• To Dr. Von Lupe, Concerning the Radium

    by  • January 2, 2017 • Fiction • 1 Comment

    A letter by Dr. Elizabeth Chu, as provided by Alanna McFall
    Art by Luke Spooner


    To Dr. Von Lupe, the Dark Star that Will Soon Eclipse the Sun,

    Thank you, from your loyal servants and subjects. Praises be upon you, my master and liege. A million prostrations of gratitude towards you, the center of all my focus and attention. You, my revered Dr. Von Lupe, are an extraordinary man.

    As you may be able to tell, we here in the underground bunker have received your latest delivery of supplies. And in your infinite wisdom and generosity, you have decided to include food this time. Food intended for humans, even! While Dr. Quinn and I were rather developing a fondness for the reconstituted chum slurry, our test subjects were not thrilled about having to split their rations. Squid can be finicky when it comes to food, and when you make them hyper-intelligent, they become craftier about expressing their frustrations. So the arrival of the canned goods has eased a lot of tensions in the cave.

    I also cannot help but notice that we have some new fellow captives. Dr. Singh and Dr. Velasco are settling into their lives of enslavement nicely, and may I just say thank you for finding actual geologists this time to build your volcano machine. As marine biologists, Dr. Quinn and I are getting to learn so much we never knew about the mineral composition of our wretched subterranean home. And after almost a year and a half with only Dr. Quinn to talk to, it is nice to have some fresh faces. (I am recovering quite rapidly from where she stabbed me, by the way, and her psychosis is under much better control, I hope it will please you to know.) Overall, things are feeling quite cheery in this hole in the ground that we are destined to spend the rest of our short lives in. We truly thank you for this, oh Terrifying One.

    There are, however, two small issues that are putting a strain on morale, and I hope I may have the liberty to bring them to your attention. I know your opinions on liberty in general, but I feel these are important concerns.

    Firstly, there is a rapidly worsening shortage of feminine hygiene products within the bunker. I am thankfully past the age where this is a concern, but Dr. Quinn and Dr. Velasco have come into rather dire straits regarding these vital supplies. If the next supply drop could include a large number of tampons or pads, we would all be incredibly grateful.

    Secondly, you appear to have given us large amounts of what seems to be unsecured radium along with the supplies. The four of us have conferred on this matter, and we feel that this situation is somewhat less than ideal for the successful running of our lab. And we hope that you will come to agree with our reasoning once I have explained it.

    Art for "To Dr. Von Lupe, Concerning the Radium"

    While Dr. Quinn and I were rather developing a fondness for the reconstituted chum slurry, our test subjects were not thrilled about having to split their rations. Squid can be finicky when it comes to food, and when you make them hyper-intelligent, they become craftier about expressing their frustrations. So the arrival of the canned goods has eased a lot of tensions in the cave.


    To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Winter 2017 collection.


    The scientific community came together today to celebrate the unveiling of the Elizabeth Chu Research Grant, a grant offered for upcoming scientists looking to make strides in the field of marine biology. The dedication of this grant comes soon after the one year anniversary of the disappearance of Dr. Elizabeth Chu, a leading expert in the field of cephalopod biology. The grant is presented as a memorial, but authorities still say they are looking for any new information on the case. Any leads pertaining to the location of Dr. Chu should be brought to the appropriate authorities immediately.


    Alanna McFall is a science fiction and fantasy writer. She has worked in a variety of mediums, from short stories to novels to audio scripts, and across a range of locations, stretching the span of the country from New York to Minnesota to California. She is always looking for ways to expand her repertoire and get involved in her next project. Follow her work on Twitter at @AlannaMcFall, or on her website, alannamcfall.wordpress.com.


    Luke Spooner, a.k.a. ‘Carrion House,’ currently lives and works in the South of England. Having recently graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a first class degree, he is now a full time illustrator for just about any project that piques his interest. Despite regular forays into children’s books and fairy tales, his true love lies in anything macabre, melancholy, or dark in nature and essence. He believes that the job of putting someone else’s words into a visual form, to accompany and support their text, is a massive responsibility, as well as being something he truly treasures. You can visit his web site at www.carrionhouse.com.


    “To Dr. Von Lupe, Concerning the Radium” is © 2017 Alanna McFall
    Art accompanying story is © 2017 Luke Spooner

    One Response to To Dr. Von Lupe, Concerning the Radium

    1. M. Kelly Peach
      January 2, 2017 at 5:52 am

      Well written and very funny. I look forward to the next installment!

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