Human Bondage


Professor Wood was indeed on a dig in Rome, working on an excavation of a recently discovered temple to the goddess  Isis, whose worship had become fashionable at the time of Cleopatra. He received the telegram from Bunty and Lola with some dismay as there had been some odd coincidences happening and, although he was not a superstitious man, he had heard enough rumours from his colleagues, and was certainly acquainted  with the stories which surrounded the unearthing of the Tomb of Tutankhamen.

Three of his workers had so far died in mysterious circumstances and some of the murals he had uncovered bore a strange resemblance to certain ladies.

On the boat, Lola had taken to her bed with a strange fever, and was most perturbed that Bunty didn’t seem to care at all and had taken up with an odd set. They comprised of a lot of odd “arty” types who ran around wearing scarves and declaring everything “lovely” and another group who went on and on about health and safety and barriers and wore bright yellow jackets and casual clothes. There was one particular person who was very masculine and thought that she knew everything called Deirdre who struck Lola as most unsuitable-one or two of their domestic servants were far more appropriate company.

As she succumbed to sleep, Lola could see a long forgotten face floating in front of her, last seen being devoured by an army of avenging Badgers at Appen Asylum. It was Max! His hair had gone white, but his brows were still black as jet.

Bunty had hidden motives; there was a game of poker planned and she knew that she was bound to win against this crowd. And Lola was becoming increasingly flighty and rather taxing on the nerves, although she suspected it might be because of the return of the creature in insect form.

The guard who had been employed to watch the mysterious crate had been attacked and was lying on the floor with a head injury. The crate was empty.

Lola tossed and turned in her feverish sleep, at least to the extent to which the cords that bound her to her bunk allowed.

Max sat in a chair beside her stroking his sleek thick black brows.

“Ah Lola, now I have you in my power at last, and what unspeakable things I have planned for you! I will take that cynical, sardonic sneer of yours and turn it into a vapid smile, and you will worship me and my Vision! I will regenerate you into something shiny and and new! You will become a team player! I will dress you in pink and give you a French manicure and highlights in your ebony locks and a tan!”

From the deep recesses of her fever, Lola screamed. It was of such a high pitch that it attracted a nearby school of porpoises and a pair of sperm whales.

She thrashed in her bonds like a whirling dervish until Max lowered a cloth over her agonised face and she knew no more.

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