6) The Science of Spiders
Molly Hooper shrieked, jumping nearly ten feet in the air. Her little heart was racing like she'd been running a marathon, and her eyes were as wide as saucers. Never mind the fact that she was working with the body of Chad Fisher, who's death wasn't classified yet, there was a spider on the ground. Dead bodies were fine. They were dead. They weren't going to hurt Molly. (Neither will spiders, a small, reasonable part of Molly tried to say, but was ignored by the panic that flooded through her.) Spiders, on the other hand, were #3 on Molly's top-ten fears, right below sky-diving and awkward blind dates.
There it stood, just where her foot had been. It was huge, brown, most probably hairy, and definitely evil. It was more than probable that the spider wanted nothing but to crawl up onto Molly, so she thought. She shrieked again as it moved, then came to a halt.
Molly hesitated, not sure what to do. She knew she had to kill it, but how? Usually she was a sweetheart when it came to animals, even bugs. But spiders were the spawn of Satan. They're weren't just something that you let outside nicely by picking it up and letting it gently into the grass. No, it was something you crushed to bits to make sure it didn't have a single breath left. But she didn't want to crush it with her foot. These were nice shoes, and that was a BIG SPIDER. She didn't want it's guts all over her foot. Molly bit her lip and let out a small, frustrated moan, looking around for something to squash it with.
The spider suddenly made a move and began running straight for Molly. She full out screamed and threw what was in her hand instinctively. Unfortunately, it had been the scalpel in her gloved hand, covered in the blood of poor Mr. Chad Fisher. She watched as the scalpel hit the floor with a clang, splashing minuscule drops of blood within a radius on the floor. "Oh, God," she mumbled, knowing that now she had a body to work with, fluid to clean off the floor, and a (literally) bloody spider to kill.
The blood hadn't fazed the spider. It just got a little showered with it, which made it all the more terrifying. The dark spider was now spotted with red, and Molly thought it was the most menacing thing she'd seen all day. Her heart began racing again as the spider took a few more steps (do spiders take steps?) towards her. Panic settled in anew and she put a hand up to her face, trying to think of something to do. Her own blood ran cold as the sudden realization that she was a pathologist set in. A pathologist that was at work, dissecting bodies, and was wearing a pair of blood-stained rubber gloves. The horror of it set in and she froze at her stupidity.
"Shoot," she said. "Oh, ew. Ew, ew, ew." Molly took the gloved hand from her face, grimacing at the wet feeling on her cheek. "This is bad," she said aloud, making her way as quickly as she could to the sink. All the while, she was looking behind her to make sure that the spider wasn't pulling any tricks. She peeled off the gloves and tossed them in the trash can, then turned the sink on. She ran her hands through the warm water and bent down to clean her soiled cheek and the rest of her face.
Satisfied that she'd washed all the nasty fluid from her face, she reached out for a paper towel, only to have her hand meet with a cardboard tube. "No, we're not out, are we?" she moaned, blinking water from her eyes. She flicked her hands, flinging droplets of water from her fingers. Just then, out of the corner of her eye, she saw IT.
That horrible spider was right there, mockingly strutting towards her from around the counter. Molly let out another yelp, right as the door opened. To her positive horror, there stood the one person who she kept up appearances for. A fine appearance this was. She wanted to melt into the tiled floor as she watched Sherlock look from the cadaver to the scalpel in the small pile of blood, and finally to the dripping face of Molly. He raised an eyebrow at her, his eyes sharply judging her.
"I-I," Molly stammered. "I... uh..."
"I'm sure you have a reason for this," Sherlock said. "Though I don't care. I came in to look over Chad Fisher before you began dissecting him."
"I..." Molly blushed. "Er, I'm already..." Her attention was turned from attempting to form words to the spider that was crawling across the floor again. She let out an involuntary shriek, staring wide eyed at the spider again, then blushed as Sherlock looked at her as if she was mad. "It's... there's a spider on the ground."
A silence fell over the room while it seemed Sherlock was trying to deduce why she was such a moron. Molly felt her face slowly burning up into a cinder as she glanced between the spider and the cold stare of Sherlock. "Ah... Sorry, sorry. It's just a really big spider."
Sherlock walked confidently past the doorway, careful not to step on the small pile of blood and caught sight of the spider. Without a shred of emotion on his face, he simply stepped on the spider. Molly cringed as he lifted his foot to reveal the spider neatly crushed with it's legs spread out across the tile. "Big spider?"
