Pseudopod 452: Abandon All Flesh

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

“Abandon All Flesh” first appeared in Tales of Jack the Ripper, a 2013 anthology. Silvia remembers the wax museum in Mexico City burning down in 1992, which helped to inspire this story.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s debut novel Signal to Noise has been released by Solaris. It focuses on magic, music and Mexico City. Her short stories have been collected in Love & Other Poisons and This Strange Way of Dying. This weekend she is a Special Guest at Necronomicon in Providence. You can follow her on her blog at Signal To Noise or on Twitter @silviamg

Your narrator — Pamila Payne is a Los Angeles writer and voice actor. Her noir horror, vintage crime and drama can be found at vintagevice.com. Her most recent work was included in Exiles: An Outsider Anthology She is available to hire for Audiobook narrating and all things spoken word. She recently narrated a story for Podcastle – The Chimney-Borer and the Tanner, by Thoraiya Dyer

****************************

“The chamber of horrors. The cobwebs and the torture instruments and the lights. And Jack. She loves Jack most of all. He stands in a corner, past the mummies and the witches, in his cape and stylish top hat. Black satin. Gloves. Right hand raised, knife gleaming. He sports a wicked smile.

If you stand in front of Jack all you can see is the smile. The angle of the hat wraps the rest of his face in rich shadows. However, if you move to the side and step a bit forward, against the velvet ropes, you can look at him up close.

The quality of the wax sculptures varies. The older ones are good and the newer ones are less detailed. But Jack. Jack is not good, he is great. The one who crafted him did so with exquisite detail, labouring over the eyes and the skin, striving to approximate life as much as one can within the confines of a wax mold. The result is a face that seems alert, capable of speech, of drawing a breath. The fingers curl around the knife with true strength, the body tenses, ready to leap down from its dais.

Even the background of this exhibit is flawless. Behind Jack there is a bed, unmade, the sheets splattered with blood. The subdued lighting reveals a brick wall and a shuttered window.

Julia stands in front of Jack and touches the sleeve of his jacket. She is fourteen. During class she draws skulls and dragons in the margins of her notebooks. In the afternoons, she does her homework with more haste than effort. Twice a week she walks the wax museum, pausing before Jack and admiring him.”

****************************