The Cells

Click the pic for the original challenge. Written for Ermilia’s Picture It & Write.

Annie swiped her badge and waited for the click of the electronic lock. She strolled casually into the main corridor and then back toward the medical laboratory, listening to the echoes of her heels on the newly waxed floor. It was strange to be walking the hall on a day off. Her skirt felt out of place and awkward, the way you feel when you’re naked in a dream.

Ian sat alone in the med lab, busy with his paperwork, when Annie strolled in. The sound of her heels drew his attention. He looked up and pushed his glasses up into a head of greying hair. His eyes always seemed tiny with his glasses off.

“Can’t even stay away from the place on your birthday, can you?” he joked. “It’s me, isn’t it?” He searched her eyes for some amusement, but playful Annie was somewhere else today. “Happy birthday, by the way,” he added. “You must be at least old enough to drink by now!”

“Thanks,” she answered dully. “It’s twenty-eight. This isn’t business… sort of a… personal favor. Can I get you to take a look at something for me?” She set a vial on the desk in front of him.

He picked it up and twisted it curiously back and forth in his fingers. “Who have we got in here?”


Ian scratched his head nervously and pushed his glasses back down to take a better look at her. It wasn’t the kind of personal business he was expecting. “Shouldn’t you be going to a hospital for that …or is there something you’re not telling me?”

“I wouldn’t trust them the way I trust you, Ian. You know that.”

Ian put the vial back on the table. He pulled out a sterile slide, dropped it in front of him and unscrewed the cap on the vial, carefully eying his co-worker.

“What am I looking for Annie?” he asked, pulling a sample with a glass rod, adding it to the slide and placing the slip carefully.

“Hopefully nothing.”

“Well, that narrows it down a little…”

Ian placed the slide under the microscope and set the magnification. Annie watched impatiently as he removed his glasses, bent forward, and issued a series of quiet grunts and other assertions, adjusting the focus, changing the magnification several times, and pushing the slide around under the lens. After a while he pulled back from the microscope, rubbed his eyes thoroughly and then leaned back intently into the eyepiece lens again.

“What?” Annie asked. “What is it?”

“Honestly, I’ve never seen cells anything like these before,” he replied without taking his eye away. “You want to see for yourself?”

“No. I…” Annie shuddered a little. “Is it… cancer?”  she asked, not really sure she wanted to know anymore.

“Cancer? No! No, nothing like that! No, I’ve seen plenty of cancer before…”

“What then? Can’t you just tell me what you see?”

Ian sat up rubbing his eyes again. “That’s just it,” he said. “I can’t. I’ve really never seen anything like it before. But…” He stared directly into her eyes. “I don’t have to know what I’m seeing to recognize what it means.”

Annie blinked nervously under the fluorescent tension of the moment. “And…?”

He glanced momentarily into the microscope again before lifting his head and giving her a philosophical look.

“What does it mean!?” Annie was beyond impatient now.

Ian smiled. “It means your biological clock is ticking, sweetheart.”

© 2012 Anne Schilde

About Anne Schilde

Image "Webster's Kiss" © 2011 Anne Schilde Thanks always for reading! ♥
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14 Responses to The Cells

  1. joetwo says:

    Damn mobile wouldn’t let me comment on this! Good story. You build us up than tear us right back down again you mistress of the puns you!

  2. Another great read, Anne… Don’t know how I missed this one…!

  3. Anna says:

    The final sentence of this piece is so devilishly mysterious, you really do weave such fantastic stories.

  4. elaviel413 says:

    Always love reading your work, Anne!

    P.S. If you’d like a perfect example of the ugliness I’ve been dealing with comment-wise, check out my latest blog post. I made some videos about my past experience with bullying and posted them as an entry, and lo and behold, the bully who was leaving mean comments that I would hide rose to the occaision and posted. Because of the subject matter of my particular entry, I decided to allow her comments to be visible. 50+ comments and over 300 page views later, she finally stopped commenting, but she left behind a very ugly trail of mean words… I was brave enough to keep them up, and I will continue to do so because it is a perfect example of harassment and cyber-bullying. I want to expose people like her for all the world to see.
    And after that entry, I will not accept any negative comment on my blog ever again.

    • Anne Schilde says:

      First, thanks as always!

      And then, wow! What a crazy read! Rough way to get blog hits! 🙂

      I’m not a psych major, but… Most bullies are victims themselves (often at home) who lack the courage to stand up to it. As a result, they believe the abuse they suffer is their own fault, and they seek victims so they can perceive others as being just as weak as, or weaker than, themselves. They almost always target the exact traits they are bullied for. It’s actually a form of self-abuse, similar to cutting, or choking, and the fact that she joked about killing herself is a warning sign that she has actually considered it.

  5. II says:

    I had a comment for this post and it got deleted. However, I am always reading your stuff, even if I don’t have a comment. Sometimes I just don’t know what to say, other than that I liked it :]

  6. Phil Gayle_For Singles and Couples says:

    Hello my dear…
    Finally I’ve arrived…I’m not even going to look for my last comment on one of your posts…it’s just way too embarrassing.
    Thank you so much for persevering with me…as I said, the lounge will remain, it’s just going to be vacant for a while.

    Wow, I was reading, gripped, as usual expecting Annie to have some form of unexplained mutation and it turns out she is ovulating? lol!
    I remember…you can be such a tease at times Ms. Schilde… 😉

    Great post, as I said, you and a few others have been an inspiration and I’m going to admit, I’m using your accomplishments to motivate me with my latest project.
    Thanks you. 🙂

  7. Ermilia says:

    That’s awesome! I saw it coming, but it still made me smile. Thanks for contributing Anne.

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