Science and Hell

By DeChunk

Based on characters created by Mary Shelly and Bram Stoker

An infinite conflict started with a single phrase: "Life is not yours to live."

It was said in a bar in Spain about one hundred and fifty years ago by a man to a monster. Or quite possibly a monster to a man. No one is to be sure if either of them were to be truly noble.

To flesh out the backdrop of this simple statement, we must go back a single day, to the arrival of a large man in the small town of Muertaro. It was a village of not more than two hundred people, including the farmhands that did not live there themselves. There was a peace in the town. Not an especially noticeable peace, but the kind of peace that is in all towns that are not overrun by thieves or Satan himself. A couple of the men cheated on their wives. There was a theft every once in a while. But it was never an especially exciting town. There was only one place to purchase alcohol, and it was a very small joint owned by a man who watered down most of it to jack up his prices. An ancient technique that was passed from scoundrel to scoundrel in hopes more money would be gained.

The large man, of whom I spoke of earlier, walked into this establishment and sat down at the bar. He was wearing a wide brimmed hat, a long olive green burlap coat, black gloves, large boots, and a pair of pants that were tattered at the ends. His face was hidden by the shadow of the hat, but one could already guess he wasn't the most attractive man on the face of creation. His hands were large, but not meaty, with fingers that were meant to be articulate and not scrunched up in a ball.

"I'll take a shot of vodka." The balding bartender looked at the man with a questioned expression. He repeated it again in fluid Spanish.

"Sorry, we don't serve Baltic ass-drippings here," the bartender replied.

"Fine, then I'll have an aguardiente," negotiated the man.

The bartender laughed. "I must warn you, it's strong enough to make you see purple."

"I've had that happen before. Now give me the drink."

The barkeep gave another laugh and proceeded to get out a red bottle that read "World Famous Father Rodriguez's Devil Spit" and poured a liberal shot into a glass.

"So, what brings you here?"

The large man gave the bartender a look and then downed his shot in a single gulp. He put the glass back down as if to want another.

"You got money for the one you just downed?"

The large man pulled out a golden token out of his pocket and slammed it down on the bar table.

"I don't got change for that."

"You won't need to," the man replied. "Just leave the bottle here." He poured another shot and downed it just like the last. The large man hesitated before he poured his third. "What else do you have?"

The bartender looked through the bottles behind him. "Few bottles of wine. A week old batch of zurracapote. Got some German beer from a trader recently."

The large man paused for a moment. "I'll take two bottles of the wine." He took out another token and slid it across the bar.

"You need a corkscrew?"

The large man used his thumb and popped the top off of the first bottle. "I'm good." The large man drank it straight from the bottle.

"Got a name?"

"Do you need it?"

"It would make me feel better taking strange pieces of gold from a man instead of a silhouette."

The large man took a pause. "Remendo."

"Remendo? Pretty strange name."

"I'm a pretty strange man." He took another swig of the wine.