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The Volkov Experiment

Dr. Volkov's Children's Laboratory

By LimjiPublished about a year ago 13 min read
The Volkov Experiment
Photo by Daniel Gregoire on Unsplash

Did anyone who lived around Seattle in the 90's remember Dr. Volkov's Children's Laboratory? I don't remember the specific town, my mum and I moved around a lot. But I definitely remember Dr. Volkov, and I remember hearing his commercials on the radio. I remember he said he'd give whatever families would let him borrow their kids something like $100,000, which honestly sounds super suspicious, but hey, my mum was a single parent who just needed some cash.

I was 8, I think, when she first signed me up, and one of my most vivid memories from this was walking into the lab for the first time. It actually looked pretty fun. It was like a giant playground, with slides and swings and anything else a dirty little kid would want to get their hands on. There were three other kids there, and we played hide n' seek together while our parents chatted and signed some papers.

Then, Dr. Volkov came in. He had a very strong accent, which I couldn't place at the time, but I now recognize as Russian.

"Hello, families. I thank you for giving up your free time to take part in my studies. I assure you, if I am successful with these experiments, we will make history." He said, and the parents gave a polite applause. Us kids caught on, too, and gave our cheers, which were not as quiet.

"Once the parents leave, I will take the children and start my studies. They should be returned to you within the next year, give or take." He said, and the parents murmured to each other.

"Once again, thank you for your sacrifices. I will see the parents off now. Farewell. Children, say goodbye to mommy and daddy." Dr. Volkov said. We all waved goodbye, except for one girl, who ran up to her dad and hugged him. I wish I had done that now, too.

After the parents left, Dr. Volkov turned to us.

"Hello, little ones. I am so excited to work with you! Now, follow me."

We followed him into the lab, which was decidedly less fun than the front of his lab. It was all white, with five rooms with big metal doors decorated the sides of the hallway, one for each kid. There was some strange equipment that I didn't know the names of.

There were four kids, three boys including me, and one girl. We introduced ourselves.

There was Michael (me), and Dalton, who were both eight. Then there was Cassandra who was nine. And the oldest, Andrew, was ten. Dr. Volkov explained that we'd still have time to play together, an hour a day, but most of our time was to be spent working on our experiment.

Dalton raised his hand. "What's the experiment?"

Dr. Volkov smiled. It looked almost fake. "Who here has ever wanted to have superpowers?" All four of us went ballistic. We all wanted to be heroes. "What if I told you that is made possible with us? That's right, over the course of a year, I will make you four into a group of super humans, each with your own special power." All of us clapped. This sounded amazing.

And with that, we were sent to our rooms. The interior of mine was strange- no toys, or posters, or race car beds like the one I had at home. There were a lot of lights though, but a lot of them weren't on for some reason. I was tired, so I laid down in my little bed, decorated with lightening bolts, and went to sleep.

The next day Dr. Volkov taught us more about the experiment. He was going to condition us all to have superpowers, and then make a sort of super team to fight bad guys. We all had different superpowers.

I was going to get the power to manipulate energy, which made my room make a whole lot more sense. Dalton would be able to talk to the dead. Cassandra would be immortal. And Andrew, was going to gain the strength of a gorilla, which we all thought was hilarious when we first heard it.

Our training was to begin immediately, and they sent us all away to separate rooms.

I was sat in a large chair where on of Dr. Volkov's assistants named Katya, sat with me.

"Hello, Michael. How are you? We're going to make you into a super boy! Isn't that exciting? Now, this may hurt a little bit..." Without warning, she pulled a lever, and the chair I was sitting on suddenly lit up. I had been shocked by an electric chair, and began to cry.

"Do not worry, little boy. It will not kill you, but it will make you strong. Don't you want electricity powers?"

I thought about it, and even though it hurt, electricity powers started to sound really cool. I nodded, and she shocked me again. I cried.

And that was my life for the next while, getting shocked, crying, and getting shocked again. Until one day maybe two or so months later, when they tried something different.

