediatrician.

Madie strolled into the sparsely populated waiting room and asked for Rachel. A few minutes later Rachel came out and greeted her.

“Madie. Good to see you again. Let’s go back to my office.”

Madie followed her through the hallway of evenly spaced rooms and back to a small closet of an office. Rachel shut the door behind them.

“I hope those supplies I gave you helped your friend.”

“They did. I was hoping that I might get just a few more things. I promise it will be the last of it.”

Rachel gave her a side-eyed glance. “You know I could get in a lot of trouble for what I gave you already, right?”

“I know, and I appreciate everything you’ve done.”

Rachel sighed. “What more would you need?”

“Just an IV kit with a spare bag, and some Vicodin if you have some.”

“I can give you the IV, but Hydrocodone will have to do for the pain. You friend got pretty banged up, huh? You should have brought him in to see me.”

“It’s…complicated. He isn’t necessarily in good standing with the law.”

“What did he do?”

“Well…” Madie shrugged.

“You know what? Never mind. If I don’t know, then I can’t lie of the authorities come knocking on my door. You’re more than capable to care for anyone. We could actually use your help around here. Need a job?”

“Maybe after a while. I appreciate the assistance. And the discretion.”

“No problem. You know me. I just want to help people get back on their feet.”

“And you will be doing that for sure. Thank you so much.”


The saline solution helped accelerate the removal of the anesthesia. Madie waited a few extra hours to ensure that there would be no chance of the drug in Adam’s system before she opened a refrigerated drawer and lifted two syringes from it. One held a blue solution, the other a dark purple. She pushed them both simultaneously. The blue into the injection port of the IV and the dark purple into the injection port of the dialysis machine she had Adam hooked up to ensure any toxins were removed from his blood.

The concoction was designed to reverse any damage dealt to the body while it had been deceased and promote healing at quicker rate than would be considered normal. A separate solution remained in the drawer that she hoped wouldn’t be needed. She would only be able to make that decision after she could talk to him for a length of time. Time enough to determine if his brain was functioning correctly.

She reviewed the readout from the EEG machine. So far there hadn’t been any unusual activity.


Madie waited an entire day before beginning her conversations. Even though Adam was barely able to keep a string of thoughts together, she decided she may need to push him to determine if her third solution was needed. She considered using it anyway since it was theoretically designed to repair synaptic connections. The potential harm or cause of side-effects of using the solution unnecessarily was low, but she didn’t want to add any risks to her already successful reanimation.

Adam woke from what seemed to be a peaceful sleep. Madie gave him some water and asked if he was ready for some questions. He perked up, ready for the challenge, so she began.

“Your name is Adam Robert Monteller, correct?” She glanced up from her clipboard. His eyes looked unfocused and she thought maybe he hadn’t heard her. Then a frown formed on his face.

“No,” he said.

My Own Monster

Obtaining a body was much easier than Madie thought it would have been. A few thousand dollars to a coroner and she was loading the corpse of a thirty-two-year-old male in the back of an ice truck. His end was somewhat sad, but Madie didn’t care much about that. All she cared about was that she got the body. It was slated for cremation. Whoever received the urn would never know that the pile of ash within it was not who, or what, they thought it was.

It was important that she get a fresh corpse. This guy wasn’t even dead for a full forty-eight hours, and he was kept in a controlled environment that slowed the cell decomposition. Now, after unloading him from the truck, he was now in her own environmentally controlled lab that would keep his body in prime condition for her experiments.

The first step was to hook him up. She cut the large “Y” pattern of stitches on his chest and opened his rib-cage so she could get to his heart. She hooked up four leads, one into each chamber, then she attached the eight pints of A- blood she also bought from the coroner to the machine. She ran two more leads to the dead man’s lungs. She flipped a switch and the heart-lung machine hummed to life. It began pumping blood and oxygen into the corpse’s body. This was the first, crucial step. She had to stop the autolysis. Bodies begin to decay as soon as they die. Providing fresh blood and oxygen would help remove the toxins that began the decomposition process. She hoped the body was fresh enough that what little damage had already occurred could be reversed.

