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Ingredients Unknown

By Daphne

The engine of the green jaguar growled healthily as the tires crackled on the gravel parking area. The aggressive car relaxed into a purr as the engine idled, the weight on the tires crushing comfortably into a restive position in the gravel.

“I'm here Max. You're sure this is the place?” asked a pair of eyes hidden behind sunglasses, staring into the rear view mirror.

“I'm positive Dawn. I traced the sample from the letter sent to you to the location you're at,” assured Max. “This part of detecting, I'm the pro at.”

“And I'm lucky to have you on the case with me,” chuckled Dawn Meadows as she turned the key in the ignition, dropping the mighty jag into a restful nap. The door snapped open, and she stretched out a long stocking clad leg, placing her heel carefully into the gravel. Swinging her other slender leg from the vehicle, she slammed the door and adjusted her favorite blue skirt suit after the long ride in the car. Removing the dark sunglasses from her luminous green eyes, she tossed them in the open window of the car, and ran a slender white hand through her long blond hair. Licking her bottom ruby lip, she took steps careful of the gravel in her high heels, brushing a bug away that landed against the sheer dark stockings coating her long legs.

“You're sure he's not in the lab today?” asked Dawn into her cell phone as she approached the warehouse.

“As sure as can be,” replied Max. “Danny hacked his computer remotely and retrieved his schedule, and assured me that Mr. Farris was handling off-site business this afternoon.”

“Well, I can't argue with 'ethically' gotten information, can I?” replied Dawn wryly. She couldn't always condone Danny's methods on legality, but there was no denying that his results had kept her from more than one death. How could she really argue with that? 

“Hang on a second, Max,” asked Dawn as she punched a few keys on her cell phone, bringing up a text that Danny had sent moments ago. A short series of digits appeared on her display as she walked up the short set of steps, leading to the entryway of the warehouse. As Danny had explained, there would be a keypad, requiring an entry code. Punching in the numbers provided in her text onto the keypad, she smiled at the green light and “happy beep” signaling her successful entry. “I'm in,” she said, flipping her long blond hair over one shoulder and placing the phone back up to her ear.

Inside the warehouse, was the layout of a simple lab. Tables lined the walls and a few formed a makeshift island in the middle of the floor. They were all adorned with scientific instruments for study and research. Clipboards, were full of papers bearing sketches, charts, and data collections, while dry erase boards detailed theories and formulas that made little sense to Dawn's decidedly “sleuth” mind. She walked up and down the tables, examining the beakers and test tubes in passing, scanning everything with her pretty green eyes. Analytically she took everything in and filed it away mentally as even the slightest detail, easily overlooked and forgotten is the one that solves a mystery. She had the tendency to speak quietly to herself as she filed these unimportant details in her pretty little head, and on more than one occasion, Max still on the phone with her would ask what it was she was saying, to which she would simply reply, “nothing, just talking to myself.”

“Well, you're right, he's not here. This place is all spooks and no scientists,” observed Dawn as she made her way up and down another aisle of laboratory stations. “Wait, I think I've got something,” she said, taking particular note of a jar sitting next to a microscope. “I think I've found more of that sample you pulled off the letter Farris sent me. It's a bubbly green kinda stuff, right?”

“Yeah, that's the stuff, Dawn. It's the same stuff that you found on those bodies with the forensics team. I think that Farris was trying to send you a message. It might have been a threat because you were getting close to something that he was involved in. I don't think he wanted you to find this stuff, Dawn,” said Max.

“Well, then I guess he'll be sorry that I have you and Danny working on my side back at the Tribune, because I'm a lot further along in this investigation than he knows. I'll just grab this jar here, and bring it back to the guys in forensics and we can find out just what exactly Mr. Farris is involved in. I think murder charges would put a cramp in his college lecture tour wouldn't you?” joked Dawn as she walked toward the mysterious jar on the table, shuffling her heels on the grainy floor as she extended her arm to take hold of it.

“I'd say so!” replied Max hastily. “Listen, I gotta go. O'Neil is on the warpath, and we haven't exactly been approved for this whole operation. You know how he gets when he finds out Danny is up to his hacking again, and you, well, you know, this is a little more outside procedure than just showing up to work sans pantyhose again!”

Shaking her head at hearing about her boss's stickle for dress code, Dawn dropped the phone into her blue jacket pocket and proceeded the operation solo, reaching her hand for the mysterious jar. Picking it up she held the small jar in the soft palm of her slender hand. Pouting out her ruby bottom lip, she peered closely at the jar quizzically. She squinted her emerald eyes and noted that the jar contained a substance of color not unlike her beautiful eyes, though it churned with thousands of tiny bubbles like a mysterious ooze. How odd she thought to herself. I wonder what is so important about this? Just as she might have asked this question aloud in her lovely girlish voice the jar lurched in the palm of her hand! This unexpected event caused Dawn such a fright that she gasped and jumped backward so suddenly that she could not maintain her balance in her heels, falling unceremoniously on her backside.

