(© Biswapriya Purkayastha)
"Why don’t you come to
the party the Gorgons are throwing tonight?" Mrs Jekyll suggested. "I can get
you an invitation easily. They’re going to be there, and you can see for yourself."
Miss Frankenstein went
through the motions of opening her diary to look at her social engagements,
though Mrs Jekyll knew perfectly well that the pages were blank, and Miss
Frankenstein knew perfectly well that Mrs Jekyll knew. "I’ll be able to make
it," she said, shutting it quickly. "I just have to make a few tiny adjustments
in my schedule..."
"Make them," Mrs Jekyll
said firmly, and began to rise from her seat. "I’ll see you at eight o’clock,
urnghh," the zombie said, struggling with his tie. "Gnngh rnnng."
"Let me help you,
George," his wife said. Expertly, she loosened and retied the knot. "Does that
"Be...tter." The zombie
turned his head side to side experimentally. "Not...ssssstrangled."
"Good." Mrs Romero stood
back and admired her husband. "You’re looking great."
"Sssssso are you." The
zombie batted his eyelids in appreciation at his helpmeet, but not too hard, in
case they fell off. "Ssssshall we go?"
Mrs Romero took his arm,
smiling. She knew most people wondered what she saw in her husband. Well, she
didn’t wonder, because she knew. And she was sure someday the wonderers would
find out, too.
The party was already
packed when the Romeros arrived. This was not surprising, because the Gorgons’
parties were always popular. At some point in the evening, they’d turn somebody to
stone, and there were always bets taken as to who it would be this time.
Several people had got quite rich by guessing right. Besides, they all wanted
to see the infamous zombie-human couple.
The elder of the
surviving Gorgon sisters, Euryale, met them at the door, wearing something
flowing and Greek, except for her hair, which was, naturally, decorously
covered, though it twitched and hissed a little. She smiled at them quickly.
"Why, it’s the Romeros. Come on in!"
Stheno, the other sister,
was across the room talking to a mummy. Leaving the Pharaoh to his own devices,
she came rushing across to greet them, and Mrs Romero had to move fast to
prevent her from wrenching George’s arm off with her enthusiastic shaking. "So
glad to be here," she murmured.
From across the room,
little Miss Frankenstein watched them with keen eyes. She’d felt rather alone
at the party so far. The Jekylls were there, of course, and Mrs Jekyll’s
sister, Miss Hyde, with her centaur, who was a lot duller than Miss
Frankenstein had expected. He never took his eyes off his lover, and she never
got off his back, which meant that they simply stood in the corner with him
looking over his shoulder at her. Miss Frankenstein wondered why Miss Hyde
seemed content to simply sit on him rubbing herself back and forth on his back.
Maybe she would ask her, if she got the chance later. Or maybe she wouldn’t.
With her Goth getup, Miss Hyde wasn’t to her taste anyway.
There were plenty of
other guests, of course. There was a pair of ghouls who skulked in the shadows
and seemed to be waiting for someone to die. There was the mummy, who was
accompanied by a retinue of animated figures carrying his organs in canopic
jars. There was a huge shaggy werewolf, who trotted around the room sniffing
people with his cold wet nose. When Miss Frankenstein rubbed his head and fondled
his ears, he lay down at her feet and rolled over so she could scratch his
She’d only just finished
playing with him when there was a general stir of excitement and the Romeros
entered. Miss Frankenstein, who’d met Mrs Romero a few times before the
latter’s marriage, was about to go over and greet her and get introduced to the
zombie, but the crush around the couple was so great she had to back away after
almost getting her toes trodden to splinters. Cursing in the properly ladylike
manner in which she’d been trained, she retreated wallwards.
"So, you’re alone here,
are you?" a voice asked. "How strange to see a pretty lady like you all by
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