“Ygor, I will need a left arm here.”
When, after several seconds, he heard nothing but a nervous shuffling right beside him, the doctor looked up from his stitching. Raising the magnifying goggles, he saw Ygor was still watching from just outside spurting distance, where he had retreated to after bringing over the most recent leg.
“Well?” When Ygor dropped his gaze to the floor, apparently embarrassed, the doctor felt his heart sink. “We’re not out, are we?”
Ygor’s head snapped up, professional pride displacing the bashfulness. “No, doctor. It’s not that.”
“Thank goodness.” The doctor took a deep breath, sighed out his relief, then returned to his original point. “Let’s have that arm then. This scaffolding can’t last indefinitely, and…” he paused, listening to a distant grumble of thunder, “We might be able to finish tonight with some effort.”
“What?” The doctor almost dropped the spool of thread he held.
“Should we… finish?” Ygor ducked his head again, then found an inner reserve of courage. “It doesn’t seem quite right, what we’re doing.”
“This is coming very late in the game, Ygor.” The doctor spoke with icy slowness. “If you had objections, you should have brought them up before we got this far along.”
“Well, until last week, I though you were just… you know…” The courage failed, but the way he glanced out the window toward distant Ingolstadt made his meaning plain to the doctor.
“Just reviving a corpse?” Ygor nodded. “Just creating a semblance of humanity, imbuing the spark of life into the disparate flesh of a tinkered-together homunculus?”
“Yeah, that.” Ygor took an unthinking step back, then grabbed at an upright to keep from slipping off the little work platform they stood on.
“That was fine for cousin Victor,” the doctor said. “Victor, for all his mechanical skills, lacks an artistic imagination. Besides, why should I do exactly what he did? He already proved it was possible.
“My creation, Ygor, will be the talk of the biennale in Florence, not just a source of nervous gossip in the medical schools. Now, will you please nip down to the Lefts bin and get me a nice-looking arm so I can finish this junction?”
Ygor nodded, shuffling toward the first of the four ladders he would have to climb to reach the parts stores. When he was halfway down, he paused to take in the doctor’s masterwork, trying to see it through its creators eyes. If it was actually able to support its own weight as it trundled overland to the art show, the intricately arranged network of arms, legs and torsos would indeed be admired by the cognoscenti of Europe’s art world.
From a distance, at least, where the details were less obvious. And probably only from up-wind.
“Inktober 2019 – Build” ©2019 Dirck de Lint.