A Steampunk Guide to Hunting Monsters 9 | Page 11

you must stop this man ’ s bleeding . But where shall I find him another leg ?”
I hesitated , and , struggling , suggested , “ Why not the leg of a chair ? It is very sturdy and often stood upon .”
“ Most indeededly so ! Nurse , we must discover a way to fasten this wooden leg to this fleshy body the moment the leg has healed !” The Doctor started laughing , hysterically . I slowly stepped backwards to check on Percy . I took his hand , which was strapped to the table , and he said , “ I thought we were going to a ball ?”
I replied gently , “ Things are getting a little hysterical .”
“ Do you think I have hysteria ?” the Doctor exclaimed , almost immediately invading my personal space , as if we had been in an intimate conversation . “ What shall we do ? My father will surely send me away to the asylum .”
“ Uh … what are some of your symptoms ?” I asked , cautiously .
“ I feel nervous ,” the Doctor replied . “ My mind gets confused . Sometimes I feel sexual urges . I killed a cat . I have a complete loss over my ability to speak . My womb wanders .”
“ You don ’ t have a womb ,” I corrected him , with a slight air of indignance .
“ I know ,” he replied gravely . “ I don ’ t anymore ; that ’ s how far it has wandered .”
“ Eye ache ? Back Strain ?” I asked , attempting to stall long enough to figure out what to do next .
“ Yes !” he agreed . “ Numbness of the extremities ! My sister lives in Baltimore . I have a sudden weakness of willpower .” “ Cramps ?” I continued . “ Yes ! Difficulty swallowing ! I have a continual and insatiable craving for sympathy and love .” “ Most definitely .” “ Clenched teeth ! Vapors !” “ And wouldn ’ t you know it , I ’ m cured ! And so is my friend !” I shouted , trying to wrap the conversation up on a positive note .
The Doctor started clapping , gleefully , and I smiled most graciously and began to untie Percy from the table .
“ And so ,” I said to the Doctor , “ as you have so many other patients to cure and help with their problems , we couldn ’ t possibly take up another moment of your time .”
I propped Percy up against my shoulder and we backed out of the room , which was opened for us . I tried to invoke my most gracious humility upon leaving , as to not raise suspicion . Luckily , we made it out unscathed .
Sunday , June the Twentieth
I have taken Percy to a hotel and tended to his fever myself . It has been a few days since our ordeal . I immediately telegraphed the inspector to inform him of the Asylum ' s takeover , and I demanded they send several burly police constables . After some time , I received a message from that same man . It claimed therein that there was nothing at all unusual about the Asylum . In fact , the inspector claimed it looked to be the most well-run medical establishment he had ever seen and quite an improvement from the last time he had visited . In one room , they were studying and making advances in germ theory , in another they were creating the most realistic prosthetics to help a disabled man walk , and finally , the mental health program where each inmate discussed his issues with a counselor seemed to be increasing the general welfare of the populace . In fact , it seems the Insane Asylum had been driven sane ! The telegram ended with a stern warning against false accusations .
Percy sleeps mostly . He appears to remember nothing of the other night , but once spoke in a brief moment of wakefulness to say something like , “ I ’ m so glad you are here with me . The worst thing in the world is to be sick and to be alone .”
I find it is very gratifying to be appreciated .