Saturday, February 26, 2011


The dinner was a quiet affair. They ate in the petit salon, a favorite room of Franklin's, done up like a Parisian diningroom. Everything was cream and gilt. The ornate moldings were all first class. Some of the pieces had been in the city since the French Revolution. You know how it was. They looted the homes of the nobles and sold the booty to new world speculators. Practically ran in with axes right after Baron this and Comtesse that went sobbing off to the barber's chair (popular term for the guillotine). Rumor was that the old doctor himself made quite a tidy sum buying and selling the knick-knacks and what-nots of various recently extinguished courtiers. And he had to be quiet about it all, since most people, especially the nobodies, thought he was dead. But Zebulon digresses. Jonathon did not consume anything, but they did provide him with an assortment of lit aroma candles. Wild apple was still a favorite. Little Miss Doctorix tucked into her entree. I think it was some sort of crustacean. The old postmaster (a later title of his) finished off a nice steak. One of the countless 'Jamisons', he was still calling them that, stayed to serve and clear away. I think it had to be that way. I think the higher ups in the 'Agency' insisted. Franklin knew that Jonathon was anxious for the liberation of Sarah. And so they spoke. The doctor said - I'll show you some things when we're through, my boy. Give you a taste of what we can and cannot accomplish. Are you sure you would not like 'someone' to eat? Jamison here could fetch somebody. We have quite a well stocked cellar down below. You can have two if you want.....Thank you, sir, maybe tomorrow. The need is not accute just yet, said Jonathon.... The doctorix kept quiet. I think she was there solely because our young vampire enjoyed her presence. It calmed him and caused him to forget his quasi imprisonment. When they were done and the table cleared, Doctor Franklin was first to rise.... Come, follow me. We have places to go and sights to see, - said the doctor. So they all got up and left. He walked very well for a three hundred and four year old gent. That electric scooter he used was nowhere to be seen. Jonathon's blood must still be working. They progressed down a corridor and went into some sort of gallery. But this one did not have pictures. It had specimens. Beings, life-forms, monsters. Each displayed behind a thick, glass panel. What? You want to know about Bigfoot? Yes, they had a bigfoot. Looked a lot like that Chewbacca fellow in that other realm movie the children like. He occupied a mossy, piney glen. And he did not look to happy about it. I must tell you. But experience taught him patience and so he sat there, silent and morose. Another display featured a mermaid. She had a small pool and a tub of herring. Not a beauty, this one. Must have already been old when they got her. Lined face, boney shoulders, withered breasts. The scales on her fish-ass and fish tail looked dull and raggedy. Her hair was like Grandmama from The Addams Family (Zebulon has seen reruns). And she stuck out her tongue and made lewd gestures as they passed. A monster here. A nightmare in the flesh there. This place had it all. There was a horse-faced Jersey Devil. I saw him. He was leaning against a rock in a fake, little forest, reading a copy of The Atlantic City Press. I think he was trying to solve the crossword puzzle. One of the guards passed him a pack of smokes (there was a little slot). Doctor Franklin said - We allow them certain indulgences. And tobacco posses no problem since he is immune to its poisons. A cure for cancer might come out of that one.....Then he stopped and looked Jonathon in the eye.....But what you want is in there...... And he pointed toward another door. Someone on the other side opened it. I do not think it was artificially powered. They went in. The chamber was round, about twentyfive feet in diameter. And the ceiling arced overhead like a dome. A small platform occupied the center. It was made of some non-porous material, like that 'corian' they use for kitchen counters these days. On it rested a small toddler, bathed in a muted light raining down from no particular point at all. The child looked as if it had recently been crying. It hiccuped a bit. and blood tinged tear tracks ran down its chubby face. After a moment, Jonathon realized that it was one of the 'cherubs.' He almost passed out from shock. It hurt him to see one of those little innocent souls treated like this. And he  instinctively reached out to it. But six 'Jamisons' marched in to stop him.... The doctorix said nothing. Apparently she knew about this. She just turned away. The immortal child shuddered. It trembled. The tiny chin quivered, as its eyes looked for help. But its body from the hips down did not move, for that part was still made of stone......Doctor Franklin put his hand on Jonathon's shoulder and said - We are trying. We have made progress. The armonica, the Great Armonica, that is what we used. Each sound, each frequency has certain properties. And we can produce an infinite number of them. We can blend them to make chords. We can manipulate almost anything.......How did you do this to the child? - asked Jonathon......With the device, as I told you, - said Franklin.......No, I mean how could you do that to this child? - whispered Jonathon......But the old man did not answer..........

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