Seed of Satan
By Simon Laffy
Abomination of nature.
Hand child of the devil.
These were phrases so familiar to him, words that could never be forgotten. He’d felt their stabbing pain since early childhood and would taste their bitter poison for the remainder of his turbulent, young life.
He wandered along the northern edge of Lake Geneva in the early morning mist. The clatter of horseshoe against cobblestone reverberated from a few streets to the north, yet his gaze never lifted from the path dead ahead. A bustling dawn chorus swirled in the canopy of trees above, but he was deaf to all the birdsong. Down Rue de Lausanne and in the direction of the Pont du Mont-Blanc, he made for the bridge simply because the road in front was deserted. The sole purpose of his route was to avoid all human contact. He had to be alone with his thoughts, his concerns; his cherished work. Solitude was his hunting ground, a revolution in science his quarry.
However much he hoped for invisibility, his quirky, erratic movements were destined to betray him. Inevitably, they drew the unwelcome gaze of a passing horseman or a cart driver working at the far end of an empty street. Who could not help but notice this strange figure as he halted, swung about face to retreat three steps, before turning yet again. Or as he crouched momentarily, hovering barely above the pavement and scratching like an infested primate, ahead of springing back to his feet and speeding on his original path once more. No observer could be blamed for watching with a heightened sense of anxiety. They might assume a measure of caution against the actions of a man seemingly deranged or even criminally insane. At the very least, they would plot a path that kept them safe from close proximity with this troubled individual.
The twentieth century was nearly eleven years old and Halley’s Comet had recently made the latest of its 76-yearly visits. William Howard Taft had replaced Theodore Roosevelt as US President and King George V had succeeded to the throne of the British Empire upon the death of his father, King Edward VII. Yet, to this lonely individual, it seemed as if the weight of the last decade bore down on him alone. It was his life that mattered more than any others; only his work that would provide the pivotal breakthrough for all humanity.
No distant street noise, no joyous birdsong, no common or familiar sound was able to penetrate his hearing because this man generated his own accompaniment as he walked—a low, continuous stream of barely audible mutterings. Karl was conducting an endless conversation in his head with some of the most brilliant minds in history. The rest of the world would know of them as the great masters of Science, but to him they were his mentors, his guides, and his source of inspiration. Every piece of work he produced was derived from their fields of academic conquest. They provided both his ancestry and his bloodline. Only they could understand him or grant the necessary validation for his output.