“Little Healers” by Andrew Bourelle

“Little Healers” by Andrew Bourelle 

This story was published in “Gothic Fantasy: Swords & Steam” published by Flame Tree Publishing. 

This is the story of a parent’s love for their child.  What they will do for their children. Henry and Jessica both loved their child Anson with all their heart.  They spent all the time in world with him and spoiled him rotten. 

Then one day he became sick.  He was feverish and laid out in bed.  Jessica was beside herself with what to do and even more distressed because Henry would spend every waking minute he had in his laboratory and study.  Henry was an inventor and scientist.  He lost himself in studies while his child lay sick and dying upstairs.  Jessica had never felt so alone. 

Then one day Anson sits up, wide awake, the fever breaks, and everything seems to be normal again.  He has no sign of illness.  Henry goes back to spending time with the family and less time in his laboratory.  His wellness was short-lived however; soon after Anson woke up screaming in pain.  He was bleeding from his mouth, ears, and nose.  Soon the screams stopped, but they stopped forever.  He was dead. 
Jessica one day overheard her husband talking to his assistant, James, and was aghast at what she heard.  She went to bed that night and then, after Henry came to check on his wife and make sure she was sleeping, followed her husband into the night with his gun in her pocket.   

What comes next is surprising.  You don’t really see what is coming.  You think that there might be forgiveness, but then there is nothing but regret and hate.  A father’s love for his child led him to create minute mechanical devices which seek out and eat bad germ while leaving the good ones alone.  He put them inside of his son as a last resort to try and save him.  The mother intent on revenging her son makes her husband do what you least expect.  No forgiveness or mercy is given, only a mother’s love for her child. 

I enjoyed this story.  It has hints of steampunk and with a helping of fantasy.  You get a small mystery wrapped in a nice little bundle.  This wasn’t an overtly steampunk story, just small bits here and there to give the suggestion.  More of a fantastical mystery.

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