Chapter Two: Steam from the Warped Cogs of my Brain
Serial novel and follower on of the style of Victorian pulp fiction (Penny Dreadfuls etc) Steam from the Warped Cogs of my Brain looks at mad scientists, mad inventions, and sane women accused of being mad.
Back in his own lab Dr Kyle twisted a nob and then tapped the grill of the device he was working on. Bits of machinery were spread throughout the room, according to a logic that only Dr Kyle understood. Some of the pieces he had invented and made himself- they only existed in his lab.
The machine he was working on was also his own design. A new version of the Khephir. The Khephir had numerous uses; but the most significant was its properties as a mind reading device. Of the dead.
Using the device Dr Kyle could enter into the mind of a deceased person and experience the last twenty-four hours of thought that they produced. A ridiculous invention made by an equally ridiculous man. Yet once Dr Kyle had assured the public (back in the year 1888) that the machine truly did work, he had been inundated by requests.
The most pushy amongst these came from Detective Chief Thomas Pilk. The man used all of his authority to ensure Dr Kyle’s assistance in a variety of unsolvable crimes that the new detective department had accumulated. No-one knew how the detective had achieved Dr Kyle’s compliance, although there were plenty of rumours. It was also a widespread assumption that the result of one of these rumours had been the cause of Dr Kyle’s dismissal from all police work.
Since the end of his employment with the police, Kyle had employed with a pleasant salary as an Egyptologist. Technically he worked for the British Museum, but he had special permission to work out of his own laboratory.
“Where do you want it?” shouted a roughly crafter cockney voice from the door. Dr Kyle’s hands were still fiddling with a delicate element of the device and he didn’t reply.
“Sir, where do you want it?” repeated the voice.
“Matthew!” Dr Kyle Shouted.
“I’m busy too you know.”
Matthew rushed around to answer the door anyway.
“He’s working on something. He’ll want it on the slab.” Said Matthew to the two museum porters.
“No” said Dr Kyle before they reached the slab.
“The table then.”
“Kay” said one of the men and they edged their delivery into Dr Kyle’s half of the lab. Laid out on the sheet of wood were the remains of a mummified body.
Matthew coughed harshly.
“What’s that smell?” he gasped.
“That would be the embalming fluid sir.”
Finally Dr Kyle got up and showed some interest.
“I hope you brought all the canopic jars. I need all of them to get a clear sound.”
“They’re outside in the carriage.”
“Unguarded? Go get them! Quickly.”
The two men rushed to do as they were told.
“Can I go now?” sighed Matthew.
“Go help them with the jars, I won’t have them dropped.”
“I’m not your slave.”
“I let you use half of my lab for free, isn’t that enough?”
“The museum designated us as lab partners. Believe me if my contract was with you I’d be out of here immediately.”
“I can’t see that being a bad thing.”
“Fetch your own Canopic jars!”