Dr. Lorelei was growing fatigued and ill. The hard, lopsided bench he was seated upon was being nonsensically rocked and jostled by the other excited patrons. They leapt over and shoved each other, hooting, hollering, masticating spoiled popcorn and generally causing a charged ruckus of enjoying the entertainment in the big top.
Dr. Lorelei tried, once again, to rise from his complimentary seat only to find Drutherstone buzzing him around him, insisting he remain for the final act. “You won’t regret it,” Drutherstone sang before collapsing into a coughing fit and dissipating back into the crowd.
If the previous performances were anything to go by, Lorelei was rather certain he would not enjoy the final act. But he could not think of another place he needed to be. His room in The Emerald House was fully tidied at this point, his specimens had yet to arrive through the post, and there were no other patronable institutions for miles around. Plus, Drutherstone was keeping him flush with the reprehensible mezcal. Lorelei swigged back more of the burning head varnish and started to carefully observe the hands and ligaments of the idiotic circus goers around him. Perhaps he could find a specimen he liked and mutilate them later.
Lorelei was eager to return to his work. The animation of dead flesh was his sore spot, his excitement, his delve, his worship. He missed his recombinated creatures. Each was like his child, unique creations that seem to take on minds of their own once all his hard work and planning had been expended. But each of them, all his unique recombinants, had been stolen from him by his pursuant detractors, the so called “authorities” who were constantly chasing him and interrupting his practice. Though Lorelei had made steady and incredible advancements over the years, he wondered what other heights he might have attained in the artform if he had not needed to constantly evade capture by vanishing and reappearing in places such as Drutherstone’s circus.
His morose reverie was halted by a reedy squeak. The staccato note of a violin. Then a long drag on C minor. The curtain rose patiently this time. Marrionetta stood limp and discoverable in the middle of the stage. Lorelei’s neck straightened.
The violin began to bleat a mind numbing ditty. Marrionetta sprang to life, her strings quivering in the lamplight. Her tautness and her sags achieved a stupefying elegance. She was captivating. Even under the weight of the artless music, or perhaps because of it, her strange locomotion and apparent lack of self-determinism held each and every audience member in the sway of total apprehension.
But for Lorelei, it was more than this. The studious collector of body parts, the animator of expired flesh, the experimenter who danced along the periphery of the soul itself, was not just captivated by her. Not just bound in attention to her every gesture. No. In his breast, a desire began to burn. He wanted to examine every groove and splinter of her minutiae. In the depths of a green, repulsive and idiotic hellscape, he had discovered a muse.