“Open up, Professor!” Shelley hammered on the laboratory door. “Please!” Her words trailed off into a mixture of sobs and screams.
Professor Snark paused his frantic calculations on the chalk board. He listened. The fool of a girl was making a lot of noise; it could only attract them, and now was not the time. He wasn’t ready.
He strode across the floor, littered with papers hastily tossed aside, wrenched the door open and yanked the girl inside by the sleeve of her tight-fitting sweater. He threw her to the floor and slammed the door. He shoved a hefty workbench against the door.
“Quiet, you silly goose,” he spat. “Do you want to bring them straight to us?”
Shelley whimpered and thrust her wrist into her mouth. Mascara streaked her face, like a watercolour raccoon.
Snark returned to his calculations, muttering to himself.
“Can you do it, Professor?” Shelley whispered. “Can you reverse the effects?”
Snark ran his hands through his unruly hair, making it wilder still. “I – I have no idea if this will work but we have to try. To the roof!”
“No!” Shelley clung to a lab stool. “I won’t!”
Snark seized her roughly by the elbow. “Now, listen, you idiot. This is bigger than you, bigger than me. Bigger than the both of us. The future of the entire world is at stake.” He pulled her to her feet. Shelley struggled to stay upright on her nine-inch heels.
The professor dragged her to the staircase. Shelley resisted all the way, gasping and squeaking, but the professor was relentless. He kicked open the door to the rooftop. The sky was darkening as foreboding clouds congregated overhead.
“No! No!” Shelley clung to the doorframe – and fingernails be damned! “I won’t do it! You can’t make me.”
Snark wrested her free. “Get dressed, you moronic girl! And get gyrating!”
He thrust a large plastic bag at the weeping young woman. Lightning cracked, startling them both.
Shelley sniffed and resigned herself to her role in saving the world. She took the costume from the bag and stepped into it, one foot at a time. She thrust her arms into the sleeves and the professor assisted with the zipper at the back. He handed her the headpiece – an ovoid helmet-type piece with antenna. The bulbous, compound eyes were trimmed with long lashes.
“One last touch,” the professor pulled out a lipstick and applied it to the costume’s mouth.
Just a couple of blocks away, buildings were tumbling as the giant ants continued their rampage through the city.
“Now, dance, girl! Dance as though your life depends on it! Get those buggers within range and I’ll zap them with the shrink ray.”
Shelley waddled to the edge of the roof and steeled herself. Either this would work or she’d be carried off to the monsters’ radioactive nest in the desert.
“Five, six, seven, eight!”