- Chapter 9 -
Whitney hugged herself with tremulous arms. As ever, she felt cold and pale whenever she was in the vicinity of the laboratory. She was frightened by the rows of partially assembled machinery strewn on various oil-soaked tables, yet she was forced by her vows of marriage, a sacred oath stronger than bands of steel, to explore the vault of science in search of Anthony in defiance of his orders.
The lab resembled a perverse abattoir of creation. A mechanical slaughterhouse of spare parts of arms, legs, torsos and heads of cold iron and chrome that waited patiently for assembly and given electric life at the hands of some mad God.
The sound of ichor and fluids dripping into pans haphazardly shoved under the long tables punctuated the soft scuffing sounds of Whitney's high heeled shoes and the susurrus of her chiffon and taffeta dress. "A...Anthony?" The worried wife whispered.
On a far table a bright red light winked into life, a blood glow pouring forth from the single large eye of the decapitated head of a mechanical man. Batteries abruptly hummed and all around Whitney disconnected legs shifted as if running in a dream and powerful, lonely hands opened and closed. Whether the huge iron gloves flexed in fists of rage or eager, supplicant hope, Whitney could not dare to say. The large iron head with its' now occupied brain-case on the table turned fitfully on a loose ball joint, the crimson eye spotlighting the pretty brunette with it's cold glare. A voice echoed from the walls and ceiling, a voice that was mournful in it's damnation, an eerily familiar voice, and the frightened wife knew then that her husband was lost to her forever.
"What...price...man? What...price...man? What...price...man?"
Tags: Pulp Astounding Science Fiction Iron Man