"Well... it looked a little bigger from here," Molly said, wiping her still damp hands on her pants.
"I'm sure," Sherlock said, turning to the body with a frown. "You've begun already?"
"I'm sorry, I didn't know you were going to use it," Molly said, biting her lip. Sherlock frowned, then his eyebrows raised, and he turned his eyes back to the spider.
"Wait," he said, crouching down and looking at the corpse of the spider. Molly couldn't help emitting a small whimper as he grabbed a glove from the counter and picked it up, looking closely at the arachnid he'd just squished. "A brown recluse. Rarely aggressive, but can have a nasty bite." He looked up to Molly, who's heart flopped at his non-judgemental gaze. Whenever he wasn't criticizing her, she thought he was so handsome. Even when he was, for that matter.
"Brown recluse?" Molly asked. "Does it matter what kind of spider it is?"
"Why is it here, in the hospital?" Sherlock asked, furrowing his brows together.
"Uh... I must've left the door open or something..." Molly said. "It probably climbed through a window."
"Highly doubtful. Brown recluse are found mostly in southeastern United States. Why would one be here, in St. Barts? What do you know about the man?"
"Oh!" she said, lighting up suddenly. Molly could help for once. "He'd just recently returned from vacation in Florida!"
There was a flash across Sherlock's face, and he stood up with the spider still in hand. "What have you found in the red blood cell samples?"
"I, uh, haven't done a test yet," Molly confessed. "I just started ten minutes ago."
"Get me a sample, then," Sherlock said. "The spider might've gotten trapped in his clothing, or climbed into his suitcase. If he had a serious reaction, it might have caused hemolysis. That probably wouldn't have caused death, but it's a place to start."
Molly stared for half a second, still petrified by the spider, but shook her head and grabbed a pair of gloves and picked up the scalpel to wash. She collected the sample Sherlock wanted, and she handed it to him as carefully as she could. He had the spider sealed in a bag, and took the sample with a forced smile. "You can sew him back up."
"Why are you interested in him?" Molly was bold enough to ask. "I mean, he's not part of a murder. Unless you want to throw the spider in jail. I don't think they have striped outfits that come that small." She laughed at her own joke, but turned it into an awkward cough when she saw Sherlock wasn't laughing.
"There's no cases around," Sherlock complained. "And I insulted Lestrade. He won't let me in for at least a week."
"Oh," Molly said and smiled as sweetly as she could. "Uh, I hope you have fun... testing the blood."
"Clean the liquid off the floor," Sherlock instructed, nodding at the little mess the scalpel had left. "Oh, and take care finishing with the body."
"Take... take care?" Molly asked, flushing a little. Was he actually being nice to her?
"Yes. More likely than not he was bit more than once if it killed him. There's a chance that more spiders could be on him," Sherlock said and left the room without so much as a goodbye, leaving a horrified Molly to stare at the body. More spiders? Potentially deadly spiders?! Molly felt like crumbling to pieces.
It took her a good ten minutes to work up the courage to even approach the body after she'd wiped up the blood. After that she'd hurried as quick as she could to finish up on the body, all the time looking frantically around for the spider and screaming every time she thought something was crawling up her arm. It was a long, painful few minutes for Molly, but she sighed and plopped into a chair when she'd finished. Not a moment after she'd sat, Sherlock burst through the door again.
"Definitely caused hemolysis," he said, fearlessly approaching the body. "There was also malaria found. If he was in Florida, the malaria was obviously caused by a mosquito bite." He poked and prodded at the body, finding the mosquito bites he was looking for. "Working with the hemolysis, he was killed before malaria was diagnosed. Being older, this had deadly effects. Mr. Fisher was unfortunate with bugs. Now, there's only one more thing I want to test." He looked around on the surgical table, then looked at Molly. "Where's the scalpel?"
Molly cocked her head, then rose to look at the surgical table. Sure enough, it was missing. Suddenly, Molly came to the realization that in her hurry to sew him back up, she might've made a slight mistake in leaving the scalpel on the... not table.
The Personal Blog of Molly Hooper
I hate spiders. I really really really really really hate spiders.
PaulineS: Just out of curiosity, do you hate spiders?
AN: Hey, everyone. Hope you haven't missed me too much. I just wanted to announce that I'm now open for requests! That's another way of saying I'm lacking in ideas and too lazy to come up with anything. So, if you've got a great idea on how to make Molly blush, send it my way. You will, of course, be credited. Thanks to everyone!