's 2013 Horror Write-off:

"Mors Voluntaria"

Submitted by Spitblaze

Wednesday, Aug. 30
After my job search, I have finally managed to find employment. I have been hired by a newly-founded pharmaceutical company in dire need of researchers. It’s a small company, seemingly owned by a rich man from Alabama. Hopefully he will pay me as much as he pays the young, intelligent women like me as much as the old, obtuse men. My first day on the job is tomorrow, and by the description, it sounds like I’ll mostly be in the lab, with the rats. I’d much rather be working with human test subjects, but if the medication doesn’t work with the rats, there’s no chance it’ll move on to the human testing stage…I suppose that all I can really do at this point is stick to the scientific method and be patient.
-Rosalind Weiss
Thursday, Sept. 1
My first day was more of an orientation than lab work. I was familiarized with the lab, the rats, my desk, and my ‘teammates’, as the employee referred to them. Altogether, there were five of us. Harold Smith, a rotund man who asked a lot of questions, Rick Martin, a well-mannered man who appeared very eager to begin testing, Sarah Cooper, who appears to be fresh out of college, Lucy Anders, an intern, and me, with my master’s and my glasses. The drug we are going to be testing is a hypnotic drug, which we are currently calling Aquiescol. Not overly imaginative, really- it’s just the Latin word for ‘rest’ with a fashionable ‘l’ at the end instead of a ‘c’. Figures…but we’re not here to test how good the name of the drug is. I’ll report in tomorrow…
-Rosalind Weiss
Friday, Sept. 2
Still no lab work yet…we’re currently in a lecture from the team of chemists who came up with the drug. Most of it made no sense, but their goal is to apparently create a drug that will quickly put the user into a deep sleep for at least 7 hours, guaranteed. The chemists themselves, though, looked rather exhausted…I suppose it took a lot of research to get to the point where they determined it could be used for animal testing. Rick sat next to me…I caught him glancing at me every now and again. He confessed after the meeting that he didn’t quite follow me, and asked if I would care to try and explain it to him over some coffee tomorrow. I accepted. I realize that I am in a professional environment, but I should nonetheless know how to communicate with my colleagues. Hopefully we’ll actually start some lab work on Monday.
-Rosalind Weiss
Saturday, Sept. 3
I met Rick at a coffee shop near our workplace, and I managed to explain to him what I got out of yesterday’s meeting over some coffee. After that, we had a pleasant conversation. He invited me to get coffee with him again, and I accepted. I think it would be safe to call him a friend, of sorts. At any rate, I could certainly use the companionship. It can be difficult to make friends when you know how people think, down to the molecular level.
-Rosalind Weiss
Sunday, Sept. 4
Most everyone in my apartment building has gone to church this morning. I was the only person on my floor. It was almost eerily silent, but I’m used to it by now. I used the silence as an opportunity to get myself some more much-needed rest. Nothing else happened today.
-Rosalind Weiss
Monday, Sept. 5
We were in the lab today, thank goodness. But there was no actual testing today- we were planning out the experiment, putting down operational definitions, the like. The intern will be preparing the medicine and the placebos for the rats, and for the sake of the double-blind procedure, will only tell us which bottle of medication is for which group of rats, and will not be interacting with them. Rick and I will be taking care of ‘group 2’. We will be receiving the rats tomorrow.
-Rosalind Weiss
Tuesday, Sept. 6
We got the rats today-standard albino laboratory rats. Each group has six. Rick seems to have given them all names, which will be much easier to use than numbers when identifying them. The females are Valerie, Chamomile, and Rosalind (I had taken a particular liking to her before, so Rick named her after me), and the males are Helios, Harold (so named because he’s a bit chubbier than the others. Rick seemed pleased to get a smile from me at this), and Eureka. Actual testing will begin tomorrow, so the rats can get accustomed to their new surroundings.
