Rated T for Teen
January 1993 Maryland
The waiting room was empty except for the couple sitting on the couch. The TV on the wall blared the news; several reporters were discussing the new president. The table beside them was covered in magazines that dated back to the year before. The receptionist at the desk had picked up the phone and was chatting in a loud voice about something that was not work related. The couple held hands. The woman, around thirty, had shoulder length black hair, navy blue eyes , about medium height, wearing a long red sweater and leggings. The man was around thirty-three or thirty-four. He had light brown hair, his' eyes a bluish-green, about a few inches taller than she was, dressed in a white shirt and jeans.
A young man, around twenty-two entered the waiting room. He was dressed in khaki pants and a royal blue dress shirt, and held a clipboard in his hands. He was tall, with longish black hair that parted in the middle. His eyes were a nut brown, the outline of his face narrow.
"Caroline and Harvey Levin?" He called out.
The couple got up and followed him through the archway, down the hallway to an office on the left side at the far end. He knocked on the door.
The doctor looked up from reading a paper at the desk. He appeared to be in his forties, his dark brown hair starting to thin, his lower face covered by a beard that was kept short and close to the skin. He straightened up and adjusted his lab coat.
"Please have a seat," he gestured at the seats in front of the desk.
Harvey and Caroline sat down.
"Thank you for seeing us on such short notice Dr. Sirvantis," Caroline said as she shook his hand.
"It was nothing at all," the doctor said. "Now shall we go over your medical history?"
Dr. Sirvantis grabbed a file and began to converse with the couple, occasionally looking down at the information.
"The cause of infertility is unknown?" He asked.
"We've both had tests but the other doctors didn't find anything that stood out," Caroline said.
"Otherwise, we're healthy. As far as I know no diseases run in my family," Harvey added.
"How long have you been trying to conceive?"
"We've been married for five years but we really starting trying from about three years or so back," Caroline told him.
"The best course of action I would suggest is an IUI combined with hormones," Dr. Sirvantis suggested. "It's different from an IVF in that-"
There was a knock at the door. The young man from earlier opened the door slightly.
"Sorry to interrupt. I have the analysis."
"It's fine. You can put it on my desk," Sirvantis said. He turned to his patients, pointing to the young man. "Greg Adgers. My intern from USUHS."
"The military medical school?" Harvey asked, interested.
"Yep," Greg said. "I was stationed in Iraq before I started med school. Marines."
"My clinic has a special program with USUHS. After all, I was a medic in Vietnam. I know many vets that wanted to get into medicine and sciences, but never had the chance. I was lucky. I had finished my studies before I volunteered. And even with my duties, I was able to pursue my passions; lab work, the study of genetics, helping people. Like yourselves."
The doctor finished going over the information with them and prescribed medication for Caroline. The couple set up another appointment. The intern showed them the way out.
"I hope this works," Caroline sighed as they exited the clinic. "I don't want to be let down like what happened with the other two."
Harvey took her hand.
"Don't worry. I think this is it," he squeezed her hand. "I have a good feeling about this."
A month passed. Caroline sat in the waiting room, alone. She had to take time off from work and Harvey was stuck in the middle of a business meeting. It would have been nice for them to go together, but at least he had stopped by in the morning for his part. Greg appeared from the hallway. He stuck his head out from the door archway and looked around.
"Caroline Levin," his voice almost came out in a whisper. He glanced around the room, nervously.
She got up and followed him. He began to pick up his pace. Greg was almost running. Caroline had trouble keeping up, and worried that it wasn't a good idea to exert herself before the treatment.
"Sorry. I just got here from class. I haven't had a break," he apologized in an agitated tone.
His cheeks were flushed. His forehead was covered in sweat. His eyes were unusually wide.
"Are you ok?" She asked.
"Must be the heating," he breathed. "They always put it up too high."
But he shoved his hands in his pockets as if he were cold.
