Part 18 - Let Us Begin

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MAT STOOD WITH his arms behind him, both at thirty degrees from his legs. Debbie approached and slid the sleeves up his arms. The blood-red material was eased until it fitted snuggly over his shoulders. Debbie then hooked up the metal fastenings.

The double flash lightning logo of the Protection Squadron, the Schutzstaffel, better known to all as the SS, was stitched on his left breast.

It matched Debbie's outfit.

"Oh, how sweet," said the dressmaker when the cloaks were collected a week ago. "What a pretty design, did you make it?"

"Not exactly. It was designed a few years ago," Debbie had replied.

She realised education was lacking in the history department at the seamstress' school.

"As I lift his legs, you wheel the operating table under Fat Fred's chest."

"Is his name Fred? You never mentioned it before?"

"Does it matter what his name is?"

"No, but it's nice to know."

Mat shook his head in disbelief.

"Now, before we start on Fred, you have a small design job to complete."

"A design? What do you mean?"

"You told me you were good at art in school?"

"Yes, I was."

"I need you to tattoo my palm."

"What? Why? You mean like the illustration?"

"Yes, of course. When you went out earlier, I asked you to get some Indian ink. With that, you will create a pentagram on my right hand."

He handed to Debbie the sketch he had copied from grandfather's notes.

She looked at the simple drawing but did not speak.

Mat said, "My blood and the ink must run down the scalpel and into his brain as I remove the piece we need."

Fred was flitting in and out of conscience, he'd had neither food nor water since he had been strung up. His shoulders joints had popped out, his earlier screams had gone unheard from behind the thick stone wall, now he was beyond screaming.

"Mat, please, please, tell me what you are doing?"

A shocked Debbie found her voice.

"As you can see, we are about to operate on dear Fred here."

"I can see that, but why?"

"Okay, you have worked well. You plan to stay with me, yes?"

"Of course, I want to be with you forever."

"Then you deserve to know what I'll achieve today. I think you want to have my child?"

"Oh, yes, yes."

"You have seen some of my spells work to great effect?"

"Yes."

"Even I have some failings. Today I will put that right."

"In my eyes, you are perfect."

"Except in one thing?"

"I would like to be more intimate with you. Yes, oh yes!"

She blushed.

"I don't just want to be an average lover. I will be the best. I want us to have a child, a special boy."

She got her breath back and smiled. Mat then carried on.

"As you have seen, I spend a lot of time reading my grandfather's manuals, I have learned a lot. For this spell to work, our Fred needs to remain alive. In the past, my experiments failed as the patient died too soon. I was trying to be too clever, using only a small part of the brain which covers sexual urges. I have discovered I can use a much larger slice, and Fred can live longer! The brain's ability to rewire itself is remarkable. It seems the one piece that isn't dispensable is the brain stem, that part I have no use for, so we will leave it alone. The stem controls the heart, lungs, and blood pressure. But although missing certain parts of the brain can be removed without causing death. He will remain alive while I complete my work. Not that it's our concern, maybe he could live a reasonably comfortable life, cognition, movement, personality, and memories can be affected. So it's normally advisable to keep our brains whole. He won't need a lover, male or female!"

He roared with laughter, then continued.

"Naturally, we won't let him live long after."

His laughter eased, "The other point I missed was the illustration. The surgeon had a tattoo on his right palm. I did not know it was important. After reading the notes, I realised how it's vital that my blood and the ink flow on the top of the blade."

Mat took a deep breath as if he was about to take a high dive.

"Please start the tattoo. You can see, I've jotted the size in place already."

First, Mat had one more look at his book. Checked the fuel level.

"It is full. I made sure earlier," said Debbie.

"We don't want to lose power, now do we."

He tested the small circular saw to check it turned at full speed. Then smiled.

"Please start my tattoo. Make sure you go deep into my palm, I need my blood to flow."

Gatts drained his third coffee. Skylab returned to the kitchen for more refills.

"I've kept the fathers under guard and locked up in their rooms. Partly for their safety, and partly because they don't care if we lock them up for good. They still have no memory from before they set off. The vehicles they left in have been thoroughly gone over. No clues. We are at a total loss."

After a few seconds in silence, Gatts threw in another worry he had, "We have three fathers in custody, but four missing children. Who is the fourth father, and what part does he play?"

"We know his name is Mat, but nothing else," stumped up Skylab.

The trio thought about that question.

Kev whispered, "Skylab and myself will see Myrtle's abbot, you never know, he may have an idea."

"I don't see how, but let's hope something turns up," Gatts was thinking of better use of the time.

Skylab placed the well-used tray on the table.

"I phoned Myrtle, it is still raining over there. But passable, the monks have been laying some hardcore to prepare for this weekend's funeral service for one child plus one member of the children's family, who sadly suffered a heart attack."

"How can they have a funeral without a body?"

"It is not a funeral for the child but to remember her. The family need to grieve for both."

High dive to vote.

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