An essay by Amada, as provided by Andrew K. Hoe
Art by Leigh Legler
The opera troupe could handle Amada being a fake name, but not that I was dying. They could handle my seven-foot velociraptor–Rodelia–and I sneaking away at night, but not that we were breaking into factories, hunting without luck for the serum that could save me.
My life-fibers were unraveling, my mutations accelerating, so I addressed everyone at morning meal.
“Rodes mimics any sound she hears. Perfectly.”
Madam Chien and the rest of the August Court of the Full Autumn Moon round the desert camp stared like they didn’t understand English, though they did. I’d learnt enough Chinese to know. Or maybe they were examining the worsening rash on my cheek. I angled my face away. The troupe’s airship, Full Autumn Moon, floated overhead, a great redwood junk, paneled sails gleaming silver in the morning light.
“Why are you telling us now?” Madam Chien, the soprano, asked. Even in her sleeping robe she was glamorous, ageless, ready for the stage.
I swallowed. She’d been kind to us, and I didn’t like what we were about to do. “We didn’t trust you. But now, we want to contribute more.”
Rodelia scratched the ground, rumbling disapproval. Eh-eh-eh-eh-eh …
Madam Chien looked at Rodelia’s five-fingered hands–not the three-clawed manus other raptors had. “Her ability is … traitwoven?”
Traitwoven, like her capacity to stand erect, handle human tools. Her almost-human intellect.
“Such a barbaric land, America. It’s supposedly illegal, but there are raptor-butlers and raptor-porters wherever we land. Black slaves escape north, only to be dragged back south.”
I growled internally. Rodelia’s traitweavings weren’t done here, in America, but in Europe–in a mountain laboratory-fortress we’d escaped months back, life-fibers warped by one Baron Veer.
At Flagstaff, Rodelia strode onstage in dress and wig, gobsmacking everyone.
To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Winter 2020 collection.
Amada (last name unknown) is currently at large in Arizona. She is wanted by the authorities of Phoenix for the destruction of the Orpheum Opera House, for questioning regarding the now defunct Veritas Elixirs and Tinctures, for the trial of Baron Helmut Veer concerning illegal experiments. Be forewarned, she is 5 feet 2 inches, sixteen years, brown-eyed, and of slight build, but possesses strength and agility most uncanny. She was a raptor-handler for an opera troupe. She speaks and reads many languages, is familiar with airships, and converses with raptors. $500 reward–yield her up.
Andrew K. Hoe is an associate professor of English and speculative fiction author based in Southern California. He is also an assistant editor and narrator for Cast of Wonders. Though he is excited to appear in Mad Scientist Journal, he is actually not a mad scientist–but insists that nobody can be perfect.
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/.
“Victorian Velociraptor with Violets” is © 2019 Andrew K. Hoe
Art accompanying story is © 2019 Leigh Legler