Mad Science is the truest form of science. Let’s examine that fact. There is no such thing as Mad Biology, Mad Chemistry or Mad Engineering, but the world has made note of the wondrous, unspeakable, beautiful efforts of Mad Scientists.
In fact, any given Mad Scientist will employ all of science and alchemy in his pursuit of his fevered inventing. For instance, the Mad Dr. Peculiar and his box. What? You don’t know about Dr. Peculiar. Well, aren’t you in for a tale.
The Mad Dr. Peculiar thought of his box in a dream. It was said that he dreamt of spewing columns of fire and of dancing embers on volcanic winds. He writhed wildly in his chamber and when he woke, he would not sleep again until the box was completed. No one knows exactly how the box worked, but on examination of the thing, it was found to be impossibly simple in design. Picture a box, a perfect cube – 18in all around. Inside, well-secured by electromagnets, were two irradiated copper rods placed exactly 10in away from each other and then, placed exactly 6in from each other, was two rods of the impossibly rare Necrotron. Necrotron, for the uninformed, is an element made by Mad Scientists and bleeding with undead energy. That was all the box had and still it worked wonders. With it, Dr. Peculiar opened a window into hell, he spoke with the damned and claimed he could steal souls from the devil himself.
Evil men and politicians alike scrambled to pay their way out of hell while their money could do them good. Dr. Peculiar happily took their money and promised their liberation from hell. He kept good on his promise and released over fifty men in the course of twenty years. These souls weren’t able to go to heaven, but earth was paradise when considering the alternative.
His troubles began because of the box, though. It’s unsurprising that the devil doesn’t like being stolen from, doesn’t like being made a fool of. He sent his worst demons after Dr. Peculiar, giving them specific instruction to kill Peculiar and break his wondrous box. Dr. Peculiar had anticipated this and made precaution. He made safe his doorways and windows with the Necrotron and hired vicars to say prayers over his homestead. He pasted pages from the bible around his sleeping chambers and he was also convinced he was safe as houses, but the red eyes beyond the wooded shadows suggested to the contrary. Peculiar wasn’t about to give refunds to dead men, so he continued to do as he promised, stealing souls from the devil as quick as he could.
What he found was that the prayers and alchemy that barred the fiends of hell from entering, barred the souls of wicked men from exiting. His home filled with the bellowing of scarred souls and drove him near mad. Mind you, he was already mad to begin with, so the further loss of his faculties was easy to handle. The bellowing was still more than he could bear and to stem the flow of wailers, he decided to break his promises. He closed his box forever, locking it away with chains and weights. He locked it away in an iron safe with a door thicker than a strong man’s chest and secure enough to hold a herd of mustangs. Happy with the thought that the box would never be open, he turned his attention to ridding himself of the souls that haunted his halls. The problem he observed was that he needed to expunge a house filled with souls without letting down the guards that kept the demons out. It occurred to him that the souls were of wicked men and politicians and would naturally be repelled by holy artifacts and righteous prayer. More vicars and Bible paper would be his remedy, but how to get it without leaving the protection of his home? He couldn’t, he realized. Thinking on it, he realized his only option was the birdies up in his belfry where the wind blew freely. But climbing up there, he spotted only black ravens picking apart rats. Ravens aren’t much for messages, less they’re bringing souls back home to Baby Jesus. Peculiar, the cover bloke, saw some solution to his problem. He collected some of the loose black feathers that littered the ground.
On close examination, he saw that the feathers were porous in strange ways. Water might have rolled from the feather’s black curve, but the amethyst spectral mist of dead men took to it like mad men to the twisted whisperings in their head. He could use this, he thought. He took up the task of synthesizing something useful from the raven feathers, a concentrated potion he poured into a sprayer bottle. He tested the solution of the most irritating souls to haunt his halls, and if it were impossible to slay a spirit, those first souls might count themselves lucky. More likely though, Peculiar sent them to hell or some sort of oblivion, because the box he locked up tight started to rattle in its thick safe. He killed the whole of them, each and every spirit and all the while, the box roared like a hell beastie. The souls were feeling betrayed, one would gather.
The box fumed with the hell the hid beyond its lid, heating up the metal that bound it. Before the weeks were in their winters, the metal glowed an angry, steaming red.
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