Bio Art Gone Awry
It was almost midnight when the stench of death interrupted my concentration. Tensing, I sat up in the tattered upholstered chair near the corner of my bedroom. Soon after, a thunderous crash from downstairs sent a shudder through the modest 18th-century castle. I dropped my copy of The Invisible Ballerina to the floor as I leapt up from my seat.
Like a madman, I rushed barefoot along the dark hallway to the landing at the top of the stairs. I leaned over the worn oak railing and looked down at the dimly lit entry hall. Until that moment, I hadn’t noticed how the old 15-watt bulb that hung on a wire from the high ceiling lent a Rembrandt-like atmosphere to the space. But all that changed in an instant.
The massive front door had been smashed to pieces. Sections of the heavy frame were splintered inward like jagged spears that threatened to impale anyone foolhardy enough to approach them without caution. Through the gaping breach, the chill of the moonless night seeped in. The gloom seemed to swallow what little light shone in that space.
The world is a parable–the habitation of symbols–the phantoms of spiritual things immortal shown in material shape.” ~ Sheridan Le Fanu
Light spilled out from the direction of the kitchen, beyond the dining room. It lit the debris like a German Expressionist movie set. The pile of shattered glass and splintered wood that now lay on the floor below looked disturbingly similar to many of the rehashed conceptual pieces so common in galleries and museums.
Albeit briefly, I entertained the thought of entering the rubble in an art contest. It was certainly better than some of my earlier work. But the sound of shuffling and the clang of metal in the kitchen brought my attention back to the threat at hand.
Suddenly, from the archway, a large shadow loomed over the debris like a Banksy figure. Only better. From the dining room came a low throaty moan and the thump of heavy footsteps. Overcome with horror, I froze in place. The unthinkable had finally occurred.
As the ghastly shape drew closer, I braced myself for the dread that was about to overcome me. The hulking creature lurched forward into view. I nearly collapsed at the sight. Sensing my presence, it looked up at me with glowing, bloodshot eyes that reminded me of an elderly Bette Davis.
The creature held something in its horrible grasp. I gasped. It was just as I feared. I was powerless to stop the beast as it sucked the life out of the end product of years of painstaking experimentation in my dingy, crowdfunded laboratory.
Heedless of the consequences, in desperation, I yelled, “Stop!”
The creature jolted in surprise. A tense silence was followed by a growl. “Grrrrrr…”
Getting up the courage, I screamed, “How could you?”
It swung a clawed hand at me and snarled, “Nnnnngggggg…”
Outraged, I thrust a fist toward it and shouted, “That cake was for our company tomorrow night!”
The creature gawked in confusion.
“And the door!” I said. “You needn’t have done that, you know?”
“It was unlocked!”