Turn Off the Lights


"Turn off the lights..."

The plaintive, raspy whisper came from the female figure huddled in the corner, dressed in light blue scrubs and bare-footed, with her matted, dark head pressed against her bent knees. Harsh, florescent lights bounced against white cinderblock walls and white-painted cement floor. A thick steel door barred exit. A small dome camera hung above the door on the inside.   A two-way mirror, made with triple-reinforced, bulletproof glass, was set into one wall of the room.

Dr. Meredith Schweitzer stood behind the mirror, looking in at the figure. Schweitzer stood barely five-feet tall, with her steel gray hair worn in a severe bun and deep lines grooved into her face. She wore a tailored navy pantsuit with a white lab coat over it. Her ice blue eyes narrowed in thought. Around her, her assistants and helpers monitored a variety of data screens in the control room. Armed guards dressed in black uniforms stood at attention near doorways and a few key spots around the room.

"Turn off the lights..."

The plea came again, and Schweitzer tapped her fingertip against her thigh. The lab-coated assistant nearest to her, holding a clipboard and writing down observations, opened his mouth to say something, but shut it again. The click of keys on keyboards and quiet hum of workers conversing floated in the background of the control room.

"Turn off the lights..."

Schweitzer pursed her lips, then nodded to herself.   She did not remove her gaze from the observation window, as she addressed her assistant in a clipped voice. "Do it."

The assistant with the clipboard hurried over to one of the computer control workers and gave the instruction. A moment later, the florescent lights in the specimen room went out.

BAM! From out of the dark, the female figure slammed herself into the two-way mirror, and her mouth spit open in four directions. Black tentacles shot from her throat in all directions, covering the entire mirror. Her human body contorted abnormally, jerking as the creature inside of her sought to escape. The triple-glass started cracking in the corners.

The horrified guards raised their weapons toward the mirror, moving into formation behind Schweitzer.   The workers in the room shook in terror, eyes wide, breaths caught in their throats. One helper's chair shot back with a squeal on the tile as he bolted from the control room.

"Lights," Schweitzer said calmly.

The petrified assistant had to find his voice before he could repeat the command to the computer operator. Shaking hands took three times to hit the correct set of keys. The florescent lights in the specimen room buzzed to life.

The creature sizzled and emitted a high-pitched scream, causing most in the room to clap their hands over their ears. The black tentacles retreated swiftly into the female figure's mouth. The figure collapsed beneath the window, huddling into a ball, face buried in its knees. It began to whimper plaintively. "Turn off the lights..."

Schweitzer smiled grimly.