30 May The Pernicious Mortimer Thorn
The Pernicious Mortimer Thorn
By Zane Grubaugh
Verdun Manor’s sinister caretaker, Mortimer Thorn made a point of being familiar with every square foot of his beloved plantation, and could often be seen hiking about the property with a gnarled old walking stick fashioned from a twisted tree branch. On one of his many outings, he happened upon a colony of oddly mutated vampire bats, which explained the odd cattle carcasses that were found now and again, covered with puncture wounds and drained of every ounce of blood.
Concerned for the bats’ welfare, Mortimer carefully disguised the opening to their underground cave, and made mention of them to no one.
The night the manor burned, Mortimer alone escaped the inferno, running blindly through the property with the shrieks and wails of the baron, his lady and all of their mutated creatures ringing in his ears as the fire seared their bodies and the greedy flames came licking through the roof, sending sparks and cinders out over the countryside.
Taking shelter in an old abandoned church, Mortimer spent many years studying the bats, following them on their night time raids and learning their darkest secrets. During a series of experiments, he learned to extract two highly toxic fluids from his bloodsucking charges; the first was a powerful anesthetic and the second an enzyme known as desmoteplase, which acts as an anticoagulant, to allow the bats to extract their bloody meals more easily.
What he does with these dangerous substances is anybody’s guess.
Mortimer Thorn continues his sinister experiments to this day in that old stone church, protected by overgrown thorny shrubs and surrounded by dangerous swampland feeding into Voodoo Bayou. Only lost stragglers occasionally find their way through a cleverly camouflaged maze of thorny hedges leading up to the old church. The darkness begins here, in Thorn Hall…