-Rosalind Weiss
Wednesday, Sept. 7
Testing so far has been uneventful- our rats are sleeping normally. Whether it’s placebos or not has yet to be determined, and we’re not allowed to compare with the notes of the second group. The testing will conclude next Wednesday, so I suppose we’ll see what happens then. Rick invited me to see a movie tonight. I accepted and went with him. It was nice. I told him I’d like to do it again. He seemed really happy about that.
-Rosalind Weiss
Thursday, Sept. 8
Testing has been halted due to rat fatalities in group 2. It turns out that their rats were the ones who had received the medicine. All of them peacefully died in their sleep, except for one, who has become incredibly defensive and scared. Before we report it to the chemists and do another test trial, Harold and Sarah, along with Lucy, are trying to figure out if there were any conflicting factors that may have caused the rats to die- contaminated samples, a chemical in the medicine that is poisonous to rats, contaminated food or water…it’s very strange, though. Another thing we’ve noticed- our own rats have become just as frightened as the lone surviving rat in group 2…Rick seems distressed, too…
-Rosalind Weiss
Friday, Sept. 9
Blood samples of the dead rats are currently being processed, and a report has been sent to the chemists for a new batch. Someone with a hazmat suit came in and completely sterilized the area where Lucy had been preparing the medicine and placebos. All of the rats were euthanized. Rick was upset at this news...talking to him after work, he admitted that he didn’t really feel a strong connection to the rats, but he rather likes working with animals, even if just for testing purposes. He was just sad to have to end this particular trial so soon. Something more seemed to bother him, though…
-Rosalind Weiss
Saturday, Sept. 10
Rick called me this morning and seemed distressed. He wanted me to come to his house right away. When I arrived, he answered the door, teary-eyed. I asked him what was wrong. He said he didn’t know. I did my best to console him. He felt better later, and so we got some dinner and watched a movie. Sometime after that, we engaged in sexual intercourse. It was nice. He said I could stay the night if I wanted to, and so I did. It’s been a while since I’ve had a relationship of any kind…I’m not sure what we have exactly, but I quite like it. I hope it lasts.
-Rosalind Weiss
Sunday, Sept. 11
Rick allowed me to stay for the day- his house is much roomier than my apartment, and much less stress-inducing. We had sex again, and then I went back to my apartment in the evening. We get the test results of the rat’s blood back tomorrow. With any luck, it will have just been a contaminated sample and we can resume testing on a new population of rats.
-Rosalind Weiss
Monday, Sept. 12
It wasn’t a simple contamination. In fact, it was FAR from simple. The brain tissues of the rats were also analyzed, and there was evidence of a previously undiscovered neurotransmitter, in strangely large amounts- they used three more rats in the lab to confirm this, and it has been determined that the chemical acts as a biological ‘kill-switch’, and has been named ‘trucidonine’. However, all other attempts that have been made over the weekend to activate the neurotransmitter have utterly failed. At any rate, the report has been sent to the chemists, who will have new, modified medicine for us tomorrow. Rick seems nervous…
-Rosalind Weiss
Tuesday, Sept. 13
The new formula is a complete failure. If anything, it’s worse. This time, Rick and I were assigned the experimental group. In the first trial, the rats simply died in their sleep. Now, the minute we turn the lights off, they go into a panic, clawing at the walls of the cage, squeaking in a very distressed manner…it’s wholly unnerving. The squeaks almost sound like cries for help…Rick vomited… I can’t particularly blame him. About ten minutes after we turn the lights off, the rats die violently- vomiting blood, going into seizures...we could only watch through the video cameras. When we went in to collect the bodies, I stared at their horrible, mangled corpses…covered in blood, some with bones bent at unnatural angles…on the grounds of one of the cages was what looked like some sort of message scrawled in blood in some primitive, unknown language…I threw up this time…
-Rosalind Weiss
Wednesday, Sept. 14
We were sent home for the rest of the week. Rick and I decided to be together today. We went out to dinner and saw a movie to get our minds off of the whole thing…he called me his girlfriend at some point. I’m not entirely sure how to react to that.
