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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.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. The Haunted Wordsmith permalink
    April 15, 2019 1:08 pm

    Sometimes all we have is a strange ending lol Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. April 15, 2019 6:25 pm

    Are you sure that the author just didn’t know where to end it? 😀


    • Michael B. Fishman permalink*
      April 16, 2019 9:35 am

      It’s very possible. I’ve got a call into him for some clarification but I haven’t heard back yet.

      Liked by 1 person

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