Delly decides to finish her fathers work in bringing her brother to life.
She sat staring at her brother’s featureless face. All he had were eyes. Her father hadn’t gotten around to making his face or the rest of his brass casing, except for his chest. He didn’t even have any shred of skin made yet.
Her brother was incomplete. Her father was going to call him Sil. Now he will never have the chance to bring him to life.
If she could have cried she would have. Her father had made her an almost perfect replica of a human being, yet he hadn’t given her the capacity to cry.
Delly sighed sadly. Well, really it was just her lifting and dropping her shoulders and making the sound of a sigh. That was another thing she couldn't do, breathe. She had to fake breathing.
Delly looked around the laboratory. There were so many benches loaded with all her father’s plans and blueprints. On the table next to the bench Sil rested on, was a cup of tea. It was cold now, but she couldn't bear to tip it out. She picked it up and held it, the now icy tea making the china cup cool to the touch.
Next to where the cup of tea had been there was an old book. Delly picked it up and read the page. Most of it was hard to read and she only realised what she was reading once she got halfway down the page.
The spell that had given her life was on the pages before her.
The spell she could use to bring her brother to life.
She looked down at her brother. The ingredients, that’s what she needed. She flicked through the pages until she found it. A ravens feather, a tooth, a strand of the preferred genders hair, a yellow canary feather and an energy stone, mixed altogether in a bowl of sheep’s blood. Delly smiled. It was doable.
She rifled through the piles of junk in the lab until she found a bowl and a bit of tubing to mix it all together with. She raced up the stairs to the first floor and rushed into the kitchen at the back of the house and plucked a hair from the footman’s head as he ate his breakfast. She quickly apologized when he yelped in surprise and ran up to her bedroom.
She walked up to her birdcage and opened the little door. Sticking her hand in she whistled for Sunflower, her yellow canary, to get on her hand. Obediently he sat on her finger as she plucked a feather from his tail. He squeaked unhappily and Delly stroked his chest and whistled an apology. Sunflower seemed satisfied with the apology as he went back to singing happily in his cage.
Delly walked into her father’s study and found his box full of stones. She remembered which one he had told her was an energy stone and she dug around inside the box until she found the one she was looking for. It was small and grey with green streaks through the smooth rock.
She stood in the study thinking. Where could she get a raven’s feather, sheep’s blood and a tooth?
Then it came to her. She ran out of the house, down the street and into the dental clinic.
“Do you have a human tooth I could please borrow?” She asked when the dentist opened the door.
“Why ever would you need a tooth?” He asked, with his bushy eyebrows raised.
“Please sir, it is an experiment!” She pleaded. “I am doing it to complete one of my father’s works in progress as my last present to him.”
“Oh, well in that case, just one moment then!” He hurried back into his clinic and spoke to someone sitting in the reclined chair. He stuck a pair of pliers in and wrenched out a bloodied tooth. “I’m sorry!” He called back to his patient as he hurried to give it to Delly. “Your father was a friend of mine. I hope you do him proud.”
“I will sir!” She said and raced up the hill to her home.
When she reached the house she stopped. She still needed a raven’s feather and sheep’s blood.
She went down the stairs to the basement and sat beside Sil’s still form. She didn’t have the heart to kill a sheep herself and she had no idea where to find a raven to pluck the feather from.
She heard the basement door open and turned to see Alf standing with a tray in his hands. On the tray sat a large jar, half filled with a dark liquid and a small paper bag.
“I realised what you were doing when you ran to the dental clinic after plucking the hair from the footman.” Alf stepped forward setting the items on the table next to the old book. “Master Lambert had these in a safe in his office, just in case he ever needed it to fix you one day. He was going to use them to bring Sil to life but he never got the chance.”
“Thank you Alf.” Delly said with a smile.
Alf watched her as she poured the blood into the bowl. “I was there when he performed the spell with you. Perhaps I can be of assistance.”
“That would be good; can you read this while I do the rest?”
“Of course I will, sister.” Alf said as he picked up the old tattered book. “Tell me when to begin.”
Delly opened the paper bag to find a handful of black feathers. “Excellent.”
Signalling Alf to begin she dropped in the items; a raven feather, the bloodied tooth, the footman’s hair, Sunflower’s feather and her father’s energy stone. Delly began to mix the contents of the bowl, her heart thumping in her chest.
Alf stopped reading and handed her a paintbrush. “You must paint on the symbol.”
“What symbol?” Delly asked as she took the brush.
Alf pointed at the brass plate that was Sil’s chest. “The pentagram.”
Delly looked down at the pattern on his breast plate. “Oh. Do I paint it with this?” She asked, lifting the bowl.