With the body hooked up, she now had to wait. She wanted to begin tests right away, and was itching to inject the first serum now, but a glimpse at the clock showed that it was already four in the morning. She let logic win out against her eagerness. It would be best to let the body acclimate before starting any tests.


Madie kicked off her shoes when she got home from working a temporary waitress job. She was exhausted, physically, but her excitement triumphed and she hurried down the stairs to her patient. She entered the sealed lab she built in her basement to find her corpse looking a little more alive. The cold pallor had been replaced with a warmer hue. He could easily have been mistaken for an actual patient in the middle of an open-heart surgery.

She checked the machine, replaced two pints of blood with newer ones, and removed a bag of black bio-matter that had been separated from the bloodstream. Then she turned her attention to the dead man. He was cute. She surprised herself when the thought crossed her mind. She turned and opened a refrigerated drawer. Inside were three syringes.

They were all concoctions of her own design. Created after years of research and testing on small animals. She insisted on human testing. After the third denial, and a stern warning, she was insistent enough that they fired her. She was careful not to leave any notes behind when she left, and was thankful to still have friends in the field that helped her get the materials she needed to continue her research in secret.

Madie picked up the first syringe. She inserted the needle into the injection port connected to the blood supply line and pushed the serum into the bloodstream. She watched it dissolve into the blood. An excitement ran through her. She stood stiffly, waiting for something to happen. When nothing changed, she sighed and sat down in the desk chair by the computer. Science was never instantaneous. Her calculations put the first stage’s completion at four hours after injection. She knew the math was correct, but of course she also hoped for an unexpected triumph.

“Now we wait,” she said to the empty room. She woke the computer and began running scenarios. She checked on the body every twenty minutes.

Four hours passed and her alarm sounded. She left the computer station and checked the body thoroughly before pushing the second injection. Again, she waited with a tinge of excitement. Again, her logic won out and she sat back at the computer, triple checking her calculations for stage two based on the real data of stage one. The time only adjusted my three minutes and fourteen seconds. Now she only had to wait just under sixteen hours.


Madie woke to her alarm. She wiped sleep away from her eyes as she slowly gained full consciousness. She silenced the annoying beep and glanced over at the body. Stage two was complete. She examined him again. He was warm to the touch. The heart was twitching, not beating, but moving. She ran a few tests and was relieved to find everything was exactly as it should be. She pushed the final injection.

The third stage was expected to take forty-five minutes for completion. Madie did not set an alarm because she knew she would hover anxiously the entire time. Her eyes only left the body to check the machine. Then it happened. At the forty-third minute mark, the heart beat. Then it beat again. It began a steady rhythm. Madie carefully removed the leads and watched in pure euphoria as the dead man’s heart began pumping blood on its own.

Then something happened that she was not prepared for. The body groaned. The man, dead for nearly four days, was waking up. She hurriedly prepared an anesthetic. His eyes opened, focused, then looked at her. She could not stop smiling.

“Wh-”

“Shh,” Madie stopped him, “you were in a bad accident. You are in surgery now. I’m going to give a little more anesthetic.”

His eyes lulled and he went under. She unhooked him from the machine. He was able to breathe on his own. She carefully sewed him up. He was alive. She couldn’t believe it. Her research predicted it was possible, but she still couldn’t believe she’d achieved it. All she had to do now was nurse him back to health. After she calmed down that is. Then she could begin Phase 2.

Seven Trials

“Welcome,” Krisi said and held the door open for him. Glenn gladly accepted the invitation. He’d never done anything like this, and he said so.

“Many people haven’t, but don’t let that put you off.” She closed the door and took him down the hall.

“I’ve heard many good things,” he said.

“You will gain from this what you most desire. That is our guarantee, but you must first be open to the experience or else you will gain nothing. Everyone who leaves here after completing the full list of activities has gained a new perspective on their lives. A perspective that opens their minds to what they were missing. They gain…an appreciation.”

