A Steampunk Guide to Hunting Monsters 9 | Page 8

front of a lady .
“ I urge that we make haste ...” the Doctor said , ushering Percy to a table . The nurses began to strap him down . The Doctor began summoning tools , which it seems to me turned out to be a bone saw and a syringe fit for tranquilizing a horse .
Just as the nurses strapped Percy to the table , I heard him react slowly , “ What ’ s … going … on ?”
The Doctor stepped forward just as the nurses sprang into action , pulling aside the dull , stained curtains with a melodramatic swoosh to reveal a row of gurney tables , each with a struggling or nearly dead person strapped to them ! I let out a small shriek . One man lay with his chest opened as though it were a valise . Another - a woman ! - struggled uselessly against her bonds , her jaws wired together and her right side drenched in blood . One man was missing his lower limbs . These grotesque figures were bloodied and terrified , and to my great horror , Percy was wheeled into the line .
The Doctor made a move to inject Percy ' s head with the syringe . Even as an adult , I do not care for injections , and as a child , I was quite terrorized by them . I tried to move to his aid , but the nurses — or should I say inmates ?— restrained me !
" She has the most lovely eyes ," Percy said dreamily . " Like fried eggs . The pretty ones with sprigs of rosemary ." It was precisely the buck-up I needed . “ Wait !” I cried . The Doctor looked up . " Whatever for ?" he asked , sounding genuinely curious . " Because ... because ... these other people were here first !”
I struggled desperately with the nurses and managed to free one hand to point at the gurneys . " You must cure these other patients first . Percy and I are English . Queues do matter to the English !"
The physician handed the syringe back to a nurse . " You are quite right , of course ."
The nurses let go .
“ For example , this one ,” I indicated the pathetic wretch struggling for his life nearest .
The Doctor paused . Then he skipped over to the table that I had indicated where lay the terrified and bleeding person . “ Indeed you are quite right !” the Doctor called . “ What he has cannot be cured easily . He has many illnesses that must drain out from the body like pus , but there appears to be some sort of blockage deeper in ! Note that I have already removed his hatred and placed it over there .” ( He indicated a bloody pile .) “ And now I shall remove his guilt !”
The nurse handed him a saw . Well , now in my failed attempt to rescue Percy , I had put this poor man in peril !
“ But wait !” I cried . “ With deadly illnesses you must be very exacting , for things such as guilt can hardly be perceptible . Moreover , does not one wash away one ' s guilt ? I have heard that a cleanly touch will produce the best effects . You must be delicate , and anywhere you don ’ t find an illness , perhaps you should take care , lest an illness creep in .”
“ Yes !” cried the Doctor , agreeing far too joyously , and he delegated the job to a nurse “ You must examine this man very minutely . Use magnifying glasses , telescopes , anything to aid in the discovery of these tiny illnesses . If you do not find an illness , make each part comfortable with a pillow of gauze or a fresh drink of disinfectant !”
The man in the next bed down screamed , for horror seems to come in piles when the insane are left unrestrained , and the nurses had begun sawing off his foot ! The Doctor leapt to the man ' s side , crying , “ This man needs a new leg ! Perhaps we can take your friend ’ s leg ? My saw !”
“ But wait !” I cried . “ No doubt there must be a better way to help this man , than to play musical chairs with everyone ’ s limbs .” “ Do you really think so ?” asked the Doctor . “ You must stop the bleeding , or he will die !” I commanded . “ Well , I never !” exclaimed the Doctor . “ Nurse ,