"Jake, you haven't changed a bit. Kind of like I haven't changed a bit." MaryJane began, looking around the place, which was larger than it first
appeared. In fact, the hut was built over an underground lab, the above section was for looks.
"MaryJane, my my your charm has only deepened in the....years since we have seen one another. I thought I told you everything on the phone, and dear,
that call was not CHEAP." Jake swept his arm to a chair, indicating to Ren and Randy to have a seat. "Your goons can stay up here, we can chat down
below. Like old times," he added, snickering. She scowled. He stopped.
"Randy, you know what to do." She said, to which Randy nodded, and remained standing, though Ren plopped into the small chair and sighed. Randy
removed a sub machine gun from his bag and stood like a Redneck Rambo at the door.
The underground lab was like any lab, sterile and white and full of beakers and tables. A few men and women worked quietly on different jobs. Jake led
her into a small office, sparely furnished. They sat, and Jake offered coffee. Maryjane declined, and got to the point once he shut the door.
"You said they died shortly after birth." She took a stack of photos from her purse, copies of the originals she left behind, and tossed them on his
table. He blanched, and looked away.
"MaryJane, the babies I saw and held DIED. I assure you, this is some sick.....joke...."
"I have lived the last twenty years thinking my baby was dead. Now I get this letter from Silas, who claims Renatta was killed by her offspring,
which DIED all those years ago!! And these pictures, Jake, who is that girl? She looks JUST like ME!! I know Silas is slick, and I am wondering if
this is photoshopped. You need to tell me what really happened back in that other lab that night in September, twenty years ago, or I am gonna have
Randy and Ren kill every last one of you."
Jake looked at the still beautiful woman sitting in front of him, he could see the stress and the lack of sleep on her face. And he could see the
distrust. She was buying into this ridiculous story, because it came from HIM, Jake angrily thought. But was it so ridiclous?
"I never saw them actually perish, MaryJane. I cremated the two bodies, though. Dr. Kimball delivered them to me in a small white cardboard box, and
he authorized the cremation. He told me not to look in the box it would be....easier.....that way. Well, it was not easy. I was charged by my mentor
and my idol, my GOD, to cremate these two hybrid babies, which we had worked so hard to create...." He stopped abruptly.
"WHAT? I thought Renatta and I had been abducted, and the kind Dr Kimball and his trusty assistant Jake the Jackass just happened to show up to
help, due to your being Silas roomie at the University and all. DAMMIT I should known it was all too easy and convenient. How could I have been so
STUPID??" She felt the anger building, and she gripped the gun, which of course he noticed. Gulping he hurried on.
"Yes its true. Ok? But dont blame Silas, dammit, he had nothing to do with it. If you can refrain from shooting me, I will tell you how the entire
sordid deal went down, and how it even to this day dictates what I do. How it relates to my research." He pleaded with his eyes for the chance to
clear the air. She told him with hers to proceed.
So they both, slowly, eased into their chairs, and Jake brought her straight back to the late eighties, one spring afternoon before her hs prom, on
her only visit to Silas on campus. It was the first time she met his roomie, Jake, and his pretty but shy Iranian girlfriend, Renatta, who although of
Iranian lineage, was fourth generation American. It is where the REAL story began, and ended, or so he had thought.
The knock on the door in their dorm room caused Silas to jump from his chair and leap to answer it.
Jake and Renatta snuggled on the bed, laughing, Silas was smitten with this one.
Not that Silas had many girls fluttering about. Neither of the boys did, they were one hundred percent certified geeks, and that made it hard to
attract a pretty girl, even on college campus. But something about Jake and Silas together, how easy their humor and laughter came, even at their own
expense, appealed to some girls, but this was the first time one had driven an hour to see him. Jake had heard about Silas hs girlfriend, and love,
MaryJane, too many times to count. He had gotten drunk with his buddy many a night as he lamented their breakup the night he left for University, due
to the distance. This marked the first visit since that night, and both Renatta and Jake were caught up in Silas excitement.
"MJ! Doll! You look rad."