He followed her into a small room filled with a bar top and a few stools. Krisi ushered him to a seat at the bar before walking around.

“Would you like a drink to start things off?”

“Sure,” he replied hesitantly, “I didn’t just pay a thousand bucks for a drink, did I?”

She offered a smile, “No, this is just a courtesy. We find it often helps calm any nerves about what will happen next. Anything you want. On the house.”

“Oh.” He looked over the wall of bottles. “I’ll take some of that Macallan if that’s okay.”

“Of course.” She grabbed a glass and poured a small amount. He noticed the 40 on the label and accepted it graciously. She then pulled two trays out from behind the bar and set them on either side of him.

“Before we begin in earnest, we must ask that you sign a confidentiality agreement.” She lifted the lid off the first tray to reveal a paper and pen. “You may read it over if you like. It simply details that you will not reveal anything you see beyond this point. We do not restrict you from telling anyone how you were changed by any event held on our premises, in fact we encourage you to do so, but we must ask that you refrain from any specifics about our processes.”

Glenn took the paper and began reading it. Before he could ask any questions, Krisi lifted the lid off of the second tray to reveal a pile of neatly stacked, pristine one-hundred-dollar bills.

“If you choose not to sign the contract,” she continued, “we must ask you to leave the premises. You may keep the one-hundred thousand dollars as a refund, but you may never again attempt to use our services. I apologize, but this is non-negotiable.”

He stared at the cash. One-hundred thousand dollars could solve a lot of problems, but the fact that nearly everyone he knew had turned it down (hell, hadn’t even mentioned the money) and only praised this place helped sway his hand. He signed the agreement.

She placed the lid back on the money. They left the small room. Glenn brought his glass with him. He wasn’t going to waste a scotch that cost more than his admission.

He followed her to another room. It was a large banquet hall filled with an enormous oak table. They each sat down, occupying one of the fifty chairs evenly spaced with enough room to never bump elbows.

“Are you hungry?” Krisi asked.

“Yes, actually, I’m starving,” he said. He wasn’t when he first came in, but now he found himself famished.

“Good.” She pulled a device from her pocket, turned it in her hand, and tucked it away again. A train of waiters came through a door at the opposite end of the hall. Each one carried a large silver tray. They placed a tray in front of each chair.

“Are we expecting company?” Glenn asked.

Krisi smiled, but offered no reply. She lifted the lid off of her tray and examined the food. Glenn did also. His eyes took in the roasted meat. His stomach growled and his hunger intensified. Krisi smiled at him and took a sip of wine.

“Enjoy,” she said.

He forgot about his drink and carved into the meal. The meat was prepared so perfectly it melted in his mouth like velvet cream. He hardly noticed anything else until he had consumed the entire plate.

Krisi hadn’t touched her meal, but took another sip of wine and asked, “Still hungry?”

“Actually….’ he said bashfully, “I am.”

“Eat to your heart’s content,” she said and nodded to the platter next to him.

He grabbed the tray and removed the lid to find an exact copy of what he’d just eaten. He carved into it to find it even better than the first meal. When he finished, he was still unsatisfied and grabbed another plate. He never noticed how the plate next to him was always replaced after he took it.

Krisi watched on, sipping her wine, as Glenn ate plate after plate. She watched as his features changed. She was not surprised how quickly he abandoned his utensils, then his hands, and began taking large bites directly from the platter. If anything, Krisi was disappointed that Glenn only made it to the second trial. He ate and ate and ate and became less and less human. He soon took on the physical shape of the animal he always was.

She took the small device out of her pocket and turned it over twice. A handler came in and put a lead on what was once Glenn.

“Place him in a pen and fatten him up a bit. We can serve him next week.”

The handler bowed and left with the animal.

Krisi took one last sip of wine before getting up. She walked down the hall and opened the door.

“Ethan. Welcome.” She smiled and held the door open for him. She wondered if he would make it through all seven trials, but had a feeling he would fail at number four.