"Here, hold this, Michael." Katya said, handing me a metal rod. "This will hopefully conduct enough electricity to go through you and power that lightbulb. Put your hand on the lightbulb, Michael." I obliged.

"Now, ready? 3,21..." She then shocked the rod, which sent electricity through me, and into the lightbulb. It hurt, but not as much as it should've.

Katya smiled, and called Dr. Volkov into my laboratory. He was elated.

"It worked, child! See, all the days of training you to be resistant to electricity worked! Now we can continue our experiment! You earned your free time for the day, go play."

It wasn't until then, when I went to play with the other kids, I noticed the changes.

We all looked weirder, less normal.

Dalton kept on whispering to nobody, and wouldn't really talk to us. Andrew looked weirdly buff, and kept climbing on things. And Cassandra honestly looked kind of scary. She looked all stitched together, like a ragdoll. As Dalton stood by himself, Cassandra and Andrew and I sat and talked.

"I don't like these experiments, it's scary." Andrew said. "They keep on giving me shots, and then I have to lift weights. It hurts my arms." I later learned that the shots they were giving him were injecting him with gorilla DNA, which is terrifying to me.

"I'm scared, too. They keep on hurting me. Every time a part of me dies, they stitch on a new one. See?" Cassandra lifted her shirt, revealing part of her stomach had been stitched back on. "They say that if we do it enough times, I'll be immortal."

"Did you see what they're doing to Dalton? My room is next to his, I hear it all the time. They make him sit with dead bodies, and then he'll talk to them. It scares him a lot." Andrew said. I looked over to Dalton. He had big circles around his eyes, and looked pale and gaunt. I wondered if he had secretly been replaced by one of the dead bodies.

That night, something weird happened. I was awoken by a bunch of red flashing lights and alarms. Something was wrong in the laboratory. Katya came and carried me out of bed, and I saw other workers carrying the other kids out of bed, too. Everyone except Dalton.

We heard a bunch of screaming from another room as the three of us were ushered into our playroom. I held Cassandra's hand, and Andrew stood in front of us, trying to protect us.

"I HAVE TO JOIN THEM! I HAVE TO JOIN THEM! THEY TOLD ME!" We heard him yell as Dr. Volkov's voice desperately tried to calm him down. Screams, and then silence. For a long time. We slept on the stuffed animals in the playroom that night.

We never saw Dalton after that, and his door was boarded up. At the time I just assumed his mom took him home. But they didn't give us much time to look for him, because all of us had more experiments the same day.

"Michael, do you remember when you did a great job with that experiment and you made the lightbulb light up? Well, that was a practice round. Next month, we're going to do the real deal. We're going to put metal plates in your hands to make it so that you can conduct energy even without holding the metal rod. Doesn't that sound great?" Katya said. I squirmed in my seat.

"Y-yeah." I lied, and we did more training. I will say, the shocks hurt so much less than the first time. It was getting easier.

As time went on, things got even more weird. Cassandra and I's room's were right next to each other, so we would see each other a lot. She kept on getting more and more stitched up. One time, while we were playing in the playroom we noticed Andrew wasn't there, which worried us.

"I heard Dr. Volkov and Andrew's worker, Alexei, talking. They said that he's acting strange, like a monkey. He's climbing everywhere, and attacks them if they get too close. He doesn't even talk anymore." Cassandra said, adjusting a stitched piece of skin on her face.

"Oh. How's your experiment going?" I asked.

"Not very good. They say I'm making progress, and that the stuff they're giving me in shots is working. They say it's a chemical that makes people's endurance better. I think that's the word they used. But they still have to stitch me up sometimes. I don't know if it's really working, though. All they've been doing is hitting me with things and cutting me with things. Not even actually killing me." She said. I looked at her arm. To my surprise, it was had been completely sewn back on.

"That sucks. Mine's not going too good, either. I don't even have electric powers yet. I thought I would." I said.

"This place is getting boring. I'm sick of the playroom. Let's go exploring." Cassandra said, pulling me up from my seat as a stitch fell loose on her arm. I tried to resist, but she was strong. She dragged me through the halls, which were empty. I guess the workers were on their breaks.

