Categories > Movies > Nightmare Before Christmas > The Diagnoses

The Old Doctor

by misa1 1 review

Jack and Sally visit Sally's creator.

Category: Nightmare Before Christmas - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst, Drama - Warnings: [!!!] - Published: 2007-05-26 - Updated: 2007-05-27 - 1542 words

Halloweentown's royal couple stood in the yawning stone entryway of Dr. Finklestein's
laboratory. A ring of the doorbell had met with the Doctor's snarling invitation to enter, but
once inside the pair saw no sign of him. Sally's ears registered the faintest buzz of the electric
wheelchair above them.
"He's upstairs.", she said flatly. Jack nodded. He glanced upwards at the steel grating
which served as the ceiling of the first level and the floor of the second. There was no
"No. In the hall. Outside my old room.", Sally said.
"Hello? Doctor? It's Jack. Jack and...Sally.", Jack called.
After a further beat of silence, the wheelchair motor buzzed with increasing volume and the
Doctor came into view at the top of the ramp. He coughed.
"Do you think I have nothing else to do with my precious time than receive guests?
Some of the people in the town don't have those luxuries. Forgive me if you were kept waiting a
second longer than you are used to Jack."
Ever the model of diplomatic restraint, Jack simply held his hand up in deference and bowed his
skull for an instant. The doctor continued down to the first floor. He parked his wheelchair in
the center of the room, facing his guests, ready for confrontation. Sally looked away.
"Step out of the shadows Sally. I haven't seen you in months.", the old man said. Jack
moved over and gently urged his wife into the light. She complied, balancing carefully. Dr.
Finklestein tried not to show any emotion, any shock at her advanced condition. This was
clearly not simple weight gain due to over indulgence and it could no longer be brushed off as
"Gracious, Sally.", was all he could bring himself to say. She winced. Jack cleared his
"Good Evening Doctor. I apologize for interrupting your work, but Sally and I would
very much like to speak with you."
The old man said nothing. Jack shifted nervously and continued.
"It's just, well, we're just a bit concerned. We could benefit from your brilliance, that is, your
"What precisely is your problem?", Dr. Finklestein asked. Jack began to answer, but the
old man silenced him with a wave of his gloved hand.
"Why don't YOU tell me what it is you need Sally?"
The queen looked up. She steeled herself to stop wringing her hands and biting her lip.
"I would appreciate it if you would examine me. I would like know if everything
is...good. You're the only one who would know."
"Ah. Don't you have a new doctor in your life now Sally?", Dr. Finklestein asked. He
clearly enjoyed needling her. It was difficult for Jack to watch without interjecting, but the last
thing they needed was to offend the only one who could assist them. Sally patiently continued.
"Yes, I am being seen regularly by another doctor. We did not want to trouble you. Still,
you made me. You are the only one who can know for certain if my pregnancy is progressing
normally. If it's not, you're the only one who can fix me and make certain that our baby is safe."
The doctor laughed humorlessly.
"I can tell you immediately that it is not progressing normally. You were never intended
for any of this and there is only one explanation for how it happened. Someone must have
tampered with my work. Someone who didn't respect my design or my vision." The doctor felt
his composure slipping and he fell silent. Sally swallowed hard and tenderly stroked her hands
over her belly. Her fingertips met with movements within. Her stitches hurt.
"Come on. I'll look at you in the lab.", the doctor said with resignation. He turned from
his guests, heading towards the ramp.

