The Mystery of the Menagerie – Pass the Baton Challenge #2 – March

I’ve offered to pick up the baton and continue the March story.
Marla started it and nominated Matt, who nominated Sadje who nominated Robert.
All the parts and their links to bloggers are below:

Marla’s Part

Exhausted, I yanked the door handle on my locker and yanked it open. Looking inside my locker at my shoes up on the top shelf and my clothes neatly folded at the bottom, I felt too run-down to even begin to change. I thought about laying down on the bench that ran between the lockers for a short nap when I saw the most hideous face reflected back at me on the little magnetized mirror hanging inside. Just as I registered that this could be trouble, I was shoved forward, hitting my face and shoulders into the locker.

Adrenaline rushed through me, and I was suddenly very awake. If he wanted a fight, I was glad to oblige.

I’m not a professional boxer, but I think he thought he could daze me with a sneak attack, and whatever it was that he had wanted wasn’t worth fighting over. So, he took off after only a few minutes.

I looked at myself in the mirror and realized that he had split my lip and it was bleeding pretty badly. I looked down to see if any droplets hit the floor, and I saw a note that my assailant had most likely dropped. Opening it, I read:

“S 24”

That was the locker number right next to me. He must have thought I was using that locker and attacked me because of it. What would be important enough to start a fight over?

M’s Part

…I plopped back down on the bench and grabbed a towel to stop the bleeding on my lip. Staring at an unlocked locker S 24, my curiosity got the best of me, I opened it. Much to my surprise NOTHING was inside.

“So, what the hell ?!”

I got slammed head-first into a locker, why? I started racking my brain, was I on a machine too long, was I staring at this dude? I can’t worry about this. I manage to control the bleeding on my lip, but I know I’ll need to get some ice at some point. I got dressed and headed out of the gym to the elevator to the parking garage.

I didn’t see Joe Attitude anywhere. This is not how I wanted to end my day. I got on the elevator and pushed G for the garage, on the descent stopping at floor 5 an older woman got on with me. She scowled in my direction, it was most likely my lip. Stopping again at floor three two young men in black hoodies got on and pushed G. They said something to each other. One of the guys looked back at me and smiled…

Sadje’s Part

The smile on his face sent shivers down my spine. These guys were definitely connected to the guy who attacked me, Joe. The atmosphere in the elevator was so uneasy that I was wishing that it would reach the garage level ASAP and I would escape to the safety of my car.

The elevator stopped on the first floor and a girl got in. She had a huge bag with her. My unease increased manyfold. And acting on impulse, just before the doors closed again, I dashed out of the elevator. Instead of going down the stairs, I headed toward the apartment of a guy I knew. I was barely inside his apartment when I heard the sound of running feet going past the door.

Nick opened his mouth to ask what was going on but I shushed him. When the commotion outside died I opened the door carefully and peeped out. The corridor was quiet.

I waved goodbye to Nick and stepped outside when suddenly …

Robert’s Part

Someone grabbed me by my collar and dragged me backwards. Twisting to gain my balance I spun around into a low crouch, eyes wide, fists already rising but there stood Nick with a worried expression on his face.

“Mate,” he said “don’t rush off; I need your help.”

Seven minutes later we were sitting at his dining table screwing our faces up at Nick’s dark-roast.

“You need to get some Maxwell House, Nick. This stuff is seriously rank. Anyway, what’s up? What do you need my help for?”

“I’ll tell you in a bit. First off: what’s up with you?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, you just about smash my door down, you’re as sweaty as frick and then you want to rush off like …”

I told him about being attacked by some nutter with a weird-looking face in the gym upstairs and then about being followed down to his apartment. He listened in silence, scepticism written all over his face and then when I’d done, he reached out and placed his hand on my arm.

“You keeping up with your meds, right?”

I tamped down immediately on the spike of anger. Nick was my friend. He’d been there for me when I’d come back, broken, from Afghanistan. He knew about the panic attacks, the flashbacks and the paranoia. I nodded.

“Well then …”

He left the words hanging in the air with my flapping mind. Then I thought of something. I fished in my pocket and pulled out the slip of paper I’d picked up.

“There’s this,” I said and handed it over. “S24. The locker next to mine. I think the guy who attacked me dropped it.”

He frowned, pulled his phone out and tapped for a few moments then showed me the screen. It was a picture of a locker. The code on the front was S24.

“Why do you have a picture of this?”

“That’s my new locker number,” he said. “I switched gyms yesterday. Made more sense to work out in my own building. I was going to tell you,” he finished lamely.

A piece of the puzzle clicked into place. Nick had pretty much the same build as me and we had the same crew cut. From behind …

“From behind, we probably look the same, you know,” he said, following my thoughts. Then he frowned. “Hey, you said that the person who attacked you looked weird. Weird, how?” Before I could answer I saw a thought flash into his eyes. “Wait, did he look a bit like a … a ferret?”

“Yeah; how did you know that?”

“Have you ever heard of The Menagerie?

“No. What’s that?”

“Vivisection. But with a twist. Ever seen that old flick The Island of Dr. Moreau?” He didn’t wait for me to reply. “Anyway, that’s what I need your help with. Saddle up, dude, I’ll tell you about it on the way.”

Here’s my continuation:

Nick got his jacket and we checked the corridor before going down to the garage lot.
We used the stairs and neither of us said a word until we were in his car.
‘What’s going on Nick?’ I said. ‘ And what has an old science fiction movie got to do with all this? ‘
Soon we were on the open road cruising at a sensible speed, though I know this baby could do a ton plus if Nick wanted it to. He said he didn’t want to attract attention.
‘The movie might have been sci-fi, but the potential has been picked up and there are experiments going on that I stumbled upon by accident when I fell over a dead body at a masquerade party.’
‘So? Why didn’t you go to the police?’
Nick glared at me.
‘You’re joking, right? Why would they believe me with my record? Remember I knocked that guy out with one punch and he died!’
I could see his point. It had been a freak accident but the family’s lawyers picked up on  Nick’s violent father and said it ran in the family. The trial had been messy and very public, but Nick had been acquitted as it turned out the guy had a brain aneurysm and could have knocked his head on a bedpost and the result would have been the same.
‘So?’ I asked again. ‘Why is someone after you?’
‘The face was not a mask. It was hideous, rat like. Then I heard voices and hid.’

Nick went on to explain about an overheard conversation and the mention of vivisection but to do with transplants rather than altering DNA.
‘They were growing tissue in the lab and then …………………….


OK……….. that’s it from me. I’m going to pass the baton to Jim at A Unique Title for  Me who I hope will continue the story  (please?)


About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! In November 2020, we lost our beloved Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney. We now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of Kizzy, my GSD when Hubby and I first met so had hers done too. On February 24th 2022 we were blessed to find Maya, a 13 week old GSD pup who has made her own place in our hearts. You can follow our training methods, photos and her growth in my blog posts. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
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15 Responses to The Mystery of the Menagerie – Pass the Baton Challenge #2 – March

  1. Marlapaige says:

    Wow, Nick has his very own story now. I like it. Thank you so much for joining in and picking it up. I truly appreciate it ♥️

  2. You’re joking, right?

  3. Pingback: The Mystery of the Menagerie – A Unique Title For Me

  4. Sadje says:

    Great addition Di! 🥹

  5. Pingback: A Never Ending Story – Writer Ravenclaw

  6. Pingback: The Mystery of the Menagerie  – Earthly Comforts

  7. Pingback: Marla’s Passing The Baton Challenge for March 2023 – This, That, and the Other

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