Syncephalus_parasiticus

Court Transcript

DOCTOR BUCKET. Has he finished yet? Sorry, I fell asleep. I only caught the last word: knowledge.

KREW. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

LORD SCALES. Krew! That was too long a lecture by half! And please stop oiling your tongue! The court would be most grateful if you would cease ranting and get to the point of the matter. You were about to explain how you turned Jacques Vallin into a diamon incarnate.

KREW. Quite… Members of the Jury, have you ever looked in a mirror, and thought, “who the hell is that?” Or, “God help me, I’m turning into my father?” By what process does visceral flesh coalesce from spiritual Light? What is the Holy Principal of animate life? The relation of matter to soul is the relation of substance to a higher generality. But flesh is often flawed. All things are latent in man: that is why he is always such an unknown quantity… For I once knew a boy who had a teratoma on his testicles. And this vile growth manifest many creatures; it had a chicken’s beak growing on one side, and crows wing out the other; it had a frogs eye that blinked, three cats toes, and was covered in the hair of a wolf. Which makes me wonder what will arise out of mankind in future ages…

During my time on Earth, I have undertaken to collate the many diseases of mankind, along with their symptoms, from premature intra-cartilaginous ossification to the common cold. My diagnosis always proceeds from the general to the particular, and includes the whole being, with all the mental symptoms and conditions, as are predicated of the blood, the colour of discharge, bodily aggravation and amelioration. These things I individualize further, using symptoms predicated of the organs, functions and sensations, always noting the time of occurrence for each symptom. I have pills for every kind of pain, from the discharge of menses to the hawking of rheum, catarrh and phlegm. I have cures for jaundice and biliousness; for clogged ears, cracked lips, constricted heart and ulcerated guts; for nervous dispositions such as jerking limbs and twitching heads; for limp cocks, festering boils, hairy paps, rasping lungs, swollen brains, curved spines and crippling cramps; for leprous flesh, blistered tongues, putrid breath and spasmodic speech; for tumors, teratomers and every manner of throbbing, tingling, trembling, tickling, tearing, and straining. Not to mention the distortion of diarrhoea with all its excoriation and hæmorrhage. For all that passes through the body bears witness to its state, and I am well versed in the excretions of both bladder and bowels. I have three hundred books on piss alone which makes an excellent cure-all, this substance being filtered from the blood.

LORD SCALES. Er, Krew…

KREW. There is frothy piss like ale, and sour piss like herring brine. I am especially proud of my books on excreta, which now run into many thousands…

LORD SCALES. Krew!

KREW. – Shit that is bloody, gluttonous and acrid; shit that is musty, white and albuminous; brown shit, blue shit, chalky shit, clay-coloured, chopped and copious shit; cream-coloured, crumbling and curdled like a cat’s; dark and difficult like a dogs; dry, falling, fatty or fermented; flaky and hairy like an owl’s; or forcible, sudden and gushing like a cow’s; frequent, frothy and green shit; gelatinous, greasy and grey shit; hard, knotty and long, like a ram’s; or sloppy, flimsy and flat like a clam’s; membranous and mushy shit; narrow and shining shit; scanty and sputtering; or stringy, tarry and black… These are the many kinds of human excreta I have thus far collated. I have yet to collate imp shit. So I would be grateful if the imps would fill out one of my “Shit Questionnaires” on the way out. But please indicate your gender by ticking the relevant box: Male, Female, Other, Hermaphrodite or ‘Prefer not to say’…

LORD SCALES. Er, Krew… To the point, if you please!

KREW. Where was I? Ah, yes… the relation of substance to a higher generality… Each soul is bestowed with a matrix for its flesh: an ethereal template from which bone, skin, eyes, teeth, toes and limbs come forth. Thus each soul comes from potentiality to actuality; from undifferentiated matter to structural organisation, and so reaches its proper form.

Men and diamons are coeternal and of common origin; for both are children of Gaea, despite their fundamental differences. But Jacques Vallin was special. For when I glimpsed his soul, I beheld a luminous transparent figure in a robe of coloured flowers. The brain was like a pool of crystalline water, swirling with stars; and the heart appeared as a shimmering ruby. This soul matrix was perfect in every way: a pristine phantom, fashioned by angelic hands. But I knew the abbot’s corrupt seed would distort this heavenly image. So I set about the task of staving deformity back…

Thus Jacques was not made from two, but three. First, there was his mother’s royal egg, a most beautiful orb, whose trajectory I followed down the uterine tube, like a waxing moon. Second, there was his father’s seed that writhed to meet it. Yet third was I, with my scrolls of sacred code, deftly spliced in spiral braids betwixt the two. Such golden union could only a Cyclops make.

I knew ’twas fateful fusion when the seed first flared within the egg. His conception was like a meteor blazing in the firmament and my eye was smitten by its lustre. Although I was skilled in my craft, I knew I could never effect a complete cure; only halt the cankerous corruption for a number of years – perhaps five at most. So I began my work in earnest: I presided over each division, separating the subtle from the gross, weaving my silver thread through the fabric of his flesh. I was present in every atom, as his organs came forth from shapeless matter. In neural groove I dwelt, marking the primitive streak with my golden pen. Then out into salty waters, drifting with the Villi of Chorion, like a polyp in coral seas, swept in rhythmic tides by the mother’s beating heart. Unfolding, entwining, through partition, septum and sinus, I invaded the pharynx and wandered through olfactory pits. Then, as every Cyclops must, I climbed to the floor of the forebrain where I planted my garden of genius.

To think that the abbot of Belloc could ever seed a child in the image of Christ! Six times he’d tried before, yet all were mooncalves foul, destined for their father’s cloister. But Jacques was special: the seventh son of a seventh son. So whilst he lay curled in the womb, sleeping in the boughs of The World Tree, I bestowed upon him a healing gift. On his crown I spun wheels of light, to cosmic realms unseen; and on each palm I put the seal of Pisces: an inscribed fish betwixt the plain of Mars and mound of the Moon, caught on the line of the Sun. Thus I marked the unborn Jacques with the twelfth sign of the Zodiac. Then on each fingertip, I placed other whorls of light, to channel Holy powers. And as he dreamed, adrift in dark amnion, I whispered in his ears: “Ye shall seek out the afflicted in this earthly realm and lay your hands upon them!”

Still perfect was his body then; no twist of spine nor cleft of brow; no horns of ram nor palsied claw. Just a babe in the image of God. A diamon invisible. Yet the abbot’s curse was written still, latent in the marrow, lying dormant like a desert rose, waiting for the thunder crack…

Copyright © Nicholas Shea 2007.

Image credit: Syncephalus Parasiticus from ‘Human Monstrosities’ Part IV (Barton Cooke Hisrt, M.D., & George A. Piersol, M.D. 1893).