by Chris Paton
“Watch me now, McCormack,” said Dr. Hartlow. “If I should faint or fail somehow, then you must be my instrument. That is why I have paid you.”
“Really?” I said. “I thought I was the muscle, in case your experiment runs away from you.” I watched as Hartlow hesitated at the lever.
“Is that what you think, McCormack? That I might lose control of my creation?”
“It has happened before,” I said.
“If you are referring to the work of Dr. Frankenstein.”
“Well, I suppose I should be honoured with the association.” Hartlow grasped the lever with both hands and pushed. “Of course, Frankenstein…” Hartlow grunted. The lever did not budge. “He was…” Hartlow let go of the lever to draw a stool across the iron-plated floor with his foot. He stood on the stool and tugged at the lever from the opposite side. “He was…”
“Do you need any help?”
Hartlow wiped the sweat from his brow. “Yes. As you say, you are the muscle.”
“I am,” I said and drew the Webley from my jacket pocket. “Hold this.” I thrust the revolver into Hartlow’s soft palm. “In case he gets ugly.”
I kicked the stool onto the laboratory floor and took a firm hold of the lever. Flakes of rust wormed into my fingers as I torqued the lever about its axis. A bubble of air bulged its way through the thick rubber tube above my head. The brass connecters whistled as the air passed each join and seeped into the glass coffin suspended on chains above the laboratory floor. I turned to stare at the coffin as the air reacted with the purple pellets upon which the figure lay. A green gas danced within the coffin, obscuring my view. Hartlow dropped the revolver and scurried down the ladder to press his palms upon the coffin.
“Careful, Hartlow,” I said as I bent down to retrieve the Webley.
“It’s all right,” he said. “Sal is perfectly fine.”
I shook my head. It was my experience that doctors and scientists alike had an inane lack of respect for the unexpected.
“What happens next, Hartlow?”
“Well, as you know, Sal is ectothermic.” Hartlow paused. “Cold-blooded? He needs to be warmed up.”
“That sounds simple enough.”
“Yes,” said Hartlow. “But simple is not always good enough and hardly fitting for our purpose.” He danced to the ladder and looked up at me. “Not fitting at all, my dear McCormack. We are creating life, and life begets life. Sal deserves to be warmed by loving creatures. He must have the feeling of love – something I learned from studying the good Dr. Frankenstein.”
“What loving creatures do you have in mind?” I said with more than a little trepidation.
Hartlow held up a finger. He walked from the ladder with a barely contained skip. The green gas had dissipated and I could see Sal. The scales upon his androgynous form glittered. Hartlow tipped a bowl of grey powder into a large brass basin upon his desk.
“Lavoisian Formula,” he said. The sparkle in Hartlow’s eyes was infectious and I admit my curiosity was aroused. “And now,” he said, “we must ignite the interest of the fairies.”
“Oh, yes, McCormack. Only the best for Sal. Watch.” Hartlow lit a taper from a candle burning by the side of the basin. My nose began to itch the moment he pushed the flame into the powder.
“Good God,” I said and sneezed.
“Yes. God indeed,” was Hartlow’s response. “Look at the coffin, McCormack.” Hartlow opened a wooden door in the glass at Sal’s feet. He slid the brass basin into the coffin and then closed and bolted the door.
The green gas was back. Within the gas I saw the beginnings of stars, constellations of tiny lights drifting and collecting within the coffin above Sal’s body. As the lights merged, shapes formed within the gas. Crimson shapes. I could see three distinct forms growing within the glass coffin. Legs – I could see legs and feet. They were the shapeliest legs I had ever seen, easily the length of Sal’s legs. From the toes, through the feet and legs, the forms developed into fully-grown beings. Perfectly formed, their sex exposed: two males and one female. Exquisite. Exotic.
“Aren’t they wonderful, McCormack?”
I descended the ladder and joined Hartlow at the end of the glass coffin.
“What are they?”
“Incubus,” he said. “From another realm. Gifts from God.” Hartlow wrapped his arm around my shoulder and squeezed. “They will warm our Sal in the most intimate way. He will know love and warmth as if from the womb.”
“Why yes, McCormack. The incubi, they will lie with him until he is warmed through. Until his brain is receptive enough for the final stimulation.”
“But,” I stammered.
