This is the third installment of the ‘Animas’ stories, the first of which can be found here and the second here. They are connected, but can be read without reading the others. This one will be a multi-part story, however, with the next installment due up on Sunday. If there’s something you’d like to know about this place, let me know in the comments so I can write about it!
“This is incredibly disturbing and I hope you’re ashamed of yourself,” said Kit Harlock to her sister Dot, in between rounds of tutting. So much tutting. She was but 25 years old, unmarried, with no children or nieces or nephews, but Dot made her an expert tutter before her time.
Dot, her heavy leather work gloves shining with glimmering substances of quasi-legal origin, did not feel this was quite fair. Sure, she had effectively spat upon all the laws of man and gods with her creation (as well as cause a considerable amount of damage to the basement, which Kit had yet to discover.) But what was more important – that, or revolutionizing the face of science forever?
“And if you had to make him anatomically correct,” continued Kit. “Couldn’t you have seen fit to giving him a pair of trousers before showing him off?”
Kit glared at the abomination / legal minefield / attractively put-together young man sitting up on the table. He smiled faintly, his hands placed on either side of his muscular thighs, but at Kit’s pointed look, the smile dimmed a fraction and the hands were placed on a more essential area.
“I tried giving him a pair of father’s, but they were too big,” said Dot. “It’s not like he can go out right now anyway. He’s effectively an incredibly intelligent, giant, strong baby.”
Kit made that squealing noise in the back of her throat that typically indicated that she was resisting the urge to throttle someone, the ‘someone’ typically meaning ‘Dot’. Eyes forward, Dot thought. Mouth shut.
“Can he even speak? Be reasoned with?”
“Oh yes. I think he’s just shy around you because you’re new and also terrifying to him right now.”
“Well. What ARE you going to do with him? Something that isn’t going to lead to you being imprisoned or strung up by a mob, and me being stripped of my position and being cast out of public life in shame, for preference.”
Dot considered the matter carefully. She hadn’t actually done that before. She had been so wrapped up in the thrill of invention and joy of discovery that she hadn’t bothered to decide what she was going to do with that discovery once it was once. Now, many ideas spawned in her mind, quickly dismissed on account of impracticality, immorality, or both. There was only one that seemed the slightest bit workable and it still seemed rather dumb against the universal standard of ideas. But ‘rather’ was a damned sight better than ‘completely’.
After all, how did she just describe him to Kit? A baby, yes, but an intelligent, giant, STRONG baby. Strong enough for manual labor, and then some.
“Isn’t Aunt Grace needing an extra set of hands in the pub?” she ventured, forcing an undeserved confidence into her words.
That squealing noise again. Kit was never going to be PM until she could get that under control.
Grace Baisby, the owner and proprietor of the Queen’s Knuckles, looked down at her two grown nieces and the odd young man in terribly-fitting clothes. This in itself was a feat, as she was at least half a foot shorter than any of the three, but she was the type of person one felt automatically inclined to cower before. (Particularly if you were her niece or nephew.) “You want me to hire this…”
“Primus,” said Dot firmly. This set off a round of whispers between the nieces – inaudible to their Aunt Grace’s ears, on account of many years of intentional whispering practice. The ‘Primus’ fellow – fit-looking, uncannily symmetrical features, but his expression made it seem like he’d be better at handling kegs than people – tried to listen, but whether he could actually follow the hisses was uncertain at best.
He’d need a haircut, decided Grace. And some proper-fitting clothes, particularly a shirt that he couldn’t comfortably shove a school-aged child in with him. Wait, weren’t those her brother’s old clothes…?
“He’s new to the city and needs to learn its ways. Also,” Kit said, pointing up at the gently-swaying pub sign. “You owe me.”
Grace decided this was true, but it wouldn’t do to agree to employing this young… man without some conditions attached. “Get him some proper trousers first,” she said. “And a shirt. And a coat. And a pair of shoes. Standard probation period of fifty days applies and if he sets fire to my pub, you’re paying for it.”
“Agreed.” They shook on it.
So began the illustrious career of Primus Dale of the Queen’s Knuckles, one that became a bonafide legend in the annals of Eleheim and indeed, the whole of Norland. Novels and songs have been composed chronicling his deeds with various degrees of accuracy, along with a well-received play and the newfangled moving picture that had been adapted from it.
All of that was in Primus Dale’s future, though, and that future was nearly wiped out when an hour after Kit and Dot Harlock’s departure, he set fire to the Queen’s Knuckles.
There you are. If you enjoyed it, please consider throwing a tip my way via PayPal or Patreon. Again, if there’s some little aspect of the world you want to know about, put it in a comment and I’ll see if I can’t write something about it. Part 2 is scheduled for Sunday. Cheers!