The following is a short story from the book "Tales of Beauty and the Macabre" by Daniel Hodgson
I listed my occupation as Mad Scientist on Tinder. It gets a good response. It's not a joke.
But if I put an add online, most likely insane Dr. Requires living bodies for experimental purposes, I wouldn't get a lot offers. I never considered myself handsome. Handsome might also be a stretch but an ugly man wouldn't get so many women swiping right.
I'm not technically a doctor. I was unable to finish medical school.
They wouldn't let me finish to be more accurate. Accuracy must always be at the forefront of ones mind.
My life is guided by science. I want to be an intellectual, one of the greats. I want to be celebrated and engrave myself into the history books. I want to discover the soul. I will be the first to do it. The physical manifestation of a soul is in the body somewhere. I've been searching and documenting and soon I will revolutionize the world and our understanding of science.
I don't just do this for glory I do it for God. This is my task in this life. Not everyone is given one, I am one of the lucky ones, one of the chosen ones.
I have the favour of our lord and that knowledge gives me the strength to conduct the brutal and barbaric aspects of the sciences. Dissections, transplants, and sometimes the loss of life, these things are not for the faint of heart. The queasy. The weak.
I don't use God's servants, they have their own work to do and I couldn't risk interfering.
I use sinners for my test subjects. Easy women. Fornicators.
The ones who just want to “hook up.”
Sometimes I hook them up to electricity and see how long it takes to fry their eyeballs to jelly.
Always for purpose. No one has discovered the soul yet therefor nobody knows the proper technique of removal. It is very much trial and error.
My basement has room for one more experiment.
I have constructed a device that will tear both arms and legs from the body at the exact same time.
Perhaps the human soul isn't in just one place like our mortal minds would suspect. What if it is in four equal parts, in the limbs. Jesus is the lamb of God, limb of God may be a clue. Scripture is old and open to interpretation.
Finally someone swipes right. A meaty one like I've been wanting.
This ones soul might be bigger and easier to spot.
I arrange a date and meet her for coffee a short drive from home.
If I can get her back to my place then she will be my subject, anything else and it is a sign from the lord that she is one of his servants.
I arrive early but not as early as her. “Mandy,” I say with a smile as she stands from the small round table and shakes my hand nervously. “What can I get you?” I ask.
“Low fat latte please, thank you,” she blushes and I get our drinks.
Sitting at the table I could tell she was struggling to talk. I can tell she doesn't go on many dates, not because she's over weight but because she is coming off as awkward. I want her in my basement.
We drink three coffee's each by the time she asks me to walk her home.
“Are you sure you don't want to see my place instead. I'm a lot closer,” I say with a trusting smile.
She blushes some more and digs a hole through the cement with her toe.
“I think I'd better go home,” she insists and I oblige.
We laugh and nervously pause our conversation on the walk home, we're hitting it off pretty well. I can't believe she doesn't want to come home with me.
We reach the door to her building and we say good bye with a kiss. Then she changed her mind. Not about my house but about me. She invited me upstairs to her place. I have no equipment here.
“I'd feel more comfortable at my place,” I tell her rolling eyes.
“Alright.” I change my mind hesitantly. I don't have an experiment in mind, nothing I can do with my bare hands. I can't fornicate out of wedlock.
We kiss again in the elevator and then we're through her door and on her couch.
We drink wine now and our conversation is even better than before. I like her. But I haven't checked the jugular in a while and I bet she has razor blades in the bathroom.
The wine has gone to my head and I look around the shifting room. I lock eyes with a familiar face. I've seen the woman in the picture frame, sitting in a wheelchair. Except she wasn't in a wheelchair when I knew her. It was years ago. I took her leg off to see if the soul was in the hip.
She was one of the only two to escape. I had to move to the other side of the country because of her.
She put drawings that looked like me on the television. Why is she in the frame?
I can't ask. My mouth is too heavy to open.
Mandy's smile is different.
The woman from the picture frame that I once knew, wheels herself out of the bedroom and matches her sisters smile. I can see the relation once they're side by side.
But only for a moment.
My vision becomes blurry. Now nothing.
I feel everything. I feel them pull me off the couch with no regard for my head on the hardwood floor.
I feel them pull me into the next room with plastic on the floor.
I feel the knife.
God help me.