The Apple Incident

The Apple Incident

A Story by Seth Kinle

A janitor sees all.


Frank Bissell liked his job at the lab. He enjoyed the solitude of the empty halls and the freedom of having a task and being left alone to finish it. The end of his shift was nearing, he only had one room left and he was done for the night. He hummed to himself as he pushed the mop bucket to the door and entered Lab 5. He was surprised to hear voices. There were three men in long white coats still working in the room.

“Alright,” one of them said. “Let’s give it one more go.”

Frank recognized the lead scientist Dr. Eldridge who was placing a green apple on one of two platforms in the center of the room. The other two men had only been here for a week and had come in from Germany to help with the work of Eldridge. He saw their name tags read David Skeptiker and August Beobachter. Skeptiker stood at a panel of buttons, dials and switches while Beobachter took notes in a large black tome of a book. Eldridge counted down from three and Skeptiker pushed a large button. A brilliant flash made Franks eyes blink and left his vision discolored.

All four men stood silent for a moment. Frank looked at each of the scientists in turn but their eyes were all glued to the small piece of fruit before them. Frank looked to the apple again. It had jumped to the opposite platform.

“I’ll be god damned.” He said. “It moved.”

The scientists all gave a start and turned to Frank, then back to the apple. A howl of joy burst forth from Eldridge followed by the laughter of an excited child or a madman.

“We did it.” Eldridge said. “I can’t believe it. We finally did it.”

Eldridge clapped the Germans on the back with a delirious smile stretching his lips across his pale face. He even approached Frank and embraced him with more strength than the man appeared to possess in his bony figure before letting loose another feral yell of excitement and victory. Frank was still stunned by what he was looking at, but he finally found his voice again.

“What did you do?”

Eldridge locked his wild eyes with Franks own gaze of bewilderment.

“We just changed the world forever.”

“We need to run some more tests.” Said Skeptiker.

“Nah, I have to try this.” Eldridge said. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for years.”

Eldridge walked to the second platform and swiped the apple from its resting place. It rolled unnoticed across the floor and came to a rest next to Beobachters left foot. He walked back to the first platform and climbed on top. His eyes were those of a maniac in the throws of an exquisite rage.

“We can’t do this Eldridge.” Skeptiker said. “There is still too much we don’t understand here. That was our first successful test. We have no idea what effects…”

“This is my project, David. The apple is perfect. I have been fine tuning this machine for months. You are only here to assist and observe. If you can’t handle it I will find someone else who can.”

Beobachter bent to pick up the apple next to him.

“Eldridge this is…”

“Push the f*****g button David. This is my moment. It’s my time.”

Skeptiker shook his head and let out a heavy sigh. Beobachter turned the apple in his hand. Frank held his breath just as Eldridge was as David put his finger over the same button he had pressed before.

“Wait,” Beobachter said just as the button had been pressed. “The apple.”

The same bright flash filled the room. Frank and Skeptiker looked at the apple. There was a large jagged bite taken from the side that had been sitting opposite them. Their jaws were slack as they fixed their gaze on the place where Eldridge should be standing but all that was there were his shoes. Frank took a few steps forward, blinking to try and clear his vision. When he got close enough to see he tried to let out a howl of his own but could not make a sound. He began to shake and sweat broke out all over his flesh. The shoes still held Eldridge's feet and shredded socks. The bloody stumps of his ankles were barely visible above them.

Frank turned back to the scientists and saw three men enter the room behind them dressed in black suits and hats. They approached silently. Frank would later think about these men and would notice they could have all been brothers, they were damn near identical but he didn’t notice this at the time. The one who walked in front and seemed to be the leader of the group was the only one who had on anything different. This man wore a long tan trench coat over his suit and carried a leather briefcase.

The man in the tan coat approached the disembodied feet on the return pad. He studied them for a moment and turned to the others, one of which picked them up. The other man started looking at the machinery they had used. Neither of the Germans had moved a muscle. Tan coat looked at Frank.

“They aren’t hostile.” The man said, gesturing toward the machine. “They are just hungry.”

Frank dropped his mop and fled the lab. Nothing was mentioned in the paper the next day about Eldridge. He tried not to think about what he had seen and was quite successful for several years, but things always seems to come back around when you least expect them to. Announcement began about a machine that would revolutionize travel for everyone. It would change the world forever, that’s what they said.

© 2020 Seth Kinle

My Review

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This is a nice piece of work, but I must say, it does come off as a bit rushed. The language that you use is quite engaging, and I do like your overall style of writing. However, the ending isn't as satisfying as I would've liked it to be. Of course, this could just be personal preference, but I wish that it were more dynamic, in a way. Other than that, great job! Keep up the good work!

Posted 3 Years Ago

Seth Kinle

3 Years Ago

This was actually written as part of an exercise with a friend where we had 24 hours to complete a s.. read more

3 Years Ago

Ohh, i see...well in that case, for a piece that was written in one day, this is really good! Keep i.. read more
Hi Seth,

I just finished reading your short story and wanted to say it's well written, suspenseful and captivating. The part where Frank sees what's left of Eldridge is really good. I wonder if there's a sequel in making. Although I enjoyed your somewhat austere and curt writing style, I could easily imagine this passage in a greater length, with much more detail.

Posted 3 Years Ago

Seth Kinle

3 Years Ago

Thank you. This was done as part of an exercise with a friend where we had 24 hours to complete a st.. read more

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2 Reviews
Added on February 28, 2020
Last Updated on February 28, 2020


Seth Kinle
Seth Kinle

Clarksville, TN

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