She smiled, a pretty smile that lit up the room. Large green eyes shone from a heart shaped face, and her red hair hung down her back. She came in and
hugged Silas warmly, then they kissed.
Jake groaned comically and Renatta giggled. For the first time MaryJane noticed the company, and she laughed, a huge sound that filled the room.
"Sorry I didnt know we had an audience!! Im Maryjane, can you believe my mom named me that?"
The evening was spent laughing and catching up and wandering around the campus and town, all four of them, eating pizza for lunch on the campus
"So Maryjane, are you coming to University yourself?" Renatta asked.
"I would love to, but I think I cannot afford it. I will probably just get a job at a restaurant or something." She said, brushing it off.
Jake studied the pretty young lady every chance he got. She was mesmerizing to a 19 year old nerd, but he still found Renatta and her contrasting
darkness what he preferred in a woman.
"What do you think of Silas becoming a research rat?" Jake asked. "You will never see him".
"I rarely see him now, do I, considering we are just friends. That happens when you grow up, Jake."
The day was fun for Jake and Renatta, but being young and in love wanted some alone time. When Maryjane mentioned the movie, they all decided to hit
the drive in, and make a night of it, too. Renatta offered to let MaryJane spend the night, so she could drive home refreshed.
The couples parted to meet back at the dorms later, for the movie, Jake and Renatta heading for her dorm and leaving Silas alone with Maryjane.
"I know what you two did, Silas told me, but what you don't know is I dropped Renatta off at her dorm, because I had a few hours to mentor with
Kimball. I rushed to the lab and was distraught, he was out! I had missed my hours with my mentor for a day hanging out with a couple of girls? I was
pissed off. I happened to run into Dr Kimball on my way down the hall to leave and he invited me to look at some work he was deep into.
So I did. It was gene splicing, specifically reptile and human genes. He was trying to grow a hybrid. So far his attempts to impregnate a reptile with
human reptile spliced eggs had failed grotesquely. Dr Kimball told me he had gotten a ghost grant for this work, and wondered if I were interested in
being his assistant."
"What is a ghost grant?"
"A ghost grant is what is funding my work here right now, I am still working under Kimball's tutelage. A ghost grant is given by a donor who does
not exsist, like black ops or something. We do not question who gives us the money, you know, it never stops coming so we keep on researching."
"Did you say you are still under Kimball's tutelage? How can that be, he is laid up with dementia in some obscure nursing home, where he belongs,
"Hold it right there, Kimball is NOT....OK, from your point of view, yeppers, monster. But he is most certainly not laid up with dementia anywhere,
why I am supposed to meet with him here in the next few days. I just spoke to him not hours before your arrival."
"So Silas was lying about that in the letter."
"God....yes, Silas was lying about a lot of things in that letter, I am really not sure why he sent it to you. Unless the specimens did survive,
which would mean a dirty double cross by Kimball." Jake sighed, defeated. "You know what they say? In for a dollar in for the devil."
"Thats not what they say. Thats what people who make deals with devils say! Finish the story, Jake."
"Ok, anyway I eagerly signed on, no thought I was going to officially be working on a ghost grant project with my mentor, Kimball. He gave me my
first assignment that very moment...."
"Really? You cannot deduce the first assignment?"
Maryjane felt numb, and longed for a drink and a ciggie. She told him to go on already.
"My first assigment was to get two volunteers to be impregated by the specimens. He said volunteers, I said knock out drug and alien abduction story.
Dr Kimball loved it, and thus is how it came to be. By the time you were ready to give birth, Kimball and I stepped in like superheroes to save the
day, no one would have to know the babies were mutants, and with fat payments to go around, we all could claim to be part of life and world changing
The day the babies were born, in that lab, they were ALIVE. I HELD them and nursed them and took pictures and samples of them. Kimball sent me away to
draw some labs on you girls, and when I came back the babies were....perished. He had sheets covering them, and told me to prepare the crematory."
"You said you looked, Jake. What did my baby look like? Dead? Deformed?"
Jake was silent for several minutes, before continuing.
"The babies did not look like the ones in the pictures Silas sent you, MaryJane. The babies looked.....human."