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The Strange Case of Doctor Yackle

April 15, 2019

From The Haunted Wordsmith is the Genre Challenge for April 15th.

Today’s genre: Forensic (a thriller featuring the work of forensic experts, whose involvement often puts their own lives at risk)

Today’s image:

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

The Strange Case of Doctor Yackle

When the bulb syringe changed color from blue to brown Doctor Julie Yackle knew she had a problem. If the rubber had simply melted, she thought, it would have been OK. Well, not so much OK for others in the lab because that would have meant that the facility was on fire, but certainly better for her. As a forensic pathologist she had read about this sort of thing – the bulb syringe changing color from blue to brown – and based on that reading about this sort of thing Julie knew she had less than 10 minutes before something awful happened which meant she needed to work quickly.

The cough was the first sign that whoever wrote that research citing 10 minutes after the blue bulb syringe changed color to brown was wrong. And for the first time she wondered just how awful something awful would be.

The cough started deep in her belly and by the time it reached her throat it had dragged with it a mouthful of phlegm and bits of something that felt like kernels of corn. Although not exactly like kernels of corn because kernels of corn don’t wiggle in your mouth and try and force their way back down your gullet. Not wanting to run to the sink to spit, and not wanting to throw it all up over the table that held her research results on the forced activation of configured chromosome de-neutralization, Julie grabbed a flask and put it to her mouth and let everything spill into that.

“Hmm, that’s certainly odd,” she said as she watched the corn-like kernels swim around in random circles. “They have 12 legs and not the traditional eight.” She swirled them around and one of them rode the wave of the swirl to the top of the flask and jumped out.

“Well, that’s not good,” she said as she squashed the kernel/bug under her shoe. She reached for a pen and said, “I should record this so that–” She stopped abruptly when she was gripped by an intense pain deep in her bones. She looked at her hands and watched as her fingers lengthened and thickened and became unrecognizable. Her size six wedding band stretched and popped and fell to the floor. She felt something trying to force its way back up her gullet but was unable to grasp the flask and watched helplessly as her stomach emptied all over the lab table, ruining her research results. She raised one of her now-fiendish hands to wipe her mouth and found that her face had contorted the same way her hands had.

The door to the lab opened and her intern Louis Hyde walked in. “Doctor Yackle, is there a problem in here? Are you – Doctor Yackle what’s going on, are you OK?”

“Not really, Hyde. I appear to be going through some changes. Apparently – and this is only a guess at this point – the autopsy on the John Doe found under the Raymefah Bridge released something that turned my blue bulb syringe brown.”

“Brown? You don’t mean, Doctor Yackle…”

“Exactly, Hyde. I think we’re dealing with something…,” she paused to look at Hyde with eyes that had dropped to opposite sides of her chin and pulsed yellow and red. Hyde, recognizing the seriousness of the situation, joined her in saying: “Not of this world.”

“I’m not sure how long I can control this so you’d better hide, Hyde.”

“I can’t just leave you here like this Doctor Yackle. Tell me what I can do.”

Feeling her tongue start to thicken Doctor Yackle new she had only seconds to act before she was completed engulfed by the unknown alien entity. “Hyde,” she said. “I neeth you do prefare uh, the cranthell…”

“I can’t hear you. You’re muttering.”


“Bryan Cranston?”

“Oghth. Cranth orll…”

“The Tissue Cancellation Fascio Supporter? Are you saying that you want me to activate the Tissue Cancellation Fascio Supporter pod? Why, but, doctor, that’s still in the testing stage and—”

Doctor Yackle nodded a head that balanced on a think 18 inch neck. “Yeppth and Hurbby.”

“What did you say? You want Doctor Herby?”


Realizing there was no time to page Doctor Herby, Louis Hyde pressed the power button on the Tissue Cancellation Fascio Supporter and listened to the mechanical hum as the device came to life. He opened the chamber door and turned to Doctor Yackle. “OK, Doctor Yackle, get int.” But Doctor Yackle was in no position to enter the Tissue Cancellation Fascio Supporter chamber. She was lying on the floor coiled in a mass of indistinguishable flesh. What looked like a head with a hand growing where an ear should be topped the fleshy mass. Hyde shuddered and grabbed a pair of exam gloves and pushed the blob into the chamber and shut the door. He took off the gloves and dropped them into a biohazardous waste bin and looked for a way to activate the machine. “Operations manual,” he said looking around the lab. “There’s got to be one around here somewhere.” Unable to locate a manual he mumbled something about an OSHA violation at the very least and was just about to ponder a worst-case scenario when he noticed a button labeled “ACTIVATE” on the side of the chamber. He held his breath and pressed it and stood back.

