Home > Immortal Unchained (Argeneau #25)(3)

Immortal Unchained (Argeneau #25)(3)
Author: Lynsay Sands

In the end, Sarita didn’t have to argue with the man in the gatehouse. She walked up to the window, opened her mouth to explain herself, and then closed it without saying a word as she noticed that the blond man inside wasn’t even looking her way. He was sitting with his back to the window and gate, earbuds in his ears as he watched a movie on the computer on the counter in front of him.

A porno, she saw as her gaze slid to the computer screen.

So much for security, Sarita thought dryly and glanced to the gate. There was a large gate, presumably for vehicles, and a smaller one for people to pass through. Sarita walked to the smaller gate. When she found it wasn’t even locked and opened easily, she shook her head with disgust and slipped through, then pulled it gently closed. She headed for the nearest building at a quick clip and was more than halfway to it before a shout sounded. It was followed by another, and then another as others heard the call and noticed her.

Sarita ignored them and kept going, but she did move a little faster. She made it to the door, and a glance around as she slipped inside showed her that while one or two men were climbing down the ladders on the towers, the man in the gatehouse still had his head down as he watched his porn. Apparently, he hadn’t yet noticed anything amiss. She suspected he’d be in a heap of trouble for it.

Pulling the door closed, Sarita turned to survey the room she’d entered. It was a lab, all white with upper and lower metal cupboards on two walls, a large industrial refrigerator as well as a large industrial freezer along another and a desk against the last wall. Two small, wheeled tables sat a little distance apart in the center of the room, and those caught and held her attention at once.

Having trouble accepting what she was seeing, Sarita moved slowly across the room to the first table and stared down at the top half of the corpse lying strapped on it. It was a man who was probably about twenty-five. His hair was short and blond, his face handsome but bloodless, and his upper body was in perfect shape . . . except for the fact that it ended just below his belly button where he appeared to have been cut in half.

Sarita stared at him blankly, noting that there were a couple dozen metal straps rising out of the table, crossing over his body, and then disappearing through slots in the table surface. There was one across his forehead, and then at his throat, his shoulders, under his armpits, and another every couple of inches down his torso after that for the length of the table. There were also half a dozen smaller metal straps holding his arms down from his armpits to his wrists.

Sarita turned her head to peer at the second small table where the lower half of his body lay. A small towel was draped over his groin, and there were even more straps running over his lower body, with a great gaping wound where his body had been separated. It looked as if he’d been sawn in half like a tree.

As she studied the open wound on the lower half of the body, and the one on the upper body, Sarita had to wonder why she wasn’t freaking out.

Probably because of the lack of blood, she thought . . . and because it didn’t look real. Or perhaps because it reminded her of Body Worlds, an exhibition of preserved human bodies that showed the anatomy of the inner body. Her father had taken her to see it at the Ontario Science Centre back in 2005. This reminded her of it, a bloodless display of inner workings. It looked like one of those. It was obviously a cadaver from the university or something.

That made sense, Sarita thought. After all, Dr. Dressler was a professor at one of the universities in Venezuela. Mind you, universities didn’t generally let professors take cadavers home that she knew of.

And why both halves of the body were strapped to the table like that was a complete mystery to her.

The sound of approaching voices caught her attention and Sarita turned her head toward the door as someone said, “I will handle it. You get back to your posts . . . and do your jobs this time.”

The door opened then and an older man stepped inside. Dressed in dark pants and a white doctor’s coat, Dr. Dressler was tall, with a full head of snow-white hair parted at the side and brushed away from his face in waves that suggested he was a little overdue for a haircut. He had a mustache and goatee to match, but his eyebrows were a mix of snow-white and a darker brown or black that suggested he’d been a dark-haired man when younger. The skin on his neck was saggy and a little crepey and his face had the wrinkles and lines age eventually carved in everyone’s face, but they were much less pronounced than she would have expected from someone she knew to be in his eighties.

“Dr. Dressler?” she asked uncertainly, before glancing to the woman who followed him into the room. Also wearing dark pants and a doctor’s white coat, she was much younger, perhaps in her thirties. Her hair was blond and pulled back in a tight bun, revealing a face that was untouched by makeup but still beautiful.

At least it would have been beautiful if she didn’t have such a sour expression on her face, Sarita thought.

“Sarita, my dear. What a pleasure to finally meet you,” Dr. Dressler said, drawing her attention back his way as he led the blonde across the room. He clasped her hands in his and used his hold to shift her to the side as he added, “Unfortunately, you have arrived at a rather inconvenient moment. This experiment is time sensitive, so please just stay here out of the way while we do our work and we shall talk afterward.”

Staying by the wall where he’d urged her, Sarita watched silently as he then joined the blonde and helped her roll the two tables together so that the upper torso of the corpse met the lower torso perfectly.

“Fetch the blood, Asherah,” Dr. Dressler ordered as he then moved to flip latches on each side of the tables where they joined, turning the two short tables into one long one.

The blonde immediately moved to a refrigerator at the end of one wall of cupboards and opened the door, revealing stacks of bagged blood inside.

Sarita stiffened in surprise. The bags looked like something you’d see in a hospital or blood bank, but the number of them was staggering. She would have guessed there were at least a hundred bags stacked on the refrigerator shelves. A ridiculous amount for anyone to have.

Asherah carried the bags to a wheeled tray of surgical instruments, dumped them on it, and rolled the tray up next to the table, then moved off to collect two IV stands without being told. The moment she set them next to the table, Dr. Dressler collected one of the bags of blood from the tray and began to set up one of the IVs. Hanging the bag of blood from the hook, he quickly affixed the tubing before inserting the needle in the corpse’s left arm. Once finished he grabbed another bag of blood off the tray and dragged the second IV around to the right side of the body to do the same. He then glanced up expectantly.

Following his gaze, Sarita saw that Asherah had gone back to the cupboards to collect something else. She was now returning with what looked like a ball gag, but with more straps. There was also a funnel where the ball would be, she noted as Asherah got closer to the table.

“Two minutes,” Dr. Dressler warned, eyeing his watch as Asherah strapped the harness into place, with the funnel in the corpse’s mouth.

Asherah straightened and moved quickly back to the refrigerator to collect another half a dozen bags of blood. She dropped most of them on the wheeled tray with the others when she returned, but kept one and picked a scalpel from the surgical items on the tray before moving up to the table where it was joined. She peered down at where the two halves of the body were pressed tight together and simply waited, seemingly at the ready.

Shaking her head with bewilderment, Sarita asked, “What—?”

“Shh,” Dr. Dressler hissed. “You’ll understand in thirty seconds.”

Sarita closed her mouth, but shook her head again at the madness she was witnessing. Offering indignities to a corpse was an indictable offense in Canada and what they were doing seemed to fit that description. Unfortunately, this was not Canada and she had no idea what the laws were here in Venezuela. She’d certainly be looking into it the first chance she got, though, Sarita decided.

“Time!” Dr. Dressler snapped and quickly opened the roller clamp on the IV next to him, before rushing around the table to do the same on the second IV. Blood immediately began to race down the tubes toward the corpse’s arms, but Sarita hardly noticed that—she was too busy watching with horror as Asherah poked a hole in the bag of blood she held, and allowed the crimson liquid to gush out over the body where the two halves were now pressed together.

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