It seems that after all of my efforts, these experiments with biology, anatomy, chemistry and electricity came to naught. The lifeless clay of my life’s work lay on the table, mocking my years of toil.
Adding insult to injury, Mrs. Kemph, the woman who straightens my living quarters, had dared to enter the lab and threw away a work in progress. To say I was livid would be an understanding.
Walking through the village, my mind working out what went wrong with this latest experiment, I fumed as I couldn’t get past the dolt Mrs. Kemph.
Most of the villagers already gave me a wide berth, fearing my reputation of stalking the charnel houses, but this evening was even worse. Part of my mind understood: I knew that I was a ghastly figure, unnaturally pale after my long illness, no hart covering my unruly hair and no top coat covering my disheveled clothing.
I cared not.
I had walked in circles for over an hour as the dark of night deepened, trying to piece my life together, when I noticed a foul stench.
There was the smell of burning even stronger than usual for a cool evening, but more. Yellow fumes of an exotic chemical filled the air.
I sniffed and stopped.
I recognized it.
I had spent hundreds of marks to have it imported and I sure was the only man in 100 miles to own the exotic elixir that was fabled to have great restorative powers.
There was a glow from the heart of the village.
I rushed back, holding a cloth to my nose against the smoke and fumes.
People stood, as if transfixed by the orange and yellow glow. I pushed my way forward but stopped.
A very large man stumbled through the haze. Only, it wasn’t a man.
It was my creation.
For a moment I caught a hint of the oily yellow eye glowing in the chemical fire, and then he turned and was gone.
The next day nobody knew if the strange beast were but a dream of the fumes from the chemical fire, but one thing we all knew: everything I owned was destroyed, including all of my research. There was nothing left for it but to return to my family.
Back in my ancestral lands the episode was soon half forgotten.
This story, based roughly on a famous piece of fiction ;), was written for Sue Vincent’s writephoto challenge. Her photo is at the top of the page and the key word was “Fume“.