It was like a maze in there. When we went past the children's ward, AKA our ward, we saw a bunch of medical stuff that looked weird. It looked fancy and official. There was a door at the end of the hallway, which Cassandra pulled me into.

Inside we found a bunch of documents. We picked them up and started reading them.

"The Volkov Experiment." She read out loud. "Conducted to test the limits of the human body and mind, mentally and physically. Subjects, Dalton McDermott, Michael Porter, Cassandra Colombo, and Andrew Scott. That's us."

"Keep reading!" I insisted.

"Subjects will be repeatedly tortured, under the rouse of being trained for greatness. They will be injected with placebo shots, beaten, electrocuted, forced to endure heavy physical activities, and locked in rooms with dead bodies. This experiment will test the theory formed by Dr. Dmitri Volkov, that if children are subjected to torture while under the assumption the result will be positive, along with being given positive reinforcement from mentors, they will experience less or different traumatic responses to said torture." We looked at each other.

"So you mean... we're not super heroes?" I asked. Tears formed in Cassandra's eyes, and we heard footsteps somewhere in the hallway.

"We'd better get going." She said, grabbing my hand as more stitches fell loose in her arms. We raced down the hall and back into the playroom just as Katya walked in.

"Bedtime, children." She said, and she took us to our rooms where she tucked me into bed. I didn't sleep that night, at all.

The next day is when all hell broke loose.

During free time, Cassandra and I decided to check on Andrew, who hadn't left his rooms in days.

"Andrew? Hello?" We said, opening the unlocked door.

What I saw in there will haunt me for the rest of my life

He was going, no pun intended, apeshit, climbing on the walls of his room. His eyes were glazed, like he had no idea what was going on. He wasn't even talking- just grunting and screaming.

We ran to get an attendant.

"Katya, Andrew's crazy! The gorilla DNA you put it him was working!" I said, and Katya ran to hide us in the playroom. Andrew had escaped his room.

Cassandra and I pressed our ears to the door, trying to listen in.

"Subject 4 is reacting poorly to the gorilla DNA, Dr. Volkov." Katya reported, as they tried to track down Andrew.

"No, no, impossible." Dr. Volkov said. "We didn't give him any gorilla DNA. It was a placebo." He said, and even though at that age I didn't know what a placebo was, Cassandra and I still looked at each other in shock.

"That's... fascinating, let me write this down." We heard him say.

"No, Dr. Volkov, there's no time, there is a breach in his room, he is somewhere in the building." Katya said, panicked.

"No, no, let me-"

"Dr. Volkov, Subjects 2 and 3 are in danger, and so are we, there is no time!"

"It won't take-"

"Dr. Volkov!"

Suddenly, we heard screaming, and running, and chaos.

I guess Andrew had found them.

When everything was quiet, Cassandra carefully opened the door to the playroom.

Dr. Volkov and Katya, or at least what remained of them, were lying on the floor, in a mess of blood. Andrew in the corner, hyperventilating. He turned around, and rushed towards us. Cassandra screamed, but he stopped in front of us.

"A-Andrew?" I said shakily, not even expecting him to say anything.

"Go. You're free." He hissed, and Cassandra and I stood there in shock.

"Are you stupid? They're coming. Go, before they get you." He said, and only then did we notice the men in biohazard suits running towards us.

Cassandra and I ran and ran, until we found the exit into the playground at the front of the building.

We heard gunshots behind us, and Andrew's screams.

But we didn't care, all we could do was run out the door, out of the hellhole we had been in for months. We waited outside the door for a while, waiting for Andrew to come out after us, but he never did.

That was the last I saw of the Volkov experiment. No documents were ever published, no police reports, nothing. Cassandra and I went our separate ways, back to our families, and soon mum and I moved towns.

Sometimes I wonder if I dreamt the whole thing.

But, last week at the coffee shop, I saw a girl with strange stitches up and down her body, and as she left with her drink, we made eye contact, and I knew she recognized me, too.

I guess some things, you just can't make up.


About the Creator


A horror and Psychology entusiast

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

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