The Botanist

Reads: 39  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 1

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

A head strong scientist sneaks her way into a botanic garden that is closed to the public and unknowingly discovers the sinister experimentation going on inside.

THE BOTANIST

 

Dr. Elizabeth Prader had searched the internet extensively for months for any valid information on the Hauer botanic garden. The Hauer botanic garden was rumored to be the largest scientific botanical garden in the world. It was said to be more than four times the size of the Royal Botanic garden in Kew, England. The Hauer botanic garden was privately funded and was completely closed to the public, including any outside scientists like herself. This greatly frustrated Elizabeth as she felt their research should be shared with the rest of the scientific community.

 

The Hauer botanic garden did not have an official website. There was no listed way to contact them, no Email, or cell numbers. Everything was kept private. From the scientists who worked there as well as their research. Any information found on the internet might be mere speculation or myth. There were scant photos of the facility from the outside, and even fewer of the inside. With no way to gauge the validity of these photos.

 

While the Hauer botanic garden did not deny it's existence, it did it's best to keep everyone out and anyone from finding out what went on inside. Elizabeth tried exhaustively to contact Hauer botanic gardens through any means she could, but to no avail. Embittered by this Elizabeth decided to employ a different strategy.

 

Applying a less ethical tactic, Elizabeth got in touch with those who were willing to dig up information on the Hauer botanic garden. Or better yet finding her a way in, which was what she really wanted. Finally an informant she had been in contact with struck gold. The informant had identified a scientist who worked at Hauer botanic garden, a Dr. Eileen Brewer. The informant provided Elizabeth with contact and background information on Dr. Brewer, but it proved very costly.

 

Dr. Brewer had a impressive educational background in Botany and Biology. Her accomplishments in the field and her prior employment history was equally impressive. She was 55 years old and single. She never married and had no children. In addition the informant provided Dr. Prader with personal information as well. Elizabeth now knew where Dr. Brewer lived, what kind of car she drove, and even the establishments she frequented.

 

Elizabeth reasoned this would be the best way to meet her. Oasis was a swanky upscale bar that Dr. Brewer visited often. Also of interest to Elizabeth was Dr. Brewer's apparent lack of any kind of romantic relationship with men. Though a mature woman Dr. Brewer was still attractive. Perhaps this would be something she could use to her advantage.

 

Following the lead provided to her through her informant. Elizabeth made herself a frequent patron at Oasis, hoping for a chance encounter with Dr. Brewer. Finally after several visits Dr. Brewer finally showed up.

 

Elizabeth did not see Dr. Brewer come in She wondered how she missed her. Dr. Brewer was sitting at the bar with a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other. She was a mature sophisticated looking woman who gave off an aura of arrogance.

 

Her gray hair was pulled back tightly. Fashionable glasses rested on her face. She wore expensive looking clothes on her slim body. She took a long drag on her cigarette before rubbing out it into the ashtray in front of her. Elizabeth couldn't help but feel that she reminded her of some type of urbane Bond villain.

 

Just then a handsome man around the age of Dr. Brewer approached her at the bar. He had hardly even opened his mouth when she shot him down flippantly. As he walked away he glared at her as she ordered another drink.

 

Elizabeth saw this as an opportunity. She had often been told she looked a lot like a young Lynda Carter. She was tall at about 5'9” with long full dark hair and a lean athletic build. Her looks were further complimented by her deep blue eyes. Elizabeth was banking on Dr. Brewer being a lesbian or at least bisexual.

 

Elizabeth approached Dr. Brewer and purposely bumped into her as she pretended to rummage through her purse. “Have you had too much to drink or are you a just some sort of bimbo?” Dr. Brewer asked sharply. “Oh I am sorry for that. Please allow me to buy you a drink.” Said Elizabeth apologetically. “Don't bother.” Responded Dr. Brewer. “Well I insist.” Said Elizabeth firmly. Dr. Brewer rolled her eyes as Elizabeth ordered a round of drinks.

 

I am Elizabeth, Dr. Elizabeth Prader.” But Dr. Brewer only looked down her nose at Dr. Prader. “We have a lot in common. We both share an interest in botany, or maybe passion is the better word.” Continued Elizaeth. “What makes you say that? Dr. Brewer asked flatly. “Because I know you work for Hauer botanic gardens.” Answered Elizabeth. “How do you know that?” Dr. Brewer asked with suspicion in her voice.