The Tissue Cancellation Fascio Supporter was surprisingly quiet. Sort of, he thought, like the low-pitched hum you’d hear from a nice quality refrigerator with an ice maker. The TCFS ran for a few seconds and then stopped and shortly after that the door opened. Doctor Yackle stepped out of the chamber and except for a few wrinkles in her lab coat she looked very much like the Doctor Yackle that Hyde had seen at that morning’s staff meeting.

“Good work, Hyde,” she said.

“Thank you, Doctor Yackle. So, uh…”

“That’s all, Hyde, I’m back. And it’s back to work with you now. The work of a Forensic Pathologist waits for no one.”

“Nothing else, doctor?”

“That’s all I have, Hyde. What’s wrong?”

“Oh, nothing. I don’t know. It just seems an odd way to end things.”

“The world is sometimes an odd place. Keep studying and you’ll realize that. That’s all now.”

“Nothing else?”

“Nothing. This is the end.”

Louis Hyde shrugged and then smiled and then turned and walked out of the lab. “Strange ending,” he said.



Love Made Clear

April 15, 2019

From the Carrot Ranch for April 11, 2019: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the phrase “beggars can’t be choosers.”


Love Made Clear

Brad’s thoughts idled faster than the Challenger’s 426 Hemi engine.

Earlier tonight Jane hosted her book club. No one knew he was in the kitchen and that he’d overheard the conversation about a book concerning a loveless marriage.

“Honestly,” Mona said. “I don’t know why Bess stayed with him.”

“Good in bed?” Rene said.

Everyone laughed.

“How about you, Jane. Why Brad?”

Jane’s silence surprised Brad.

“Well?” Rene said.

Stifling a tear Jane finally said, “Beggars can’t be choosers.”

No one laughed.

Eight years the fool, Brad thought. He put the Challenger in reverse and backed down the driveway.




April 12, 2019

Good old Shawn Phillips rolled around on the playlist this morning. I discovered Shawn shortly after the Faces album came out and then I went back and discovered his earlier albums where I was suitably blown away by the Second Contribution album. Seriously, start to finish, that’s a great album.

Singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, vocalist, poet. There’s never a bad time to listen to Shawn Phillips

Here’s the song I heard this morning.

“Then we all can live together, we all can live in peace. We all can be in love together and make the world at ease. Working through a sea of troubles that the world around us makes, and it really doesn’t matter when you know loves pattern ‘cuz you know that is all it takes.” – Shawn Phillips


Thursday’s News

April 11, 2019

Written for GirlieOnTheEdge’s Six Sentence Stories
Write 6 Sentences. No more. No less.
Use the current week’s prompt word – CONTEST


The Haunted Wordsmith’s Story Starter Challenge. (I think I cheated a little on this one?)
Use the provided sentence somewhere in your post. It can be a starting sentence, closing sentence, anything you choose. Read it and see where the sentence takes you. Today’s sentence: “It’s what!”


Thursday’s News

I heard Julie pull the Firebird into the driveway and I started counting the 73 seconds it would take for her to get out of the car, walk up the driveway, walk into the house, drop her purse on the dining room table, toss the keys in the green bowl and walk into the den where she’d find me laying on the couch watching TV. Yeah, I’m compulsive that way.

“Well, was I right?” I asked.

“Hey, it’s not a contest, you know.”

“So that’s a yes or a no or — you look a little funny — it’s what?”

“It’s not a ‘what’, it’s a girl.”


The Barbecue

April 10, 2019

From The Haunted Wordsmith is the Elemental Writing Challenge April 10.

For this challenge, we will explore one of the four elements: air, earth, water, fire.

This week’s focus is Fire

Today’s prompt and image: sizzling


Simply use the word and/or image provided and be inspired by the natural element. As usual, anything goes! Just have fun.


The Barbecue

The decision to go vegan was an easy one for me. It started back on a cool Saturday night in July. Earlier in the week this guy I work with – Rory – had invited me to a party that he and his wife were hosting. I’m not much of a party guy so I hesitated. He insisted, told me I didn’t have to stay long and said that it’d be fun to see me outside of work. I shrugged but he was persistent – telling me that it’s a monthly gathering with a bunch of interesting people eating interesting food. “Unique” was the word he used. A person can only refuse so much so I agreed. Just for a little while, I told him. He laughed and told me I was going to love it.

