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The experiment – Part 1

Katherine sat, trying to wait patientiently for a bus which didn’t seem to be coming. At first she had been glad that there was nobody else at the stop; she didn’t want to be drawn into inane conversation when she had her own thoughts to occupy her. Now, though, she would have been overjoyed if someone would join her. At least then she might be able to shake this horrible, greasy feeling of being watched. She tried to rationalise it, to convince herself that she was only feeling guilty and emotional over visiting her father’s grave. He had been gone for nearly 2 months now, and this was the first time she had been; she hadn’t even found the time to visit him in hospital.

            She looked back sadly at the graveyard. He had once been a respected physicist, it had been his passion and fascination with his subject that had drawn her down the same path. Eventually she had built up an enviable reputation of her own. She had been at a delicate stage in the management of a ground-breaking experiment when the news had reached her of her father’s hospitalisation and, shortly afterwards, death. The timing had been critical and she hadn’t felt able to get away. She could only hope that with his love of science, and his obsession that the soul and body are separate, he would understand why she hadn’t felt it necessary to drop everything to race to his bedside. After all, the hospital had told her that he was little more than a shell, her father was already gone. There was no-one else to care if she was there or not, and so she had decided to wait until her experiment was on a more stable footing before coming here to say her own, private goodbye.

            She started as a hand grabbed at her shoulder. Looking behind her, she saw a tin can and two crisp packets playing together in the sudden breeze. There was nothing that could have touched her. Trying to control a feeling of rising panic she checked her watch. The bus was already ten minutes late, but there was no reassuring sound of an engine purring its way up the deserted road towards her. The incongruous warmth of the breeze on her neck did little to help. Angry with herself for her superstitious reaction, she forced herself back into her seat. She was esteemed as a scientist and she knew that there was a logical explanation; she even knew what it was.  Gritting her teeth she resolved not to let guilt and grief drag her imagination into the realms of ghosts and ghouls. She immediately regretted the deep breath she took to calm herself, wasn’t that the aftershave her father had always worn? She shuffled uncomfortably in an attempt to refocus her mind, but was relieved to see the bus finally turn the corner; a big, red knight in shining armour.

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