Summary: When a scientific experiment goes terribly wrong, Dr. Ellie Houslanger has to keep the experiment, Karl, safe—no matter what the cost.
Main Characters: Karl (Florglepants), Dr. Michelle “Ellie” Houslanger, Dr. Ryan “Sexy Beast” Wessel
Genres: Action, science-fiction, romance
Word Count: 3,500 words
Notes: The amazing monkey baby story is finally in my writing journal! This was written for biology class, in which we were given a few prompts and had to write a story about one of them. It turned into an ode to online friends and, now, is the basis of much love and many icons. READ IT.
"Dr. Houslanger!" he suddenly called out. A woman just his age popped out from behind one of the machines, her blue eyes twinkling and her brown hair pulled back into a loose bun.
"What is it, Dr. Wessel?" she asked with mock authority, emphasizing the "Dr."
"I need your blood," he told her, brandishing a needle. She raised her eyebrows and stared at him. He feigned hurt and said, "Oh, come on, Ellie. Please?"
"Why can't you use your own blood, Ryan?" she asked as she walked towards him.
"I am," he answered, pricking himself with the needle and drawing blood. "But I need female DNA, too." Ellie continued staring at him. "Oh, come on." He grinned. "Don't you want to make babies?"
She laughed at him and held out her finger. He smiled, thanked her, took her blood, and turned away to work with it. Ellie stared at Ryan's backside. They would make some pretty nice children...
At that moment, the door opened and five more people walked into the lab. Ellie smiled at them.
"Hey, Dana," she said to a woman with brown hair similar to her own. Dana smiled at her.
"Hey, Ellie!" a tall blond woman exclaimed as she ran and jumped on Ellie's shoulders.
"Hi Elizabeth," Ellie responded, rubbing her sore shoulders. "What are you so excited about?"
Elizabeth grinned. "Taylor proposed last night!" she shrieked loudly. Ellie and Dana both squealed and jumped up and down, hugging her.
"What are you three squealing about?" a voice asked. The group turned around to find a black-haired girl—Kris—standing before them. Dana and Ellie grinned at her as Elizabeth restated her news.
Ellie laughed at her friends as another, Jessi, joined and nearly knocked Elizabeth to the ground due to her happiness. She then remembered what Ryan had been doing before the others had shown up and she went to where he was working to see what exactly he had needed her DNA for.
"What are you doing, Ryan?" she asked him simply. He looked at her for a moment before returning to the sample he was working with.
"I," he told her, not removing his gaze from his work, "am seeing if human DNA and ape DNA will go together to create an offspring." Ellie raised her eyebrows at him and he continued to explain. "I took our DNA and the DNA of a couple of apes from the zoo and substituted parts of the ape DNA for parts of our DNA. Now, I'm going to inject the mixed DNA into a fertilized egg that I removed the original DNA from. If the two different ones are able to be mixed together, then we should get a pretty crazy-looking offspring that has traits from both species." Ryan grinned at Ellie once he was done, only to find her staring at him in disbelief.
"You thought of this all by yourself?" she asked after a moment.
"What, you don't think I could?"
Ellie was spared answering, however, for at that moment, Elizabeth came up next to her and asked what they were doing. "Ryan's making monkey babies," Ellie told her. She stared at the two of them and shrugged.
"I'll explain later," Ryan said to her as he injected the ape-human DNA into the fertilized egg. He put it into a special newly invented chamber that would cause it to rapidly grow into a baby and beyond. They watched as the egg split time and time again until, at last, a strange-looking fetus was produced. Elizabeth called the others over and they all stood outside the chamber door, watching the fetus grow until the chamber became too smoky for them to see inside. Finally, it was finished and it shut itself off. Ellie and Elizabeth exchanged glances as Ryan slowly opened the door.
The smoke inside the machine cleared and Elizabeth and Jessi gasped at what stepped out. It was a man—well, part of a man, at least—that was unbelievably hairy everywhere on his body. He had the same skin color as the apes from which the DNA had come and his hands resembled theirs as well. His eyes, however, were Ryan's and he had the same nose as Ellie. Ryan looked at his brainchild in pure awe.
"What is it?" Kris asked after a long silence.
"It's a—" Jessi started, but Elizabeth interrupted her.
"Monkey baby," she said. Dana looked at her.
"I don't think it's a baby anymore," she told her.
