Fiction: Children of the Guillotine

An essay by Bernard Asse, as provided by Nathan Crowder
Art by Luke Spooner

You sit there smiling, full of self-importance, bloated with secrets and my finest burgundy, and question the path that brought you here to me. Our previous interactions in the Grand Salon piqued your curiosity, made you envious, perhaps. Me, the lowly child of a Parisian ex-pat and a college professor from Senegal, the talk of the city’s elite, my designs worn by the daughters of wealth and privilege. You look upon my Haute Couture and see nothing special, nothing magical. Certainly, I must have done something scandalous, must have fucked my way into a position of influence, must know where the bodies are buried, to achieve such unwarranted acclaim. How tired your bleated protests, thinking they are unique, thinking you are the first to question my vision as a designer.

Rooting in the soft ground of my known history, you tried to dig up some dark secret. You found nothing but carrots but convinced yourself they were diamonds. Convinced yourself that my association with esoteric spiritualists makes me look mad, as if black magic could account for my successes.

If I truly were a sorcerer, then you were a fool to come to my home to confront me.

Illustration of a man with his face in shadow, with a pig in the background.

A pig that amazing, you don’t want to eat all at once.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2019 collection.

Bernard Asse is a rising star in the fashion industry, known for his innovative choice of materials interpreted through a lens of classic silhouettes. He is hungry for success and his new collection will walk Milan 2020. His current whereabouts are unknown.

Nathan Crowder has a fondness for writing about superheroes and some of the darker corners of history and culture. He has seen every episode of Project Runway at least once.

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

“Children of the Guillotine” is © 2019 Nathan Crowder
Art accompanying story is © 2019 Luke Spooner

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