Medical Museum Midnight Raid
I will smash the glass and liberate the specimens. The suicides, the murderers, the gypsies and the poor, I will stash your skulls in my loot sack. The leathery feet and the hair bezoars and the shrunken heads, the lungs injected with ink, the cysts and bladder stones, the slices of organs and misshaped body parts, you’ll all come with me. I’ll unstring the skeletons, young and old, the giant and the dwarf, the corset warped and disease ravaged and I will bind your bones for travel.
And you? Prodigies in your pickle jars. Those never born or born not for long. The cyclops, conjoined twins, the mermaid and the pig child, the babe with three legs. I will stop at your receptacles and whisper “I am sorry” to all of you. I will whisper that you don’t have to stay here any longer. Your stasis, your swimming in place, is done. I will juggle all your jars in my arms, cradle you and leave the museum and no one will know.
Later, in the woods, I will dig deep. I’ll bury the bones and inter the body parts. Your job is done. We don’t need to learn more from you, you get to be part of the earth. Decay is your reward, be forgotten and rest. There’s models and 3D images and photographs and scans and records. Rest among the roots. The giant and the dwarf and all you other freaks, your bones will hide in the dirt. You’ve been ogled enough.
And the little ones, the monsters and the too small to survive. I will pour out your liquor and hope it doesn’t poison the trees. Your poor shriveled skin will feel the air one more time before I entomb you. This is where you were supposed to go. You just got stuck in the in-between place. I will tenderly place you in the ground. Be caressed by the soil, let it fill you. You did your part. You are beautiful.
Emma J. Gibbon is originally from Yorkshire in the U.K. and now lives in Midcoast Maine. She is a writer and librarian. Her stories have appeared in Wicked Haunted, a New England Horror Writers anthology, and The Muse & The Flame, an anthology of bizarre romance. She was also a runner-up for the 2017 Island Verse Poetry Prize. She lives with her husband, Steve, and three exceptional animals: Odin, Mothra and M. Bison (also known as Grim). She is a member of the New England Horror Writers and the New England Speculative Writers. You can find her website at emmajgibbon.com.