Ellie slowly took a step towards the being. She held her hand out gently, the way she would if she was greeting an animal she had never met before. The others watched her cautiously. She made it to the creature and stopped. He let her fingers touch his arm and she moved them to his own large hands. Another member of the team, Brett, made a move toward the two of them, but the creature suddenly yelped out and inched away, back towards the chamber from which he had come.
"It's okay," Ellie cooed, hoping he understood what she was saying. She looked back at her group. "All of you, get back! He's scared," she told them and they all did as she said. She turned back to the creature and inched towards him again. "It's okay," she cooed again, holding out her hand. Slowly, he reached out and interlaced her fingers with his own. Ellie smiled.
"What are we going to do with it?" Kris asked the others. They had put the creature to sleep and stuck him in an old, empty room next door.
"We have to tell people," Brett answered. Ryan looked at him.
"What do you mean, we have to?" he asked.
"We have this amazing discovery, that two similar species' DNA can be put together to form a new species, with all the good characteristics from both. We would be famous!" Brett explained happily. Dana nodded.
"It is a pretty amazing discovery, Ryan. The world has the right to know what we've found out," she said.
"Okay, fine," Ryan said, realizing they were all going to go with Dana and Brett. "But how do we even know if it has the 'good characteristics' from both the humans and the apes?"
"We can study it," Ellie suggested. "We could study it and figure out if it received the intelligence from the humans or the apes. If it's as smart as we are, it would be wise to show it to the world."
"If it did get your brains, Ellie," Elizabeth piped up, "we could probably teach it, right? You know, teach it how to speak English, how to do some easy math, how to read and write—that kind of thing. I mean, who would want to see a monkey-man unless it was more man than monkey?"
"I'm with Elizabeth," Brett said. "We could teach it everything we know and then show the world. Everyone will be much more inclined to realize how brilliant it is if it can talk."
The group nodded at Ellie. "All right, then," she said, nodding herself. "When it wakes up, we can go in there and see what's going on with it." She looked through the glass separating the two rooms. "In the meantime, no one hears about this, okay? Everything has to remain in this room." She looked at Elizabeth and Brett. "Not even Taylor and Keira can know, okay?" Both remained silent. "Okay?" Ellie pushed.
"Okay," they both agreed after a moment.
"Hey, guys!" Jessi suddenly called out. The all came running to where she was, looking through the glass. "It's awake!"
Indeed, the creature was stirring. He stood from the cold, hard ground and looked around the room, clearly wondering where he was at. Ryan made his way to the door and slowly opened it and stepped inside. The others followed suit and Kris let the door shut quietly behind her.
Brett walked ahead of the group to get to the creature first, but again he yelped out and stumbled backwards. Ellie quietly stepped in front of Brett and held out her hand once more. Slowly, the creature reached out and touched her fingertips, but nothing more. He looked at the group with wide, scared eyes.
"Hey," Ellie said softly to him. He turned to her. "Hey," she repeated, "my name is Ellie. Ellie. Can you say that?"
The creature opened his mouth slowly, but nothing came out. After a moment, he stuttered, "E-E-Ellie." She smiled at him.
"Good. This," she said, placing a hand on Ryan, "is Ryan."
"Good," she told him once again. She introduced the other members of the group and, in turn, he repeated the names crudely.
"We should give him a name," Elizabeth whispered to Ellie. She nodded and stood there, trying to think of something simple for him to pronounce.
"Karl," she said after a moment. "You're Karl, okay?"
He blinked his wide eyes at her before emitting a strong, "Karl."
Ellie beamed and turned to her colleagues and friends. "Everybody, meet Karl."
"What's the answer, Karl?"
Ellie looked from Karl to the flashcard she was holding up. He stared at it for several minutes, trying to determine the answer to the problem. At once, his eyes lit up and he looked at her.
"Three," he said knowingly. Ellie grinned at him.
"Good job, Karl," she told him. He beamed at her. It had been three months since Karl had been "born." All seven of them had tried to teach him, but he would only let Ellie do so. Sometimes, he allowed Ryan and Elizabeth inside, but that was rare. Ellie had taught him everything she could think of that was useful—how to speak English, how to read, how to write, how to do math. He was improving with every day and really enjoyed learning, as he had told Ellie last week.
"Okay, let's review," Ellie said, reshuffling the flashcards and holding another one up. As Karl sat trying to figure it out, there came a tap at the door and Ellie turned around to find Brett standing just outside. He motioned for her to come and she set the flashcards down in front of a disappointed Karl.
