Excerpt: AN ARM AND A LEG
A Novel by Olive Balla
He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and polished the clear, vacuum-sealed glass dome, pleased to note hardly any deterioration in the mummified flesh beneath.
“Beautiful, absolutely beautiful.” He smiled and nodded, as if the thing under the dome was whispering the secrets of the universe to him…
In near-worshipful silence, Bellamy walked among the bits and pieces the rest of the world would view as monstrosities. No matter where he was or in what activity he was engaged, his Pretties were never far from his mind. But this was more than a collection—it was an extension of him. Not because of any malformation of his own person, but because of the rarity of his carefully selected pieces.
An image of Frankie O’Neil sprang into his mind. She of the tiny hands and feet. She of the striking eyes. Rare eyes, glowing at him from the picture frame in which O’Neil had kept her photo.
How best to preserve those eyes—one sky-blue, the other amber-yellow? Formaldehyde? No, that didn’t prevent decay, it only slowed it. And alcohol would alter the cell structure such that bits of flesh would loosen and peel away, destroying the face’s loveliness. No, no…that would be unacceptable.
Cryonics was the answer—a complex procedure ending in the head’s being submerged in liquid nitrogen and maintained at absolute zero… He’d be the proud owner of the only known example of that rare condition called heterochromia iridium. It would be the crowning glory of his collection.