Nathan Harper adjusted his tie and checked that his fly was shut. Damn big house, he thought, staring up at what would have been an exact replica of Frankenstein’s castle except it was smaller, had fewer bolts of lightning overhead—there were none, in fact—no pitchfork-wielding villagers were milling about, and, also, it didn’t look anything like a castle. It was very big, though, with massive, stone blocks that must have taken a long time to cart into this valley and glue together. His eyes blazed intently as he approached an immense oak door. There was an aura that came from this non-castle, a sense of intense activity of global importance going on inside, work that would change the world, inventions and devices that would allow future generations to be even more sedentary and brainless. What better thing for a teenager to be a part of?
Nathan raised a huge, brass-ringed knocker then let it crash against the door, making him jump. He glanced at his watch, which said it was five minutes before ten in the morning. At least he wouldn’t be late. He lifted up the heavy ring again before it had stopped shaking and flinched as it clattered against the door once more. He could hear activity going on inside.
“Who put this here?” he heard someone say, followed by quick steps across a creaking wood floor. “I don’t have time for this!” came from the same person a moment later. A second of silence passed before a loud crash of metal objects startled Nathan once again. “I’ll fix that later,” the voice said.
Nathan nervously rechecked the address on the job application. Yes, this was the place. Here was where the “works of greatness, utilizing all aspects of science in the pursuit of knowledge and the furthering of the evolution of human endeavors” supposedly went on. The description of the lab assistant job he was here for said there would be much danger involved, lasers quite probably, no doubt a robot or three, perhaps magnetic, gravitational, and nuclear experiments, and also some occasional heavy lifting and lab upkeep. “The wonders of the world begin in the humble laboratories of Earth’s great inventors” the advertisement had said, finishing with “candidate will benefit from having some chemistry and metal-work skills, quick reflexes, and a high tolerance for unpredictable odors and unexpectedly flying objects”. The door swung open suddenly and Nathan resisted the urge to take a step back.
The man in front of him stared with manic eyes that appeared to need a lot more sleep than they were getting and peered around Nathan as if they were looking for an escape route. The man’s unkempt blondish hair, what little there was of it, spilled out over the top of his head and down in every direction. Nathan couldn’t tell if he was balding or the victim of one of his experiments. The lab coat the man wore was a checked shirt several sizes too large on his skinny frame. His face was pale and the glasses that sat askew on his nose were wire-rimmed with splotches of solder all over it from quick, and obviously frequent, patchwork. The man’s eyes squinted as if he were unaccustomed to bright sunlight, never mind the fact that it was cloudy, and his lower jaw jutted out with the same misplaced outrage that Nathan’s four-year-old brother used on everyone when he forgot to wear pants.
“Can’t you see I’m cleaning?” the man shouted. “What do you want?”
Nathan’s mouth opened and closed, opened again, and emitted a single “I-“.
“You’re late,” the man said, eyeing him more closely. “Do you intend to be,“ the man checked his own watch, “three days late every time you come to work, Mr. Harper?”
“Three days? I’m not three days late,” Nathan shot back. He looked at his watch again, which oddly still said five minutes before ten.
“That probably won’t work here,” the man said, waving his hands wildly “-magnetic field everywhere, really big, not good on fillings either-” before one hand leaped out and shook Nathan’s hand holding the job description.
“Mark Garden,” the man said as the paper floated to the stone at their feet. As Nathan leaned down to grab it with his free hand, he was yanked bodily into the house.
“Excuse the mess,” said Garden. “I’m preparing for Jenna- ah, for a demonstration tomorrow.”
Been here, seen this.
I challenge anyone to not see Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox here. The images and the characters are just too familiar to be interesting to me.
Your hook didn't sound at ALL like this and had some interesting fun ideas. Prune all this stuff away and get to your story--the good stuff.