They had reached the examining room. Greg rushed over and grabbed a gown from a cabinet.
"Put this on," he thrust the gown at her. "Sirvantis will be with you shortly."
He quickly left. She changed into the gown, thinking how odd his behavior was. She waited. Fifteen minutes passed. Then fifteen turned into thirty. Doctors were known for their lateness, but she never had to wait fifteen minutes for one. She thought about how Greg told her that he arrived late and figured that Dr. Sirvantis needed his assistance. Iterns were always pushed around. She knew from experience from an internship at college.
There was a knock at the door. Dr. Sirvantis walked in with Greg behind him. He was pushing a cart.
"Sorry for the delay," Dr. Sirvantis said. "We will get started now. If you could lie back on the table."
He went through the routine of questions as he placed her legs into the stirrups. In the back, Greg was getting out tools needed. He was calmer than before but something was still off. It was almost as if he was subdued. His face blank as he took out the syringe and filled it.
"Will this hurt?" Caroline asked the doctor.
"Oh no. I assure you that this will be completely painless," he said. "Greg. Catheter."
The intern paused and took a deep breath. He grabbed the catheter from the cart. For a second she thought he was blinking back tears. He moved towards Dr. Sirvantis.
Caroline tested negative. She went back for another round a month later. This time, Harvey was with her.
The doctor was more punctual. He arrived only ten minutes late. Greg was not with him this time, but a young assistant named Amanda Swift, also in her early twenties. She was a med student at John Hopkins. Greg, they were told, was stuck in the lab.
After an hour, they were done. Harvey and Caroline walked out to the parking lot hand in hand.
"Already thinking of names?" He asked with a smile.
"Several," she said. "I like the name Eve for a girl. Can't think of a name for a boy."
"You know what I was thinking," Harvey started.
Greg emerged from the clinic, dressed in a flannel shirt and jeans. He walked over to two men, his friends, with a laugh.
"Dudes! I can't believe you walked over here! What's this? You really want to see my car?"
The group walked over to a turquoise 1967 Camaro. His friends gathered around, admiring it.
"It took only two weeks to fix this baby," Greg proudly exclaimed. "I gave her a complete makeover and now she's good as new!"
"Sweet! You hear about Nirvana?"
"Are they finally releasing another album?" Greg asked excitedly. Their voices got lower as they got in the car. Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit blared from the stereo as they drove off.
"He's popular," Caroline remarked.
March's test came out negative. She went another time. Caroline noticed a change in Greg. He wasn't as alert as he used to be. He had lost weight, maybe ten to fifteen pounds. His skin was pale and there were bags under his eyes. His hands fumbled as he assisted Doctor Sirvantis, nearly dropping bottles and syringes. He seemed to be lost in his own world, his eyes gazing far off into the distance. Several times, she thought that the normally composed doctor would shout at the intern. The only time he seemed to be zapped back into reality was when he watched as Doctor Sirvantis pushed down on the syringe. His already diluted eyes widened even more, an almost horrified expression on his face. Sixty seconds. Then it was done and he zoned out again.
Caroline asked what was wrong.
"Midterms," he told her. "Med school is tough."
She knew he was lying. Midterms did not last for two months straight.
The last appointment in April she was walking out of the examining room to the waiting room.
"Please! I'm begging you! I can't do this anymore!"
It was coming from Doctor Sirvantis' office. The door was closed but she knew that Greg and the doctor were inside.
"And what is this this you are blabbing about?" The doctor hissed.
"Everything! Proctor please!" Greg nearly screamed. "It's wrong It's making me sick Can't you see what we're doing? We have to stop!"
"Gregory Allan Adgers," Doctor Sirvantis threatened in a cold tone. "You are a soldier and this is your mission. You are to complete it no matter the cost. Do you want me to let slip to your school about that little habit of yours?"
"No sir," Greg whispered.
"Good. Now get back to work.
