One summer’s day, as mild and perfect as they all are. Hodgson lets her eyes unfocus and squints out through the open French windows. “What a beautiful day,” she notes, idly, to Bredon who is deep in his castle of books.
A muffled crash as he comes burrowing up to where he can see her. “What’s that, my dear?”
“The day, I say, is quite beautiful.”
“Oh, yes! Yes, of course, it would be, wouldn’t it? Not after last time, ach, what a terrible mess that was. Murder on the drains, simply murder.”
Hodgson wipes her scalpel clean and cracks her back. “How are you getting on, my darling? Making much progress?”
“Little, cursed little! Hours of work for only seconds of writing, but do you know, I think we can say quite definitively that Quackenbos was wrong, decidedly wrong about compassion. I don’t think it lives in the brain at all. Maybe in the liver, if anywhere.”
She chuckles happily. “Well, we’ll find it, never fear.” She strokes a finger along the velvety cheek of the boy on her table. “I was getting tired of the brain anyway, weren’t you?” The clamps hold his head firmly in place, and she removed his tongue gently long ago, but his eyes tell Hodgson he agrees.