The Formula

“You!” she charged at him, her parasol struck him repeatedly but he barely flinched.

“Siegfried, why is she here.” He turned his attention to her “This isn’t a playground for little girls.”

She glared at him. “Mr. Adler, since my father is missing, and I am his only heir, that makes this my property. Please call the constable and have him arrested for assault and theft.”

Siegfried opened and then closed his mouth as if to speak several times. He glared at one and then the other, “I helf hed enough. I em going home.” he turned, put his jacket on and stormed out of the building.

“Very well then, I’ll have to charge the cutter myself. Jake, bring it over here.” He started toward Siegfried’s workbench but she stepped into his path.

“Are you intending to steal more of my property? Right in full view?” She asked indignantly.

He sighed, “Listen young lady, you have no idea what’s going on. I’m the only chance your father’s got, so if you want to see him again,”

He was suddenly interrupted “Wrong Griffin, she’s the only chance you’ve got of saving Mr. Drake. I’d have gone with you but my days hunting are done, I messed up too badly last time.” The old man emerged from the shadows. “She can see ’em!” he grinned a wild grin. “Sober even.” He offered.

“I can’t take her into those mines!” Griffin protested. “I just lost a man fighting them, she’ll be eaten alive.”

Coffer smiled “Well, that’s your foolishness for loosing a man. You don’t take a man into those mines, you take a Drake.”

“Drake or not, she can’t handle a gun, she can’t fight, she’s useless to me.”

“Silly Boy, who do ya’ think taught her father?” Coffer was enjoying this conversation immensely. “Jake, she still has trouble with shadows, can you fix that?”

“I think I can, the same formula that got Griffin hearing them should work.” Jake answered.

“Mr. Coffer, I will not work with these common thieves.” Emily insisted.

“Eh, they may be common thieves but you father kept em’ in his company. Griffin’s just a little impetuous, you’ll get used to him. Jake, mix up a batch and we’ll see how good you really are.”

“Coffer, when it comes to this kind of thing, not only am I the best at it, I’m the only show in town.” Jake said as he straightened up. He took out a set of vials filled with various oils. Emily had never seen the like of them.

“What are those?” She asked warily.

“These my dear, are from various parts of the spider’s anatomy. Their venom is an opium that convinces men that they don’t exist. This,” he said holding up a green liquid “is the bile of a sac in their abdomen that works with the venom. You see, when a little girl goes to bed at night, she can tell there’s something under her bed. The spider waits until she’s asleep and then bites her.” He said, lunging at Emily, who jumped back several paces. “The poison gets into the brain. Each night for years the spider sits under her bed, waiting for her to fall asleap and then he bites her. Each time she smells this bile it makes her think there’s nothing there under the bed. Once the little girl is old enough, the spider will start to feed on her as she gets sicker and sicker.”

He paused for a moment seeing that Emily was aghast at his story. He chuckled and then continued, “Your father kept the spiders away, kept them out from under the shadows of your bed. He kept you from getting stung hundreds of times without knowing it. That’s probably why you can see them in the light. Now I’ve played with these fluids and I can counteract the poison that’s still in you from when you were real small.”

“I have to drink that?” Emily grimaced.

 

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