"I'll be right back," she told him as she stood. "You study those while I'm gone, okay?"
Ellie exited the room and quietly shut the door behind her. Brett eyed Karl from outside the room.
"How's he doing?" he asked her. Ellie nodded her head.
"Very good. He's retaining everything I've taught him," she said. She laughed. "In a couple of weeks, I could start teaching him quantum physics."
"I don't think you'll have a couple more weeks, Ellie," Brett told her seriously. Her smile faded.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean," he said, ushering her away from the door and towards a more secluded hallway, "everyone's getting restless. It's been three months and you keep saying he's doing so great, so why can't we let the world know about him?" He sighed. "Elizabeth's been going mad. You keep spending all of your time teaching him basic skills and the wedding's in three weeks. You've hardly made it to a dress fitting and you've missed rehearsals. Ellie, Elizabeth doesn't want to cut you from the wedding, but unless you stop spending all day, every day with Karl, she's going to have to."
Ellie stared at him. "Why couldn't she tell me that?" she asked.
Brett sighed again. "Her, Jessi, Kris, Dana, and Keira are all off today, making the place settings for the reception."
"How come they didn't—"
"They knew you wouldn't leave Karl to go with them," he finished for her. "Ellie, this thing's making everyone crazy and it's taking over your whole life. We've got to get it out in the open so other people can deal with it and we can all get back to our lives."
Ellie shook her head. "Brett, I—" she started, but was interrupted.
"What's going on?" Ryan asked as he came upon the two in the hallway.
"I'm trying to convince Ellie to let us hold a press conference and get Karl out of our hands. Little help, Ryan?" Brett explained.
Ryan turned to Ellie. "Ellie, you can't keep doing this. I know he likes what you're doing and I know you do, too, but it's not healthy—not for you, not for Karl. He never leaves that little room because he's scared. He's like a caged animal. I know you think you're doing him good, but you're making him more susceptible to the dangers of the world the more you keep him in that room. Are you really doing it for him anymore?" he asked. "You can't keep him forever, Ellie."
The truth in Ryan's words rang through Ellie's ears. She walked to the glass windows in Karl's room and watched him as he flipped through the flashcards slowly. She turned back to Ryan.
"Citizens of the world!" Brett said into the microphone. It was the day of the press conference and Brett was the one giving the speech. Karl was hidden offstage, so as to be revealed when the time came. Ellie, Ryan, and Elizabeth stood on one side of Brett, while Jessi, Dana, and Kris stood on the other. Ellie was fearful for Karl's well being and stole many glances at him. Ryan grabbed her hand and whispered in her ear that it was okay. She smiled.
"Today, we are bringing to you an unprecedented discovery!" Brett read off of his speech cards. The reporters, scientists, and random world citizens in the audience looked up at him with intrigued expressions. "Three months ago, my team and I were experimenting with DNA when we stumbled upon something new. We mixed ape DNA and human DNA and created an entirely new species of primate. Behold," Brett called. He waved his arm to offstage. "Karl!"
Karl stumbled onto the stage and the spectators gasped. He stopped beside Ellie and looked at her, clearly frightened. She gripped his hand tightly and told him it was going to be okay while Brett continued to speak.
"...Despite his ape-like qualities, Karl still has the brain of a human being. He can speak, read, write, add, subtract, multiply, divide, and much more. Dr. Houslanger here is going to assist Karl in giving us a demonstration of his abilities." Brett turned to Ellie and, to her, said, "Come on, Ellie. Make some magic."
She looked at Karl, who stood there, holding tightly to her hand in his. He turned to face her and she smiled reassuringly at him.
"Okay, Karl," she said softly, gently, the way she had when they had first met. "Tell the people your name."
Karl stared at her for a moment before finally turning to the crowd. He blinked his eyes, opened his mouth, and said, quite clearly, "My name is Karl."
There came another gasp from the audience and, again, Karl began to look scared. Ellie could see him beginning to sweat and she could feel him beginning to shake. She turned to Ryan.
"Ryan, he's too scared. We have to—" she began, but she was cut off by screams.
A photographer in the front row had snapped a quick shot of Karl. The bright flash on the camera scared him and he yelped out. He let go of Ellie's hand and dove into the audience at the photographer as the rest of the spectators screamed. Ryan jumped off the stage and attempted to pull Karl off of the man, but he was far stronger and he sent Ryan onto his back in the crowd. Ellie jumped into the crowd as well, but the turmoil became too great, and she couldn't find Ryan, Karl, or the stage.