 

Elizabeth threw back her drink. “Maybe we ought to continue this conversation with a little more privacy.” Elizabeth glanced over at a secluded corner booth in the nearly empty bar. She got up and causally walked over to the booth. Dr. Brewer reluctantly followed her over to the booth.

 

Dr. Brewer immediately lit up a cigarette as the women slid into the booth. Elizabeth motioned for the bartender to bring them another round of drinks. Dr. Brewer eyed Elizabeth curiously as the women stared at each other for a moment. Finally Dr. Brewer broke the silence as she flicked her ashes into an ashtray. “Are you FBI? Maybe CIA?” Asked Dr. Brewer. But Elizabeth only shook her head. “Then you must work for a rival.” Insisted Dr. Brewer. “No, I only have my own personal agenda.” Answered Elizabeth “Then you have some grandiose nerve!” Scoffed Dr. Brewer. “I only want to get inside.” Said Elizabeth. But Dr. Brewer's only response was a look of exasperation.

 

Elizabeth was a headstrong woman. She told Dr. Brewer everything she knew about her through her informant. She continued to speak with a bold assertiveness, carrying on about her passion for botany and how much she wanted to see their work. As she spoke Dr. Brewer listened intently. The cigarette smoke that lazily billowed above them was accented by the soft blue glow of the mood lighting hanging over their heads. She assured Dr. Brewer that she had no malicious intentions.

 

As their conversation continued so did their alcohol consumption. Whether it be due to the copious drinking the women were engaging in or the somewhat humid ambiance of the bar, Elizabeth unfastened a couple buttons on her blouse. Dr. Brewer's eyes fell on her alluring cleavage, causing her to give pause before she spoke. Elizabeth smiled to herself as she had noticed Dr. Brewer's lustful gaze.

 

What makes you think I can help you?” Asked Dr. Brewer. “You are one of the top scientists at Hauer Botanic gardens. Surely you can provide access that will at least get me inside.” Answered Elizabeth “Why should I help you?” Countered Dr. Brewer. Elizabeth crossed her legs and allowed her shoe to fall off of her foot. She rubbed her foot seductively up and down the back of Dr. Brewer's calf, causing her eyes to widen for a fleeting moment before regaining her rigid composure. “Because I can give you something you really want.” She answered confidently.

 

Dr. Brewer leaned back and slowly exhaled cigarette smoke. She looked over Dr. Prader thoughtfully before she responded. By now Elizabeth was fairly inebriated and she could feel her inhibitions fading away. “Alright, I believe we can work something out.” Said Dr. Brewer. The women continued to converse for several more minutes before finally leaving the bar together.

 

That night Elizabeth's experience with Dr. Brewer was unlike anything she had in her life. But she indulged in it, if only for her own personal gain. In return Dr. Brewer provided her with passwords and some initial clearance that would allow her entry into the Hauer botanic gardens, but little more. She warned Elizabeth not to mention her name if she was caught or found out. She gave Dr. Brewer her word.

 

Finally Elizabeth readied herself to enter Hauer botanic gardens. She was dressed in a white lab coat with a convincing ID clinging to it that read Dr. Holden. She wore minimal make up and her hair was pulled back in a professional manner.

 

She approached the entrance to Hauer botanic gardens. This would be her first encounter with security. She swiped her ID card and entered a password into the security booth terminal. The guard glanced over at Dr. Prader as the terminal processed her password. Curious he was about to ask her something when the boom barrier finally lifted and she sped away.

 

As Elizabeth approached Hauer botanic gardens she was taken back by how large it was. The parking garage was actually under ground. As she stepped out of her car she couldn't help but notice how vast the garage was. It had a low roof and it was so clean and sterile it reminded her of a hospital. As Elizabeth walked towards the elevator her only company was the echoing “Tok, tok, tok.” of her heels on the smooth concrete pavement.

 

She pressed the call button for the elevator, which was annoyingly several stories up. As were the other elevators. She impatiently watched as the large round buttons illuminated as they painstakingly descended to the parking garage. When the elevator was just a couple of floors way she heard voices coming up behind her.

 

Elizabeth sighed and stepped closer to the elevator door. The voices belonged to a man and a woman who were deeply engaged in a rather candid conversation. The elevator door opened just as they reached her. Elizabeth stepped into the back of the elevator and pulled out her computer and buried her face in it, hoping they would ignore her.

