Anne Soilleux

I am the fifth girl they have sent. The doctor cannot keep his servants. Or his wife, if the rumours are true.

Entry to his laboratory is forbidden, but as with Eve, my sin is curiosity. Locks, like pockets, are easily picked.

The stench of formalin. Strange instruments sharpened by lamplight, a workbench scrubbed bone-white, shelves of fat-bellied jars in shadow. I look closer and almost drop my lantern. A floating hand wears a gristle bracelet. Ink spill hair fanning out around a head. Lungs, liver, the plump pillow of a womb. Everything except a heart.

One jar stands empty.

This story won First Prize in the January 2022 Monthly Micro Competition.

About the author: Anne Soilleux lives in Berkshire, where she writes very short fiction when she’s not working.