-Rosalind Weiss
Thursday, Sept. 15
Ever since they mentioned the new neurotransmitter, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it…is it present in humans? What exactly triggers it? Why haven’t we learned of it until now? What if trucidonine is released in response to an eldritch horror? Maybe in the past we were hunted by things we could not possibly comprehend, things that, once we were caught, we had no chance of making it out alive or returning. I should probably keep this from Rick...the whole ordeal seems to have taken a toll on him…
-Rosalind Weiss
Friday, Sept. 16
I’ve become obsessed with this whole thing…the neurotransmitter…the rats…those markings…I’m convinced those markings in the cage were not coincidental. I’m sure they were trying to convey some message…but what could it be? A warning? A description of what the rat was witnessing? This is driving me mad…
-Rosalind Weiss
Saturday, Sept. 17
Maybe we should’ve gone on to human trials with the medicine. If nothing else, we could’ve learned more about trucidonine. But that would be a major violation of ethics…tch…
-Rosalind Weiss
Sunday, Sept. 18
Going back to work tomorrow… maybe I can find a few pills and test it out…
-Rosalind Weiss
Monday, Sept. 19
I managed to get my hands on a bottle of the second version of Aquiescol- the one that triggered the violent deaths. I said I wouldn’t be in the rest of the week because of a family emergency. I’m going to test it out. There’s no possible way I can convince someone else to do this. I have to do this for the pursuit of knowledge- plenty of people have died for the sake of science. Marie Curie, Alexander Bogdenov, Elizabeth Ascheim…I’ll take the pill tomorrow morning and record my experiences on my laptop’s webcam.
-Rosalind Weiss
Tuesday, Sept. 20
[Video transcript]
0:00:05 - I just called Rick to say goodbye before I go through with this. He wasn’t there, so I left a message. I will take the pill now, and I will do my best to record my experiences.
0:02:43 – [Ingests pill]
0:05:34 - [Takes on a distressed look] Oh god. Oh god. Oh god. Oh god. [Retreats to fetal position, with expression of horror] Oh god. Oh god. Oh god. Oh god. [This continues for five minutes]
0:10:21 - Everything is… oh god…oh my god…I’m sorry…I’m so sorry…I’m so sorry… [lays in fetal position for two minutes, crying, then suddenly sits up and screams for thirty seconds]
0:15:03 - They’re everywhere, oh god, they’re everywhere…we’re sorry…I don’t know what we did to deserve this…please, please stop. Please, stop. [words made unintelligible by crying]
0:20:37 – [Vomits] I…I’m sorry…[sobs]…I…ugh…[sobbing continues. Noises can be heard from outside, including knocking and various yelling voices]
0:22:09 – [Sobbing, pounding on wall] Please, please help me…they’re coming…they’re all over me…they’re-[dry heaving]-they’re all over me…please…I’m sorry…
0:25:54 – [Crying] I’m sorry… [begins tearing at skin. Continues until a portion of skin on her arm is ripped off, and sticks piece of flesh to the window. She continues this until there is no skin left on her forearms. Covers remaining visible parts of window with her blood]
0:32:12 – [retreats to fetal position] They can’t get me now…they can’t hurt me…they’re gone…they’re gone…they’re…[screams]…
0:32:45 – [stands up, and walks over to wall, and begins pounding again, leaving bloody imprints]
0:35:50 – [Begins writing on wall with own blood.]
0:35:59 – [vomits blood]
0:36:10 – [scoops up blood with hands and continues writing on wall]
0:40:43 – [lays on ground in fetal position in pile of blood vomit, cries softly]
0:45:32 – [Crying ceases. No further signs of life are seen. Writing on the wall reads “We are not the dominant species. We never were” and “We are not the top of the food chain.” End transcript.]