Friday, 17 August 2012

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night...

It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in sheets, and ran in torrents down the streets of the City; and the wind blew gusts of it against the walls of the great buildings that reached upwards towards the unseen stars.


High in an upper storey of one such building, in his secret laboratory, Herr Doktor Professor Viktor von Fränkenstein, known to one and all formally as the Reanimator and informally as the Mad Scientist, toiled alone over the Greatest Experiment the human mind had yet conceived. Feverishly, muttering formulae under his breath, he attached green and brown and blue wires to the Creature he had constructed after twenty years of ceaseless toil and effort. Every once in a while he would step back and consult a thick book of notes, and return again to the table on which the Creature lay, and adjust a wire or change the position of a clamp.

Outside, the lightning flashed and the thunder rolled, and rain whipped the windows of the laboratory till they vibrated from the strain, but the Doktor Professor paid no attention to it; caught up in the excitement of his Quest, he was, in fact, unaware of anything at the moment but what lay before him.

“Now,” he muttered to nobody in particular, “haff I the knowledge, of vhether I successful am. Now, after all these years, und nobody shall again at me laugh.” Shaking with excitement and fever, he tottered away from the long table and to the tall console studded with dials and buttons which stood in a corner. His liver-spotted hand trembling, he began twiddling knobs. Little red and purple lights began to run up and down the console in fascinating patterns.

“Now then,” he said to himself, “I vill the last lefer pull, und my thoughts correct proved shall be.” Turning, he reached for the metal stick with the knob at the end.


Underneath the City, the sewers rose from the water rushing down the drains. The volume of water coming down was far greater than the amount the sewers could clear, and the level rose higher and higher until the flood neared the ceiling of the tunnels.

If there had been human eyes to watch, and had there been light enough to see, they would have perhaps noticed a different stirring in the turbid flow, as though great bodies, bleached of pigment, stirred their armour-plated hides and opened immense toothy jaws. Perhaps a stray gleam of phosphorescence would have revealed glowing red eyes set in a long head, and a tapering snout would break the surface, lashing sideways in a fury of conical teeth.

Out of the sewers, their ancient home, driven to desperation by the inundation, the alligators were coming.

The World of Man would know their wrath.


The Girl ran through the streets, her midnight-black hair spilling over her shoulders, the rain plastering her clothes to her body. She turned down a side street, pausing momentarily to listen for pursuit, but over the constant rumble of thunder and the rain and wind she could hear nothing. About to sprint off again, she swayed helplessly as terror and exhaustion assailed her delicate senses.

“Oh,” she cried despairingly, “is there no brave gentleman willing to aid a poor damsel in distress?”

And out of the shadows drove the Hero, at the wheel of his white car, his giant frame clad in breastplates and greaves of muscle, his noble head held high. With an expertise comparable to that of a race car driver, he drew up to the kerb in a sheet of spray. Opening the door, he leaned out and adjusted his debonair fedora. “Can I be of assistance to a lovely lady?” he asked in his deep, deep voice, with a brilliant smile flashing from his handsome face.

“Oh, if only you would!” said the Girl, and fell fainting into his iron-hard arms.


A boy in a plastic raincoat rode his bicycle down the street, splashing through puddles and laughing.


And, high above the City, great electric charges were forming in the bosom of a cloud.

A bolt of lightning like one seldom seen was readying itself.

Electrons shifted and formed temporary alliances, and the earth and air flinched as they prepared for the blow.

A gigantic electric engine prepared itself.

Like a sword plunging into the heart of the world, the lightning struck.


Herr Doktor Professor Viktor von Fränkenstein reached out for the lever and swung it sharply into place, closing the contact. Arcs of electric light flashed out from electrodes set around the lab and played over the recumbent form of the Creature. The very air shifted and roiled over the table, and the Creature was wrapped in an eerie blue glow. Slowly, very slowly, as though heavy weights were attached to its limbs, the Creature stirred and began to sit up.

“Ja, ja, ja,” crooned the Herr Doktor Professor. “Get up and to me come, und ve vill you to the vorld show.” He cackled. “Und all along haff I known, that I always right am.”

Slowly, the Creature stood up and walked ponderously over to the Herr Doktor. It stood looking down at him from its three metres, flexing its immense limbs. It reared back its head and let out an unearthly howl.

And then it fell forward limply on him, the weight of it breaking his neck instantly.

The red and purple lights continued to glow.


Out on the outskirts of the City, the Hero stopped the car and looked at the Girl. “Well,” he said, “here we are, then. All on our lonesome.”

“You saved me,” sobbed the Girl, throwing her slender arms round his neck and pressing her lips to his in a passionate kiss. “I can never pay off the debt I owe you.”

“Oh, I don’t know about that,” said the Hero. He dragged her out of the car, stripped her naked and raped her, and when he was done he strangled her and threw her body into an overflowing ditch.

Then he drove off, whistling merrily.


The alligators emerged from the sewer. One saw the boy on his bicycle, and knocked him down with a blow of its tail, and ate him still alive and kicking. But it left the raincoat, since one normally doesn’t eat the wrapper in which one’s treats come packaged.

Then the alligators swarmed over the City, and ate everyone they could find. Only the Hero, still whistling, escaped.


It was a dark and stormy night, and on nights like this, even the gods are sleeping.

Copyright B Purkayastha 2010/12

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