“We’re already having reports of severe flooding from Kent Street all the way down to Prince Avenue. There have been seven accidents so far along these same streets, thankfully with no fatalities. Also, this severe thunderstorm has just been upgraded to a tropical storm. Be sure to keep your radios on as the storm continues in case of a tornado warning. Meanwhile on Elmurry Road three trees have fallen blocking-”
Another bout of loud thunder cut off the news reporter. Torrents of rain kept beating down all around, and even when the radio was audible again, it was merely crackling static.
Marcus Goode cursed and began to fiddle with the device’s controls. He tried for several minutes to get the signal back, but to no avail.
The only sounds in the laboratory were the pounding of the rain, the hum of the computers, and the muttered curses of Marcus.
“There’s no need for language like that, Marcus, we still remain inside of a school.”
Marcus sighed, but stopped the flow of words from his mouth and gave up fiddling with the battery-powered radio. He turned to face the old man behind him.
“I’m sorry, Professor. It’s just hard not knowing what’s going on out there,” the student said, his caramel eyes shining with annoyance.
“I know,” the professor said calmly, “but it’s only a bad storm, it’ll pass.”
Marcus grumbled, “You said the same thing over two hours ago.”
Professor Wellington chuckled. “I never said it would pass soon, did I?”
Marcus rolled his eyes and walked around the lab. He passed by each of the work tables in the room. Each housed a half completed project that his peers were currently working on. His eyes lingered on his own unfinished project.
The old man turned to face him. “Hmm?”
“While we’re stuck here, could I at least finish my work on my project for this semester?”
Professor Wellington sighed. “I’d prefer it if you didn’t. You still need to hook some things up and with all the electricity floating around due to the storm, that wouldn’t be a good idea.”
The impatient student groaned. “Then what are we supposed to do? Make paper dolls? Braid each other’s hair?”
Wellington grinned. “No, but why don’t you go with me to the Biology Department. This storm must be driving those animals positively mad.”
Marcus sighed in defeat. “Well, I guess it’s better than staying here to rot.”
The professor-student duo made their way down the dark halls of the building. Electricity had gone out twenty minutes ago, save for a few lights which kept flickering on and off. Every time lightning appeared, it threw the hallway into startling illumination. However, it cast eerie shadows on Marcus’s and Professor Wellington’s faces.
Marcus’s sharp and defined features looked distorted and unearthly when cast onto the floor. He felt shivers down his spine just seeing his own skewed features on the walls.
When Professor Wellington’s face was brought into the light, he looked something akin to a mad scientist. His wild grey hair looked even wilder, like a monster from another world. His eyes gleamed with an almost feral glint.
The pair was still two hundred feet from the door to the department when they heard the noise from the animals.
It was dreadful. It sounded as if every one of them had just had their hearts and souls viciously ripped from their bodies. Yet, there was an odd underlying tone of mockery to their cries, as if they knew their terror and rage meant danger for another.
Professor Wellington gasped and hurried to the door.
“The animals have gotten out!”
Marcus stood still for a second, his mouth agape in shock, before rushing over to his professor. “How?”
Wellington glared. “Howard must have been in such a hurry that he forgot to lock a few of the cages.”
“Should we go in?” Marcus asked.
“There’s no hurry, half are already dead,” Professor Wellington stated grimly.
Marcus nudged the professor aside and peered into a window built into the door.
Sure enough, more than half of the animals lay dead. Most were viciously ripped apart with great chunks missing from their stomachs and legs. The whole floor was slick with scarlet blood. The only animals still alive were the ones prowling on top of the cages in the back corners of the room. Their eyes gleamed menacingly in the darkness. At the moment, they seemed to be calm, but that could easily change.
“It looks like Howard forgot to feed them too,” Marcus said darkly. “Should we alert the rest of the staff, or the police? Professor? Professor?"
Professor Wellington didn’t respond. His back was to Marcus and he seemed to just be staring at the wall. The professor was rigid and his left hand was twitching.
“Professor?” Marcus said tentatively.
The old man swung around, startling the student.
There was a wild expression on his face and he was smiling maniacally.
“Howard didn’t feed them? What a shame. Perhaps you would like to feed them yourself!”
The old man yelled this last word and wrenched open the door to the animals, shoving Marcus inside and locking the door behind him.
"Professor!" he screeched.
There was no response, just the pounding of the rain and the growling of the animals...