Read by Jen Rhodes (of the Anomaly Podcast)
Originally published in Weird Tales.
We started immediately. Scolast Giazla had a series of rabbits she’d infected by treating their grafts with offal. I selected the most advanced sample, a brown spotted one with a cat’s striped forepaw, to perform the control.
I closed my eyes and pressed my palm to the rabbit’s warm shoulder. I focused on the weak energies simmering in its body, and the spherical image of its vita appeared in my mind. A foreign strand wriggled across the round core: the necrotia from the infection. I reached my mind forward to grab it, but I couldn’t get a firm hold. I tried twice, with no success.
We couldn’t use the control animal again or we would compromise the trials. So I extracted all the remaining vita to extinguish the rabbit. The rush of energy swirled in my head. I felt a pang of shame as I remembered the Nüthren exumancers in their white shrouds. Those savages had no laws forbidding the draining of vita from living beings, even humans. We only used vivomancy to save peoples’ lives.
I prepared the first trial with the hot water bath. The feverish rabbit fell unconscious after a minute in the water. Scolast Giazla lowered her knobby hand to its shoulder, above the septic graft. The sinews quivered in her wrist. She finally broke contact with a strangled gasp.
Rated R. Contains Surgery.