It wasn’t me; I wasn’t the first of us. That honour went to Bobo. Bobo was a howler monkey we kept in the lab. He was there when I started five years ago as a humble tech assistant. He’d been there so long, he was like one of the team. No one would dream of including Bobo among the test subjects.
Now, before you go all ethical and animal rights on me, it wasn’t part of my remit to perform the experiments on the monkeys and rabbits. Like I mentioned, I was merely a tech assistant. I kept the IT up and running.
It started when Hargreaves let Bobo out of his pen during lunch. He should have known better than to tease the creature. Bobo was quick to rile up.
“Just give him the damned banana!” I scolded from across the breakout room. Hargreaves turned to award me his best simian scowl, his finest monkey man impression, complete with ‘oo-oo’ noises and armpit scratches.
Just as Doctor Klang exited the secure area.
Bobo saw his chance and took it. With a furious screech, he darted between Klang’s legs and into the secure area before the doors could seal. Instant uproar! Lab assistants recoiled in panic as Bobo, whipped up into a frenzy by now, lashed out in all directions. I could see their faces, visors pressed against the window, their gloves scrabbling for a way out.
“Who the fuck let that monkey out?” Krang screamed, activating the alarm. Sirens wailed and blared while pulses of red light flared and died, flared and died.
Inside the secure area, the staff were turning on each other, ripping and tearing out throats, bared teeth sinking into soft flesh.
“My work!” Krang mourned.
Before Hargreaves and I could stop him, he was unsealing the doors. The mad bastard was trying to retrieve the last remaining phial of his life’s endeavours.
“No!” we yelled, our voices drowned by the sirens.
Bobo launched himself at Klang, his fangs shredding the haz-mat suit.
Hargreaves scrambled to the exit, but I tackled him to the floor and sat on him. He wriggled and writhed until I slapped his face.
“We have to contain it,” I told him. “Nothing or no one can leave this building.”
Hargreaves wasn’t paying attention. His eyes widened as the howler monkey dropped onto my back. Distracted, I let Hargreaves scuttle out from under me. He didn’t reach the door. Our colleagues, erupting from the secure area like a nest of spiders, pounced. They tore him limb from limb.
Me, they left alone. I suppose Bobo’s bite rendered me immune to their predations. And all I can think of now as my mad blood stirs and a mindless rage consumes me, is how many people there are in the world beyond the laboratory door and how they must all be bitten and made the same as us.