the Feral Wolf Twins Go To the Country
chapter 8: Incident at the Icebox
by Justice H. Baldenbrach September 8, 2003
(as read to eli in a monotone voice by his robot babysitter)
The bloodletting lasted all through the night, and into the next day, leaving Little Sigmundt with a somewhat pinched expression that the Von Kanker family found both amusing and delightful. At one o'clock in the afternoon, the doctor announced that "the little fellow was past human aid," and that his soul would soon pass, as a fine mist, through his nose and upwards to the Celestial Realm.
"Could not this 'soul' be captured with the aid of a jar or cup, and somehow preserved?" inquired Franklin Allgemeine Zeitung.
"Indeed," replied the doctor, "learned men have of't speculated that the Spiritual Musk might be thus collected, and re-inserted to the patient's corpse in suppository form. It has been achieved, I understand, with mice under certain laboratory conditions, and lately in Romania among bats and onions -- but the science is still in its infancy. No, it would be far kinder to simply pitch the little fellow into the swamp and be done with it." And with that, the Doctor collected his jar of leeches and departed.
"Oh dear," sniffed Enid wanly, "must we dispose of our son so quickly? I should grow lonely without seeing his sweet, puckered face."
"If we do not, his body shall become host to innumerable imps and demons," replied her husband.
"I believe the occasion calls to mind the noble and exacting art of mummification, as practiced by the Egyptian priests of old," commented Sir Leopold. "Could we not discard the boy's viscera and save just the lifelike husk?"
"Oh yes, let's," exclaimed Enid merrily. "And we shall place him near the fireplace in an attitude of pious devotion. An excellent plan; but oh! It is late, and we should have luncheon first."
"What shall we do with Little Sigmundt's corpse while we sup?" inquired Sir Leopold.
"Just chuck him into the icebox for now," responded lovely Enid.
"I still worry about the imps and demons," muttered Franklin Allgemeine Zeitung quietly.
* * * * * *
After a jolly meal of twigs, nuts, and a pale moss broth, the happy family re-assembled 'round the Von Kanker icebox to prepare Little Sigmundt's recently vacated corpse for embalming.
"First, we must make an incision below the abdomen and dispose of the guts, not unlike the preparation of a fish for baking," said the wise Sir Leopold. "Let us open the icebox and examine the subject." Upon that, he swung the lid of the icebox open with a flourish and peered inside.
"Yes, indeed. Well," said Sir Leopold after a pause, "I should say that, upon careful inspection, that the subject appears to be in a state that is normally referred to as 'missing.'"
"What?" cried the assembled Von Kanker family.
"Indeed!" replied Sir Leopold. "My nephew's body is not where we left it just a few hours hence. This leaves only two possibilities: that the body has been stolen, or that it has suddenly become very, very tiny."
"There is a third possibility," intoned Franklin Allgemeine Zeitung dully.
"A third? Impossible," snapped Sir Leopold. "What could a third possibility be?"
"That Little Sigmundt left the icebox by himself," responded his brother.
"Nonsense, husband," cried Enid. "Little Sigmundt has been unable to walk unsupported for years now, much less now that he is dead. He could not have escaped the icebox alone."
"It is true, wife, that Little Sigmundt could not have accomplished such a feat under normal circumstances," said Franklin Allgemeine Zeitung. "But what if his body were now populated by innumerable imps and demons, as I feared it would be? Such a creature could not be held by the lid of an icebox, nor anything else!"
"Hmm, a troubling thought," nodded Sir Leopold. "A Little Sigmundt possessed by demons would be something of a public safety hazard. The child must be found immediately! I suggest sending the Feral Wolf Twins, with their canine tracking instincts, to retrieve him; meanwhile I shall test my pet theory that he has simply become very, very tiny. To work! Schnell! Schnell!"
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