Chapter 4 - The Final Preview Chapter

Start from the beginning

"Eww!" Jeremy mumbled jealously.

The group followed their guide back to the large white building near the beach that made up the majority of the island's research center and facilities. A short walk down a narrow corridor concluded with a security door, requiring fingerprint and retinal scanning. Schmidt placed his hand on a pad, looked into a small glass hole in the wall, and the group was soon inside the lab. It was large and full of white walls, stainless steel equipment and Plexiglas-walled pens with zombies in them. The entrance and front half of the lab was raised higher than the other half where the zombies resided in their cells, so the researchers could look at them from above, like gods looking down upon creation. This front of the lab had an assortment of gleaming stainless steel work tables and fridge. All the tables and countertops that could be seen were stainless steel. Atop the tables was an array of glass equipment: vials, Bunsen burners, beakers, and a centrifuge for blood vials. Romero stood at one work table, looking at a sample of something in a microscope. Dr. Schmidt held the door open for the group as they entered and gestured toward the inside of the room with a grand sweep of his arm.

"WELCOME TO MY LAB!" Dr. Schmidt proclaimed.

Romero looked up, turning his head with a big wide grin toward the group, though his eyes seemed to be directed at Marija. Marija blushed slightly, looking bashful and flattered in response. Jeremy noticed this, making him instantly annoyed. Zeb rolled his eyes at the immature jockeying taking place among a group of grown adults. The rest of the group pretended not to notice.

"Hello!" Romero greeted with enthusiasm.

"Hi!" Marija chuckled.

The zombies, confined in their transparent cages, watched the proceedings with extreme interest, glaring up from their sunken prison.

"This is where Dr. Romero, Hugo and myself have done most of our research and made our discoveries," Dr. Schmidt explained.

Looking down from their vantage point, the lab visitors began to observe the zombies right back. Two Plexiglas pens sat next to each other, each with a zombie occupying it. The zombie on the left was fairly well preserved. It had some patches of rotting, discoloured flesh; it wouldn't have passed for living, but close. The one on the right was skinny and emaciated; its skin was leathery with lots of decomposition. There was a large cement cinder block in each cell.

"As you can see, the zombie on the left is much better preserved than the one on the right," Schmidt said.

Schmidt turned to his guests and continued talking, proudly grinning and tugging the lapels of his jacket.

"Although they were infected at approximately the same time, we simply fed the left one a heavy diet of raw flesh, while we fed the right one very, very sparingly."

Jeremy looked at the two zombies again. Now each one had bulging eyes and looked at the cinder block in their cell.

"The zombie pathogen subsists on flesh in order to keep the cerebral cortex functioning. Now . . . pick up your cinder block with one hand and lift it above your head!" Schmidt commanded the zombies.

Both zombies leaned forward and reached out for their respective cinder blocks. Each zombie lifted their cinder block above their head. The arm holding the cinder block on the skinny zombie was wobbling just a little. Jeremy snapped a picture.

"Each one has enough muscle strength to lift a 20 pound block," Schmidt explained.

Before the magazine crew's very eyes, the arm of the malnourished zombie literally snapped off. The arm and the cinder block crashed to the ground. The shrivelled, nearly mummified zombie didn't look to be in pain or even surprised. He just looked down at his arm crashing to the ground with his head slightly tilted, as if confused.

The Island of Dr. MoroseRead this story for FREE!