Greg rushed out of the office. His face was red and wet. She made a move to get his attention but the intern was already gone.
In May she found out she was pregnant. She was a month along.
On January seventeenth 1994, Caroline gave birth to a healthy boy. She and Harvey named the child Kevin. Weighing about eight pounds, and about twenty- one inches long, his cheeks flushed red, and a head full of wispy raven hair, he howled when he took his first breath. The couple was overjoyed, and Caroline cried when she first held him.
A few days later, Caroline was sitting on the hospital bed, holding Kevin. He was sleeping; he spent most of his time sleeping. She gazed at him, watching his chest rise and fall, his eyes twitch. Her hand caressed his cheek. His skin was soft, and his cheeks were starting to dimple. She smiled. Her parents had told her that she had dimples when she was a baby as well.
There was a knock on the door. Caroline looked up to see Greg enter. He was holding a bouquet of flowers. He still was skinny, and looked exhausted, but was better than the last time she saw him.
"Congratulations on the baby!" Greg exclaimed. "It's a custom of our office to send flowers to the couple."
"Thank you so much," she said. "We couldn't have done it without you."
Greg put the flowers on the table and walked over to Caroline.
"He's a very healthy baby," Greg said, talking more to the baby than Caroline. "Very cute too. What's his name?"
"Kevin Levin. Whose idea was it to make the name rhyme?"
"Havery's actually," she laughed. "I picked out the middle name. Ethan."
"He looks like a Kevin. I like that name, it's one of my favorites."
"He does. Have you graduated from med school?"
"Yeah," Greg sighed, a little out of breath. "I'm still working with Sirvantis. We're setting up another clinic. We're going out to either California or Texas."
"Good luck," she told him. "And thank you again."
Greg stared down at the baby. His eyes welled up with what seemed to be tears. His finger gently brushed against Kevin's cheek. He leaned in and kissed the baby's forehead. He backed up and headed towards the door.
Kevin woke up and blinked. His brown eyes stared up at Caroline.
October 2002 New Jersey
The sound of the sirens pierced her ears. She held onto her seat as she watched the paramedics crowd around her son. One held up an IV bag, another checked the oxygen tank. The ambulance made its way up the steep hill, with sharp turns on every curve. Caroline wept, her body rocking back and forth. She felt a hand on her shoulder, but she could not feel it. Her hand reached out, wanting to hold the hand of her son's who was fighting for his life.
Once they arrived at the hospital at the top of the hill, the paramedics rushed out wheeling the stretcher into the nearest operating room. She was told to wait outside.
"He had his finger in a electrical socket!" She sobbed as the doctor took down notes. "I walked into the room and he was lying on the floor! I called his name and he didn't wake up!" Her sobs became louder and overcame her.
"Do not worry. We are doing the best we can," the doctor said before he went back into the operating room.
She spent two hours in the waiting room. Frantically pacing back and forth, making frequent phone calls to her husband who was on a business trip in Chicago and was trying to catch the next flight possible to Newark, huddled up in her chair, not caring about the others who saw or heard her. It got to a point where she had become silent, numb, frozen in her seat. Her eyes were wide, watery, and her expression was blank.
"Kevin will live," came a familiar voice.
She looked up. A man in his early thirties, in a white lab coat and scrubs, was standing next to her seat. His raven hair, once long, now was short, his build was still skinny but had developed muscles. His soft brown eyes glanced down at hers'.
"Greg?" She asked, surprised. "You work here?"
"I don't," he said. "But I am here for you two. There's something Caroline that I need to tell you. I should have told you a long time ago."
He sat down next to her and took her hand.
