Home > Immortal Unchained (Argeneau #25)(4)

Immortal Unchained (Argeneau #25)(4)
Author: Lynsay Sands

“Dear God,” Sarita breathed with a disgust that only increased when Dr. Dressler now grabbed a second scalpel and another bag of blood off those remaining on the wheeled tray and punctured it over the corpse’s face. Blood immediately began to flow into the funnel fixed in the corpse’s mouth.

Clenching her fists, Sarita stood to the side, revulsion curling her stomach as she watched the pair’s actions. She was starting to wish with all her heart that she was a police officer in Venezuela instead of Canada and could arrest the mad doctor and his equally crazy assistant. She had no idea what they thought they would achieve with this lunacy, but—

Sarita’s thoughts died abruptly as the corpse’s eyes suddenly popped open and he began to shriek. Or tried to. What came out was a raspy gurgle as he tried to scream around the liquid pouring down his throat. It forced some of the blood back out in a small spurt that splashed over Dr. Dressler.

“You forgot the tube, Asherah,” Dr. Dressler accused harshly, but quickly added, “Don’t stop what you’re doing!”

Asherah had started to lift away the bag of blood she was holding over the wound at Dr. Dressler’s first words, but stopped at once when he ordered her not to.

“Sarita, there should be a length of tube on the counter along the wall behind me. Fetch it for me,” Dr. Dressler ordered sharply as he continued to let the blood pour down the throat of the man she’d thought was dead, but who was now screaming his head off and shooting the blood back out of his mouth as he did.

Stunned now by what was happening, Sarita did as asked, found the mentioned tubing and took it to Dr. Dressler. When she reached his side though, he nodded toward the tray. “Grab another bag of blood.”

Turning, she picked up the bag and offered it to him. He took it with one hand, waited a heartbeat for the one he already held to empty, then tossed it aside and moved the fresh bag over the mouth.

“Hold this,” Dr. Dressler commanded once he’d punctured the new bag as he had the first.

Sarita hesitated, but then moved around to the opposite side of the table and took over holding the new bag of blood. Her hands were trembling, she noted, but she did her best to hold the bag steady and ground her teeth together as the corpse continued to scream, sending most of the blood shooting back up through and around the funnel and onto her and the doctor both now. But a moment later Dr. Dressler was feeding a tube through the funnel and down the man’s throat. The tube, apart from ensuring the blood got to his stomach, also appeared to hamper his ability to scream. The moment several inches had been fed through the funnel, his screams stopped.

Quite sure the action was only adding to the man’s pain, Sarita had to look away and shifted her gaze down to Asherah rather than watch. The assistant was tossing aside the first bag she’d cut open, but quickly grabbed and opened another over where his body was split in half. Sarita shook her head, unable to believe what was happening.

Dr. Dressler finished inserting the feeding tube, but didn’t then take back the bag of blood she held as Sarita expected. Instead, he hung two fresh bags from the IV stands next to the ones already in use. It drew her attention to the fact that both bags were already half-empty. IVs usually didn’t work that quickly in her experience. All she could think was that the catheter must be larger than the standard. She had no idea what it might be doing to the corpse’s veins though.

The very thought made Sarita give her head a shake. The man obviously wasn’t a corpse. Corpses didn’t move and scream. But he should be a corpse. He’d been cut in half for God’s sake. That thought kept running through her head as she held bag after bag over his mouth while Asherah did the same over his wound and Dr. Dressler manned the IVs and fetched fresh blood from the refrigerator as needed.

Sarita was holding her sixth bag and beginning to think this would go on forever when Asherah suddenly growled, “Time.”

Dr. Dressler immediately glanced at his wristwatch, nodded, and then beamed at Sarita. “Very good. Asherah will clean up the worst of the blood, and then take over with that last bag you’re holding. I have to make a note of the time and then we can talk.”

He hurried away to the desk she’d noticed earlier, and Sarita turned her attention to Asherah as the woman reached under the table and retrieved some kind of nozzle. It was only when she pushed a lever and water began to run out over the midriff of the body that Sarita realized what it was.

Careful to keep her hand in place over the funnel, Sarita bent slightly to look under the table and saw that the top half of the table was fixed in place, only the bottom half was movable. Two pipes ran up one table leg, one pipe ending at a hose with the nozzle on the end, the other to a drain on this side of the table. Straightening again, she checked to be sure the bag of blood was still over the funnel, and then looked over to see that Asherah had already rinsed away most of the blood from the body.

Finding the spot where the upper body had been separated from the lower half, Sarita saw that they were now joined, with just an angry red scar where they had once been separated.

“Madre de Dios,” she breathed, unable to believe her eyes.

“Move.”

Glancing around with surprise, she saw that Asherah had finished with the hose and moved up beside her. Even as she noted that, the woman took over holding the bag and urged her away. “El Doctor wants to talk to you.”

Sarita stepped back, her eyes returning to the scar where the body had once been cut in half.

“Move,” Asherah repeated coldly. “You are done here.”

Noting the dislike on the woman’s face, Sarita reluctantly turned to walk to the desk where Dr. Dressler was scribbling furiously in a notebook.

Apparently finished making his notes, he raised his head as she stopped in front of the desk, and he smiled at her widely as he stood up. “Thank you, Sarita. Your help was invaluable.”

“What exactly did I help with?” Sarita asked with a frown as Dressler moved around his desk. “That man was dead.”

“Not dead,” he assured her, crossing the room to the cupboards and retrieving a couple of syringes before moving to the refrigerator. “And not a man.”

Eyebrows rising, Sarita peered back to the table. “He looks like a man to me.”

“Yes,” he agreed, bending to retrieve two ampoules from the refrigerator. “But he’s not. He is an immortal.”

“Immortal?” Sarita asked, following him back to the table. When he didn’t answer, but concentrated on preparing a shot for the man, she glanced to Asherah as she tossed the now empty blood bag away. When the woman then moved around to the wheeled tray and grabbed another bag of blood, Sarita thought she intended to keep feeding it into the funnel. Instead, she replaced one of the now empty IV bags before grabbing another bag and replacing the other as well.

“Immortals are scientifically evolved mortals,” Dr. Dressler announced, drawing Sarita’s attention back to him. “This man is full of bio-engineered nanos programmed to keep his body healthy.”

Finished filling the syringe, he set the ampoule on the wheeled tray and then simply held the shot and peered down at the man he called an immortal as he explained, “These nanos fight disease, repair the ravages of sun and time, and—as you saw—repair injuries.”

Sarita shifted her gaze back to where the body had once been separated, and was quite sure the scar was smaller and less angry-looking than it had been just moments ago.

“After enough blood there won’t even be a scar,” Dr. Dressler announced. “The blood is what powers the nanos you see. They apparently use it to replicate themselves as well as to make repairs and so on.”

“Blood,” Sarita murmured, glancing toward the empty blood bags now littering the floor.

“Yes, they need a lot of it when injured,” he said with a nod. “But even if not fighting illness or repairing an injury, the nanos need more blood than their host bodies can produce to keep them young. The nanos have forced their host bodies to evolve to make up for that need. In effect, making them scientifically created vampires.”

When Sarita turned to him with disbelief, he glanced to Asherah and said, “Show her.”

   
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