“Eeek!” she screamed, as the jar fell from the grace of her palm, and the lid popped off, freeing the “mysterious ooze” from inside. The ooze “leaped” from inside the jar as though a living thing, and was it Dawn's startled imagination, or was did the ooze take the form of a hand of sorts!?

Dawn wrestled with her mind to focus as she struggled to figure out what the heck was going on with this ooze that seemed alive and the fact that landing on her backside forced her already short blue skirt up near her hips, and revealed the tops, crotch, just about anything else embarrassing about her sheer barely black pantyhose! While she couldn't stop her face from going crimson at the destruction of her modesty, she managed her mind to accept gratefully that there was nobody around to see and thus she could focus appropriately on the terror that was seizing her heart just as the mysterious ooze began seizing her!

Wrapping around her with a strength and strange tenacity for a liquid, the green ooze clenched Dawn's arms painfully behind her back, while slowly oozing around her slender pantyhose clad legs, making it impossible to find footing, even while she futilely tried, scrapping her heels desperately on the cement floor. A portion of the ooze flowed out from the bonds holding her arms as water might look if it could float in the air. The misshapen mass formed a head of sorts that looked Dawn in her fear filled green eyes as the remainder of the ooze began something so horrific that Dawn trembled at the feeling. Right before her eyes, the ooze began to dissolve her clothes! Her fine and very expensive tailored suit was being devoured right before her eyes. Each passing second more of the designer blue material disappeared, revealing more of her stocking bearing legs, and her bare milky white skin. Dawn's ruby red lips quivered as she whimpered and stared saucer eyed at the mysterious “face” that stared emptily at her.

Within moments her precious suit had been devoured leaving her humiliatingly in just her bra and pantyhose. With dread, she feared what would be next, and began to scream her heart out for someone to help her. She screamed until her throat was hoarse, until she coughed and spit, run ragged and dry. The ooze tightened it's hold on her and the pain caused Dawn to double over on her side, awkwardly pinned. The dryness in her throat could be blamed on the fluid that had been saved for her eyes, as tears spilled desperately from the green pools. She dreadfully feared what the increased tenacity of the creature's constriction and the warmth she was feeling from the strange creature's touch signified.

When she thought that she could bear the pain no longer, when her slender limbs and fragile ribcage might break like a bird's, Dawn felt the constriction loosen nearly completely. The pain had been white hot, and the release came at her like the gasps she took in her desperate lungs, the quick labored breaths she feared she might never have gotten. But Dawn was not released. In those precious few moments, the ooze loosened its grasp on her, while she gulped freely of air while her ribs were not being crushed, the ooze thinned out over the young reporters long slender body. Over every curve of her bone and muscle. Up and around her thin arms, over each one of her delicate fingers, over the long legs, and all ten of her wiggly curling toes. The ooze reached up and down over her curved heaving breasts, up and around her graceful swanlike neck, the delicate chin above and over every beautiful detail of her chiseled face, from her open mouth, dainty nose, and large emerald eyes. Her golden hair was the last to be coated in the flowing ooze.

Dawn was devoured quickly while her heart hammered like wartime beneath her delicate ribs. She questioned her foolishness for breaking and entering into a place she did know or understand, and nobody officially knew she was here, as she was officially committing a crime. The Tribune would not investigate her death as it would raise too many questions. As a result, Dawn Meadows would just vanish, and the world would go on just fine without one more meddling reporter. If only she played by the rules. She'd have had a better day than ending up as dinner for some strange ooze!

A digital eye in the corner of the room rotated and refocused as it turned out that Dawn Meadows was not as alone and anonymous as she had feared. Her death would not go unknown but quite the opposite. The camera recorded the entire incident right down to the wrinkly charcoal pantyhose that damp and flat on the cement floor, accompanied by bits of bone and a woman's skull, all that remained of the foolish girl.

“As you can see, Dawn Meadows will cause no further delay in the operation,” spoke a mysterious figure. “It seems your chemical solution works quite well, leaving no traces.” he added staring into the grainy monitor.

“Almost none,” replied Dr. Jason Farris, scratching his chin as he too watched the monitor with interest, noting the foolish looking female undergarment juxtaposed with the skull and the globs of his formula.

“She did always say that she wore 'support hose.' Perhaps what they say is true?”

“Nothing beats a great pair of L'eggs?” Farris and the mystery man shared a chuckle at the demise of the nosy reporter and her seemingly unbeatable leg-wear.

“Don't you work at the Rose Tribune?” asked Farris of the mystery man after their chuckles subsided and the seriousness of their business transaction resumed.

“I fear you have me mistaken with someone else,” coughed the mystery man. “Now then, as the problem of Dawn Meadows has dissolved... let us discuss my payment.”

“Of course, my mistake,” replied Mr. Farris, clicking open the locks on a briefcase, opening the lid, then turning it toward the mystery man to reveal the stacks of money neatly tucked within.


-THE END

Illustrations by XJKenny

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