Another dubious selection from the Elgar Ephraim Mackiedockie
Memorial Lecture Series
Straightening his spectacles, the man in the derby hat cleared his throat. Suddenly mindful that he was indeed still wearing his hat as he stood before the audience that had come to hear his presentation, Dr. Fordyce immediately removed it and placed it in the cubbyhole beneath the lectern. The well-dressed crowd seated in the lecture hall was noticeably larger than any he’d ever had before. Curiously large.
“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,” began the doctor. “I think we’re just about ready to start.”
The sibilant noise of audience members exchanging whispered comments did not die down. “Is he really the one?” “Doesn’t look like someone who’d…” “Always have to watch the ‘meek and mild’ ones!” “Did he really…” “To the Queen?! Good lord!”
Fordyce began to suspect that many in the audience had simply come to lay eyes on one of the central figures in “The Great Petticoat Monkey Scandal” of the past week and that actual interest in his lecture (“Artificially Mimicking Entomophilous Cross-Pollination Techniques for the Home Gardener”) was rather limited. Regardless, it was time for the lecture to begin and his repeated attempts to quiet the crowd had been unsuccessful. As the chattering grew even louder, Dr. Fordyce reached to his right and pulled a long lever built into the side of the podium.
A very large metal box fell from the ceiling and landed with a loud “BANG!” in front of the stage, breaking open on impact, and setting free a hideous, fanged and tentacled monster covered in slime, issuing ferocious, ungodly shrieks as it waved its threatening appendages — some made of flesh, others artificial works of metal terminating in deadly-looking claws stained with gore. Gear-driven armatures sprang from the walls of the lecture hall, their mechanical hands grabbing at the foul, demonic creature, angering the beast with their attempts to secure it. The audience had gone mad with fright, leaping from their seats, tripping over one another as they made for the exits. At the back of the room, tall posts erupted from beneath the floor, atop each one a small cannon aimed at the bellowing monster being held fast by mighty metal pincers. Bolts of electricity from the fixture on the front of the podium struck the monster’s back, causing its vociferous howls to become louder and even more horrifying while the audience members, many of whom were on the verge of fainting from a surfeit of fear, abandoned even the semblance of civility as they climbed over one another like animals in their desperate attempts to escape. Suddenly, the screams of the crowd and the beast were drowned out by deafening cannon blasts from the back of the hall and the creature was violently terminated, destroyed utterly by the armaments’ explosive ammunition… its terrible, hell-spawned presence reduced to a revolting, charred mass of shredded metal, meat and bone. Only a few breathless sobs could be heard amongst the otherwise silent audience that had been stunned into stillness.
Dr. Fordyce straightened his spectacles and cleared his throat again in a loud, exaggerated manner. “There. Now that I have your attention, let’s start with my personal favorite, the geranium…”
((A nearly forgotten bit of flash fiction from last year… too short for TNB2 as is, and I didn’t like the idea of padding it with another hundred words.))