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Plague doc

Reprinted short-short

"Book" cover by Raechel Henderson Moon. Used with permission.

Effects of Vampire Serum on the Longevity of Human Fibroblast Cells Grown In Vitro. The Laboratory Notebook of Edith A. Brown, Ph.D.

By Marlissa Campbell

You turn to the last entry in an oversized, green-cloth covered lab notebook:

Methods: Vampire serum for experimental culture media was prepared in our laboratory by centrifugation of blood drawn from a captured undead-human vampire (Homo sapiens revenire). Our laboratory has the only known captive vampire, obtained from the wild in Romania. Human dermal fibroblasts and control culture media were purchased from a commercial supplier (BioScam, San Felipe, California). Frozen cells were thawed, prepared, and seeded onto tissue culture plates according to the supplier's recommendations.

Results: Under control conditions, fibroblasts ceased to divide after sixteen population doublings. These senescent cells soon lost their normal morphology, becoming disorganized and irregular in size and shape.

With addition of 10% vampire serum to the growth media, cultured fibroblasts are continuing to divide normally after 150 doublings; cell morphology is entirely normal. These results have exciting implications for retarding the effects of aging.

Discussion: Future experiments are planned to identify the specific component(s) of vampire serum responsible for the anti-senescence effect. The first step in this process will be to draw additional blood from our vampire.

A reddish-brown stain obscures the rest of the page. It appears the open notebook was drenched in some kind of liquid, which has dried to leave this residue.

~~The End~~

Originally appeared in Eggplant Literary Productions Library, July 2004.