"First. Let me tell you about myself. Alcoholism runs in my family. My dad, uncle, grandpa, all were alcoholics. My earliest memory was when I was four. My dad took me and my older sister with him to the bar. He got into a fight with some guy. He punched him in the face and broke his nose. There was blood everywhere. I screamed as I watched, my older sister pulling me away. When I was a teenager I had my first beer. I was hooked. Spent every weekend at parties, getting plastered. Picking fights, stealing things in a drunken stupor, making an embarrassment of myself. I drank at home, at school, anywhere I could. I got arrested, suspended from school, eventually expelled. My school recommended the military. I wised up. I was able to kick the habit. When I was nineteen I served in Iraq. I had high hopes. I wanted to become a doctor. I wanted to help others like me. And then, I met Sirvantis."
He paused. His hand squeezed hers'.
"He had different plans. The first time I met him, he looked over my files and told me:
You are the one I've been looking for
"He was not just any old vet. He belonged to this super secret military group that dealt with things, the strangest and most impossible things. I thought it wasn't real until I was forced to see myself. Do you remember what he said on your first visit to the clinic? I was able to pursue my passions; lab work, the study of genetics. Mutations were his specialty. He was fascinated by them. And he wanted to use me because according to him, I had what he called the gateway gene: the one that made a person more susceptible to addictions and mental instability. He conducted tests and experiments on me. For ten years. It was all for his greater plans. In 1992, he opened up his first fertility clinic, the one you went to. For five years, we traveled across the country, opening clinics and helping people have children. But we did a horrible thing. Most of the couples, including you and your husband, wanted to use the husband's sperm. Sirvantis' would either use his', my, or another colleague's, sperm, to pass on the mutation. I fathered a child. He was conceived in April 1993 and born on January seventeenth 1994."
"No," Caroline's voice shook. Tears streamed down her face. " No."
"And to make my mutations stronger," Greg whispered. "He fed the addictive part of me. He got me back into drink. Then he introduced me to cocaine and heroin. I survived on a cocktail of testosterone, drugs, and whatever else he injected into me. If I was good and complied with whatever he did, he'd give me my fix. My life was a nightmare. I was arrested twice, almost faced prison if it wasn't for my lawyer, and nearly overdosed, to wake from it to his screaming that he could not lose his best subject. I began to change. Eventually, he forced me to break ties with my family. I began to go insane. I had found other drugs, more deadly and thrilling than anything I ever tried. And I realized, if I didn't keep up, I'd die. Who knows how long it will take, but I will completely break someday, which is why I'm here now."
"You're lying!" Caroline shouted, furious.
"Listen to me!" Greg was squeezing her hand so hard that it was turning purple. "That mutation is in our son! Sirvantis programed it to turn on when the child turns eight! The child will have an accident and fall into a coma. The other two children in the experiment that turned eight could not handle the mutation. They died. But Kevin is strong. He has been monitored since birth and has been the strongest so far in the group. But when he wakes up, he will never be the same. The boy you know and love will be gone! He will develop powers, abilities, and that mutation will cause his sanity to snap! And Sirvantis will find him. And train him to become the deadliest weapon humanity has ever seen! And he will find you and your husband to make sure that you will not stand in the way!"
"You're lying to me!" Caroline howled, her hand slapped his cheek. Greg did nothing to strike back.
"You need to run," he gasped, holding his cheek. "You need to get out of here. Go into hiding. Get out of the country if you can. Put Kevin in a safe place where he can not hurt others or himself. I wish I could help, but I'm too far gone."
"I don't believe you," she growled.
Greg stared into her eyes.
"I know you don't. But you must."
He held his hand to his face. There was a flash of light. A white mask dropped to the floor. And Caroline let out a scream.
Greg did not look human. His skin was a pinkish gray, his eyes glowed red. His face was scarred and four horns stuck out from the top of his head that was shaved. The only part recognizable about him was his hair, still black and long, the tips reaching his elbows.
Caroline trembled as she let out another sob. She felt Greg's stern eyes on her.
"Keep Kevin safe," he whispered before putting on the mask on again. There was another flash of light and Greg resumed the appearance that he knew could never have. And the doctor in a white coat and scrubs, with short black hair and human features, left the waiting room.