Mark of the Shadow Part 16: Sleepy Time Tea
The tea worked. Rolph became drowsy soon enough, and I helped him to a nice spot on the floor. He wouldn’t a made it to the bed. I tried not to pay attention to what Cezary was doing, als I know is that there was lots of blood.
Well he showed me where his bed was, said he wouldn’t be needing it for a while yet anyhow. It was a good bed, but I didn’t feel comfortable. I couldn’t fall asleep so I drank some of the tea. That right did it.
Woke up the next morning, Rolph was already up and so was the sun. There were sounds in the adjacent kitchen so I went to investigate. Somein smelled real good, though the kitchen was so small and so much was happenin I couldn’t tell heads from tails. Steam rose from the stove and the fires crackled with heat just on the verge of being threatening. Cezary stood in the center of the commotion like a train conductor. He swiveled this way and that in a sing song sorta way.
“You been up all night Cezary?” I asked staying out of his way.
“All night?” Cezary looked out the window and squinted. “Ah… the sun is… Yes I suppose I have.”
“Aren’t you tired?”
“I figured since you two went through all the trouble of coming here I might as well provide some hospitality. I’m making buffalo meat. Oh your father is outside.”
“He ain’t my father.”
“Is that so. I’m quickly learning you are the most helpful of the two.” he flashed a smile.
Rolph was outside sitting on a rock by the brook.
“I know what you want,” he said as I approached. “But I’ve seen it. I’ve seen this all happen before. Little Maria. Don’t you think John taught her to shoot, how to work herbs? All that matters now is finding the cure.”
“You told me yourself. This time it’s different, ain’t it? This time you know there’s a cure.”
“Course I don’t know there’s a cure, but I need somethin to believe in.”
“Believe in us then. We’ve come this far,” I took a seat next to him. “Things ain’t always like they seem. My daddy taught me that. Somethings you think are gona be easy just ain’t. Somethings you think are gona hurt you turn out to be your friend. Why, you should trust Cezary, if he wanted to hurt us he’d a done it already, sides don’t seem in his nature.” He was silent. A bird chirped from up above reminding us of the forest’s presence. “On the train. I didn’t trust you, but things went differently then I imagined and here we are.”
Rolph stood up. “Alright. Your a wise girl Anne-Louise. I hope one day I’ll get to meet this father of yours.”
My heart swelled. Just a few words no matter how difficult they were to say changed the way of things.
We went back inside the cabin and had a hardy breakfast with Cezary. The meat was chewy and it stuck in my teeth but it made my belly full. We ate on the floor, and all of this seemed normal to Cezary. Far as I could tell he didn’t even have a table to eat at.
“So, what do you need the body for?” asked Rolph.
“I am a scientist. Outcast here from the bigotry of the cities,” he paused uncertain if he should continue. Guess he figured we was smart enough to hear his tale. “I believe that although every person is different every person is constructed from the same cloth.” Cezary pointed to a quilt hanging from the wall. It was sewn together from multiple sources. The quilt was a horrible array of mismatching colors and patterns. “Just like that was constructed from multiple sources I believe that should a human sustain damage to an area, say the kidney. We could remove it from a second source and replace that kidney. Now of course it won’t be ‘your’ kidney but is should function just the same.”
“Your crazy,” said Rolph between bites.
Cezary smiled, “Ah, but I am not the one who claims to use magic.”
“Fine, so your what? Practicing cutting up bodies? No one is going to let you do that to them while their alive.”
“Yes, that is a roadblock. However I believe it is not insurmountable. Pain itself is merely a product of the human body’s reaction to injury or perceived injury and can not kill someone itself. If a patient were to be able to be made unaware of their pain the transplant could be made.”
“Our own Doctor Frankenstein,” scoffed Rolph biting down on a crunchy piece of bread.
“I’m not familiar with this Doctor Frankenstein. Does he work with similar theories?”
Rolph seemed amused. “It’s an English book about a Doctor who constructs a man from pieces he dug up. Not unlike you.”
“Out of dead bodies? Fascinating idea, but it would never work. The organs become unusable after a few days at the most.”
An idea came to me. “Rolph is there any sort of magic that can bring people back from the dead?”
Rolph stopped chewing. “I’m sure people have tried. But if it were possible it would require a vast amount of energy. Everything I do is controlled.”
“What if it could happen, imagine the change it would bring upon a person. The change in outlook, philosophy,” said Cezary.
“How long were you and John separated?” I asked fearing the worst.
“Years. You don’t think…”
“Is it possible that Maria was brought back?”
“Anything is possible, but it doesn’t make sense. He seemed no happier, he gave you her doll. He made no mention…”
“Would either of you care to explain what is happening here?”
“No,” said Rolph to Cezary’s face then he turned to me. “If she is alive it’s possible John himself doesn’t know it. Although this is stretching even my own knowledge of the arcane. Anne, it’s time I taught you a thing or two.”