February 22, 2006 at 2:41 am #1778asseropenParticipant
In the attic of the Hughes Family Townhouse, there is a locked door. Ligeia Hughes has a key that dangles from a silver chain, and she is the only one in the house who ever unlocks that door. She is the only one in the house who truly knows the contents of the tiny, dark room behind the locked door.
With Malachite at her heels, she steps into the room. The single candle in her hand throws long, distorted shadows against the walls as she closes the door behind her. The air is musty and thick with the odor of something stale. There is a lamp on the desk off to her right. When lit, its adjustable flame reveals more of the cramped space.
The room is nothing more than a ten foot box. There is a window, but it is too high to look through, too small to see anything more than a face in, and covered by a swath of dark cloth.
Shelves line the wall opposite the door. Jars of varying sizes line the shelves. Lamplight reflects and refracts through the liquid in the jars, illuminating the miscellaneous shapes contained within each. Organs and tissues, some preserved in ethyl alcohol and others in formaldehyde. The lower shelves are lined with an assortment of boxes. It is in these boxes that the dead memories are stored. A small box of letters. A jewelry box of trinkets. One box even contains Winnifred Hughes? wedding gown. Pieces of a dead wife and mother. Pieces of a woman gone mad.
Against the wall opposite the desk, sits a gleaming surgical table. It is clean now, its surface wiped down before each departure with an alcohol soaked rag. That is part of the stale smell. The damp rag that sits soaking in a bucket beneath the table.
Malachite, who would spend his days pawing at the locked door in the attic if he could, heads immediately to a plate on the floor in the corner. The half-eaten carcass of a sewer rat lies there, belly up. The sound of his satisfied purr reverberates in the deadly silence of the room as he reexamines tonight?s meal, finds a good spot, and digs in.
Very few of the organs in the jars on the shelves are human, and those that are have gone through too many hands to be of much use to her once they arrive at her table. She has never operated directly upon human flesh. She has attended the lectures, always pushed to the back by the men who glance at her sideways thinking such matters beyond her comprehension. She has seen the cadavers from a distance. And though some men may be mice, mice are not men. Not on the table. Not under the knife.
She comes here from time to time, even when she has nothing new to examine. The morbidity of her hobbies wholly misunderstood by her family, those members who know the extent of her experiments. It is a misconstrued darkness she carries, this unquenchable quest for knowledge. For the inner workings of the human body remain a near total mystery to her. A mystery she longs to solve. A mystery she would do practically anything to expose.
:: shakes a fist at the autoformatting of the title that effs up her roman numerals. thinks that needs to be fixed before she has an aneurism. ::February 22, 2006 at 9:04 am #2332CatherineParticipant
Cool stuff…more and more intriguing! When do we get to see more?February 24, 2006 at 11:42 pm #2334Helen FollmerMember
That was great! I look forward to reading more.
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