creative writing, fiction, flash fiction, good short stories, how to write a short story, inmon, Inspiration Monday, K Patrick Moody, Kim P Moody, steampunk, writer's block, writing help, writing prompts
It’s Monday, I’m inspired, so here is a short submission to Bekindrewrite’s Inmon, in answer to the prompt – Stolen sleep.
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“Smythe! What are you doing?”
“It’s OK Sam, it’s perfectly safe. We needed a volunteer, and now we have one.”
Joshua Fortesque stood in the doorway and watched as his friend and fellow adventurer adjusted the corpse’s position.
“Are you sure Albert’s wife agreed to this?”
“Of course she will – as soon as I explain it all to her.”
“You mean …”
“Not yet. We need to move quickly, before he starts to go off.” He stood up and faced Joshua.”We need to get the process started as soon as we can. She won’t be back from London until tomorrow afternoon, and by then …”
“Alright. I know. Let’s get on with it.”
The corpse has to be recently deceased, no more than an hour. All fluids have to be drained and replaced with Smythe’s new, soon-to-be-patented preserving liquid. It had been successful with rats from the garden, a couple of pigeons. And the neighbour’s cat; it was very old and chose the vegetable patch as its place to expire. Sam only realised it was dead when it refused his commands to ‘shoo!’, so he brought it to the laboratory and gave it ‘the treatment’.
They worked for most of the morning, with syringes, rubber hoses, galvanised buckets and hand pumps. As Albert’s blood and other runny contents oozed from one end, Smythe’s concoction was forced in the other.
“Wonderful! Better fire up the compressor and get the refrigerator going.” Smythe pulled off his black rubber gloves, and hung his stained apron on the hook next to the door.
Albert was neatly tucked in to the heavy oak crate, insulated with woollen felt, and it was all held together with wide copper bands with brass tensioning screws.
Joshua wheeled across a huge flask, and parked it next to the crate. It took both of them to tip it and pour the steaming liquid into the space around the body.
“We should have just enough to freeze him solid, then the refrigerator will have to maintain him in that state until we are ready.” said Joshua. “Nitrogen as a liquid is pretty useful stuff. Those Polish chaps certain had a good idea.”
As the mist drifted around their feet, they pushed Albert’s temporary residence in to the refrigerator, to wait.
“How long do we leave him?”
“Well,” said Sam, “the cat is still there, and I’d like to bring him out after a year. The rats were fine after six months, but they didn’t live for very long after we restarted their hearts.”
“You think the cat will fare better?”
“He’s bigger than the rats. I think his organs will survive better.”
“We’ve got bodies going again, but what about brain function, Sam?”
“Ah. I don’t know. Hopefully Albert will be able to tell us … although he wasn’t too bright before he fell out of the tree.”
“Excuse me,” the voice behind them enquired, “Is my Albert in here?”
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© 2015 K Patrick Moody