Advance: In this new Mytho, hypnotic strangeness reaches out of the commonplace, to the convincingly, everyday world of reality, yet lures the mind into its deep imaginations.
I became good friends with Nicolai Stein. He was the son of a top chief in Paris, who was quite well off. But soon after I had gotten to know him, his parents had died mysteriously that was, or so it appeared; And somehow he had lost or squandered away most – but not all – his inheritance they had left him; Which was quite a sum I heard. And so he left his Paris home for the Island of Nantucket, off the coast of old Cape Cod. If you were to ask me why, I could not tell you why he selected that particular island.
This island is not huge by no means but has quite a long and enduring history for writers, whalers (of a century past), and artists of today, and so forth and so on. It has its beauty, its lighthouses, and its coblstone streets, which add to its charm; And let's not forget its coffeehouses and historic inns. So by virtue of a most pleasant location, I trust he made a good selection in settling there for, as he said, '… a season,' and for his own reasons.
Nicolai had rented a hotel room at the Manton Coffin House, a fairly three-story, brick mansion built in the mid-l800s. Oh yes, yes, it fit the gracious bygone world, and when he invited me to come live at the hotel – at his expense of course, and finish my book of poetry, I felt most obligated, and accepted immediately his kind gesture; And upon my taking residence there I felt – for the most part, comfortable at once in this sixty-four guestroom complex; With all its modern amenities.
It was here, here where I got to know him quite well, quite well indeed (possibly too well), or at least, so I thought, for does anyone, anyone (emphatically I say!) Really know anyone but himself, and seldom We can be sure of that over implication.
In Paris we had chummed about, but not much, although he took a liking to me. It took me a bit longer; I actually got to liking him more during the first month at the hotel. Nonetheless, I had learned quite quickly, He was reserved, and seemed well educated; Although he had kept to himself pretty much while in Paris, that is to say, he preferred a quieter life style than I, we got along relatively well. Should you had followed him around on a daily basis (in Paris; as I look back now) I dare say you would find him with his little youthful friend, which I will get to in a moment, but at the time I had categorized him As a kid of protégé of his, of some kind. But as I was about to say, you would have noticed he had a flood of mood changes more rapid than the blinking of stops. And when he was happy, he was ecstatically happy; And when sad, he was quite gray and gloomy, from his brow to his lower of his eyes, to his hunchback positions.
But we had a few things in common, and this is where I feel he picked up a liking for me. He liked to read and write, and was the fastest reader I have yet to make acquaintance with. Nor would I care to compete with him in prose or poetry writing. He always had pens and paper and unfinished manuscripts lying about. Not sure if he ever finished anything, but they were there neverheless. I had read some of his work and it was of a high quality, as I have said before, he was well taught but he wrote on things that to me were in the area of imaginary cosmogony, wondrous phenomena: beyond my comprehension; That, I conclude, unique it may be but not any contribution to mankind or to me, so I left it silent and made no observations to its value, just a few gestures of kindness, to insure our friendship was cemented in good will.
As he walked about Paris, I had noticed he daydreamed feverously, almost to the point he'd get hit by a car had his friend friend not filled him to safety a few times while leaving the curve too soon; Much like here on Nantucket, apart from, the cars here are not as plentiful.
In Paris, He'd stop at his favorite coffee shops, restaurants, like Café de Flora, etcetera: and have his double shot of caffeine, with a little hot milk on the side, and a piece of coffeecake. It was forever the same, a man of habit, as they say; Solely predictable.
His youthful friend's name, so I heard, was Sullivan. Not sure if that was a first or last name – certainly Irish though; It was all he was called. No matter where he'd go, young Sullivan – I'd say about fifteen years old– young Sullivan would follow old Nicolai, like a bloodhound. It was only times when I was by him he'd tell Sullivan to go find something to do, – something to do, other than standby us; He, insuring he was with me alone, for whatever purpose, for we did not talk of anything secret, or worthy of shooing him away.
I had been sleeping when Sullivan had opened the door to my room and woke me up, saying breakfast was about ready: then he proceeded to finish, making the eggs and taste, coffee, for we three lived together in the hotel suite, with separate Room of course, and a kitchenette, so as not to have to run to the restaurant all the time to eat.
Said he, "Nicolai will be home shortly," it was close to noon now, and I had stayed up quite late reading the previous night.
After breakfast, Nicolai proceeded to tell me about his so called little experiment; He seemed quite happy and excited to tell me, trusting I 'd concur with his way of thinking I'm sure. He had cross-bred a rabbit with a rat: "I want you to take a look at it Lee, this morning if possible?" So he asked humbly.
