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The Love Monster
I didn’t think I would be nervous for my first day as an intern, but when I caught sight of the polished reflective doors of the laboratory, I felt my cheeks blush red and my pulse speed up. At first I just remained outside, staring at the impressive facility, but eventually I mustered up the courage to try the door. It was locked. Puzzled, I realized that I needed to use the intercom to request permission to enter. “This must be a pretty secretive place if you need to ask to be let in,” I thought aloud.
Once I pressed the button to activate the speaker, a male’s voice asked me for my name. “Lina Flores,” I answered in my most professional tone, trying to sound confident. I tried to explain that I was here to start my internship, but the speaker cut me off. A few seconds later, the door slid open to reveal an adult man in a lab coat.
“I’m Doctor Lockheart, and welcome to my laboratory,” he announced in an unwavering, deep voice. His appearance shattered all of my efforts to remain professional and confident. I looked into his lusterless eyes and realized that they revealed no emotion. His posture, stiff, rigid, and upright exuded only professionalism. Even his hair was gelled back and combed neatly, with no stray strands escaping. Everything about his firm countenance contrasted with my fretful jittering and unintelligible mumblings.
When I realized I was staring, I stammered, “I apologize for my rudeness, Doctor! I’m honored that you chose me out of all of the applicants for the position, and I can’t wait to start the job.”
“Very well then,” he articulated, apathetic to my lapse in composure. “Then we’ll begin right away. I don’t like tarrying around, and I don’t start late. Come.” He proceeded to turn around and walk away, but I had trouble following him. It was like the floor was snow and my feet had sunk into it. However, I swallowed my reservations and trekked on.
We passed multiple rooms on the way to our destination. Some of the sterilized equipment looked strange and foreign to me, but he didn’t explain any of it; actually, we said nothing to each other during the entire walk. However, the silent journey came to an end when we reached a long white hallway with silver double doors at the end. “Our work lies in there,” said Dr. Lockheart, “Take note of everything the specimens do, but don’t interact with any of them. They’re dangerous.”
Dangerous specimens? I didn’t know that was part of the job. I thought I was just here to file paperwork and do the other stereotypical duties of an intern. Nevertheless, I entered the room with him and was not prepared for what I saw.
Inside various cages lined up against the walls were humans, some attached by wires to various devices. “Dr. Lockheart! What’s the meaning of this? Why are there humans trapped in cages? That’s inhumane!” I shouted, horrified. Why would a researcher experiment on people?
“Calm down Ms. Flores. They aren’t humans. Look more carefully,” he answered me without one flick of emotion.
Now that I examined them more carefully, I realized that he was right. They had the basic body structure of a human, but their hair colors, eye colors, and other bodily features looked unnatural. Unless their appearances had been altered, they couldn’t be human. “What are they?” I inquired.
“Emotions. Extracted emotions. These are the embodiments of the forces that drive people to act as they do. For example, I know that you’re nervous right now. Nervousness is right over there,” he said, pointing at a cage occupied by a being that looked like a young, quaking boy with large, purple eyes that looked near tears, light red hair, and an exasperated facial expression. I pitied him. Having to embody an emotion as terrible as nervousness must be horrible. The doctor went on to explain, “I hope that by observing them, I will better understand how emotions work, and improve the field of psychiatry.”
“How in the world did you come across such things?” I asked.
Doctor Lockheart paused and appeared pained, if only for a second. Then the emotion went away, leaving no trace, as if the doctor couldn’t feel it. “You don’t need to know that yet,” he stated, but I believed I could guess where he got them.
“Our mission today is to acquaint you with all of the specimens,” the doctor continued, “This room houses the weaker, less dangerous emotions. We have the increased security ones in the next room. Don’t worry, they can’t hurt you, but don’t provoke them. Are you ready?” I nodded my head yes, not trusting my voice.
We walked through the next room through a sliding door that required a password, voice recognition, and a blood sample to open. I thought it was all a bit extreme, but I figured that the emotions behind the door must be very strong if they required such drastic security measures to contain.
“Here, in increased security, lie the Seven Deadly Sins,” Doctor Lockheart explained. I walked around the room and gazed through the bars of the cages at what must be the most dangerous emotions that humans can possess. I spotted one girl wearing saggy white clothing; she had limp gray hair and dull gray eyes and looked tired enough to pass out. She must be Sloth. I felt sleepy just by passing by her. The emotions in the other room didn’t affect me when I got near them. To avoid fainting, I moved on.
In the next cage over resided a full figured woman with hair like the flames of passion and cool silver eyes that radiated like the moon. Lust. She invited me in with a seductive smile, not caring about my gender. I felt the need to move closer to her, but retained the will power to proceed on. Surveying the rest of the room, I identified an unnaturally tall man with a condescending gaze as Pride, and I tried to match the other humanoid figures with their respective sins.
“Are these the most dangerous ones? They’re so strong. I can feel them influencing me right now, and I’m so far away!” I asked. Doctor Lockheart appeared unfazed though.
He answered me with, “No. There’s one more specimen locked behind the wall opposite the side we just entered through. She’s the most dangerous one of all. Are you ready to meet her?” I didn’t even respond, but Doctor Lockheart completed the security procedures necessary to lift the wall and revealed the creature trapped behind it.
I expected a monster. A creature so terrifying that I would run away in fear. But in the revealed cage stood a young girl wearing a frilly, pink dress. Her soft, wavy, blonde hair rippled down her back, and her pale, pink eyes glittered, reflecting the phosphorescent lights in the lab. The girl smiled sweetly when I approached the cage and revealed her glossy, straight teeth.
When I neared her, the girl inquired in her soft, shrill, sweet, soprano voice, “Would you like to go out with me? I’ll be nice to you as long as you show me all of your compassion.” I was drawn in by her beauty and almost said yes, but before I could, she drifted her gaze to Doctor Lockheart. When she noticed him, the girl’s kind expression disappeared to be replaced with hatred. “You broke my heart,” she said, broken, and then continued with, “You broke my heart… I’LL NEVER FORGIVE YOU!” Upon saying that, the emotion transformed into a red monster complete with claws and spikes. “I’LL KILL YOU! I WILL GET REVENGE!” it shouted.
Doctor Lockheart didn’t give the emotion the chance though and lowered the wall again. The monster pounded against the thick, steel wall from the opposite side and left visible indents in the metal. “That, Miss Flores, was Love, the most powerful emotion in existence.” I had originally expected a feeling like hatred or vengeance to be on the other side of the wall, but I wasn’t shocked that Love held the title of “Most Dangerous Emotion.” After all, love conquers everything.