The Monster and the Detective - 0:Prologue
I don’t want to die alone.
I wish for someone to be by my side when my life’s about to end.
However, the lamplighter thought. However, that being said, I didn’t want to be surrounded by more than two hundred strangers either. I didn’t want for the lower half of my body to be exposed, bare. I didn’t want to be bound to a cold operating table.
I didn’t live, lighting over a hundred gas lamps one after the other in the two and a half mile area assigned to me, just to suffer like this. I didn’t climb up and down the ladder day after day since the dawn of the 19th century, for it all to end like this.
I have devoted myself to the small role of lighting up the metropolis of London every day!
Even though I’ve embellished the thriving other side of the wretched world with the pleasant light of civilisation.
When I think of how now, I, myself, have been dragged out onto the stage, all of my bad parts thoroughly exposed, oh, how terrible it is!
“I’ve had enough! You don’t have to do anything else anymore! I’m begging you, stop! Stop it!” The lamplighter screams, entreating. He feels discomfort and a sharp pain in his lower abdomen, which has been sliced open. There is a long, narrow thing plunged into his urinary tract, producing a gurgling sound.
It’s going to take another 19 years before chloroform is applied during surgeries.
The long, narrow thing isn’t a lithotrite 1 nor the forceps that the doctor had been holding in his hand until a moment ago. It’s his finger. It’s a doctor’s clumsy finger.
The bladder stone extraction operation supposed to last only a few minutes, has been going on for an hour already.
From all the corners of the wide operation room, hoots, sneers and scornful laughter come flying.
“He’s gonna die!”
“You’re in the way, take off your hat!”
The observation seats, resembling a staircase shape, surround the operation table that acts as a center. They are crammed full with uninvited people. Besides the medical students, a large number of others have managed to slip in.
The people in the front row are leaning forward across the waist high wooden partition, and they are quite agitated. It is more of a show rather than an operation. In the end, the poor laborers are nothing more than a fresh ingredient used for practice by the unconcerned private physicians.
“The perineum is too long,” the doctor says, clicking his tongue at the same time. He’s a surgeon,nephew of a well-known, excellent physician. However, observing the current situation, it becomes clear that this man has neither the talent nor the aptness of his uncle.
It’s going to take another 30 years before skill, rather than connections, becomes what is demanded of surgeons, in order to be acknowledged by medical practise law.
“Just a little bit more! If my finger was just a little bit longer, I think I could reach it!”
Doctors who don’t look at their own incompetence to seek for the reason why an operation isn’t going well, instead proclaim lame excuses loudly.
At that moment, from the seat furthest away, a piercing, high laughter of ‘hahahaha’ resounds. The clatter in the room suddenly freezes.
“Wh…who are you?!”
“Just a little a bit more, just a little bit more, just a little bit more! Don’t make me laugh!”
Having ignored the query and having walked down the steps, a baby faced, handsome young man stands next to the doctor. He is wearing a black, matt, silk crepe suit with black buttons. Black gloves with a black tie. Black socks with black leather boots on top. Without needing to confirm that there is a mourning ribbon wrapped around his hat, it is clear that he is dressed in mourning clothes. The young man forcibly pushes a cylindrical package he carried under his arm (this, too, wrapped in black cloth) and a black cane into the doctor’s arms. Spreading out both of his arms wide, he surveys the circumference of the spectator seats.
“Just a little bit more! That’s all you people ever say! If only I had a little bit more time! If only I had a little bit more money! If only I myself was a little bit better! Everyone keeps saying these things, but in the end, they use up the rest of their time without even having started to work on what they wanted to do the most.” The young man takes the forceps, put aside on the operation table. He lifts them up high in the air like a conductor’s baton.
“Is he a freak? A deviant? Does he have a taste for morbid things? An eccentric? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah! I don’t care whatever you say! I only do the things I like! I don’t care about the consequences of it! What a wonderful human being I am! That being said, shouldn’t he just die?” As the young man declares this, his hand swings downwards, towards the lower abdomen of the lamplighter.
“Uwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!! Aaaa, aaaaaaaah……ah..huh?”
Held between the forceps, raised high into the air once more, is a stone, smaller than a fava bean in size.
“The operation is a success! Congratulations! By the way, your perineum is of average length. But it seems like the surgery took too long. I am certain that, after this, you’ll die of sepsis.” The young man turns his face down towards the lamplighter’s, who is frozen in shock. He kisses his lips, producing a small smacking sound.
It isn’t a passionate touch, rather, it resembles a kiss a parent gives to their child.
“You have about a day and a few hours left. Well then, have a good life!”
Leaving behind cheerful optimistic words, in complete opposition to the ruthless verdict about the remaining life, the young man leaves the room in the same whimsical, willful way as when he appeared.
“What…what the hell was he?” Even though the doctor’s reputation just got destroyed, he still doesn’t seem to have any self-awareness. Suddenly he realizes that he is still holding the luggage he received from the young man. He tries to open the package. As soon as he does, a sharp cry rises from the spectator seats. In the doctor’s hand is a glass bottle. Inside the transparent liquid within, there is one floating eyeball. Just as they fear, it is a human’s eye.
“Oops, excuse me!” With a loud bang, the door opens and the young man comes back.
“My bad! I have left a precious thing behind.” The young man takes the glass bottle back from the doctor’s hand. He holds it gently, like it is a baby, and he places a light kiss upon it.
“Would the way you see the world change, if you were to see it through a murderer’s eyes? What do you think about that thought, ladies and gentlemen?”
No one answers. The young man, seemingly not worried about it, smiles softly, letting out a chuckle.
It’s going to take another 31 years before Darwin, presenting the theory of evolution, publishes ‘On the Origin of Species’.
“If any of you ever become criminals, let’s certainly meet again! If you commit a crime and die, all of you will become mine.” Under the watchful eyes of the people in the room, who were left gasping, the young man tips his hat up slightly, speaking these somewhat incomprehensible words.
While humming a tune, looking like he had a good time getting the better of them, this time he does leave the room behind.
“Doctor Brad Longrose?” Someone mutters from the spectator seats.
Brad Longrose. It is a name everyone has heard before at least once, even without being involved in medicine.
“It can’t be!”
“No…now that you mention it, it is him!”
“It’s certainly him!”
“Oooh, no! What! How!”
A commotion raises throughout the spectator seats and abruptly, the room returns to its previous uproar.
It will take one more year for Scotland Yard[efn_note]Metonym for the headquarters of London’s Metropolitan Police.[/efn_note] to be established.
Although he’s a genius, he’s a madman.
A surgeon dressed in mourning clothes.
A black demon, Brad Longrose.
This is the beginning of the story of the Monster he created, and a newly recruited detective.