3 of 10

Max took a deep breath when he got back to the lab.  It was like walking into a cold freezer this time.  The heat of the forge was still dancing in his memory.

Dr. Floyd smiled at him.  “Alright, time for number three.”

The slip of soap came over him.

Night time on the canal became solid around him.  A few boats with glowing kerosene lights were parked, and another floating lazily away with a red and yellow striped gondolier on its aft deck.  The stone beneath his feet was a cold reminder of the draft that would soon become apparent to a passerby.  Max moved into an alley and soon emerged on the far end of the curved alley wearing some cast off canvas clothing.  Only a few holes, not too much dust, and most importantly it had been on the top of a rubbish bin, not under something drooling foul goo.  He beat some of the dust out of the thick long sleeved fabric and moved away from the faint cloud he’d generated.

Farther up the canal, he caught a glimpse of the castle, but continued following the curve of the canal away from it this time.  He’d been here longer than any other trip, better not push his luck.  The stroll was nice.  Up ahead, a pair of soldiers and a figure in a hooded cloak moved towards him, but at a gentle pace.

When Max made to walk past them, the hooded figure spoke, “Walk with us, Mr. Pink.”

The voice was slightly familiar.  He followed her.  When the hood shifted slightly, Max could see a small smile peeking out from the shadows.

“You don’t appear to be a ghost, but I’ve seen you disappear from right in front of my own eyes.”  A leather glove reached tentatively towards him.  “May I?”

Max lifted his arm.  Her grip on him was firm and clinical.  She checked to see also if he was solid on the backs of his hands that were visible.  As she checked his arm one more time, the soapy feeling stepped in.  For just an instant, Max could see her holding an empty shirt.

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