“This is my creation, McCormack. You are my witness. I will be famous and we will tour the world, you, me and Sal. I name this creation The Incubator.”
“The Incubator. Really?”
“Yes. Isn’t it wonderful?”
Watching the incubi press their bodies upon Sal, holding him, warming him, I was moved to agree with Hartlow.
“I must record my observations.”
Hartlow released me. As he moved across the room I caught the eye of one of the male incubi. The corners of his mouth drifted into an enigmatic smile and I smiled back. I watched as the incubus cuddled into Sal’s body, legs entwined with the inanimate experiment, fingers smoothing Sal’s scales. The other incubi seemed equally content, their naked forms rubbing gently up and down Sal’s body. I noticed their increasing arousal as their limbs slipped and slid upon one another. Sal’s body began to bead with sweat. The incubi slipped upon Sal’s scales. They slid their sex upon one another’s limbs. Mute giggles and gasps reverberated within the coffin. Bubbles developed within the glass.
The bubbles grew as the glass began to blister. Sal’s body flushed from pasty white to pink, through red until his skin seemed afire.
As Hartlow looked up from his notes the incubi began to thrust at one another. The males locked the female between them. The scales on Sal’s body piffed from his skin, floating in the currents of heat emitting from the incubi cavorting upon Hartlow’s experiment. The glass blistered and I pulled the Webley from my pocket. The female incubi snapped her head in my direction and her thrusting companions were stilled. The incubi stared at me and I slowly pushed the revolver back inside my jacket. As soon as it was hidden the incubi began to slake their thirst upon one another’s bodies. A bubble of glass popped on the surface of the coffin. The heady smell of sex and sweat swayed my senses. Hartlow tugged at my sleeve.
“What are we going to do, McCormack?”
“You are asking me?”
“I think we can agree that my experiment has gotten beyond my control.”
Hartlow reeled in the erotic odour as another bubble of glass burst.
“Technically speaking,” I said, “I was hired to deal with your experiment, and he seems to be beyond our help.”
Sal’s body crisped beneath the incubi as we watched bubble after bubble of glass puncture the incubator. The heat from the incubi radiated into the room.
“What do you suggest?”
“Me? You are the scientist. How do you recall or expel those things?”
“I have no idea.”
“Then I suggest we get ready to run. The coffin will not contain them for long. You go first and open the door.” Hartlow’s laboratory was a separate building on the Hartlow Estate. “We will retire to the stables.”
“We may need to get away.”
“Yes, of course.”
“Quickly now, Hartlow.”
I drew the revolver and immediately caught the attention of all three of the incubi. The glass melted onto the floor as the incubi disentangled themselves from one another and began to prowl within the laboratory. Aroused yet, the heat emanating from their bodies assaulted my own. I dropped the Webley as the metal burned in my hands.
“Get the door open, Hartlow.” I dared not turn to see if the scientist had reached the door. The pages in Hartlow’s ledger crisped and flamed in the heat. The brass instruments began to glow. I edged backwards. “Hartlow?” I called, but there was no reply.
The first of the incubi to strike me was the female. Her blow singed my hair and ignited my beard. I slapped at the flames dancing beneath my nose. Her second blow pushed the air from my lungs and my body into the wall by the door. The door was open. The cool October night air repelled my assailant; I filled my lungs with it. At the rush of air the incubi retreated into a group, hugging one another. Their once fiery crimson skin paled into a placid blue. The incubi retreated deeper into the laboratory and absorbed what little heat was available from the glowing instruments and burning books. Hartlow returned carrying a shotgun.
“That might not be necessary,” I said. Hartlow nodded. “Where will they go?”
“I don’t know that they can.”
“You didn’t plan for this did you?”
Hartlow shook his head. “I never got this far.”
“They might be trapped here.”
The fires surrounding the incubi withered.
“Yes,” said Hartlow.
Hartlow and I watched as the incubi shrank to the floor, huddled together. The female was the first to cry, her goose flesh began to shrivel. The two males harried at her arms, rubbed her legs, they poured every last ounce of their own heat into her body.
“Put the gun down Hartlow. It won’t be long now.”
Hartlow lowered the shotgun until the butt rested upon the laboratory floor. We watched as the incubi diminished, their passion evaporating before our eyes.
© Chris Paton 2016