clinical trials

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Gary’s outstretched hand was shaking as her wrapped his fingers around the cold glass tube. Tricia gave what was meant to be an encouraging smile.

Gary took a deep breath and raised the tube to his lips. The smell reminded him of a massage he had once.

Tea tree oil, he thought, and shut his eyes. Oh, god.

He tilted his head back and let the liquid flow into his mouth. It rolled in, as white glue might, but once inside it expanded like insulating foam. It was stringy and coarse, matted and thick. It was hair. Liquid hair?

Gary gagged on it. He used both hands to claw at the fibres. It felt like milk in his fingers—nothing to grab on to—yet it was stuck to his tongue, and the roof of his mouth. He was suffocating. He tried breathing through his nose, but it was too late—the hair had grown into his windpipe.

“Another success,” Tricia said to Lucas, who was reading a magazine at the back of the lab.

Tricia grabbed Gary by the ponytail and poured the antidote down his throat.

Gary felt the hair dissolve with a fizz, like Liquid-Plumr in a bathtub drain.

He took several gasping breaths. He fell to his knees and put his hands on the floor in front of him, pressing his forehead onto the cold, tile floor.

“Alright,” said Lucas.  “Time for the next one.”

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