I put my coffee cup down on the table, replied with science: "Are such things possible?" He looked at me a little funny; You know those looks that say: 'seeing is believing.' He was quiet for the rest of the breakfast, and then afterwards he seemed too had gotten some kind manic rush into his system, or blood, insisting now I follow him to see his work of art. I had found myself saying, "Yes, yes, I'm coming," as if we were going to the Opera, or some grand event about to take place within the hour, and we must not be late.
[Looking at the …] "Yes, yes, it really is something …" I admitted to him as he showed me this red serpent tongued creature, that had big eyes like an owl, and ears like a rabbit, teeth Like a rats, tale like a cat. It sat upright, as if its spine was durable to the point of being able to bend and arch it at will, even more so than a human. The tongue was a foot long, while extended outside its mouth. Oh yes, it was a feeble looking creature; Strange and pitiful; It had web feet which looked more like a hoof, than a bunny's foot. It was all of three feet tall; Sometimes seventy pounds.
Nicolai looked at me with a glare, I at him with mortification. The young boy was playing with – what I called in my mind – the hybrid, creature. Not knowing what to say, lost for words, and beyond, and I mean way beyond my own creative fascination; My mouth must have drooped a food, jaw and all. Nicolai could see I was dumbfounded and lost for words. A cold breeze seemed to fill the moment for us three, or was it four now, with the rodent-rabbit-creature on hand. Not knowing what to do, I simply buttoned up my sweater, for we were in an old wooden structure on top of a hill, inside the small village, the barn of sorts, or meeting hall, having a date being built somewhere in the mid To late 1600s, was an old gray wooden building, and it kept a chill to it.
Nicolai walked the creature back into his huge cage, it licked his cheek as if it was quite found of him, so much so, I was much taken by it – some kind of sympathy, or thin-skinned nervousness, overtook me for A moment. I was a bit surprised in his tenderness toward the creature, but I put it aside for the moment, thinking briefly, owners of pets are often kinder to animals than to their fellow man, or can be. Although Nicolai was kind to me, I had never seen him kind to anyone else but Sullivan; He was quite flat with affect, in showing emotions.
Speechless, I started to walk out of the large gray structure, with its old wooden unvarnished floors. Spontaneously, Nicolai burped out of his mouth: "Stop …!" And I appeared to freeze, for some odd reason, some mental evocative force soared in my brain, a hypnotic strangeness buzzed through me, my nervous system stopped like a street car throwing on its breaks – I was blank. "How did you like my … [a pause] rabbit?" This was not a good time to evaluate friendship I claimed myself, but do I lie or tell the truth, at best, it was disgusting, at worse, I had not yet found the word in the dictionary.
"Nicolai," I said with a kind of remorseless voice, "that is no rabbit, it is something but … only God, and maybe you know what!"
This was not what he wanted to her by far – I was not witnessing the burning hurt within his breast. His face got read, his veins in his arms stuck out, his neck muscles appeared to go into contractions – in a beastly way.
We now were outside the building and he was pacing, walking the length of the fence that surrounded the property, which was a good one hundred feet or more, back and forth. Never saying a word but occasionally looking at me as if all was not over. He was mumbling, saying something I could not understand … a different language I'd expect, or so I concluded.
[Two weeks later] I had moved into another room, and the boy had come out of his to talk to me in a nervous kind of way, saying: Nicolai was very sick, and would not get out of bed. I suggested he call the doctor, but for some reason that was out of the question. I should first explain why I moved into the room next to their, and not in their apartment any longer. Nicolai, for some reason did not quite trust me anymore, for whatever he needed to trust me for I did not know at the time. In any case, he suggested I move out, and he'd pay the bill, for he did not want me to move back home, or leave the island, but again, I was not in his full confidence. So now I will return to where I left off. As I was about to say, Sullivan was quite disturbed with Nicolai's condition, and again, the doctor was out of the question, he [He being: the boy Sullivan] would not allow the doctor, any doctor or medicine to visit him.
"What do you expect me to day?" I asked the lad.
Said the boy, with a quivering lip, "You see sir, Nicolai was very proud to show you Nicolai Junior, and I think you hurt him." The boy looked awful pale trying to tell me this. I looked at him as if he was on some kind of drug, having hallucinations.
"The Rabbit sir," said the boy, "is my brother, and Nicolai is our father, we are all crossbred … but with alien blood … from the planet Moiromma, as well as human, we are trying to transform Into a suitable human, and our experiences have not done us well. " I looked aghast – "What!" I said in disbelief; The boy did not like the way I looked at him. He continued, "My father is self procreating, he needs no female; yet, he can pregnant. And should the doctor see his system, it would have been a life for him, my brother and me afterwards."
"We were twins," he continued, "twins until after a few experiments, where I earned the human form, and he did not, he was much more of a rodent before than now …" I said to myself, jokingly, A big mouse had bit him and made him ill, than I looked at his feet, they were fur, and webbed, like the creatures.