by Jason Thomas

“What the heck is that?”

Doug Vickers’s wary eyes fixated on the thin, crescent-shaped strip of metal in front of him.

“Oh, this little beauty just arrived today.” Dr. Hunsitt wore a grin like a kid in a candy store as he held up his latest gadget. “It’s called a ‘Sound and Phonetic Electronic Amplification Kit,’ or ‘SPEAK’ for short.”

“What does it do? Does it hurt?” The whir of a tiny drill answered ominously from the adjacent office, followed by the wet sucking sound of water and spit being siphoned.

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