Circle and Djinn (2009)

Some had stepped forth from the vat seemingly perfect, eyes brimmed with vital fire, muscles taunt with power — and then he’d watched in anguish as the patina of flesh slipped from them like the skin of a rotten fruit. Screaming with lipless mouths, lidless eyes wide with agony, they’d walked over piles of their own cancer-black. With trembling fingers, they’d reached for the author of their agony, unable to speak the questions that welled up from their un-languaged hearts.

How many had he felled with his pistol during those dark years of trial and error? How many disappointments?

But this one — this daughter was different.

He placed his bare hand against the tank, swept enough condensation away to peer into its murky depths. Her chestnut hair drifted around her hidden face like seaweed. He could just make out the blissful curves of her pale thighs and full breasts.

An oxymoron: the mother in utero.     

“Soon,” he said. “Soon.”

I wanted to write a Frankenstein story and Polluto wanted to publish a collection of Steampunk tales. So this is where our worlds came together yet again. I’ve always loved the saga of Victor and his monster, but it was a week-night viewing of the 1974 film “Frankenstein’s Castle of Freaks” that inspired me to take a crack at this one. The film in question is awful (enjoy the Cinematic Titanic version here), but I really dug the idea of Frankenstein and his creatures running around in a castle with cave men. Hell, that’s what I love about cheesy films: Sometimes they contain a stroke of genius rife for exploration.

So this is is the tale of a nameless Victorian doctor who, while studying a lost tribe of neanderthals in a secluded canyon, awaits the inevitable return of his monstrous, God-like son from the arctic wastes. Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton makes a cameo appearance and I hope you enjoy the very real science of polar bear liver ingestion contained within.

But why don’t you explore the tale for yourself? You’ll find it in “Polluto 5: A Steampunk Orange,” available in e-book form right here and as a hard copy over at Dog Horn Publishing. The whole book is also available via iTunes for your mobile device at a low price of only $3.99.

UPDATE 2016: I’ve published the story as a Kindle single. You can grab it for 99 cents at the following Amazon pages: US UK DE FR ES IT NL JP BR CA MX AU IN

~rl

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