A kitchen scene, a woman but we can't see her face. An apple pie is cooling on the window sill. On the counter opposite the woman is a painting of apples. Outside the window is an apple orchard and... a wolf, eyeing the pie like he wants to grab it.
Apple Slice

The Gummy Bear Case Study, Part 1

An Apple Slice short story by Apple | Content Warnings

This was a terrible plan, and if it didn’t work, Cheery wanted it on record that she came up with the idea under duress. And by “duress” she meant while hanging upside down in the grasp of a 30-foot gummy bear.

Pink and yellow neon lights from nearby storefronts bled into the alley where Cheery had found the gooey monstrosity. Outside the alleyway, hovercrafts sped in the opposite direction—along with the screams of hundreds of people wisely running for their lives.

Gummies grew the more they were fed. This particular gummy was about the size of a sky tram car which meant it had been eating very, very well.

Now, this line of thought might lead one to ask what gummies ate. Cheery reared her head back as the bear roared and the smell of something positively rotten blasted her in the face.

They weren’t exactly picky eaters.

Through the gummy’s translucent body, Cheery spotted bones floating around its belly, the flesh digested clean off of them.

Yep.

That was her sign to go.

As the bear lowered her toward its mouth, she reached into her pocket and pulled out a tiny purple capsule. Then she pelted that capsule down the back of its throat.

Needless to say, it dropped her, coughing in attempts to send the pill down the right way.

As she fell, Cheery was feeling extremely grateful for those parkour classes she’d taken in college. She’d busted up her ankle once, but it was basically fine now. It only really bothered her when it rained.

Or got cold. Or every other Tuesday.

Luckily, today was Wednesday. So, she flipped, landed in a crouch, spun around, and stabbed the bear’s foot with a syringe to get a DNA sample for Dr. Somber.

The gummy did not like that. It made a sluggish kick in her direction, but she was already pulling herself up the wall of a neighboring building.

She climbed onto the roof right as sirens grew closer and two patrol-crafts and a containment field arrived on the scene. The last thing she needed was to get caught by the CMIIIA (Central Monster Identification, Investigation, and Intelligence Agency—although, the doc would say the intelligence part was debatable). Ducking out of sight as a city surveillance cam floated by, she hightailed it a few rooftops away and leaped down into her idling hovercraft.

A glass dome closed over the top as her seatbelt slid on automatically. Instead of heading straight to the doc’s, she merged into traffic and took a few random turns to check if she was being followed. No one had explicitly said collecting gummy DNA at the scene of a rampage was illegal (because who in their right mind would?), but she wasn’t taking any chances.

The CMIIIA was still claiming the gummies were aliens. “Extraterrestrial invasion, blah, blah, blah,” but there were plenty of aliens living on earth these days and they’d all come in peace. The CMIIIA was definitely hiding something.

Dr. Somber had tried to call them out on it and ended up getting laughed right out of her field. Publicly. She took it personally too. Cheery had first met Dr. Somber in the gym, where the doc had been angrily attempting to set up weights on the bench press bar. Usually, Cheery didn’t like to bug people at the gym, but one look at the doc’s form had her rushing over a moment later. Safety first and all that.

When the doc shared her story over water breaks and learned about Cheery’s athletic background during cooldown stretches, she asked Cheery to help her with the groundwork for her research.

And Cheery figured, Why not? The CMIIIA was pretty suspicious, and, most importantly, she was bored. The chisme at the office only did so much.

Helping the doc was just a regular part of her day now. Some people went clubbing after a tough day at work. Some people curled up with books. She liked to leap tall buildings in the middle of the night. To each their own. Live and let live, etcetera, etcetera.

A patrol-craft passed by her on the other side of the skyway, likely heading to the gummy attack if its speed was any indication. Cheery sank back in her seat to avoid eye contact with the agents, breathing much easier once they took the exit.

Her communicator started ringing, and she tapped the speaker button on her control console to answer.

The doc’s monotone voice was going its usually speed of 3000 words per second. “Did you get it? What about the tracing dye? Where are you?”

Cheery tsked. No patience this one. “I got the sample. I used the purple dye this time. I am five minutes away.”

Dr. Somber scoffed. “You never mean five minutes when you say five minutes. It’s always more or less. Which is it this time?”

“It’s a surprise.”

“Fine. I’ll see you at the lab.”

By lab, the doc meant her apartment. It was another touchy subject for her since she’d lost all the funding for her research. Cheery was pretty sure the doc had sold her hovercraft for lab equipment. Although, to be fair, the doc didn’t leave home that much anyway.

“Hey, you’re sure that dye is humane, right?”

“Of course, you tried it yourself.”

Sure, if by “try” the doc meant a capsule popped open in Cheery’s pocket on accident. “My hand was blue for a week.”

“Yes, that’s the point. And there were no side effects.”

“Aside from having to make up excuses to all of my friends and coworkers.”

“Why would a gummy have to do that?”

Cheery sighed. “Never mind. I’ll see you soon. I’m five minutes away.”

“I hate you.”

“I’m your best friend.” Cheery smiled as the call disconnected.

1 thought on “The Gummy Bear Case Study, Part 1”

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