 

They continued on with their conversation but went silent as the elevator started moving. Finally they spoke to Elizabeth who initially pretended not to hear them. “Oh I am sorry, what was that?” Asked Elizabeth “We haven't seen you around here before.” Said the man, who like the woman were scientists. “Dr. Holden is it? Asked the woman while eyeing Dr. Prader's ID. “Yes, I was recently brought on.” Answered Elizabeth. The two scientists exchanged puzzled glances. “We were not aware of any new hires.” Said the man. But Elizabeth only shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly. “Even at our level of higher standing breakdowns in communications can occur.” She replied. This response only seemed marginally satisfactory to the two fellow scientists. Finally the elevator reached the main floor and Elizabeth hastily walked out.

 

Once on the main floor Elizabeth took a moment to brace herself. Security here would be the most stringent. She continued the facade of appearing busy by keeping her face buried in her computer. Security was directing people through body scanners and she passed through it without a hitch.

 

Now she was finally at the last security checkpoint before she could enter the actual gardens. Elizabeth swiped her card, but it resulted in a harsh red glare. Annoyed she tried a second time and got the same results. Finally the guard in the security office tapped on the glass and gestured for her to swipe the card slowly. This time it worked. But when she pushed on the door it go through it did not open.

 

Confused Elizabeth looked at the guard who spoke to her through an intercom. “You need to enter a numeric pass code into the keypad.” Said the guard. Elizabeth's heart sank. She was unprepared for this situation and had no such pass code, and she was so close.

 

Code?” Asked Elizabeth while trying to maintain her composure. “Yes.” Replied the security officer. “They started giving out these codes recently.” “Well I have no pass code.” Answered Elizabeth with a hint of irritation in her voice. “They haven't issued a pass code to everyone yet Mel.” Said the annoyed scientist behind her. “I am just doing what I am told.” Answered the security guard.

 

Elizabeth began to get nervous as the security guard talked to his supervisor. The security guard then asked for her ID. Exasperated she handed her ID to the security officer. “I don't have time for this I am really busy.” Said Elizabeth “Aren't we all.” Added the man behind her. But now she was beginning to get really worried as the security guard began to look up by her ID. He was cut short when his supervisor told him to make a call instead.

 

This set off some murmuring as the line had started to back up. The security guard himself seemed agitated as apparently no one was picking up on the other end. The supervisor returned, noticed the backed up line and said something to the security guard who just threw up his arms. The supervisor snatched the phone away, slammed it down and motioned for the guard to let her through. Elizabeth pushed on the door, but unbelievably it still would not open. The security guard tapped on the glass. “Dr. Holden, your ID.” Elizabeth grabbed her ID, pinned it her coat, and finally the door relented.

 

Elizabeth walked briskly down the long wide hallway. She was surrounded by people busily coming and going, all seeming to have their own personal agenda. She turned the corner and walked through the vestibule. But then after passing through it she was greeted by a breathtaking sight that stopped her dead in her tracks.

 

The main hall of Hauer botanic gardens, it was stunningly beautiful and grandiose in its design. Which is something Elizabeth deemed far more fitting for something like Kew botanic gardens. She tried to not be drawn in by its beauty, but she was hopelessly captivated.

 

Elizabeth stared at the great Oak that loomed over her, dwarfing her. She had never before seen a tree so massive, so full of growth. It's enormous branches seemed to reach up into the heavens. It's colossal trunk impossibly wide. She stared up into it's branches. It's leaves seemed to twinkle as the bright sun shone through them. And for a moment Elizabeth felt like she was a kid again playing in her back yard.

 

Realizing she needed to appear professional Elizabeth snapped out of it. She continued to explore the vast botanical gardens. The halls and wings seemed endless, overwhelming her. She saw vast collections of some the rarest plants and flowers she had ever seen in her life. Snapdragon's skull, Happy Alien, and even Ghost orchids. Further exploration revealed the Corpse plant, some of the largest specimens she had ever seen. She then came upon the Welwitschia and Pennantia Baylisiana plants respectively. Finally she was greeted by a wing growing Dragon's blood trees. Elizabeth did her best to conceal her excitement, but she wanted to burst.