The shriek of police sirens flooded the area—someone had used a cell phone to call 911. Ellie saw the police officers exit their car and take out their weapons. The crowd cleared a path for them, right to where Karl had jumped on the photographer. Ellie ran to the spot and, when she got there, stood, shocked.
Karl was nowhere in sight. The man who had snapped the picture was on the ground, bloody, bitten, and beaten. Beside him was a woman, one who Ellie had seen standing next to the man. She was less injured than the man, but it was clear she had gotten in the way. The police officers put down their weapons and ran to the two people. They each placed two fingers on the bodies and shook their heads.
"They're dead," one of them whispered. The crowd turned and stared at Ellie. What had she done?
It had been one week to the day since Karl had killed the photographer and his wife. The whole city had been told that he was dangerous and that they could use anything against him if they saw him. The police had offered thousands of dollars in rewards for Karl—dead—and bounty hunters had appeared throughout the city. The seven scientists who had created Karl were spending all of their waking hours to find—and kill—him.
Ellie was the only one she knew who was praying for Karl's safe return home. She knew he was just scared that day, and that he would never hurt anyone just for pleasure. She had joined in the hunt for him only to find him first, to keep him safe. Not even Ryan could say that much.
Ellie, Ryan, and Elizabeth were searching the city with a few police officers and a bounty hunter by the name of Ron. Nightfall was approaching and they had been following a cold trail for hours.
"Maybe we should just go home," Elizabeth said with an exasperated sigh. Ellie knew she was anxious—her wedding was in one week and she refused to postpone it because of Karl.
"Elizabeth, we can't just go now. It's still light out, we could find him," Ryan argued.
"There's been nothing to follow for hours, Ryan! He's not over here, we need to just stop—"
"Shut up!" Ron shouted. The two stopped arguing and looked at him. "I heard something over there," he said, pointing to his right. "I'm going to check it out."
Ron quietly sneaked off to his right and the police officers followed. Ryan ran with them, too, and Elizabeth, sighing followed suit. Ellie stood in the alleyway, unsure if she should go along or not. She took a step towards them and then stopped. She turned to her left and, there, in the darkness of the alley, was Karl.
Quietly, so as to not let anyone else know where they were, Ellie walked to him. He was still visibly shaken from the press conference. The clothes they had put him in were torn and dirty—clearly he had been running all week.
Ellie gave him a hug. "Karl!" she whispered into his shoulder. "I've been so worried about you! Everyone's been out looking for you, since the conference. They all think you killed those people because you're some dangerous monster."
Karl looked at her in shock. "I killed those people?" Ellie nodded solemnly. "I-I was just scared! The bright light frightened me and I-I don't know what happened! I just lunged at him and then the woman tried to stop me, so I lunged at her, too." He began to shed tears into his scraggly beard. "I'm sorry, Ellie."
She gave him another hug. "It's okay, Karl," she cooed. "It's okay."
"Over here!" Ellie heard a voice call. She let go of Karl and turned around to see Ryan standing at the other end of the alley. Elizabeth, Ron, and the police officers came running up beside him. Ron pulled out his gun.
"No!" Ellie shouted, standing in front of Karl. She wouldn't let them kill him!
"Ellie!" Elizabeth screamed. "Get out of the way! This has to be done!"
"No it doesn't!" Ellie yelled back, the tears stinging in her eyes. "He's not dangerous! You don't need to do this!" Her pleading eyes met Ryan's own depressed ones and they stared at each other for what seemed like forever. He couldn't let them kill Karl.
"God damn it," Ron whispered, cocking his gun and putting it into firing position.
The scene seemed to play out in slow motion. Ellie continued to shield Karl despite hearing the gun fire. Elizabeth screamed as the bullet zoomed towards her friend. The tears continued streaking Ellie's cheeks. She blinked, waiting for the inevitable. Elizabeth screamed again and Ellie opened her eyes when the bullet didn't make contact. On the ground at her feet was Ryan—he had jumped in front to protect her.
The police officers grabbed Ron immediately for trying to kill Ellie. Elizabeth pulled out her phone and called for a paramedic and an ambulance. Ellie dropped to her knees and looked at Ryan. The bullet had him right in the gut and blood was pooling from the wound. She dropped her mouth in horror as more tears streaked her face. Ryan blinked his bright blue eyes at her and tried to open his mouth, to say something, but it was no use. He closed his eyes and Ellie held him, weeping.
