Saturday, July 25, 2020

The Family Curse

My #FridayFrights entry.

The Family Curse
By Lisa McCourt Hollar

Doctor Frank Stein looked down at the body that lay prone on his operating table. It belonged to Henry  Talbot, the town drunk. He had died only a few hours ago; his body was still warm and if it weren’t for the gaping wound in his neck, it would appear he was sleeping off the effects of his drink the night before.  In fact that’s what he was doing when the doctor stumbled over him , down by the pier. Frank had been looking for sailors that had recently come into port; preferably sick with scurvy and willing to come quietly for a few bucks. Someone that wouldn’t be missed.

Henry fit the bill. His disappearance would be noticed only in the sense that he would no longer be source of income to Tom’s Pub. He also would no longer be an unwanted aggravation for law enforcement. Frank Stein consoled himself with that knowledge when he slit the man’s throat. Not only was he doing a public service to the community, he had a perfect test subject for his latest experiment; Life Renewal.

Lifting the same knife he had used to cut the drunks throat, Dr. Stein poised his hand over Henry’s heart. His own heart beat in anticipation of the thing he was about to do. If he succeeded, his place in the medical community and history, would be secured. Placing the knife against Henry’s skin, he cut a thin line, opening the man and revealing the still organ inside.

“You ready to make history?” Frank asked, inserting electrical prongs into the lifeless organ, matching the spikes protruding from Henry’s head. Similar points jutted out of his neck and Frank had even stuck some in the man’s dick. Maybe Henry would benefit from this little experiment in more than one way. Frank chuckled at the thought. He was sure more than one ‘working lady’ would be grateful for anything that improved Henry’s performance.

 In the background Twisted Sister was playing, the beat pulsating, creating excitement in the air as the doctor reached for the switch. Holding his breath, Frank yanked down on the lever and waited for the body to react to the electricity. The body jumped, twitching on the table and then went still as the laboratory was bathed in darkness. The emergency generators kicked in almost immediately, bathing the room in faint, yellow light.

“Damn!” Frank slammed his fist against the wall, cursing his bad luck. The procedure needed to be done before the body went cold and became too stiff to regenerate. In the distance he heard the emergency siren sound. Looking out the window he stared down at the town, the buildings dark shadows against the moon.

“I must have caused a power surge,” Frank said. “I’ll need to make some adjustments before I try again.” Turning back towards his test subject, Dr. Stein froze; the surgical table was empty.

At first he was confused; dead bodies did not just get up and walk away, then he was excited. Dead bodies did not get up and walk away, but live bodies did, or in this case, reanimated bodies. His experiment had been a success!

“Henry?” Frank looked around the room, but he didn’t see his patient anywhere. “Henry?”  The light flickered a little as the generator started to fail and then stabilized. Frank turned slowly, his eyes searching out the entire room. In the corner the door was open. No, not open…gone, having been ripped out of the frame, creating a hole in the wall.

The rest of the castle was dark. The generators only powered the laboratory, something that hadn’t worried Frank when he’d first made arrangements for the emergency power supply. His lab was the only room he could foresee needing the precaution, it was the only room he spent any time in, other than his bedroom, but even that was rarely used. Now, searching the family fortress with only the aid of candle light, he questioned the wisdom of his decision.

“Henry,” he called, as he made his way slowly down the hall, checking every room he came to. Since the doors were still in place, he thought it might be safe to assume they were empty, but he wasn’t about to take any chances, not when there was the Family Curse to consider.

It had all began with his relative, Dr. Frankenstein and that nasty little whore he’d shacked up with.  The woman was a gold digger, only after his fortune. By the time Frankenstein had woken up to what the harlot was doing, half the family fortune was gone. Heirlooms that had belonged to the Frankenstein clan for centuries had been stolen and sold to finance her spending habits.

The trollup had promptly been thrown out on her ass. The harlot though was not done with Victor Von Frankenstein. She fancied herself an author and wrote a book depicting his experiments in the castle.  She marketed it as fiction but that damn woman nearly destroyed him with her lies, the worst the fictional creation of the Frankenstein Monster.

It was true the doctor had been working on a way to reverse death, but he had been far from successful, but when that woman wrote her book, the town went on a witch hunt. There had been a series of grave robberies and they believed Victor was responsible for them. In fact he was, but it was all in the name of science. Greatness was not achieved without taking some risk. In this case, risk brought persecution. Doctor Frankenstein was driven out of town and the castle set on fire.

Several years later Victor’s son returned, but he had changed his name.  Restoring the castle to its original glory, Dr. Jeckle opened up shop, offering his services as a psychiatrist. Unfortunately a change in name did not vacate the curse that had befallen the family at the hands of the bitch, Mary Shelley. His new experiment, one to eliminate the darker side of his test subjects, failed with disastrous results. The castle was abandoned again, this time sitting empty until Frank came across the deed in his mother’s files.

Shelley Stein, (ironic when he thought of it,) had always been a bit eccentric, but once he found the deed and read the diary of one of his ancestors, he realized he had the chance to restore the family name. He didn’t believe in the curse anyway. Sure, he had been unlucky all his life, barely graduating medical school and always being a step behind his friends in success. But that was about to change.

Or about to get worse if he couldn’t find Henry.  Just how far could a recently, reanimated corpse go, Frank wondered. That question was answered as soon as he reached the ground floor and found the main doors ripped out of their frame.  Moving along the mountainside a dark figure could be seen making its way towards the town.

“And of course, I left the damn moat down,” Frank sighed, turning to pack his bags.

1 comment:

  1. Nice! Love tying those characters together with the author, love Frank's bad luck and choice of subjects, and especially love the humor of the piece. Just plain fun to read.