Igor and Jewel burst into laughter at the sight of their swollen, estranged sibling. Doctor
Finklestein silenced them with a glare. Sally pressed her back against the steel examination
table. It stood vertically, ready to be reclined with the pull of a rusted lever. Doctor Finklestein
opened the clamping metal restraints and prepared to bind his creation, but Jack stepped in.
"That can't be necessary, Doctor.", he said.
"You mean to tell me how to do my work?", the man said with such ferocity that
Jack stepped backwards. Jack slipped quickly around the table so that he could be every bit as
close to his wife as her creator. He laid his hand on hers protectively and Sally squeezed his
"It's fine Jack." She turned to the Doctor. "You can do that if you wish, but I don't
think they'll fit around me right now." Her creator muttered sourly in agreement.
"Fine then. Brace yourself." He gave the lever a hard pull, sending the table backwards
with a jolt. Jack scowled. He was ready to leave. Sally had been right, as usual. This man
would be no help. Sally squeezed Jack's hand again. She looked at him and smiled softly.
"Jack. I'm fine. S'okay.", she murmured. He returned the smile and kissed her small
hand. Doctor Finklestein huffed with agitation. Sally closed her eyes and breathed deeply.
Such a strange sensation being back here. She could hear Igor and Jewel giggling quietly in the
corner of the room. They would fall silent periodically, before slowly starting again. Sally
guessed that the silences were a result of poison looks from the Doctor. She knew those looks so
well, she could almost feel them. There was no need to open her eyes and see them again, even
if they weren't directed at her.
Doctor Finklestein set about examining his creation with business-like efficiency. He
listened to her heart and her breathing, pausing to make notes in a worn, stained notebook.
"You can hear the baby.", Jack said suddenly in a happy tone. "You can hear its heart!
Doctor Frost showed me that. Do you want to hear it?" The Doctor just scowled at Jack. Sally
giggled at that and both men glanced at her. The doctor matter of factly opened Sally's cotton
dress and roughly slipped it from her. Jack's spine straightened. Sally took another deep breath.
She felt like plucked bird, helpless and cold. It seemed like an eternity since her flesh had been
so exposed against metal. At home when Doctor Frost examined her, he was very conscious of
only uncovering what he needed to. Doctor Finklestein had no patience for such niceties. It was
as if he was taunting Jack, prodding him to intervene. Sally kept a tight hold on Jack's hand,
speaking without words. Let it go, it's fine, I'm fine, we just need to know that our baby is fine."
"Your stitches look surprisingly good, Sally. Has your new doctor been maintaining
them?", Doctor Finklestein asked. Sally shook her head.
"No, I have."
"Well...your breasts are engorged. You'll need to watch your stitching there too
as your heart and lungs are in that general area afterall."
Sally opened her eyes for the first time since the table had reclined.
"Do I have lungs? I've been out of breath."
The doctor appeared incredulous.
"Whatever do you mean 'Do I have lungs?' Of course you do! Do you think I would
create you and not know how to give you those things?"
Sally closed her eyes again.
"I didn't know."
The Doctor sighed. He seemed tired, or maybe sad.
"Your lungs are pressed because of the pregnancy. Everything is being pushed.
That is why you are short of breath dear." He looked to Jack. His voice was suddenly different.
"You need to watch her. Be careful with her. She wasn't made for this, not at all." Jack
nodded. The doctor continued to examine the ragdoll's body. He was searching for signs of
tampering, of someone else's hand, but there was nothing of the sort. No explanation. He rested
his hand against her and felt a solid kick. The old man pulled his away as if he had been burned.
The reality of it all hit him suddenly. The heir of all things Halloween.

The doctor had told them very little, but Sally sensed that all was well. He had looked at
her, and in effect given an odd sort of blessing for the upcoming delivery. She felt as if she had
laid down on the table as a curious experiment gone awry, and gotten up as something renewed
and powerful. It was in the Doctor's gaze when he felt that kick. She had done something he
never imagined she would be capable of. She was more than he had made.
Jack and Sally walked hand in hand back to their home, Sally again leaning against her
husband's side.
"I hated how he touched you.", Jack said softly. Sally rubbed against Jack's shoulder.
"I love you Jack."

Dr. Finklestein stared out the window, watching Sally and Jack walk away. Behind him,
his other creations laughed.
"Did you see her?", laughed Jewel. "She was sooo fat! Like a pig!" Igor nodded
enthusiastically and giggled.
"So fat! She was so fat!"
"SILENCE!", the Doctor shouted. His voice cracked. Jewel and Igor had never
heard him yell so harshly at them. He composed himself and said quietly:
"Our future sleeps inside her."
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