Last week’s #WriteFriday exercise was a prompt that had to do with perspective and point of view. For my own stab at it, I decided to get into the head of my antagonist, Dr. Gratusczak, from the Rick Keller novels. I say novels, but really it’s one novel, Cold Run, and a whole bunch of notes and sketches for the sequel. I don’t know if this will make it into the next book, tentatively titled Vegas Run, but I enjoyed taking over the mind of a different character. The sketch was especially interesting, given that I wrote the first–and intend to continue in the second–completely in Rick’s first person POV. I was worried about losing some of the unique voices of the other characters, and I don’t know if I’ve totally succeeded in getting completely in Gratusczak’s head (he IS kind of a murderous sociopath), but I had fun writing this.
Gratusczak’s POV – The Basement Lab
Outside, the night was deep into the dark well of the early morning, but Dr. Gratusczak had long ago ceased to mind the artificial strictures of time. Inside the calming monotony of MONIKER’s concrete underground, he could work in silence with only the buzz of the fluorescent lights to accompany his meditations.
The centrifuge whirred to a halt. Gratusczak frowned. The three vials settled in their slots were the last samples he had gleaned from Rick Keller, and none of them displayed what he was looking for. No matter. He would ask again, and the agency would get him more. A moment of wry pleasure twisted his lips at the thought of Keller’s reaction. For all his attempts at Aryan stoicism, the wolf wore his buttons on his sleeve, and in such a case, how could one help but press them?
Dr. Willet, on the other hand, was a granite precipice—unyielding, hard faced, and dangerous if you got too close. He felt a delicious, rare thrill of adrenaline at the thought of her under his knife. Sadly, he had only come close that once.
Gratusczak plucked one of the vials from the machine and twisted off the plastic plug. He sniffed, almost absent-mindedly, and flicked his tongue, snake-like, at the narrow opening. He smelled copper and dirt.
“Grabbing a snack?”
Gratusczak didn’t jump, even though the voice came from behind. It took a lot to startle him, and Dr. Willet’s alto voice did not come close.
“Dr. Willet.” He placed the vial upright in a stand of test tubes. Removing a pen from behind one pallid ear, Gratusczak scribbled the date on a small label. “Thank you for coming by. I need more samples.”
“Rick’s living furry in the north country.” Karen ignored him, pushing past the tall man to a short refrigerator in the corner of the room. She opened the door and grabbed a can of beer. Popping the top, she sat down on the fridge and swigged straight from the can. “Good luck.”
Gratusczak carefully pulled the label off its backing and stuck it on the vial. It went on slightly crooked. He frowned, pulled it off, and scratched at the residue with his fingernail. “I’ll need you to get in touch with him.”
Karen didn’t answer right away. She drank the entire can of beer as he waited.
The scientist wasn’t bothered by the delay, or the silence. Lack of small talk was more a relief than an annoyance. He wrote out another label, peeled it up carefully, and spent an extra second making sure he placed correctly and evenly on the vial.
The buzzing of the fluorescents grew louder, until they almost echoed off the walls. Karen finished her beer and tossed the can on the floor.
“I’ll see what I can do.”
Gratusczak waited until she left before flicking one long finger. The can flew from the floor, into the low, round trash receptacle. The good Dr. Willet had been more agitated tonight than normal, the nerves she was usually so good at hiding jangling at the edge of his senses like fine cinnamon.
His lips twisted. He meticulously labeled and stored the rest of the vials, placing them in the tall specimen refrigerator. Casting one last glance around the room, he headed for the door and knocked. The ever-present security guards opened the door for him, one keeping his weapon trained on the scientist at all times.
“I am ready to return to my cell.”
The first security guard keyed his radio. “This is Bandit 8. On the move with Old Spooky.” He waited for his hail to be acknowledged, then trained his own weapon on Gratusczak. “Let’s go.”
Gratusczak clasped his hands behind his back. The lights clicked on before them, then off behind them as they moved, a technological quirk meant to both disorient an unknown entity as to highlight his movements. He’d had the path memorized since his first trip down the hall.
Their footsteps fell softly on the concrete floor, the click of the lights following them with soft echoes. As he moved into the shadows, Gratusczak did not smile. It was only the slightest hint of anticipation that lit his eyes, completely unseen by his foolish men who flanked his stride.