Delly dipped the paintbrush into the bowl and traced the lines of the pentagram with the thin bristles. Alf continued to read as the etching slowly stained red.
She wondered what a boy like her might be like. He wouldn’t be anything like her other brothers or even her father, but maybe he would share some characteristics with them. He is their brother and his son after all, he might pick up on their behaviour as she had. She would enjoy the company of another automaton like herself even if he wouldn’t be completed appearance wise. He would always just be a skeleton with a chest and head.
Once the pentagram was successfully coloured, she looked up at Alf again for instruction.
Walking across to Sil’s head he opened a small globe on the top. “Pour the bowls contents in there and close it. I will read the rest of the script as you do so.”
Nodding, Delly obeyed and poured the liquid and its other ingredients into the globe, closing it with a small click. Alf abruptly stopped reading. Delly looked up at him with a confused expression.
Alf was staring at the page, his mouth open slightly. “I apologize. We cannot complete the spell.”
“Why not?” Delly cried.
“We do not have a drop of the creator’s blood.” Alf said.
“You mean fathers blood.”
“Yes.” He replied even though it had not been a question.
Delly sighed. Her father had been buried the week before. There was no way for them to get a sample of his blood without committing a felony and she hadn’t wanted to kill a sheep, let alone dig up her dead father.
She looked down at her wrists. There was a tiny web of veins that pumped oil to her joints. Staring at the veins she suddenly remembered a conversation with her father a week before he had been murdered.
“Delly, don’t hide in the dark. Come forward, I want to show you something.” Her father had gestured for her to come out of her hiding place from which she had been watching, curious about her new brother.
She had stood next to him as he had shown her the skeleton of her brother. He hadn’t had his breast plate or eyes then and she had found it unnerving to look at.
“He will be called Sil. He is the fifth so he is Epsilon, Sil for short.” He had smiled at her. “He will be able to relate to you as well as keep you company when I am busy. Are you looking forward to having a brother?”
“Yes.” She had replied, a smile spreading across her face.
“He will be much like you.” He had continued. “My blood runs through his veins as it does in yours.”
Delly lifted her wrist to the light. “My blood runs through his veins as it does in yours.”
Alf stared at her. “I beg your pardon Delly; I do not quite get your meaning.”
“Father’s blood runs through my veins.” She thrust her wrist in his direction, urging him to look. “He told me two weeks ago that that is part of what makes us more human.”
Alf took her wrist in his own hands. “How do you propose we get a drop of it? We cannot prick you as it will not heal and you will slowly bleed out.”
“We don’t have to. Father had already filled Sil’s veins.” She gestured at Sil’s lifeless form. “It’s lying dormant in there. All we have to do is open the little valve where he inserted the blood to begin with and take out a drop.”
Alf nodded and moved to Sil’s ankle where there was a little hatch in the tubing. Carefully opening it he dipped in his index finger and pulled it out, a little droplet of blood dangled on the tip. He gently shook his finger over the pentagram and the little droplet vibrated before falling from his digit onto the painted surface.
Delly closed the valve and picked up the book to say the last words. She looked down at her brothers lifeless eyes.
Nothing was happening.
She sat down heavily on her chair and sighed in disappointment. Alf put a hand on her shoulder.
“It takes time.” He said, watching Sil’s chest. Delly followed his gaze and saw what Alf was referring to.
The cogs inside Sil’s chest were jerkily setting in motion one by one, the heart inside started up a weak beat and the blood and oil began to pump through his veins.
After a minute Sil’s eyes scanned the room, searching for something that wasn’t there. Delly grabbed his hand and watched as he focused on her. She smiled reassuringly and squeezed his hand.
“Can you squeeze for me?” She asked, remembering her first day. Sil gently closed his skeletal hand around her own, taking a firm hold. His hand was bigger than hers.
She could imagine that her father had intended him to be taller than her and protective so that he could keep her safe from whatever it was that her father thought was a danger to her.
“Can you sit up for me?” She asked. Sil moved jerkily into a sitting position.
“Can you walk?”
“No, sister, I am afraid my legs are not in working order. I require a check-up from father.” Sil said in metallic tones.
Delly frowned. “I’m afraid that won’t be possible Sil.”
“Why ever not?” Sil replied. His eyes said something but Delly couldn't think of what it could be.
“Master Lambert was killed last week.” Alf answered. “A mystery caller shot him after they were invited inside. They made a mad dash for the docks which is where Bay and I lost him.”
Sil stared at Alf; his eyes began to glitter and burn.
He threw his head back and a long agonized howl with an eerie metallic twang, erupted from his throat.