I of course own none of this. And, a word of warning -- I began this story a good two and a half years ago and may never finish it, but I do like it so I thought I'd put it up here.

Prologue

Herbert West stepped off the bus and squinted as its wheels kicked gravel towards his face. Dust settled in his unkempt hair and he brushed it out, watching the receding taillights with an unreadable expression on his face. Then, turning around, he let his eyes roam over the town he'd disembarked in. It was small--just three motels, a couple gas stations, and bars. A stop on the way to greater things. Charming. He could see a residential area about half a mile from the town proper, and by the looks of it, it wasn't too prosperous.

So this was Iowa. Herbert glanced at the setting sun. Iowa or not, sleeping on the street didn't seem like the most appealing idea, so one of these motels would have to do. He settled on the seediest, and therefore, cheapest, of them, which was ridiculously named, "The Lone Spur Lodge." There didn't seem to be any spurs in the area, lone or otherwise. Surreptitiously, he pulled a wad of bills from his pocket and quickly counted it. Four hundred dollars. All the money he had to his name. After escaping from prison, he'd withdrawn everything from his bank account and closed it. Everything hadn't amounted to much, though, after having paid for a lawyer so many years ago.

But four hundred dollars would get him a room for the night and a ride to a city nearby, which supposedly was home to a small health clinic. And with the ID that his late protégé, Howard Philips, had so kindly bestowed upon him, he was sure he'd be gainfully employed in no time.

At least, he hoped so. After all, he needed the money to continue with his work.