"To Paradise First Tending," a Tale of Chief Inspector Henri Moreau

En 1856, dans la ville d'Arles

I woke to the impression of fingers tapping against my chest. Crouched on my gown was a scorpion battering its seven tails against me. These scaley tines struck with the blur of a harpist, the fury of Xenophon on the Hellespont, and I immediately, once conscious, struck back, slapping the thing into the window.

A green smear on the pane. The scorpion squirmed where it fell, wriggling down into jerks and an armored stillness. I pulled down my collar to check my chestonly bruises, no expansion of wine-colored boils. As banal as it sounds, I sighed in relief. It had been the same scorpion I found nesting in my papers, seeking refuge from the cold. The one I neutralized by snipping its sacs and putting it in a container on the desk with my insectsthe worms which produce garrote's rope, the fireflies in a fireproof jar.

Only a poor assassin would use a useless scorpion. No, deduction led me to pursue other designs which led the arachnid from the crown of glass on the floor to my bedside. Perhaps utter accident or a want for warmth carried it to the plains of my being, followed by the recognition of a great living enemy. The thing may have had some memory of its gelder. Maybe God is a playful devil.

This was before I knew of my enemythe man who hides behind the wasps.