Court Transcript

KREW. I must begin by winding back the clock. For whilst Jacques slept between worlds, stolen out of Time by the Orb, I flew to the abbey of Belloc, to prepare the way for his mysterious arrival. After spying the Janus in Devil’s Tower all those years ago, I was eager to meet him again and seed his dreams with visions of his lost child…

I have already told the court of how I appeared to the Lady of Belloc, and entered her womb to witness the gestation of her seventh son. And I have related the mysteries of mitosis, and of Jacques’ corrupt braid, which I tried in vain to rectify. I am not, however, without certain information regarding the true nature of his father, the Janus. And if Jacques is to be judged in his true light, ’tis necessary to reveal the synthesis of his sire…

The life principle that quickened the Janus from conception is the same principle that quickens both beauty and monster alike. But who is meant to live and who to die? Now I tell a truth: ’tis at the very moment of fecundation that the embryo begins to live a distinct, individual life. The rational soul of every human being is infused into the ovum when it first receives the male seed. For life does not begin when a child has been built from the sum of its parts, but rather at the genesis of fusion, when the vital force divides the zygote by its own mysterious volition. The embryonic child embodies a human soul—indeed ’tis human from the instant of fertilization; yet the spiritual life does not even begin here, because the soul chooses its earthly parents before incarnating into physical matter. Ergo, the foetus has an equal right to life as you or I, and neither the mother, the midwife, nor any physician on earth should take that life away. Except, as is often argued, when a degenerate pregnancy endangers the life of the mother, or when congenital abnormalities are so severe, that the child would be condemned to suffer a life of abject misery…

The study of congenital abnormalities is known as teratology. They range from gross structural deformations of the bones, to microscopic defects in the corpuscles of the blood. (I shall address the question of blood later). Some deformations remain invisible at birth, like bicuspid aortal valves which only become apparent in adult life, due to their predisposition to infection by miasmas.

As we all know, the Janus was a prime specimen of craniofacial duplication, but the cloisters of Belloc were crammed with other teratologies, the likes of which I had never seen. I will not relate these tragic cases yet, suffice to say that the flesh is susceptible to many perverse defects, especially during twinning…

Conjoined twins or double monsters arise from incomplete division of the formative material of a single early ovum. Such twins may be united by various regions: back, torso, hips, limbs, faces – and the degree of duplication of bodily parts also varies. I once knew a double monster in ancient Babylon with a single head and two distinct bodies; it shared one eye, four mouths, eight arms and four legs. It lived eighty-six years and was a musical genius on the harp and flute which it played fluently whilst peeling pomegranates and scoffing plums. So I ask again, who is meant to live and who to die?

The divine nature of twins has a long and regal history, and goes back to the dawn of Creation itself. As much as I would like to present a thesis on the twins of Theban royalty, ’twould not help the case, except to say that twins may be of either sex. Leda, whom Zeus won in the form of a swan, bore twin sons Castor and Pollux. Whilst Leto (who was also loved by Zeus) gave birth to male and female twins: Apollo and Diana, two of the most beautiful of all immortals. Thanatos (Death) and his twin-brother Hypnus (Sleep) were the children of Nyx, the daughter of Chaos, (who also bore Uranus and Gæa – my own beloved parents). I digress, for ’tis human twinning that we are most concerned with…

Human twinning occurs about once in every eighty births. Twin boys are the most common; less common are a boy and a girl, and least common of all are two girls. My forages into flesh have revealed many holy secrets, but the most remarkable of all are found in the mysterious process of twinning. For twins may be monozygotic or dizygotic. Allow me to elucidate…

Monozygotic twins are uni-ovular and identical. They arise from a single ovum fertilised by a single sperm. At some stage during the development of the ovum’s axis, and the development of the primitive streak, the formative strata separates into two parts, each of which gives rise to a complete embryo. Monozygotic twins are of the same sex, and have tissues of identical antigenic potencies.

Dizygotic twins are binovular, and result from the fertilisation of two ova. Each embryo develops in its own chorionic sac, though on occasion the sacs may fuse. Dizygotc twins are of different genetic constitution and may be the same or different sex.

The Janus was a fusion of dizygotic twins – one female, the other male. But for her foul face, the female twin was entirely hidden in the male. She had her own wits, lungs, larynx and all the necessary internal apparatus to differentiate her as woman. Incarcerated as she was, within the body of a man, she was also a lunatic and injuriously affected by the moon. But is it any wonder that she was mad?

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