The lab door opened then shut again, distracting Robert from his thoughts. “Hey there, Bobby Buddy!” William’s voice rang out,
Robert grunted. “Doctor Masterson.” He resolved to ignore the other man as he always did and stood there with his arms crossed, frowning and considering the tank. William went about the lab making an obnoxious racket all the while, but Robert didn’t let it upset his concentration. He knew that he was a cold and distant person, his mind unlike those of many people, even unlike his colleagues’ (perhaps even so strange as to more properly be called alien,) but he prided himself on it. It had afforded him insights into natures of the strange and alien creatures of the ocean depths, into–
“Jesus fucking Christ!”
William’s unmistakeable voice. The sound of delicate and expensive and vital equipment crashing to the ground and breaking. “Masterson? Masterson? Bill!”
No response. Robert hesitated for a moment and then rushed to the far corner of the lab the scream had come from. William was down on the ground, his back against a bookshelf, his legs splayed before him. Glass and papers lay scattered on the floor. He looked for all the world like a discarded doll lying amongst trash.
William eyes snapped over to where Robert was standing, and for a moment, embarrassment passed over his face. He pushed himself to his feet, cleared his throat, smoothed out his clothes.
“Did something startle you?”
William snorted and frowned. “Yeah. That.”
He pointed towards the corner of the room, where a mottled grey and red lump the size of a football lay hanging from the ceiling suspended in a fibrous web of the same color.
The two men stared at the thing in silence. “Oh,” Robert finally said. “I suppose that’s where the imbricata went.”