The Scream, by Edvard Munch; The Story Book, by William Adolphe Bouguereau
“Do you think I’m special?” the little Adelphe asked her father.
“And if aliens were to visit earth and propagate the planet with mutant moose and they enslaved me? Even then?”
“I suppose in that case I could get us matching dog tags and we could be slaves together if that would make you happy.”
“Not rescue me?”
“I couldn’t break the law like that! Not when I am needed by the Emperor…”
This angered little Adelphe. She tilted her chin up and looked out onto the bay. Suddenly the waters began to thrash violently around the lighthouse and a mermaid sailed into the air. This scared her and she willed it to stop and the calm returned. She went back to her book, Confessions of an English Opium Eater, which she had found in her father’s office and became absorbed in its reflections on time.
Her father sighed and went back to writing in his diary about when he first realized what she was capable of.
“Well it all started when I took her on a camping trip with me. You see, I was going on my winter bear hunting trip. It was very late at night and everything was only lit up by moonlight. All of a sudden there were flashing lights in the distance, thousands of them, it seemed, and a sound so loud that it shook the entire forest.
I looked over at my little Adele and she lay awake with terror in her eyes, holding the edge of her sleeping bag up to her chin. I was afraid she would go into shock so I pulled out a stethoscope from my first aid kit–you never realize how much these things come in handy!–and held it to her back. The very force shook my hand and it felt as if millions of waves and particles were swirling around inside of her and pushing gravity and other forces around. I fell back and stuttered, ‘My god, this is the greatest argument against the Copernican revolution that I have ever seen!’
‘What’s the Copernican revolution, Daddy” she asked me. But I could really tell her nothing since I was not sure at the time what it was either.
In that moment the lights got stronger and I eyed a pair of moose mates outside of the tent through the little window. I begged her to make it stop, and she promised to try. I don’t blame the little tot though, she means no harm. I only wished to be able to jump on the male moose’s back and ride into oblivion, or protect my girl against herself, but I could not. In that moment I knew it would be prudent to become as a samurai is, to don the black robe. And that is why I’m alive today.
Sure the first few months were difficult, but at least I had avoided near death, even more near than the time I fell into a fit of passion after glimpsing my late wife’s breasts on our wedding night. But jujitsu blocks out much of the pain, as do the sake bars in town. I still remember the first night that I drank snake blood. Adelphe had just caused a bout of suspicion with dear old Mildred, her nanny. She had gone on the famous freefall waterside at the water park and had screamed with terror until the wave pool turned into a whirlpool, and the lazy river turned into a swamp. I needed some R&R and it showed on my face. The bartender raised her glass of blood to me and toasted to the new Meiji Revolution. The whole gang of men surrounding me at the bar, who I had previously thought inconspicuous, chanted it with me: “Meiji! Meiji! Meiji!”
Adelphe was fast asleep in her chair and the father decided to go out for some fresh air, for fear that he would take out his katana at any moment and slice up some members of the landed aristocracy so that the Emperor could rise again. Halfway down the long dock he turned to look back at the house and saw Adele’s face in the window and two tiny fists beating against the glass. Suddenly, the universe split into two before him, the fat rain drops turning to mist, and he screamed.