4. A Man of a Thousand Pieces

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I found myself on a brisk walk back through Glasten with only one thing on my mind: I must find Frederic

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I found myself on a brisk walk back through Glasten with only one thing on my mind: I must find Frederic.

He would have answers.

Saint Kristopher's steeple ascended into view as I crossed half the breadth of the entire town in search of it. The cold, ancient chapel and its cemetery harboured Corgaine's lab so completely out of sight that one must know it was there to so much as go looking for it.

 The cold, ancient chapel and its cemetery harboured Corgaine's lab so completely out of sight that one must know it was there to so much as go looking for it

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The doctor was an inward, introverted man of contemporary science, and because of this, rumours about him bred like vermin. Happily though, once they had begun, Corgaine was one to help propagate them, insisting that the mystery surrounding his work might actually shroud the more frightful, morbid nature of the truth. Personally, I had no polite opinion on Corgaine's work; I neither despised nor thanked him for it, nor celebrated him for his increasingly sparse achievements.

When I arrived at the laboratory and asked for Frederic, an aide whose name escaped me – Harold or Harris, perhaps – barred me from entry with little more than his ire.

"Here we are again, Redding," he said in that insufferable drawl of his. "You will not find them here. The doctor left at first light on field work and old Emory's boy accompanied him."

I cursed gutturally in front of the dour-faced man, who reminded me at once that the Lord was not deaf to profanity simply because we were outside the chapel grounds. I could not wait that long to discuss matters with Frederic, and I had Harold (or Harris) give me directions so that I might convene with the boy by the toll of the hour.

The aide's instructions led me to the main artery of Glasten's heart, Westgove Road: a bustling street of cabs, carriages and side-street ale houses serving most hours of the day.

It took great skill, certainly far more than I could muster so early after a sleepless night, to avoid the torrent of pedestrians, bank clerks and shoemakers alike on their way to work. I muttered the address one last time and stopped at the door of a worker's home a little over halfway down; a narrow, brick house huddled in a line of similarly pinched-looking terraces.

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