 

As Elizabeth continued to explore the expansive Hauer botanic gardens she managed to have only the most minimal contact with security and other scientists. Aside from a friendly hello and a casual nod Elizabeth was able to maintain a low profile. But she then came across something she had not expected to see.

 

She had reached a high security section of the botanic garden. The windows of this structure were darkly tinted making it very hard to see inside. As Elizabeth approached the main entrance to this section she was greeted with terminal requiring proper ID and passwords.

 

Looking around Elizabeth walked up to the terminal, wondering if any of the passwords in her possession would allow her to enter. Biting her lip she began trying the numerous passwords Dr. Brewer had given her. But none of them would grant her access.

 

Just then someone reached over her and swiped his key card, startling Elizabeth. “Having more trouble today?” It was the same scientist who was behind her back at the main security checkpoint. “Yes a little.” Answered Elizabeth. “Well they are phasing out the password system and switching over to key cards, which is much easier. I am Dr. Carrington.” Said the man. “Dr. Holden.” Answered Elizabeth as she shook his hand. “Well I appreciate all of your help today. But I need to get on with my research.” Said Elizabeth. “Yes of course.” Answered Dr. Carrington understandably.

 

Elizabeth entered the high security wing of Hauer botanic garden. She was greeted by what was essentially a wing dedicated to experimentation and the research of plants. Elizabeth was astonished by what she saw. She had never before seen so much cross breeding of plants in one location. She mulled about the wing taking in everything she saw.

 

As she continued to explore the wing she began to see things she found a bit questionable, perhaps even disturbing. There were plants that she recognized as highly poisonous to humans, that could kill. Such as Ricinus Communis and Abrus Precatorius, but in altered states. As if they were being cross breed to grow in such a way that would make their poison even more deadly, but why?

 

Elizabeth hadn't come across anyone else in the wing, which she felt was a bit odd. Her only company being the gentle hum of operating machinery and the plants themselves. As she delved deeper into the wing she came across plants she had never seen before, likely some type of heavily cross breed plant. Most were quite large and almost looked like something out of some kind of B rated science fiction movie. But there was one that especially piqued Dr. Prader's curiosity.

 

It had tall green stalks that were over 6' in height. They almost seemed to sway as if they were growing underwater. It produced large bright pink flowers with delicate looking petals. It was a beautiful plant and Elizabeth had to get a closer look. Her insatiable curiosity betraying her scientific prudence, she brazenly walked directly into its zone, ignoring the caution and bio hazard signs. The flower gave off a very sweet pleasant aroma, but one that was not especially pungent.

 

Elizabeth reached out to touch it, its petals were very soft. She was mildly startled when the plant recoiled defensively from her touch reminding her of the Mimosa Pudica plant. But then without warning the plant expelled out a mist like toxin that enveloped her.

 

The toxin induced an immediate severe reaction from Elizabeth when she incidentally inhaled it. She began to cough violently and breathing was suddenly very difficult. Her eyes were burning from the toxin causing them to squeeze shut. She stumbled backwards and fell painfully on the walkway, breaking the heel off of her shoe in the process. Very disoriented she struggled to get up as her equilibrium was compromised. She dropped down to her hands and knees forcibly vomiting.

 

Elizabeth again tried to stand up, but she felt very weak. She was hyperventilating and could not open her eyes to see. She was about to fall again when two men in hazmat suits grabbed her under each arm and dragged her away. “Please help me, I don't know what just happened” Elizabeth gasped. But the men said nothing as they continued to pull her along, not even allowing her feet to touch the ground. Elizabeth could not see where they were taking her and they ignored her pleas for help. Finally she was thrown into a room with the door shutting and locking behind her. Overcome by the sudden shock and trauma Elizabeth passed out.

 

Elizabeth finally woke up a of couple days later. She was suffering with a severe fever and her entire body ached. She had regained some strength and was able to stand, she also found she could open her eyes. She looked around and found herself in a small very sterile room. There wasn't much in it. A table, a sink, and a bench. It almost looked like a prison cell. But there was a one way mirror in it.

 

Elizabeth moved towards the one way mirror, wondering if anyone was in the next room watching her. But she stopped dead in her tracks when she felt something in her arm. She turned her forearm over and saw a small lump moving through it. Elizabeth pushed down on it and it disappeared into her arm. A look of concern came over her face as she examined both forearms.

