For twenty-two years, he was a fine doctor.
That changed on the night of August 1st, 1798.
Dr. Albertus Hellespont was as far from a quack as a medical professional could be at the end of the sixteenth century. He practiced his medicine to the best of his ability, and a surprising number of his patients survived.
On the night of August 1st, however, he killed a patient.
Mrs. Potter, who had gone to see him about the condition of her gout. Her eldest son, Marley, had accompanied her, and as he sat in the room, chatting with his mother and the doctor, he watched Dr. Hellespont open a large book, peruse it for a moment, and then retrieve a large scalpel from a table. Before either Marley or his mother could react, Dr. Hellespont stepped nimbly forward and opened her throat with a single, deft motion.
Marley managed to escape, and he ran square into me as I left the tavern. He was awash in his mother’s blood and gibbering as he pointed to Albertus’ home.
Dr. Hellespont stepped out a moment with a long piece of flesh in one hand. He called out to me and bade me join him, and so I did, sending Marley off for help.
When I reached Albertus’ home, I entered and found him in his office. He had cut away most of Mrs. Potter’s clothes, and he was sawing at her right arm.
“This is the problem, my good lad,” he told me without looking up. “This was the source of her ailment. The creatures came from here, and they died with the blood when I opened her throat. We’ve some luck, it seems.”
I glanced at the large tome on the table beside him and saw worms squirming through ink in the pages. Gently, I closed the book, and Albertus jointed the arm, tossing it to one side.
“There are more in town,” he called over his shoulder. “Many more. We have to cut and bleed them all, Duncan.”
“Aye,” I sighed, “I suppose we do.”
As he moved off to the next arm, I picked up a heavy fireplace iron, stepped forward and swung it with all my might.
I crushed the top of his skull and sent him sprawling to the floor. For a moment, I paused, then I stepped closer, raised iron over my head, and made sure I did the job right.