"Dr. Houslanger? Dr. Houslanger? Dr. Houslanger?"
Ellie pulled herself out of her reverie. "Yes?" she asked the man who had called her name.
"Do you accept the terms of our compromise?" he questioned.
"Could you repeat the terms, please?"
The man sighed. "There is an island that is uncharted, uninhabited, and unknown about by anyone save for us and the two explorers who stumbled across it. We agree to send—er—"
"Karl. His name is Karl," Ellie stated plainly.
"Yes, Karl. We agree to send Karl to that island. No humans will find him, so he therefore cannot be harmed by them, nor can he harm them. No one will remember the incident of two weeks ago and both parties should be happy."
Ellie spent no time thinking over the terms. Instead, she turned to Karl. "What do you think, Karl?" she asked.
He smiled at her and the men. "I agree."
The huge ship waited in the harbor. Karl was being carried to the island that day and he would never return. Ellie had come to see him off and say goodbye and Elizabeth had come with her, for the support.
Ellie looked at Karl with a sad smile. "You're going to have fun, Karl," she told him. More so, she was reassuring herself than him.
"I know I will, Ellie. This island is a good place. Everyone will be safe once I am there," he said with a nod. A couple of tears ran down Ellie's cheeks and he wiped them away with his strong hands. "Do not cry, Ellie," he said. "I want to go. I do not belong in this big city. I will feel more at home than I did here."
Ellie nodded and gave him a big hug. They released each other as the captain of the ship told everyone it was time to set sail. Karl looked at Elizabeth, who was standing a small ways off, so she wouldn't be in the way. He gave her a hug as well. "You are a good friend to Ellie, Elizabeth," he said, making her smile. "Continue to be." He clasped a hand on her shoulder. "I hope you and Taylor have a good, happy life together. Congratulations."
"Thanks, Karl," Elizabeth said. "You know, if you didn't have to leave today, I would invite you to the wedding," she added. He smiled at her again and walked to Ellie.
"Ellie," he said, laughing. "You have taught me everything I know. I will forever be thankful for that. I hope that you have a good life as well. Do not think about me unless it is for the good. I will be safe. Don't let yourself think otherwise."
"I'll never forget you, Karl," she whispered as she hugged him one final time. She gave him a kiss on the cheek and he grabbed her hand again, holding it in his as he had done all those months ago. He turned and walked up the plank and onto the ship, where Ellie could no longer see him. More tears fell down her cheeks, but these were now tears of happiness, because she knew this was what he wanted. She smiled.
Ryan turned over on his bed. He didn't want to wake up, not yet... Finally, he opened his eyes and sat up, startled. Ellie was sitting in the chair beside his hospital bed, staring at him. She laughed.
"Good morning," she said with a smile. He turned to the windows and saw the sunlight peeping through the curtains.
"What time is it?" he asked, rubbing his eyes.
"I don't know," she shrugged. "The clock in your room is broken."
"Oh," he said. They sat in silence for a few minutes. Ryan didn't know what to say to her. Suddenly, he blurted out, "I'm sorry."
"Sorry?" Ellie questioned. "Sorry for what?"
"For trying to kill him," Ryan explained. "For trying to kill Karl. I just felt so guilty, Ellie. I was the idiot who had to see if it would work, who had to see if I could get into the history books. When he killed those two people... I felt like it was all my fault and that I should never have brought him into the world. I thought that if he was dead it would make everything better. I know that's a really, really stupid thing to think, but it's true. I'm sorry, Ellie."
Ellie said nothing. Ryan felt awkward in the silence—he had expected her to at least yell at him, but silence? No, that was unbearable.
"So?" he pushed, hoping for her to say something.
Ellie stared straight at him. "Why did you jump in front of me after Ron shot?"
Ryan blinked. Where had that come from? He had not been expecting her to bring that up so soon. His face became red. "Because," he said slowly. "I... love you."
This seemed to be the thing Ellie had been looking for all along. Her eyes twinkled as she looked at him and her face became one of pure glee. "I love you, too," she whispered.
She stood up from her chair and leaned over the top of him. Before their lips connected, Ryan opened his mouth and said, "So, does this mean you forgive me?"
Ellie smiled. "Shut up and kiss me."