 

Good morning Dr. Prader.” Elizabeth was startled by the sudden booming voice that emanated from the speaker above the one way mirror. “Or perhaps I should say good afternoon.” Continued the man's voice. Elizabeth walked slowly towards the glass until she was just a few feet away. “Please help me. Something is wrong with me. I am sick or infected or both. I need...” But she was cut short. “Yes Dr. Prader you are indeed sick and very infected. However we have little intention of helping you.”

 

But you can't leave me like this, I need help! I demand...” But again Dr. Prader was cut short. “Demand? You are in no such position to demand anything from us. You are trespassing.” The man's voice retorted. “Please.” Began Dr. Prader. “I only wanted to see the work that was done here. The research, everything here is just incredible. It should be shared with the rest of the scientific community.” “We truly appreciate your sentiment Dr. Prader.” Said the man's voice. “And for a time we sincerely considered allowing you to take part in our research. Your credentials academically and in the field are most impressive. However it is quite apparent to us that someone of your, shall we say rather sanctimonious disposition would not approve of what we do here.”

 

Dr. Prader slowly shook her head. “Just what are you saying?” She asked. “You have seen what we are working towards here. Surely you are not so naive Dr. Prader.” Said the man's voice with a hint of irritation. “We see you as nothing more than a threat, a pretentious whistle blower. That sooner or later would have to be dealt with.” Dr. Prader was at a loss for words as a feeling of dread overcame her.

 

Did you really think that you actually snuck in here on your own accord?” Said the man's voice in a condescending tone. “You were set up Dr. Prader. Your informant, Dr. Brewer, Dr. Carrington, we were all on to you. We have been on to you” “Please I am sorry. Help me.” Dr. Prader pleaded. “As I have already mentioned. We have no intention of helping you. However it should please you to know that you are contributing to our scientific research.” Replied the man's voice coldly.

 

Dr. Prader stood in a stunned silence for a moment before erupting into a rage. “Bastards! You bastards help me!” Said Dr. Prader as she pounded on the one way mirror. But she received no response. In a state of panic Dr. Prader backed up into the center of the room. She felt very hot, unbearably hot as the fever seemed to worsen. Her flesh itched and it felt like her skin was crawling.

 

She was soaked with sweat and overwhelmed by the fever. In a fit of desperation Dr. Prader tore off all of her clothes, and that is when she saw them. They flowed down her thighs. She could see them crisscrossing in her abdomen. She felt them gliding across her back. And she watched as they coursed through her forearms. They were everywhere in her.

 

Dr. Prader stood silently as she felt one in her cheek. She gently placed a trembling fingertip on it. “Oh God.” She said in barely audible quivering voice. She followed it up her face until it disappeared behind her eye. “What is happening to me?” She gasped.

 

The fever burned inside of Dr. Prader. She slipped into a state of near hysteria as she could feel the organisms pulsating aggressively in her body. Finally one burst out of her forearm. It propelled itself upwards. With feather like appendages spread from its body keeping it airborne likely meant to be carried by the wind. Dr. Prader watched in shock as it rose to the ceiling.

 

Dr. Prader felt very sick causing her to vomit expelling three of the spores. One of which was still moving. In disgust Dr. Prader stomped on it. Another burst from her back, then two more from her abdomen and then several from her thighs. She began to bleed profusely.

 

Dr. Prader staggered backwards as the spores began erupting from all over her body. Finally the spore that crawled behind her eye burst out, taking Dr. Prader's eye with it. She screamed in agony as countless spores erupted from her body.

 

Finally several agonizing minutes later it was over, Dr. Elizabeth Prader was dead. Her body which was now completely unrecognizable lay on the cold floor, reduced to heap of bloodied flesh as hundreds of spores floated high above her corpse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Submitted: November 08, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Jason Scott. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

Comments

HarveyY

Nothing like a happy ending????

Mon, November 8th, 2021 11:20pm

Author
Reply

Lol, no such thing with my works!

Mon, November 8th, 2021 3:43pm

Facebook Comments

More Horror Short Stories

Boosted Content from Premium Members

Book / Commercial Fiction

Short Story / Children Stories

Short Story / Young Adult

Book / Religion and Spirituality

Other Content by Jason Scott

Short Story / Other

Short Story / Horror

Short Story / Horror