From the research journals of Louis Pasteur, as told by David Harrison
Art by Leigh Legler
12 August 1889
A man was brought to my Institut late tonight. Three foreigners brought the man to the front gates, gravely wounded. The night guard attempted to turn them away, but they said the man had been bitten by a rabid animal and implored him to call for me.
I arrived shortly before midnight and, with the help of his friends, placed him on the table in one of my laboratories. Between us we removed his trousers, which were badly torn and blood-stained, and I examined the wound on his leg. He had been bitten twice–one was a superficial wound, not much more than a graze; the second was a deep bite with multiple punctures and compound fractures to both the tibia and fibula of his right leg.
I cleaned the outside of the wounds as best I could and sent the night guard to wake my friend and colleague Docteur Grancher to deal with the fracture. Between us, we were able to set the leg and dress his wounds. It was necessary for Docteur Grancher to administer injections of cocaine to numb the leg, but despite this, the patient passed out when we set the bones.
The patient is resting, and I will review in the morning and speak with his friends about how he came to be bitten.
13 August 1889
I returned to the Institut this morning to find our patient still unconscious. I administered his first dose of my rabies inoculation while he rested.
His friends returned mid-morning to check on his condition: an American couple, Monsieur Butler and his wife Phoebe, and a tall Serbian immigrant, Monsieur Tesla. Tesla had come to Paris for the Exposition Universelle with our patient, declaring an interest in the scientific advancements on display, and the two had met up with the Butlers, who were also in Paris for the Exposition.
During their exploration of the Exposition, they had heard rumours of menageries of fantastic beasts, not just exotic, but otherworldly. I replied that there are many zoos and displays among the exhibitions of the show, but any talk of legendary creatures was surely nonsense.
They replied that they had thought as much, but had nonetheless decided to investigate, expecting no more than some charlatanism they might easily debunk. They were right for some of the displays they found, but the last one they visited, they claim, was no fraud, but contained several specimens of loup-garou, the werewolf.
While there, one of the wolves escaped from its confinement and bit our patient, after which it fled into the city. I am not sure I believe their claim that this was a genuine loup-garou. No doubt when the beast is caught, it will be revealed to be a simple wolf, or perhaps large dog.
To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Summer 2019 collection.
Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) was a French biologist and chemist. He is best known for his invention of pasteurisation, his advancement of germ theory, and his studies in immunology. His work in immunology lead to his developing many vaccines, including ones for anthrax and rabies (and were-rabies). Prior to his death, Pasteur asked his family to never reveal his research journals to anyone. Following the death of his last male descendant, the journals have been kept under lock and key in a restricted section of the French National Library.
David Harrison is a speculative fiction and mythology writer from Wellington, New Zealand. He graduated from Victoria University of Wellington with majors in Classical Studies, Religious Studies, and Latin and now divides his free time between writing and visiting the zoo too often (feeding giraffes helps with writer’s block). He can be found on Twitter @DavidSHarrison.
Leigh’s professional title is “illustrator,” but that’s just a nice word for “monster-maker,” in this case. More information about them can be found at http://leighlegler.carbonmade.com/.
“Fiction: On a Cure for Werewolf Bites” is © 2019 David Harrison
Art accompanying story is © 2019 Leigh Legler