The party was outdoors in Rory’s backyard. There were maybe a dozen or so people milling around and Rory, decked out in a “King of the Grill” apron, was tending to a barbeque over a decent-sized fire pit. He was holding a beer in one hand and a grill basket with some sizzling meat in it in the other.

“Jeff, buddy, glad you could make it. Keg’s over off the side of the deck.” I looked around and spotted the keg, looked back and gave Rory a nod and went off to grab a cup.

A woman was filling a cup when I got there so I stood back and waited. I always feel uncomfortable standing by someone and not talking so I said, “Whatever Rory’s cooking over there sure smells good.”

The woman looked up and smiled. She handed me a cup and stood back from the keg holding her full cup. “That it does. Rory’s a great cook. First time at one of Rory and Laura’s parties?”

“Yeah,” I said. “We work together.”

“Oh, is that so? I’m surprised he hasn’t asked you over before tonight.”

“He sort of has.” I said. “I just was never able to make it before tonight.”

She smiled and ran a hand back through her dark hair. “I get it. Well, you’re in for a real treat. I can guarantee that you’ve never tasted anything like Rory’s cooking.”

“Judging by the smell of that barbecue I can’t wait!”

She nodded and looked me in the eye. “Dave.”

That took me by surprise but to each their own. I held out my hand, “Nice to meet you, Dave. I’m Jeff.”

She laughed and said, “No, I’m Carol. That, over there,” she said, avoiding my handshake and pointing off toward Rory. “Is Dave.”

I looked over but all I saw was Rory. “I don’t follow, that’s Rory.”

“In the grill basket. The sausages? That’s Dave. Or the leftover parts of him from last week’s brisket.”

I tasted a wash of sour saliva in my mouth and my stomach began to tighten. All I could think of were the work potlucks and the crockpot chili and the meatballs and the pulled chicken and the pork bites that Dave had brought in. “You OK?” Carol asked. “You look a little weird.”

I looked at her and shook my head. “I’m fine. I always look weird”.

I dropped my beer and turned and raced for the front of the house and the safety of my car. I heard Rory’s voice trailing behind me. “Hey, Jeff, where you going, aren’t you hungry? I’ll see you on Monday, buddy.”


Random Thoughts #34: Hands off

April 10, 2019

I don’t spend all my time in public restrooms, but needs present themselves throughout the day and when that happens, there I am. And it’s not like I’m really paying that much attention to anyone else during my visits – eyes down, in and out is my motto – but I’m a people watcher and I notice certain things so I’m wondering what’s worse:

A) Guy finishes his time at the urinal, grabs the door handle and walks out.

B) Guy finishes his time at the urinal, washes his hands, doesn’t use the air dryer to dry them, shakes the excess water off his hands, grabs the door handle and walks out.

C) Guy finishes his time at the urinal, washes his hands, runs them under the air dryer for an insufficient five seconds, grabs the door handle and walks out.

D) Guy finishes his time at the urinal, washes his hands, doesn’t use the air dryer to dry them, runs his wet hands up and down on his (presumably dirty) jeans, grabs the door handle and walks out.

E) Guy finishes his time at the urinal, washes his hands, doesn’t use the air dryer to dry them, runs his wet hands through his (presumably dirty and greasy) hair, grabs the door handle and walks out.

In case you’re wondering, it’s not that I necessarily obsess about this sort of thing but there’s not a lot to think about when you’ve gone to see Mrs. Murphy. And really, who wants to touch public restroom door handles anyway?


Random Thoughts #33: Wind

April 8, 2019

I walked into a men’s public restroom and after I was struck with the sudden assault on one of my senses, I wondered if the global population all stood together with their backs facing in one predetermined direction and broke wind at exactly the same exact time if we’d blow up the planet. Then I thought that’s impossible because there’s no way that 7.5 billion people are all going to be able to toot their horn at exactly the same time, but I figured it was something interesting to think about. Then I thought what if the global population all stood with our backs facing in one predetermined direction and at the same exact time we all took a deep breath to the count of four and forcibly blew it out. Would we make the world spin faster for a short period of time or would we influence weather? Then I thought if we all referred to ourselves as a “global population” rather than ‘Americans’ or ‘Russians’ or ‘Israelis’ or ‘Palestinians’ or ‘Christians’ or ‘Muslims’ that maybe we’d all get along better? Then I thought that the idea of global harmony was maybe the silliest thought of my three thoughts.


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